It seems that there is a month for everything, so why should frogs be left out? Everyone has seen frogs, they're not particularly elusive or sexy. They chirrup on summer nights and splash off lilly pads in the spring. They are ubiquitous in the environment for many Americans, and yet they are in trouble.
In the past twenty years frog numbers have dropped precipitously across the US. Many frog species that were relatively abundant when you were a child may be gone within a generation.
World wide there are 4,740 species of frogs. In the US there are 90 species. Since 1980 120 amphibian species including frogs have disappeared altogether. Frogs prefer warm wet climates, and are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Frog species have been battling a fungus that has wiped out countless thousands of amphibians across the US and Australia. The origin and route of transmission of the fungus remains uncertain at this time, but frog numbers, already affected by invasive species, draining of wetlands, and other threats have been severely impacted by this disease.
Efforts to save frogs are alive in many communities. There are workshops to help you build frog-friendly gardens, invasive species removal programs, and even frog counts. People who are passionate about preserving the world that we all inherited for future generations are working hard in your community and communities across the nation and world to help keep frogs a part of our shared experience.
Look around for opportunities to help. Savethefrogs.com has some great ideas and a more detailed explanation of the risks that frogs face. They also discuss some smaller things that we all can do to help keep our local frog populations healthy for generations to come. Here is a small sampling of some of the actions that you and your family can take right now:
Keep your cat indoors. Cats kill thousands of small animals a year including lizards, frogs and song birds. Domestic cats do not belong outdoors. It's bad for them and bad for their environment.
Back off the bug sprays. Insecticides are deemed safe for humans, however, lizards, birds and frogs eat the very animals that these poisons affect. There is no demand for these products to be safe for these animals. Most insecticides are wasted and end up in the environment. They are non targeted, which means they get the cockroaches and the butterflies. If you must spray, spray indoors. Do not put out ant bait, which scientists have linked to lizard deaths, and use all other poisons sparingly.
Create frog friendly environments. If you live somewhere where frogs are abundant, do what you can to create a safe environment for them. Garden shops, local extension agencies and colleges should be able to provide you with information.
Enjoy National Frog Month, and more importantly use it to make a small difference that can carry long term effects.