I love walking in the rain. First – as everyone is painfully aware – for half the year Canada is cold. Getting outside in warm weather is too precious an experience to be wasted waiting for a sunny day. Second – weather predictions are often woefully wrong, leaving you stuck at home when you could be enjoying a great day outside. Third you can often have a hiking trail to yourself while everyone else is inside avoiding a light sprinkle.
The fourth reason I love hiking in the rain is the wildlife. Many animals are just as active in the rain as they are in the sun –some even more so. One group of animals that is particularly active in the rain are frogs and salamanders. With thin skin that dries easily, a rainy day means many amphibians are liberated from the risk of dehydration. Young frogs and toads will set out across the rain soaked landscape to colonize new areas. Salamanders will wriggle from log to log looking for waterlogged worms and insects to feed on. Other wildlife, like tiny shrews, become even more active as well – taking advantage of the food bonanza.
Frogs, toads and salamanders are fairly easy to identify – great identification tools can be found the internet. Keep a list of what you’ve seen and let researchers know by reporting online. Amphibians worldwide are threatened with extinction – by reporting what you see you can help researchers evaluate the health of Ontario’s populations.
Be smart when walking in the rain – dress for the weather and remember that trails can be slippery. And use common sense – if it looks like a thunderstorm – wait it out!
To identify amphibians click here.
Click here to report sightings.
Click here for exciting Ontario nature viewing adventures.
Brad Steinberg – Management Biologist, Algonquin Park