The Silence of the Frogs
Predation in Palmetto State Park

I was recording some Southern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates sphenocephalus) in Palmetto State Park, Gonzalez County, Texas a few weeks ago, and I recorded an interesting natural event.

There were a large number of L. sphenocephalus calling from this particular spot and I got a reasonable length recording of them.

During part of the recording, I heard this change in the calls of the Leopard Frogs.  The nasal whine is the call of the Great Plains Narrowmouthed Toads (Gastrophryne olivacea) which ignored the screaming of the Leopard Frog.

This type of "scream" is the release call produced by Southern Leopard Frogs when they are grabbed by a predator.  It is quite an eerie sound when heard in the dark woods at night.   I walked over to investigate and saw a medium sized snake (I believe it was a Western Cottonmouth) crawling away from the spot.  The frog never made another sound.  I looked at where the event had occurred and found no Leopard Frog so I am pretty confident the snake left with his meal.

© Chris Harrison 2013

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