Spring has been struggling to take hold in Tennessee, but I heard positive signs the other night—the distant chorus of spring peepers accompanied by a few tree frogs and what we used to call grass frogs or more properly, leopard frogs.
The calls of the Gray (left) and Green Tree Frogs are not terribly melodic: they make a cheerful froggy chirp or something like a “raspberry” or “quank.”
One of the most positive aspects of hearing the frogs is the fact that the local wetlands, ponds and streams have to be reasonably healthy—at least not polluted—for frogs to survive. As amphibians, frogs and salamanders, begin life as eggs and tadpoles (or larvae) and they are highly sensitive to pollutants in the water. A good chorus of spring peepers, supported by a few “croaks, quanks, and chirps” indicates that local waters are reasonably healthy.
The “quank quank” of the green tree frog in our planter seems to be saying “It’s about time,” referring to spring. The traditional “ribit” from the leopard frog is a matter-of-fact “here I am” statement.
Technical Data for those of you who have to know:
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor): Range – Most of the eastern United States east of the Mississippi River.
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinera): Range – Delaware south along the Atlantic coastal plain into Florida (including the Keys) and west through Georgia, Alabama and into southern Texas.
Leopard Frog (Rana sp-there are northern (pictured) and southern species): Leopard frogs are found from southern Canada, east of the Rockies south to Texas and the entire eastern United States.
Frogs Make Me Happy because it signals the arrival of spring, and it suggests that the local environment is reasonably healthy.