It’s been a while, but the red-legged frogs of Southern California are feeling frisky again.
The little amphibians, considered all but gone 100 years ago in the Santa Monica Mountains, are showing signs of breeding.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a survey by the National Park Service on March 14 found nine egg masses that could yield new red-legged frogs.
The little creatures, featured in Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” can pack 1,000 to 3,000 eggs in one egg mass, the Park Service said.
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The Times said the egg masses were probably laid by frogs introduced in a seeding program begun by the Park Service in 2014. The egg masses found this month are signs the croakers are doing it on their own.
“I don’t think it’s too much to say that this could be the start of a comeback,” Park Service ecologist Katy Delaney said.
The Park Service said the red-legged frog nearly vanished from the Santa Monica Mountains in the 1920s and 1930s. A single frog was spotted in the 1970s. In 1999, a population of about 100 adults was found in Simi Hills.
And now, this.
“I’m really happy for every single milestone,” Delaney said, “but this is sort of the one we’ve been looking for.”