Spring Peepers Surviving on the Summit?

2013-11-07 13:20:52.000 – Mike Dorfman,  Weather Observer

Pools of Water at the Base of Ball Crag

Despite the severe weather, many animals both live on and frequently visit the summit, including foxes, squirrels, mice, and even the occasional bobcat. As rain showers turn to snow showers, and the summit dons its winter coat of rime, ice and snow, many animals either head to milder locations or burrow deep between the rocks. Last spring for several weeks while taking sunset weather observations, there was even the familiar sound of suspiciously like Spring Peepers coming from a small pool of water near Ball Crag (a few hundred vertical feet and a half mile from the summit). For those of you unfamiliar with Spring Peepers, they are small (pinky-nail sized) tree frogs that hop around the woods of the eastern US, which make very loud whistling sounds when searching for a mate in spring. Such a small, seemingly fragile animal initially seems like it would never be able to survive a Mount Washington winter, but after some investigation, these animals are hardier than the look. According to National Geographic, these amphibians can allow much of their small bodies to freeze during hibernation, a feat very few animals can accomplish without dying. Although it isn’t clearly documented specifically what the summit Spring Peepers on Mount Washington do in the winter, they’ve found a welcome home alongside the few animals that reside on the summit.

 

Mike Dorfman,  Weather Observer

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