New toad species heard at KWEC

As evening approached on Monday, the frog and toad calls became a full roar in the marsh and pond area around KWEC. Six different species were identified by their calls, including a new one for this area, the Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad.

With a call compared to an angry bee or large sheep, the narrowmouth toads make their presence known. There were at least three calling. According to “Amphibians, Reptiles and Turtles in Kansas” a narrowmouth toad has been observed on the border of Barton and Ellsworth Counties, but not in this area.

The unmistakable scream of the Woodhouse toad, and the Great Plains and Plains Spadefoot Toads, Boreal Chorus and Cricket Frogs were also heard. The males were making “advertising” calls, to attract females of their species. The toads have been patiently waiting for the drought to relent and are heading to water areas to mate while they have the opportunity, even if their typical breeding season is over or nearly over.

Frogs burrow into the ground and enter a state of estivation, a period of dormancy or torpor during drought, reappearing when conditions improve. Spadefoots stay underground, coming out to hunt at night and after rains.

Several Great Plains Narrowmouth Toads were heard calling Monday night, July 29, in the marsh around KWEC, a first for Cheyenne Bottoms and Barton County.

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