A beginner's guide to amphibians

Discovery Place Nature

Frogs really are fantastic. And, the Paw Paw Nature Trail and Fort Wild is hopping with them.

Don’t make a pet of me

We often see American toads and bullfrogs around the Museum. American toads are awesome jumpers and can hop high and far. Do you know the easiest way to tell the difference between a toad and a frog?  Their skin – a frog’s is usually smooth and moist, while a toad’s is usually dry and bumpy. 

While tempting to pick up, we are big fans of not making a pet of wildlife. Unless the animal truly appears distressed or injured it is always best to leave them be. If you do have to rescue an injured toad or frog make sure to put them in a container with a lid with air holes and limited water, because we bet you didn’t know that frogs and toads can drown when they are not given the ability to surface correctly.

Sounds like Christmas in spring

Another froggy friend you many be very lucky to encounter on the Paw Paw Nature Trail is a spring peeper. Known for their sleigh bell-like chorus, they are tiny usually only measuring to the size of a paper clip.

While they may be small, they are mighty and we bet you didn’t know that they can allow most of their body to freeze during winter. They hibernate under logs and beneath the loose bark of trees… waiting to take the spring stage to sing.

State seal of approval

We bet you didn’t know North Carolina has an official state… salamander! Yes, yes we do, and it’s none other than the marbled salamander, which you can spot around the grounds of the Museum and on exhibit in the Dragonfly Theatre.

Marbled salamanders can be identified by their dark brown/ black body and distinctive light white/silvery crossband pattern. This is a great color given their inclination to burrows and hanging out under leaf litter. They are mostly solitary creatures only getting together when it is time to mate annually.

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