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Ask The Naturalist: How Will the Drought Impact Amphibians?

by on March 21, 2014

California red-legged frog. Photo: KQED Quest.
California red-legged frog. Photo: KQED Quest.

Dear Naturalist,

Will newts, frogs and salamanders be out in full force in the Bay Area this spring, or will the drought make them harder to find?

Kristine Magnuson, San Francisco

From Michael Starkey, an ecologist and the advisory committee chair of SAVE THE FROGS! :

The amphibians of the Bay Area are going to have a tough time this spring as we have had such little rain this past winter. Normally the winter rains fill the amphibian’s breeding ponds and this triggers the amphibians to gather together to mate. However, with such little rain breeding activity has been delayed for the amphibians.

If breeding took place, it happened much later than normal, and those eggs and tadpoles will have to metamorphose quickly before the summer heat dries up their habitat. The best time to find amphibians this time of year is during the months of April and May as hopefully we will have some rain and the temperatures will be relatively cool.

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Kristine Magnuson on March 25th, 2014 at 10:13 am

Thanks so much for the info. Let’s hope the rain will revisit us this season and in the summer, too, and maybe even stay for a bit longer. Keeping fingers crossed for luck.

Kristine Magnuson on April 8th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

My little camping group was treated to some wonderful frog choruses at Del Valle Regional Park. What a treat! It was following a week full of rain.

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