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Waiting for Gopher Frogs to Hop at Ft. Bragg

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – An NC State researcher says a wet spring will determine the survival of tadpoles of the threatened Carolina gopher frog.

The gopher frog breeds in about 23 shallow ponds around the state. Three of those ponds are on artillery training fields on the Ft. Bragg Army base.

NC State Biology Professor Nick Haddad says spring rains keep the ponds around long enough for the eggs to develop into tadpoles and then frogs that can hop away.

"Since I've been working on gopher frogs in the past seven years, we have not had one year where the ponds have retained water long enough for tadpoles to metamorphose and leave the ponds."

Haddad says things were looking good for the Carolina gopher frogs until this week's hotter weather. He says if all goes well, he'll start to see young gopher frogs emerge from the ponds in June or July.

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