Another page that will be under construction for the rest of my life!! I’m hoping my Amphibian list will get longer. I’m learning the frog and toad calls so if I can’t see the little guys I can at least know they are there by their song.
Inventorying methods are helpful and fun activities. To make sure the reptiles and amphibians on your property are healthy, an expert friend wrote a paper on management techniques and timing.
References for information on these “herptiles.”
Brown Snake or DeKay’s Snake — Storeria dekayi
Bullsnake — Pituophis melanoleucus
Common Garter Snake — Thamnophis sirtalis
Eastern Plains Garter Snake — Thamnophis radix
Western Fox Snake — Elaphe vulpine
Some interesting reptile facts:
- Non-venomous snakes have a pointed tail!!
- Snakes do not have eyelids or ear openings
- Wisconsin snakes are usually active between April and October
- Shedding is triggered by growth and scale wear. Their vision is impaired while shedding and can be more irritable during this process.
- Their tongue is their primary means of locating food
- All snakes are carnivores
- After feeding, snakes will “yawn;’ this realigns their jawbones.
- Loss of prairie habitat makes maintaining and growing snake populations difficult
Eastern American Toad —Bufo americanus
Eastern Gray Treefrog — Hyla versicolor
Green Frog — Rana Clamitans melanota
Northern Spring Peeper — Pseudacris crucifer
Pickerel Frog – Rana palustris
Western Chorus Frog — Pseudacris triseriata
Some interesting amphibian facts:
- Wisconsin has 12 frog species; all are mostly nocturnal
- Amphibians shed their skin periodically. It is based on season, climate, and food supply. Many eat their shed skins for their nutrients.
- To avoid predation, their best defense is to remain undetected.
- Toads emit a burning sensation and puff up their bodies, making it difficult to swallow.
- They overwinter by producing a glycol-like fluid that allows their body fluid to freeze but not the cells.
- Habitat loss and fragmentation is the cause for population declines.
- Frogs and salamanders are indicators of environmental conditions because their skins are vulnerable to pollutants.
- Amphibs offer a number of benefits, from high-quality food for other “critters” to skin secretions that are used for medicinal purposes.
Other information of note:
Madison Audubon has a great CD of Wisconsin frog songs for sale. It’s easy to learn their songs.
You can participate in the Wisconsin Frog & Toad Survey. This website is packed with good information on toads and frogs.