CHICAGO — Chicago is filled with frogs.
As the weather warms and the city's ponds and wetlands thaw, Chicago's six species of frogs and toads will be heard calling and searching for a mate.
"Frogs are just great animals to have around," said Chris Anchor, chief wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. "They make life in the city better and more interesting. What says 'peaceful summer evening' better than a chorus of frogs?"
Chicago is home to the following frogs and toads: Western chorus frog; Leopard frog; Bullfrog; Green frog; Gray tree frog; and American toad.
Anchor said the best places to find frogs within city limits are LaBagh Woods and Bunker Hill on the Northwest Side, Dan Ryan Woods on the Southwest Side, Eggers Woods on the Far Southeast Side and Jackson Park on the South Side.
But Anchor stressed the amphibians can be found anywhere that's wet, relatively still and has unpolluted water.
"They’re very good at hiding underwater or in the vegetation, so you can be on a hike and not even know they’re there," Anchor said. "But at the right time of evening, their calls will give them away."
Anchor noted it's illegal to collect anything from forest preserves and requested people to observe the frogs and toads from a distance. It's also against the law to be in forest preserves after sunset, but Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in suburban Willow Springs is offering an evening frog-listening event, “Friday Night Frogs," on April 24.
You also can join a volunteer frog monitoring group, which learns more about the animals and how to protect them.
Anchor said frogs and toads' presence in the city is extremely important, and people shouldn't be befuddled if they see them in urban areas.
"Frogs are a critical part of the food chain. They eat insects, worms and many other small animals, and then pass that energy along to larger animals such as egrets and herons, raccoons, coyotes, fish and many others," Anchor said. "Because of their very permeable skin and close relationship to aquatic ecosystems, they can tell us about the quality of the environment, especially the water, by where they’re able to survive."
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