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Frogs, Toads and Salamanders

Several species of amphibians inhabit the fen. Both frogs (Ranidae) and toads (Bufonidae) are numerous, visible and audible, but often we are not aware of the salamanders (Salamandridae) – including newts and mud puppies. They are seldom seen or heard as they are active mainly at night.

Amphibians are an indicator species. The presence of a viable population of amphibians in the fen indicates that this is a healthy ecosystem.

Amphibian Metamorphosis

If you look carefully you may see the developmental stages, or metamorphosis, of amphibians. As soon as the ground warms, frogs, toads and salamanders return to ponds and slow-moving waterways to reproduce. In shallow waters, they congregate to mate. Salamanders have no mating call; however, frogs and toads are noticeably vocal when calling a mate. Their calls vary and include high-pitched peeps, trills and croaks.

In early spring, eggs appear. Frog and salamander eggs are jelly masses; toad eggs are in strings. The eggs hatch into aquatic tadpoles which have gills and feed on algae. The larvae go through a partial metamorphosis gradually changing into a terrestrial air-breathing adult. Depending on the species, this can take weeks or even years.

You may see the following amphibians in the fen:

  • Frogs (Ranidae): Leopard, Wood, Pickerel, Green, Mink, Bullfrog
  • Toads (Bufonidae): American
  • Tree Frogs (Hylidae): Grey, Spring Peeper, Western Chorus Frog
  • Salamanders (Salamandridae): Blue-spotted, Spotted, Eastern Red-Backed, Eastern Newt
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