Weekly Smile 3/21/22

Happy Spring!
This Sillyfrog thinks Spring is the BEST season. Wood frogs are among my favorite ‘cousins’ and this last weekend there was rain and warmth inspiring a big night of migration for these fascinating creatures.

Photo by sillyfrog

Wood frogs (above) live on the forest floor and freeze solid during the winter! They can be found as far North as the Arctic Circle. Their window for mating is quite small and can be observed for about a week. This makes their ‘coming out party’ a big event on my calendar!
Salamanders (below) follow a similar pattern that coincides with their amphibian cousins. They don’t make a loud chorus so you may be unaware that they’re around.

Photo by sillyfrog

I made my own cute informational video several years ago but couldn’t locate it for this post. This video was made 2 years ago not too far from where I live. Listen for the frogs’ noisy celebration of Spring.
I’m stoked for more springtime magic. I’ll keep you posted. ❤


This little fellow is a familiar and friendly part of woodland life. The red eft is the immature stage of the aquatic Red Spotted Newt.

On rainy days, it is easy to find red efts on the damp forest floor at our campsite in Upstate New York. They eat small insects and worms and , as all amphibians do, need to keep its skin damp and supple.

They start out life in ponds. The adult Red Spotted Salamanders are totally aquatic. They are also green.

The Red Eft lives on land for up to 7 years. Their red color is a warning to any animal who might find them delicious. They are quite poisonous if eaten. They are fun to handle and safe too but always wash your hands after handling any animal especially amphibians. Many have toxic and distasteful secretions.

On one occasion a few years ago, I witnessed one who was deformed. Amphibians (frogs,salamanders) have been on earth for very much longer than mankind. Recently, there have been some dramatic dangers to their survival. Scientists are studying if humans and their pesticides are responsible.

Birth defect ~ No right eye and a stubby tail.

When the eft is mature, it will turn green and develop gills and a flat tail. I constantly find them in many sizes and colorations.

Don’t forget that eft makes a delightful word for amazing teachers AND it comes in handy while playing word games too. 🙂

Loving dampness on forest floor.



The link above is to a short video that I made several years ago. It is about these amazing frogs. I’m sure that I’ve posted it before in my blogging adventures but thought I’d like to add it to my new NATURE KNOWLEDGE series.

Wood Frogs are being studied for their amazing ability to keep from freezing solid while buried only inches beneath leaves and woodland debris. They spend most of their time on the forest floor but this time of year, sing into the night while gathering to lay eggs in vernal pools and ponds.  Once you’ve heard their serenade, it is hard to ever consider not noticing them before!

The act of reproduction is called amplexus. Males cling to females while waiting for her to deposit eggs which they then fertilize with a cloud of sperm right after she deposits them. (On rare occasions, the number of males clinging to one female can weigh her down to the point of drowning her!)

Spotted salamanders lay their eggs during the same time period. In the case of spotted salamanders, the males leave sperm on the pond/pool floor. The female scoops up the sperm, beneath her tail, and her eggs are fertilized internally.

Often, the wood frog offspring and salamander offspring compete and eat each other in their journey to mature.

There are always dramas for survival taking place in nature, especially in the Spring.

Sympatric Salamanders 2012 -Overlapping Territories

The Jefferson salamander (above) and the Spotted salamander (below) both visit and leave eggs in my little pond in NY State.

These photos were taken this weekend. My pond is, in essence, a plastic container that was from Walmart several summers ago. It is about three and a half feet long…two feet wide and two feet deep. The depth is important for the salamanders, especially this season. It will not dry up as many vernal pools are during this unusually warm and dry springtime. About 10 years ago, I captured a blue Spotted Salamander in this location too. I haven’t seen one since. My camera and computer knowledge were both serious lacking then. In springtimes past, I’ve brought home specimens for the kids to witness firsthand. This year, I opted to leave them alone. A dry Spring is not very friendly to amphibians so I wanted them to keep multiplying uninterrupted.

The Jefferson and Spotted salamanders are syntopic. ( They occur together locally.) My little pond has become a yearly support to local populations and I’m very proud of this. At first, Wood Frogs overwhelmed my little pond at mating time. There are still a few who leave their eggs but the pond is populated by many more salamander eggs. The Wood Frogs have moved to larger ponds in our area.

The adult salamanders will leave soon and by late April their tadpoles will be visible and plentiful. I’ll document their growth in future posts.

There are a few more weekend shots to share. Enjoy!

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Telling off Amphibians…not worth it.

I spotted a frog in a tree.

At the same time, she spotted me.

“This is awkward to find you up there.”

The frog rolled her eyes,”I don’t care.”

“I got here while chasing a bug.”

“So did I.” she said. ( sounding smug)

“To me, bugs are so cool!”

Frog then hissed,” You’re a real fool!”

“Sorry” I said.”Didn’t mean to be rude.”

She went on, “Bugs are just food!”

From the looks of it she had a date

She had set up a glass and a plate.

“Can’t imagine you sharing a meal.

You haven’t one single pinch of appeal.”

THEN she flipped two mean birds my way.

I almost left… but decided to stay.

She had one BIG bug up inside her glass.

The best that I could do was let it pass.