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How Does A Chorus Frog Sound To You?

How does a Pacific Tree Frog sound to you? Rib-bit-rib-bit? Croaoaoakk? A creaky door opening on a haunted fairy house? 


BC’s tiniest frogs are the emerald or brown tree frogs, Pseudacris regilla. Jewel-like creatures about the size of a person’s thumb, their voices rise and fall with the seasons–and they’re best known as Chorus Frogs, or “spring peepers” because they are most vocal at spring breeding time. Their presences is an indicator of a healthy watershed.


From those voices to their sticky tongues and toes, frogs are wonderfully weird. Their eyes bulge. Like all amphibians, frogs do this magic act: they hatch from eggs to become tadpoles with gills, living in water. A few months later they grow limbs and lungs, and hop onto land.


Five facts about Pacific Tree Frogs:

  1. Pacific Tree Frogs don’t live in trees. They climb tall vegetation where their markings and colour help them blend in–but if we’re patient and very still, that’s where we might spot these elusive creatures.  

  2. Chorus frog offspring are bigger than their parents, and their own adult selves. Tadpoles can grow as long as 5 cm long. After they metamorphosize even the biggest ones, the females, are less than than 4.8 cm. They can live as long as 12 years.

  3. The rounded digits on frog feet are called toe-pads. The frogs use these sticky round discs to hold onto surfaces.

  4. Frogs have terrific eyesight they use to sight prey, then shoot their long sticky tongues at flies, beetles, spiders, and ants. In their tadpole stage, they eat algae, bacteria, diatoms and debris.

  5. To reproduce, chorus frogs need wetlands that are “just right.” In breeding season they migrate to water, where each mating pair deposits up to 750 eggs before returning to land. 


Fortunately for these tiny jewel-like creatures, BC has lots of wetlands that are “just right,” and lots of singing frogs. Despite a significant loss of wetlands in BC and considering that more than 50% of global frog species are in danger of extinction, BC’s chorus frogs are not currently at risk. They can be threatened by drought, extreme weather, invasive species, pollution and habitat loss. Frog skins are permeable, and if they’re in trouble, it’s a signal that our water is polluted. “They’re an important measuring stick of a healthy environment,”  noted one researcher.

You can listen to their voices in this video from Jericho Park in Vancouver.


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