When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when hiding in pine duff, try to look like a dead pine needle.

When I owned a home (and mowed my own grass) in Hillsborough, NH, I’d regularly see slender leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) zipping between the grass (and mower) blades. Lightning fast, these little frogs (and the ones in my yard were always little) seemed perfectly suited for life in a lawn. It was no surprise to me, then, to learn that leopard frogs are also called Meadow or Grass Frogs: spotted like leopards, their green and brown markings make them surprisingly difficult to find in grass.

Before there were lawns, though, leopard frogs lived in the forest…and some of them still do. I spotted this little guy next to a fallen pine tree along the shore at Goose Pond, where Reggie and I walked early yesterday morning in an attempt to beat the heat. (We also found a lost wallet on our way back to the car, but that’s a story for another day.) Although I’d seen leopard frogs in the usual places–lawns, deciduous forests, ponds–I’d never seen one covered in dead pine needles. As Rach commented on a post last week, shouldn’t frogs stick to lily pads, where we’re accustomed to imagining them?