At Harris Ranch, amphibians can likely be found along or near the Boise River, the artificial trout spawning stream, in wetland areas, and along or near canals. Although generally associated with wet areas, some amphibian species can range quite a distance from a given water source. For those species the much of the total Harris Ranch property may be important habitat.
Northern Leopard Frog
Northern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens) in Idaho are generally associated with heavily vegetated marshes, ponds, streams, and wet areas. Otherwise, they seem to breed in areas that are also heavily vegetated. In Idaho, Northern Leopard Frogs are found throughout much of the southern part of the state, following the Snake River Plain. Populations also exist in the northern portion of the panhandle. These frogs hibernate in streams, ponds, or other aquatic locations during the winter. They disperse to moist uplands or permanent water during dry-up in summer and require moderately high ground cover for concealment. They are generally preyed upon by garter snakes. When disturbed, these frogs leap rapidly and erratically. Very little information exists to explain their decline in Idaho. According to the CDC (2004), the last recorded observation of this species in the vicinity of HR was 1973.
Woodhouse's Toads (Bufo woodhousii) are typically found in habitats such as prairies, agricultural areas and brushy flats often associated with a water source. The water source may vary from irrigation ditches, ponds, and small lakes to backwaters of the Snake River. Even though there is generally water in the area, they may forage quite a distance from the water source where they mate and lay eggs. These toads are active in wet or dry weather. They are inactive during the cold months of fall, winter, and early spring. When inactive, they burrow underground, or hide under rocks, plants, or other cover. According to the CDC (2004) there has never been a recorded observation of this species at the Harris Ranch property.
Western Toads (Bufo boreas) are largely terrestrial but can generally be found near water. Their habitats range from mountain meadows to brushy desert flats. Western Toads dig burrows in loose soil or use burrows of small mammals. At low elevations, individuals are mainly diurnal in late winter and spring, and nocturnal in summer. Hibernation occurs in winter in cold climates. Birds and garter snakes prey on adults, and predatory insect larvae feed on young. Western Toads appear to be declining in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and in other parts of the western United States.
Western Toads are widely distributed in Idaho and can be found in appropriate habitat throughout most of the state. The last recorded observation of this species in the vicinity of Harris Ranch was 1922 (CDC 2004).