How You Can Help Frogs

INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS:

The following is a list of simple, yet effective things that people can do to help frogs and contribute to their conservation and protection!

- If you encounter a frog in the wild (whether in land or water) admire it by observation only. Frogs have very absorbent skin, and the oils and salts from human hands can irritate them. Chemicals on the hands such as insect repellents, sunblock, and lotions can further cause damage. The risk of skin damage that could result in secondary skin infections, as well as bone and muscle injuries from struggling are also a threat. For these reasons frogs should never be mauled.

- Every year legions of frogs are killed on roads when they are run over. Frogs are generally on the move when they are migrating to breeding sites or travelling after rain storms. If you encounter a frog on the road (and it is safe to do so) stop and scoot it across in the direction it’s headed. Usually walking over to the frog will encourage it to hop across. If possible, wet hands before touching the frog, and gently scoop him up and move him across.

- To avoid running over frogs, if possible do not drive during dawn and dusk hours, on wet spring nights, or during and right after rain storms. Taking alternate routes that do not cut through forests or wetlands can also reduce the risk of hitting frogs. If you must drive, be sure to travel slowly and keep an eye out for frogs. Be alert to listen for frog calls like that from the Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs and Wood Frogs. The sound of such calls means their are frogs in the area. In such regions be extra watchful!

- If you encounter a breeding pool of frogs be sure to admire this from the shoreline only. Entering the pool can disturb the frogs, and potentially kill them, or destroy their eggs or tadpoles when they are crushed under foot.

- Do not use and encourage others not to use rat-poisons, chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other similar chemicals around your home or cottage. These chemicals often wash off into nearby wetlands and forests. Here they can be absorbed into the frog's permeable skin and kill them. Chemicals also cause deformities in frogs. To further reduce being a detriment to frogs use only environmentally friendly organic products around the home and garden.

- Make sure to properly dispose of hazardous waste materials as to not contribute to the contamination of frog habitats. This includes house hold chemicals for cleaning, motor oils, all pharmaceutical medicines, and camping sewage. Whenever possible try to eliminate the usage of such items to further benefit frogs.

- Do not wear insect repellents or sunscreens. According to the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, DEET (which is found in most insect repellents) is extremely harmful to amphibians. Frogs have permeable skin that can easily absorb such toxic chemicals. As such campers, hikers, birders, and all others who enjoy the outdoors are encouraged to wear bug jackets, light long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses to protect against insects and sunburn. This will eliminate the need to dose with various chemicals before heading out into environments where amphibians are found.

- During the winter months DO NOT use road salts, but instead use sand. When salts are used they often wash off of the roads during rain and snow melts and end up in nearby wetlands. These salts can have extreme negative effects on frogs due to the fact that their absorbent skins need to stay moist and hydrated to survive. Salts can dry up frogs leading to desiccation and death. Roadside wetlands, ponds, and ditches maybe home to both aquatic frogs and used seasonally by terrestrial species for breeding and birthing sites. Salt on the roads can also pose an issue for frogs that migrate in the early spring. Here they must cross directly over road salts. The sodium chloride from road salts also causes habitat degradation and death. According to Science Daily, sodium chloride levels reach average concentrations of 70 times higher in roadside ponds compared to woodland ponds located several hundred feet from the road. Steven Brady, author and a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, found that amphibians in roadside ponds have higher mortality, grow at a slower rate and are more than likely to develop disfigurements.

- Frogs are often captured and killed for food markets. Do not support these! Even if individuals try to justify that they didn’t kill the animal, they are supporting the demand and more frogs will have to be killed. If people encounter stores that are selling these frog products they can further help by writing in and letting these businesses know that they will not support any stores that attempt to profit from such cruelty.

- Do not purchase wild-caught frogs as pets. The wild-caught pet trade severely depletes wild populations. Over 20 million wild-caught amphibians are sold every year in the U.S. alone.

- Do not catch frogs from the wild to keep them as pets. Not only is this illegal in many places, but taking frogs from the wild can seriously harm the natural populations. If you really love these animals you will leave them in the wild where they belong!

- Do not use frogs as fishing bait. Frogs can feel pain. Stabbing them with hooks is incredibly painful! Using fake frog fishing lures is a great alternative.

- Frogs sometimes fall into places that are difficult to get out of, becoming trapped. This happens most commonly with window wells. If there are any potential pitfalls around your house, please consider adding a cover or screen to serve as a ladder.

- When camping do not collect fallen logs, stumps, or wood from forests, wetlands, or other areas for fire. These materials act as important shelters and hiding spots for terrestrial frogs. Compressed paper bricks are a better alternative for fireplaces and campfires. These are made from recycled paper material and sawdust that would otherwise go to waste. Organic Briquettes, which are made from recycled corn cobs, groundnuts and rice husks can also be used for fires. Yet another alternative is to use solar cookers while camping.

- When visiting streams, do not remove rocks, or move them around (e.g moving them to build dams, or to throw them). River and stream rocks act as important areas for frogs. In areas where rocks have been removed or displaced, amphibians often turn up dead nearby.

- Similarly, do not remove (or move around or displace) fallen logs, stumps, drift wood, rocks, bark shards, leaf litter or other similar items from forest floors. These materials act as important shelters and hiding spots for frogs.

- Many municipalities, cities, and villages get there water supply by diverting it from natural sources. This consumption in water can have extreme negative affects on frogs. Help by reducing water usage. Do not leave taps running while shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Reduce shower times to further conserve water.

- To help conserve water use rain barrels around your property. The water collected in these can be re-used to water plants and gardens. Rain barrels can collect some 1,300 gallons of water annually. The water saved through rain barrels will not only benefit frogs, but will also help save money by cutting back on water consumption.

- When out in natural areas that frogs frequent, be respectful. Keep an eye out for frogs on paths when biking or hiking to ensure that none are stepped on. When using All-terrain vehicles stay on designated paths to avoid running over and killing frogs that are hiding under leaf litter or other forms of natural debris. When visiting woodlands and forests make sure to stay on designated paths. Walking over leaf-litter, rocks, and logs, can crush and kill frogs that are hiding under these natural forms of shelter.

- Restrict the usage of motor boats when ever possible and instead paddle. Propellers can seriously injure or kill frogs, especially in marshy areas. Oil and chemicals left behind from motors can also be extremely detrimental to frogs.

- When dining on Asian cuisine, make sure to only use plastic and/or reusable chopsticks. According to the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), China produces close to 63 billion pairs of disposable wooden chopsticks a year, equating to approximately 25 million trees cut-down annually. The deforestation for the production of chopsticks is an international problem that sounds a major alarm for already declining amphibian populations. Make sure to never purchase or use disposable chopsticks. Refuse to dine at or support restaurants that use disposable chopsticks.

- You can help preserve frog habitat by donating money to the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

- Keep others informed! Let others know about the threats that frogs are facing and what we can do to help! Share this website on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter! Write in to your local newspapers and elected officials to voice your concerns for frogs. Let them know about the threats that frogs face and what we can do to help!

HABITAT MANAGEMENT & STEWARDSHIP ACTIVITIES:

Habitat loss is one of the most significant threats that frogs face. This makes the practices of landowners a powerful conservation tool. The following is a list of stewardship activities that will help enrich land and create suitable habitats for frogs. The habitat management activities that help frogs will also benefit turtles, salamanders, fish, and a myriad of other species!

- Landowners are encouraged to leave as much of their property as natural and as undisturbed as possible. Let areas grow thick with grass and natural vegetation.

- Do not strip away or cut down trees, stumps, vegetation and other natural features. Do not drain wetlands or bodies of water. If these features have been previously removed an effort should be made to restore them and return the landscape to its natural setting to reverse any human-induced degradation. The reintroduction of natural and native plants should also take place.

- Care should be made to restrict vehicular traffic, livestock, and recreation in the natural portions of the property that act as important areas for frogs. This is especially important in and around wetlands, ponds, other aquatic habitats, and moist woodlands/forests. It is also important to keep the upland areas that are within 300 feet of natural pools, ravines, or wetlands in pristine natural conditions.

- If you own land with marshes, swamps, or other bodies of water do not rake or remove the natural vegetation that occurs in and around the water. Such features provide cover for both frogs, their tadpoles, and their prey items. Certain frog species also lay their eggs on aquatic vegetation.

- Do not remove the natural vegetation from around shorelines and forest edges. Leaving buffers of natural vegetation and grasses around wetlands and the surrounding terrestrial regions is extremely important. Leave these areas thick with vegetation by allowing buffers of tall grass, trees, saplings, shrubs, ferns, and other natural plants to grow. These offer cover to frogs and help protect water quality by reducing erosion and chemical runoff. Leave an uncut buffer at the edges of hay fields, pastures, and lawns. Buffers of 500 meters are preferred.

- Do not cut down or remove trees, whether live or dead-standing. The removal of trees reduces the amount of shade in woodlands and forest areas. This can be extremely damaging for frogs as this shade slows the evaporation and disappearance of flooded areas. Flooded areas on the forest floor are used for breeding and egg-laying.

- Do not drain any type of seasonal or temporary pools, ponds, or large flooded areas. These sites are important for frog breeding and egg-laying.

- Do not make any alterations that will change the flow of water in any wetlands or natural pools on the property, whether these be seasonal or permanent bodies of water.

- Take measures to prevent soil erosion/siltation. The addition of silt and clay into streams and rivers can severely degrade frog habitat. Silt and clay also fill in important depressions under rocks which are used by the frogs as cover for themselves, and as areas to find prey. Use silt fences or sediment traps when doing construction or landscaping to stop sediment from reaching the water.

- Planting cover crops, native plants or shrubs can also prevent erosion. Dense crop stands physically slow down the velocity of rainfall before it contacts the soil surface, preventing soil splashing and erosive surface runoff.

- Do not drive or run heavy machinery or vehicles through any wetlands or pools, whether in their wet or dry states.

- Do not allow livestock to access wetlands or pools. Here they can trample and degrade these habitats with their fecal waste. Provide plastic basins for livestock to drink from.

- Do not alter the water levels in wetlands or bodies of water (whether seasonal or permanent) in any way. Leave the natural water levels and let natural fluctuations occur. This means allowing natural flooding/draining to happen.

- Do not release any non-native plants or animals of any kind. Non-native species can have devastating affects on the natural ecosystems. Furthermore if exotics are present (either plant or animal) eliminate their presence.

- Do not stock fish in ponds/wetlands. Let natural populations occur. Stocking can create a surplus of predators for frogs (and their eggs and tadpoles). Leave the natural assemblage of animals in the wetland.

- Make sure all septic tanks and pipelines are not leaking into wetlands or natural pools.

- Beaver ponds are a important type of wetland. Frogs will use these as breeding and foraging sites. Do not drain beaver ponds! Do not fill in the natural pools, ponds, or wetlands even when dry. Do not dig into the bottom of the pool, even when it is dry as this will disturb the non-permeable layer of soil that allows the pool to flood.

- Allow a buffer of tall grass and natural vegetation to grow between the road and the property. This will help reduce chemical runoff from roads which can damage and degrade frog habitats. A buffer of 50 feet is preferred.

- It is important to leave natural areas in-between wetlands, forests, meadows, ravines, and other green spaces where ever possible. This will provide natural corridors in which the frogs can travel in between habitats. If various habitats do exist, but have already been fragmented or cut off from each other, efforts should be made to increase natural (and native) forms of vegetation and cover to form corridors. Do not fragment areas of woods or meadows into smaller cut-off sections by clear-cutting, or stripping away thick areas of vegetation. Leave areas like grasslands and meadows lush.

- Reduce food waste and control its storage. Garbage, composts, pet food, and bird seed may attract raccoons, skunks, and other predators that may prey on frogs. Store garbage, composts, recycling, and other food sources indoors or in containers that cannot be opened by animals. Avoid feeding pets outside. Place bird feeders so they are inaccessible to raccoons and skunks and keep areas underneath bird feeders clean. Never feed raccoons or skunks. These are devastating frog predators. You can further help to minimize the populations of these predators by reducing their food supply. Inform the city about dumpsters that are not kept closed.

- Keep dogs on a leash or under your control and keep cats inside. Pets that wander can be devastating predators to frogs.

- If man-made pools are present on the property be sure to use both Critter Skimmers and Froglogs. These are items that will help trapped frogs escape pools. The Chlorine found in pools can kill frogs, this is why providing them with an escape is important.

- When building houses, sheds, and other structures, design them to be smaller. Build up instead of out. This will reduce the amount of habitat that is affected by such unnatural features.