More Hill-Stead Herps or, I Finally Found My Waders!

painted-turtle

If I had said, “Holy Herps”, you’d have thought I wanted to sound like something from Batman. But that is another essay, and we can talk about bats another time. Saturday during the “Pond Pandemonium” program I waded into a swampy area I have been dying to slosh around in for ages. The fact is before that, I just couldn’t find my waders. So, when the waders turned up I hopped in! It’s not really a vernal pool, but more of a spring. The Hill-Stead property is loaded with them, and this one acts alot like a vernal pool as there is no access or egress for fish or other amphibian egg-eating predators. The screaming of thousands of frogs and toads down there is deafening at night this time of year. (Read “Hill-Stead Herps”) So, I finally got to get my hands dirty (no lie-it took several days of vigorous washing to get the mud off my hands completely) and I was thrilled to find so many eggs! Wood frogs, spring peepers, toads-we’ve got them all, plus enough snail eggs to last many lifetimes. Good thing most of them get eaten! And that’s the beauty of our little spring here at Hill-Stead. It acts as a vernal pool does, protecting those wonderful sacks of gelatinous gook so that they can hatch. Spots like these are like nurseries for amphibians, keeping the young safe and sound until they grow up. I was so excited I went out and bought an aquarium to put a few specimens in. I’ll raise them then return them to Hill-Stead. And I’ll let you know how they do, and provide instructions so you can try it out at home! See you on the trails, Diane Tucker, Estate Naturalist

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2 Responses to “More Hill-Stead Herps or, I Finally Found My Waders!”

  1. Ratty Says:

    I love hearing peepers this time of year. I never get to go into the vernal ponds where I find them, because there are too many people around. I’m still looking forward to actually getting to see some of the life I find around these wet areas.

  2. James Dowling-Healey Says:

    I am pleased to hear about all those eggs!

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