John Day Fossil Beds harbors some unique seeps and springs within monument boundaries that provide "islands" of habitat for amphibians.
Predation by birds, fish and the introduced bullfrog hamper most amphibians along the John Day River. Springs and seeps tucked back into the surrounding hills and mountains allow for several species of amphibians to continue their life cycles.
The western toad, spade foot toad, Pacific tree frog, and long-toed salamander can all thrive in moist pockets scattered around the dry countryside. Listening for male toads and frogs vocalizing is often the best way to find which sites have amphibians and to determine which species are represented.
Early summer vocalizing by the males preceeds mating and subsequent egg laying by females. Eggs typically are laid in strings or large egg masses that float in water and/or get attached to vegetation. The eggs develop and tadpoles hatch. Metamorphosis occurs over the next several weeks. These new adults will then typically burrow into the mud surrounding the spring to hibernate over the winter and then start the cycle all over again.
Did You Know?
Paleobotanical field work helps scientists at the John Day Fossil Beds learn about ancient climates.