Question: What do frogs eat at Burger King?
Answer: French flies and diet croak!
You can prove me wrong, if you’d like, but any frog you meet will say the same thing (probably). That is, if you can find them!
Florida’s a haven for the little amphibians we hear croaking through the night, but we don’t often get a chance to see the little guys up close. Florida has a wide variety of frogs that call the Sunshine State their home, but only 14 of the 27 native species can be found in the southern end of the state. The climate south of Sarasota and Martin Counties is more subtropical than it is further north in the state, so some frogs you’ll find in Tallahassee you won’t necessarily find in Miami.
If you’re in our luxury Dadeland apartments, then you’ve probably heard a frog or two (or forty, or a hundred!) on your walks through Snapper Creek Canal, Tropical Park or the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden! There are so many parks near our Dadeland apartments that you have plenty of great opportunities to go out and spend some time finding the frogs that also call Miami their home. Plus, if you have kids, it’s a great way to get outside and into nature without even leaving the city.
Why are frogs important?
Frogs are more than characters in fairy tales and puppets in pop culture (sorry, Kermit). Because frogs are both predators and prey in their natural environment, their presence can tell us a lot about how healthy the environment around them is. We look at frogs to see whether there are too many of them or too few of them, whether they are thriving in their environment or if they are starting to dwindle. Frogs are bio indicators because they indicate how healthy the world around them is.
When it comes to frogs, and especially frogs in sensitive ecosystems like the Everglades, these little amphibians bear the burden of displaying the health of both the water and of the land. If their water, air or food is full of pollutants or toxins, then the frogs are directly affected, leading to mutations, deformations or outright extinction.
Frogs play a very important role in the delicate food chain of their environments. When frogs begin their lives as eggs, they serve as food for wasps and spiders. When they become tadpoles, they're food for shrimp and nymphs. Once they've matured into adult frogs, they feed larger animals such as monkeys, birds and reptiles! Frogs keep fresh water clean by eating the algae that blooms in it, and they (mercifully) keep the mosquito population under control, as well as eating spiders, moths and flies.
If that wasn’t enough, frogs also help us learn about medicine and natural toxins. Some frogs have toxins more powerful than morphine, so researchers use these little amphibians to find out new ways to create medicine from the outstanding diversity of frog toxins that exist all around the world.
These are just a few reasons as to why frogs are so important to our direct environment, so can you see why it’s so exciting to hear frogs in your very own neighborhood?
Frogs in Miami
If you’re out and about in parks near Dadeland, Kendall or Miami, then you may come across a few of these frogs hopping around.
If you picture a tree frog in your mind, this is likely the image you’ll come up with: small, green, big beady eyes, long sticky fingers... you get the picture! Squirrel tree frogs are often called “rain frogs” because you can usually hear them croaking and calling while it’s raining.
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#Florida is getting ready for #HurricaneMatthew. When these #storms hit, the behavior of #wildlife can change as well. About a month ago, we were hit by #HurricaneHermine. After the storm had passed, @crz_jnz, Harlan Gough and I went to the #OcalaNationalForest. As we passed through #CrossCreek, we came across the loudest chorus of squirrel #treefrogs and narrowmouth toads I've ever heard. Following major #rain events, some #frog species will congregate in sometimes huge numbers, with the males #singing to compete for females. This tropical weather can really get #frog hormones going. Females judge males by their calls. It's energetically expensive for these small frogs to produce such loud songs. Hidden inside the repetitive notes are cues that signal the fitness of an individual male. In some cases, a silent male will hang out in the shadows, near a calling male. These males are termed satellite males - once a female shows up, attracted to the quonks of the singing male, the satellite intercepts the female. In other cases, a satellite male just listens and saves its energy. Male frogs call more vigorously when a female is present. When a satellite male hears the change in the song of the singing male, it joins in. On top of all this, some mosquitoes and corethrellid flies also listen for frog songs, and use these to locate their #anuran hosts. With all the rain headed our way, keep your ears open for the nocturnal drama of frog choruses, if you're in Florida. If you're interested, you can often approach calling frogs without disturbing them. #herpetology #hyla #hylasquirella #squirreltreefrog #wideanglemacro #macro #macrophotography #fieldherping #herping #floridaherps
You may have a hard time spotting this little frog not just because of its small size (they are only 1 to 1 ½ inches long!), but also because of how well-camouflaged it can be! These tree frogs can blend in with brown bark and green leaves almost seamlessly, but if you can spot their little “bandit mask” around their eyes and the yellow spots on their inner thighs, then you’ll know you’ve spotted the right thing!
Toads and frogs can be told apart by the appearance of their legs and skin. Toads have short, fat legs and thick skins, while frogs have long, slim legs and smooth skins.
This little oak toad has some bright orange feet that can help you differentiate it from others. This toad also has a light line running down the middle of its back, and its body is usually gray, dark brown or tan with darker spots. It’s the smallest toad in the United States, but it’s squeaky call is loud enough to stand out among a dozen others!
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Very excited to spot/hear Oak Toads mating tonight. Here is an adorable male calling for a mate. Braved several downpours at a local wildlife preserve with @forgotten_boneyard in the dark spotting countless frogs/toads tonight. This is fun for us! 🐸🐸🐸 _ The oak toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) is the smallest toad in the U.S., reaching a length of approximately 1.5 inches. _ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_toad _
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Happy #frogfriday, here is a video of an oak toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) - because all toads are frogs, but all frogs aren’t toads, right? This is an adult male, you can tell by its black throat patch. In the video I am gently rubbing his belly to get him to call, you can often make male anurans call when using this method. Why? - I don’t know, my guess is that it imitates amplexus. He is also inflating himself to appear larger, which felt like a tiny balloon in my fingers. This guy has the cutest little chirp, which is fitting since he is North America’s littlest toad!
This frog is named quite aptly because it is actually the smallest frog in North America! You can identify this frog by its brownish-brick color and two dark stripes running from its eyes down the side of its body.
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With recent rains in Florida many species of frogs have been calling including Little Grass Frogs. Little Grass Frogs are a species of chorus frog typically found calling in grassy wet depressions. The Little Grass Frog is the smallest frog in North America with a maximum size of about 3/4 of an inch. This is an adult male on the top of my thumbnail. #tinyfrog #grassfrog #littlegrassfrog #pseudacris #pseudacrisocularis #chorusfrog #frog #herp #herping #wildlife
The barking tree frog is Florida’s official state amphibian! These little guys can vary in color from bright green to light brown to patchy white, but they always have some type of spots on their backs. These frogs live high in the treetops around fish-free wetland areas.
Where can you find frogs in Dadeland?
Next time you’re out walking around your apartments near Kendall, check out these parks around Dadeland to see if you can find a Florida frog, too!
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/FrankWinkler