Rare 'Snoring' Frogs Found in Place They Shouldn't Be

Nearly a dozen threatened Chiricahua leopard frogs spotted in central Ariz., not their usual haunt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 24, 2020 2:06 PM CDT
Rare 'Snoring' Frogs Found in Place They Shouldn't Be
In this 2008 file photo, a pair of Chiricahua leopard frogs are seen in a special tank at a US Fish and Wildlife Service office in Albuquerque, NM.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

A rare frog has been found beyond its known range in the Southwest. A US Forest Service volunteer recently photographed a Chiricahua leopard frog in an earthen stock tank near the town of Camp Verde in central Arizona. Biologists later confirmed that at least 10 of the frogs were living there, per the AP. The aquatic frogs were thought to be only in eastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and northern Mexico, even though historically they were more widespread. The frogs' numbers have declined due to habitat loss, disease, and predators. A rep for the Arizona Game and Fish Department says the frogs—which the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed as threatened in 2002—may have moved into lower elevations in Camp Verde because they were seeking protected habitat or warmer temperatures that guard them from fungal disease.

Part of the recovery efforts have included rearing the frogs in captivity and releasing them into stock tanks. A recovery team also has been supplementing water amid a prolonged drought, removing livestock, deepening stock tanks, and controlling erosion. "Large-scale and varied recovery efforts, such as those carried out in the Fossil Creek watershed, are vitally important, since biologists do not know exactly which efforts will be successful, or how frogs will adapt to changes in natural conditions, such as disease and long-term drought," says a wildlife biologist for the Coconino National Forest's Red Rock Ranger District. Biologists plan to visit aquatic areas near Camp Verde to determine the extent of the frogs. The male frogs are distinctive for the sound they make during the breeding season, much like snoring.

(More frogs stories.)

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