Sunday, March 11, 2012

Frog Egg Rescue

The flood a week ago caused the Wood Frogs to lay their eggs high in the branches of the flooded shrubs.  The water level in the pond has been gradually falling until the eggs are now in danger of being left hanging above the water line.  I would normally clip the egg laden branches by reaching out with my pole pruner, but these were out of my reach.  My only alternative was to do some wading.

The outside layer of the mass dried slightly to form a skin, but the eggs are still in good shape.  A few years ago, I found an egg cluster that had been in the air for a couple of days and felt almost leathery.  I dropped it into a tub of water beside the barn and a few weeks later had a tub full of Wood Frog tadpoles.

Many of the egg masses were still well below the water’s surface.  I won’t bother these unless the water drops down to their level.

Some branches were cut through and others were only hinged to allow the eggs to drop with the water level.  Since the frogs tend to leave their eggs near the surface, I try to maintain that placement as much as possible.

This batch of eggs was laid about a week before the flood.  The embryos are well on their way to becoming free swimming tadpoles.

I also found fresh salamander eggs that were laid during the flood.  I’m guessing these to be from Spotted Salamanders.  Spotteds were reported to be active several places in the County during that time.

Since I manage a Xeric environment, I have little use for waders and never replaced my old pair when they finally succumbed to dry rot.  If there’s water in my way, I usually just walk through and get wet.  On this day, the air was cold and the water was colder.  I knew that my wife would kill me if I fell over and drowned because my legs went numb from the cold, so I had to devise a makeshift pair of waders.  In order to keep out the cold and wet, I dressed in this order:  Socks, Long underwear pants, Trash bags – one per leg, Socks, Jeans, Old boots.  My legs remained warm and dry.  The plan had a slight complication when I decided that I should just strip off the wet clothes and hang them on the front porch to dry.  After arranging the jeans, boots and socks in a good drying position, I recalled that I had come out through the rear door and the front door was locked.  My wife gets upset when I run around the yard in my underwear, but she wasn’t home, so I just strolled around to the back of the house and went inside.


  1. HI Steve...Some kids never grow!!
    Your wife must be very tolerant, but in your defence I have found myself in similar situations...hahaha!! " A site to behold"!!
    I would image there are frogs out there somewhere that are thankful for you effort to save the children : }!!
    You have had a lot of problems with the water, hope everything gets back to normal soon!!

  2. You are so much fun! And, about growing up, most of us never do, we just learn how to behave in public. I'm sure the froggies appreciate you!

  3. Hi Grace. I’ve tried very hard to teach my wife tolerance. I think I’ve had some success.

    Hi Lois. Since I’m responsible for luring the frogs in, it seems only right that I do my best to guarantee the safety of the eggs.

  4. I just happened over here after a day of monitoring frog and salamander eggs for our local regional government. And Oregon is hardly xeric, so we definitely had waders. I did, however, relate to your tale, having locked myself out of the house in my underwear trying to reach the newspaper. There was one unlocked window I managed to climb up to, but there was a good minute of hesitation as I went in headfirst trying not to clang my skull on the kitchen sink. If the neighbors noticed, they've been kind enough to keep it to themselves, and possibly all their dinner guests for years to come.

  5. Hi Murr. I figure if stuff like this gets noticed, the witness is most likely remembering the last time they were caught in a similar situation.