Ask the Naturalist

Ask The Naturalist: How Will the Drought Impact Amphibians?

March 21, 2014

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.

About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.