It should come as no surprise that I see a variety of wildlife on my hikes. Given my own background and interests, I tend to gravitate toward plants and trees. As a result I know more about them. But I do also pay attention to mammals, arthropods, and amphibians, including frogs.
One frog I found recently on a hike at Eno River State Park in Durham, North Carolina. I was headed toward Cox Mountain when I noticed a particularly photogenic bend in the river. Climbing down the bank, I walked across a bed of pebbles to the edge of the water and took a photo.
Then I happened to look down at the water by my feet. To my surprise I saw a frog, about three inches long, with a tan body and black spots. Before I could come to a halt, he quickly jumped out of my way and took shelter in the waters of the Eno.
At the time, I had no idea what species he was. But after some research I’ve been able to identify him as a pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris). This species is fairly common from Ontario in the north to Texas in the south and from Kansas in the west to North Carolina in the east.
In addition to scampering out of the way when frightened–which the pickerel frog I encountered did–they can also secrete a substance that’s mildly toxic to humans and occasionally lethal to other species. Along with this defense mechanism, they possess distinctive yellow coloration on their underside, which gives warning to predatory species. Nonetheless, some species of frog, snake, and bird will eat pickerel frogs anyway, presumably with accompanying indigestion.
After admiring the pickerel frog in the waters by the Eno River, I got up and continued my hike. As I did, I was reminded of the fact that every river is not merely a nice place to take photos but a vital and indispensable home for other species, who would have no future without it.
Likewise, this site would have no future without my continued writing, editing, photography, and hiking. And although I love this work, it is still work, and there are plenty of days when I would rather not do it. Still I make the time.
So, in the near future, when I have a Patreon account up and running, please head over and support it in whatever amount you’re able. Not only will you be ensuring your own continued access to true stories of the natural world, but you’ll be helping to ensure that others know how important it is to protect our natural world, while we still have it.