‘Ex­plo­sively breed­ing’ frogs are lit­er­ally drop­ping from above in NC

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY MARK PRICE [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs

A pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion of tens of thou­sands of frogs and toads has emerged on North Carolina’s coastal plain, lead­ing to so­cial me­dia re­ports of frogs found hop­ping on kitchen coun­ters, crawl­ing in beds and even fall­ing on peo­ple as they step out­side.

“They’re all over my win­dows...I had one jump on my face lay­ing in bed,” one un­happy Man­teo res­i­dent told the Outer Banks Voice last week. “And I had an­other in the kitchen on the cut­ting board. (They’re) ev­ery­where!”

Blam­ing Hur­ri­cane Florence’s record-set­ting floods for this Bi­b­li­cal­style plague is jus­ti­fied but not en­tirely ac­cu­rate, ex­perts told the Char­lotte Ob­server.

What’s hap­pened, says state bi­ol­o­gist Jeff Hall, is a con­ver­gence of two types of frog and toad pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sions along the coast.

The first wave is the tad­poles born dur­ing the ab­nor­mally heavy rains of June and July, and the sec­ond is a boom of “ex­plo­sively breed­ing” toads -- like the east­ern spade­foot toad -- that found a per­fect habi­tat in tiny pud­dles cre­ated by Hur­ri­cane Florence.

In their case, it can take only two weeks to go from swim­ming in a pud­dle to hop­ping around some­one’s yard, said Hall, an am­phib­ian con­ser­va­tion­ist with the NC Wildlife Re­sources Com­mis­sion.

“Mak­ing things even worse is the flood­ing,” Hall told the Char­lotte Ob­server. “All th­ese frogs are in search of dry ground, which is why they’re show­ing up in places they don’t nor­mally go...I’ve heard of peo­ple step­ping out­side and frogs fall­ing on their shoul­der, freak­ing them out. Frogs love tiny cracks, so they get in door seals.”

Photos and com­ments posted on Face­book talk of frogs cling­ing to walls and win­dows, and stick­ing like glue to mov­ing cars for miles.

Dee Wes­ner wrote on Face­book that she ac­tu­ally found one on a “slid­ing door of a 4th floor deck,” prov­ing how high they can get.

“There are six to eight that hang on my kitchen win­dow ev­ery night,” posted Joe Gay on Face­book. “Pa­tient lit­tle guys. Just wait­ing for the per­fect bug and then Zap...... Bug gone, frog smil­ing.”

Hall pre­dicts coastal res­i­dents will con­tinue find­ing frogs and toads -dead and alive -- in odd places un­til all the flood wa­ters re­cede in the 10 most im­pacted coun­ties.

Un­til then, he says one tip is to turn off porch lights.

“Porch lights at­tract bugs and moths, and it’s like a steak house buf­fet to a frog,” Hall said. “They do not pose a threat. It’s best to try and deal with them as best we can un­til the sit­u­a­tion changes. There are peo­ple with hun­dreds of lit­tle toads run­ning around in their yards and they don’t like it, but toads do eat in­sects.”

THEY’RE ALL OVER MY WIN­DOWS...I HAD ONE JUMP ON MY FACE LAY­ING IN BED.

an un­happy Man­teo res­i­dent told the Outer Banks Voice last week

JEFF HALL/N.C. WILDLIFE RE­SOURCES COM­MIS­SION.

The East­ern Spade­foot toad is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pop­u­la­tion boom along the coast thanks to Hur­ri­cane Florence.

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