Backyard Ecology Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife
Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife

The Fascinating World of Frogs and Toads in the Eastern U.S.

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Show notes:

Frogs and toads are so much fun to observe and learn about. In the eastern U.S. we are lucky because we have enough water that they can be found virtually anywhere. Some species may be very specific in their habitat needs, but others are fairly general and can be found in urban areas as well as more rural areas.

In this week’s episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we are talking with Dr. Cy Mott. Cy is an associate professor of biology at Eastern Kentucky University. His focus is on amphibian ecology, which of course, includes frogs and toads. (Toads are actually a subgroup within frogs. So, all toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads.)

During our conversation, Cy shared with us the important roles that frogs and toads play in the ecosystem. He also talked about the threats that frogs and toads face. This led to a discussion about some of his current research on the impacts of bush honeysuckle on aquatic habitats and tadpole survival. I found his research and the potential implications of that research very intriguing.

Cy and I also discussed how to make our yards more frog and toad friendly. You can create a pond or vernal pool if you want, but it isn’t necessary. There are plenty of other ways to provide habitat for frogs and toads. We also talked about some of the different species that we could find around our homes or in other locations, and recommendations for how to start learning to identify the different species you find.

In the eastern U.S., we have around 45 species of frogs and toads. Frogs and toads are fairly well studied in the U.S., especially compared to some of our less-charismatic organisms. However, even with as well-studied as frogs and toads are, a new species was still identified not too long ago near New York City. To me, this just continues to show the importance of paying attention and sharing our observations.

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Episode image:

  • Spadefoot toad
  • Photo credit: Cy Mott

Backyard Ecology: Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I started Backyard Ecology as a way to share my love of exploring nature and learning about different plants and animals. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.

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