Stories in Washington

Exploring Nature: Spring Frogs

Illustrations by Erica Sloniker, Marketing and Visual Communications

Watercolor illustration of a Pacific tree frog swimming in water.
Pacific Tree Frog Pacific tree frogs are found in many parts of Washington, including at Moses Coulee. © Erica Simek Sloniker/TNC

Welcome to Exploring Nature, an illustrated blog series that (re)discovers the natural world through art, science and observation.

Illustration of words and a graph written in a field notebook.
Illustration of a landscape with coulees and a river under a starry sky.

Pacific tree frog chorus at Moses Coulee Preserve

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Pacific tree frog chorus at Moses Coulee Preserve.

Illustration of an audio wave of a chorus of Pacific tree frogs.
Illustration of a Pacific tree frog swimming in water.
Illustration of a Pacific tree frog with annotations about its appearance.
Illustration of the life cycle of a Pacific tree frog, from eggs to tadpoles.
Illustration of words written in a field notebook.


Spring Frogs at Moses Coulee Preserve

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nestled in the cliffs in Moses Coulee is an import desert water source that every spring attracts thousands of Pacific Tree Frogs.

I came to Whisper Lake for a night concert. It was anything but quiet. The chorus of frogs was soothing, calming—the quintessential sound of spring.

Pacific Tree Frog Facts:

  • Male tree frogs attract females in a loud, two-part kreck-ek or ribbit, usually repeated several times
  • A vocal sac stretches out when a male is calling
  • A dark stripe runs across each eye to the shoulder
  • Glands in skin secrete a waxy coating
  • Typically green or brown, but also can be shades of copper, gray, and brown. Stripes and spots can also occur
  • Toes are slightly webbed with sticky pads, allowing it to climb in search of spiders and insects
  • 2 inches in length
  • Smallest and most commonly seen and heard frog in Washington
  • Frog eggs attach to underwater branches and grass, protected by jelly that retains water
  • Tadpoles seen forming through frog eggs toward the end of egg development and tadpoles outside of eggs (see illustration)
  • 10 weeks after hatching, tadpoles form lungs and begin transforming into adult frogs

This spring, I’ll be taking a closer look at the nature that surrounds me and keeping my ear tuned to the water’s edge.