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Jul 14
Indianapolis Zoo Leaps into Action to Save Indiana’s Crawfish Frog

Indiana's waterways recently connected guests to the ocean here at the Indianapolis Zoo. Inside the Oceans building this spring, visitors had the chance to experience local conservation in action.

The crawfish frog is endangered in Indiana, so researchers from Indiana State University and Indiana University School of Medicine in partnership with Indiana's Department of Natural Resources carefully collected egg masses from nearby waterways. Zoo staff cared for the tadpoles as they grew, with the purpose of reinforcing, or releasing these late-stage tadpoles back into their original habitat once they grew a set of back legs.

Why Grow Frogs?

The crawfish frog lives most of its life in crayfish burrows, but comes out into southern Indiana's wetlands to breed. As this habitat gets smaller and rarer, crawfish frog tadpoles are easily spotted and picked off by predators in the tiny patches of remaining marsh. By caring for tadpoles here at the Zoo, we can protect them when they are the most vulnerable and release them when they are strong and mobile.

Together We Can Save the Crawfish Frog!

The Indianapolis Zoo and these incredible partners are all working together to save the crawfish frog—but we can't do it without your help! You can:

  • Protect and help restore Indiana wetland habitat when it is threatened.

  • Get involved with an amphibian group like the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's FrogWatch USA or the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP). Listen for the call of the crawfish frog about an hour after sunset. If you hear it, report the presence of crawfish frogs to the DNR!

  • Keep wetlands clean by eliminating pesticide use in your yard, keeping soap or other chemicals out of storm drains or even cleaning up trash from local waterways.

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