'A Perfect Storm': Plague Of Frogs Overruns Otter Creek Area

Jul 22, 2019

Vermonters in the area of Otter Creek in Cornwall, Leicester, and Salisbury have been noticing something remarkable lately: hundreds of thousands more frogs than usual. Northern leopard frogs to be exact, in lawns, in pools, and — unluckily for the frogs — on the roads.

Herpetologist Jim Andrews, director of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and a Salisbury resident, has been bombarded with questions about the population explosion.

"Longtime residents are telling me that this exceeds all of the other emigrations that they've ever seen," Andrews said. "And people who are trying to drive the roads, who live in that area are just saying it's horrible. There's no way to avoid the number of frogs that are moving across these roads."

Andrews attributed the surge to flooded fields staying wet longer this year. Northern leopard frogs lay their eggs in those fields.

"Mama frogs had a perfect storm helping them out here," Andrews said. "And then we had this spell of warm weather. When they have this warm weather, they can develop faster."

Andrews hypothesizes that conditions like this are becoming more prevalent due to climate change, and he predicts that the range of the frogs may expand.