Reptiles and amphibians signs of spring
Robert L. Hill
February 24, 2022
Although it’s still technically winter here in Atlanta, as usual, the weather just can’t make up its mind and we’ve had some really hot sunny days recently. Usually at this time of year, most reptiles and amphibians are hidden waiting for spring. However, some of our scaly, slimy friends are active. Some, like the upland chorus frog (Pseudacris feriarum) and spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), are already present in temporary wetlands to call and breed. You can recognize their publicity calls quite easily because the chorus frog’s call is very similar to the sound of running your thumb over a plastic comb, and the spring-loaded peeper, well, PEEPS!
But also worth noting at this time of year, at least on my porch, are the green anoles (Anolis carolinensis), which seem to tolerate somewhat cooler temperatures than our other native lizards and become quite active during this time of heat. Most of us are probably familiar with this lizard quite well. They are often referred to as “chameleons”, although they are not closely related to true chameleons or even look much like them, although they do have spectacular color changing abilities. Typically, they change from bright green, often with a whitish line down the back, to dark brown. During the warmer months, you can often see the males displaying their bright red dewlap to attract a female or ward off competition from another male. But at this time of year, they’re usually more low-key, just soaking up the sun until the weather turns cold again. In my case, they just hang out on my porch, watching the world go by like I often do on nice warm sunny days, but not TOO hot. They make a nice scaly company!
So, although we are in the so-called “deeps of winter”, there is still some scaly and/or slimy activity to watch! And of course, no matter the weather, there’s ALWAYS scaly, slimy action in Scaly Slimy Spectacular!
(photo: Robert Hill)
Associate Curator of Herpetology