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Nature Notes

Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.


Bullfrogs at Lasdon

A favorite stop for many visitors to Lasdon is the goldfish pond by the Heather Garden. They come mainly to see the resident American bullfrogs sunning themselves on the rocks surrounding the pond. Their mottled dark green color helps them to blend in with their surroundings. Often their presence becomes known only when visitors hear a splash as the bullfrogs leap from the rocks into the safety of the water.

Bullfrogs are the largest frogs in the United States, growing from 4- 6” in length. They are native to eastern North America. Bullfrogs are cold-blooded, seeking the sun to warm up and water or shade to cool down. They are usually a solitary animal with the exception of breeding season which lasts from May into July. It is during the breeding season that visitors hear the bullfrogs’ distinctive loud, low-pitched bellow.

Visitors to Lasdon in autumn will often ask where the Bullfrogs go when cold weather arrives. The bullfrogs will carve out deep, underground areas in the mud surrounding the goldfish pond where they are able to rest until temperatures begin to rise. Bullfrogs are capable of breathing both through their lungs and their skin, but they will breathe exclusively via their skin when they are hibernating in the mud. Eventually, spring and the breeding season returns.

On your next visit to Lasdon stop by the beautiful Heather Garden and say hello to our
growing native bullfrog population.