• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Area closure in the area around Baxter's Pinnacle

    An area closure is in effect around Baxter's Pinnacle to protect nesting peregrine falcons. This closure precludes any climbs of Baxter's Pinnacle and usage of the walk-off gully. This closure will be in effect through 8-15-2013. More »

Amphibians

Leopard Frog

Leopard Frog

Amphibians are some of the most unusual and important species found in the park. The word amphibian comes from the Greek words meaning "double life", and refers to their unusual two-stage life cycle. An amphibian begins life as an egg, laid either in water, or in some other wet environment. The larvae hatch and spend their time in water breathing through gills. They then undergo a metamorphosis into an adult form that breathes using lungs. While adults are considered terrestrial, amphibians continue to spend most of their lives near water. Unlike reptiles that have dry scaly skin, amphibians have moist, smooth, glandular skin with no scales, and they have no claws on their toes.

Amphibians are cold-blooded and cannot regulate their bodys temperature like mammals and birds. In the park, the cold annual temperatures, high elevation and dry climate limit amphibian diversity and numbers. The park is home to six species of amphibians: spotted frogs, boreal chorus frogs, boreal toads, tiger salamanders, northern leopard frogs (possibly extinct in the area) and bullfrogs (introduced just outside the park).

The best places to find amphibians are near rivers, streams and lakes along the valley floor. Good places to look for spotted frogs include String Lake, Schwabacher's Landing (along the Snake River) and Taggart Lake. Chorus frogs are easiest to find in late May and early June because the males are actively calling during their breeding season. Look and listen for these frogs at dusk in moist valley meadows. The boreal toad seems to be disappearing from their historic range. Sightings of these, as well as leopard frogs, should be reported to a parks visitor center.

Take some time during your visit to search for these interesting creatures. They are an important link in the food web-providing food for birds, otters and fish; and preying on insects. Finally, amphibians indicate the overall health of the ecosystem. Their dependence on water and the dual life cycle they lead makes them extremely sensitive to changes in environmental conditions.

Did You Know?

Close-up of trumpeter swan head

Did you know that Grand Teton National Park is home to the largest bird in North America? The Trumpeter Swan weighs 20-30 pounds and lives in the valley year-round in quiet open water.