Good Question: What's taking over a local neighborhood?

Pat Taney
Created: September 16, 2019 09:02 AM

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WHEC) — Neighbors in one suburb say their yards are being taken over by tiny little creatures.

Pat Taney was asked to look into it for this week's Good Question report.


People who live in the Summerville neighborhood of Irondequoit have noticed some new neighbors.

"They're just all over the place," Jeanine Espenmiller said. "They are tiny and adorable."

She's talking about small frogs.

"I've been living here 20 years, and this is the first summer that I've ever seen teeny, tiny frogs all over the place, walking the dog, cutting the grass they are everywhere," Espenmiller said.

She asked us to look into it, so we reached out to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for an answer.

They are American toads. Kevin O. Frazier with the DEC says heavy rain this spring caused more pools of water allowing the toads to breed.

"Resulting tadpoles are now leaving the water as toads," he said. "The wet weather the past couple of weeks has allowed these young toads to disperse across the landscape potentially farther from breeding ponds than normal, or at least more visible than normal."

As the temperatures decrease so should the number of toads, helping neighborhoods like Summerville get back to normal.

"I won't weed whack or mow the lawn because I am afraid they will go flying everywhere," Espenmiller said.

While rain may be to blame, Espenmiller and her neighbors say they didn't see this many frogs back in 2017 when our area had even more rainfall than this spring.

However, the DEC insists this is normal behavior for American toads and is nothing to be alarmed about.

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