Earlier today, while going through photographs of a recent hike, I came across this photograph and said to myself, “Why did I photograph leaves and part of a boulder?” It wasn’t until closer inspection that I saw the animal in the photo.
I laughed, which attracted the attention of my co-worker Lauren Abbate, who sits beside me in the office. She gave me a strange look — something she does a lot — and I show her the photo. She didn’t see the creature at first either.
I promise the creature is in focus. It’s just extremely well camouflaged.
So many animals in Maine are like this. The other day, for instance, I almost stepped on a grasshopper that was the exact grey color and texture of the granite underneath it. I’ve even found moths that seem to be attracted to certain locations of my house that match their wing patterns.
Now that I’ve filled some space under the original photo. Are you ready for the big reveal?
It’s a wood frog!
This is just zoomed in on the frog from the original photo. Amazing, huh?
Wood frogs vary slightly in pattern (or intensity of their pattern), but its the robber’s mask pattern (the dark patch behind the eyes) that really gives it away. Also, the have light stripes on their legs, and that pattern on its belly is pretty characteristic of a wood frog.
You don’t have to be a super naturalist to learn how to identify Maine frogs. There are only nine.
- Wood frog
- Spring peeper
- American Bullfrog
- American Toad
- Gray frog
- Pickerel frog
- Northern leopard frog
- Green frog
- Mink frog
To a beginner frogger, some of these look a little similar, but they all have their differences. They also sound different. For example, the wood frog makes a quacking sound, kind of like a miniature duck.
Northern leopard frogs and pickerel frogs both have distinct spots all over their bodies, but the pickerel frog spots form two parallel rows of squarish spots down its back while the leopard frog spots are more rounded and random, especially on the sides of the frog.
I could go on, but there’s actually a great website to learn your Maine frogs that I use quite often when I find myself second guessing on an identification: https://thefroglady.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/maine-frogs-and-toads/.