Save The Frogs
Saturday is Save The Frogs Day.
Like so many members of the animal kingdom, frogs are at risk. Populations are declining and, since the 1970s, some 200 species of frogs have become extinct. Factors contributing to this alarming loss include:
- Habitat degradation and destruction due to development and drought;
- The use of pesticides that cause frog deformities and death;
- The use of herbicides that impair reproduction;
- Excessive levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that contribute to the eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems; in turn, eutrophication promotes parasitic infection in frogs and leads to limb deformations and higher mortality rates.
However, as the name of the day implies, frogs are worth saving. They are both predator and prey and play an important part in the food web. Their highly permeable skins (which easily absorb bacteria, chemicals, and toxins) make them a key indicator of ecosystem health. Additionally, a number of frog species produce secretions that may have medical benefits to humans.
Florida is home to 27 native species of frogs, 16 of which are in Central Florida. (The University of Florida has some great information on our native frogs here.) Statewide, three species (the Florida bog frog, the Pine Barrens treefrog and the Gopher frog) are imperiled.
So, what can we do to help save our frogs?
- Avoid the fertilizers and other chemicals. Luckily for us, many of our native Florida plants evolved to thrive in poor soil conditions and sustain our native pollinators.
- If you have enough room, why not make a wildlife pond in your backyard? You can find some great instructions here.
- If you don’t have room for a pond, you can still help our native treefrogs by making a house (or 2 or 3!) for them. Learn more here.
- For the artists among our readers, you can also enter the Save The Frogs Art Contest; artwork is used to raise money for the Save The Frogs conservation efforts.
Let us know what ideas you have to help save our frogs. Reach out to us on Facebook, tag us on Instagram, or message us on Twitter. Visit Little Red Wagon Native Nursery to meet our frogs in our living education exhibit.
Let’s work together to #NurtureNative.