Northern Leopard Frog

The northern leopard frog is a member of the true frog family and is considered to be one of the most beautiful frogs. Apart from being extensively present in the wild in different parts of the USA and Canada, they have also achieved great popularity as pets.

Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog

 

Scientific Classification of Northern Leopard Frog

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Amphibia

Order: Anura

Family: Ranidae

Genus: Lithobates

Species: Lithobates pipiens

Northern Leopard Frog Description

Size: The northern leopard frogs typically have a large size with a bulky appearance. The adults are usually around 11 inches long. The tadpoles are about 3.5 inches long.

Physical Description of Northern Leopard Frog

Physical Description of Northern Leopard Frog

Weight: Their weight varies between 16 and 80 gm.

Legs: These frogs have got a pair of agile webbed legs in their backs.

Color: The dorsal section of their bodies has a dark brown or green coloration. The sides, backs and legs are covered with dark patches or spots which are marked for their irregular shapes, a characteristic that has earned them their name of “Leopard Frog”. Traces of cream shaded stripes can also be found on their backs. The central section is notable for its distinct pale white color. The juveniles lack any spots or patches on their backs. The bodies of the tadpoles are marked with multiple gold colored dots.

Sexual dimorphism: The females are larger than the males in size.

Northern Leopard Frog Distribution

These frogs can be spotted in northern regions of US as well as various parts of southern Canada. Common areas of distribution include Nebraska, California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Minnesota and Texas. The western habitation of these frogs extends to Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba as well as western parts of Ontario.

Distribution Range of Northern Leopard Frog

Distribution Range of Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog Habitat

These frogs spend most of their time in grasslands that are marked by light vegetation.

Habitat of Northern Leopard Frog

Habitat of Northern Leopard Frog

They also need sufficient amounts of clean water. Apart from grasslands, they can also be found in ponds, streams, wetlands and wet meadows.

Northern Leopard Frog Diet

Northern leopard frogs usually prey on numerous types of small animals and insects like worms, crickets, smaller frogs, mice, small birds, and fishes.

Diet of Northern Leopard Frog

Diet of Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog Behavior

These are some common behavioral characteristics of the northern leopard frogs.

  • Northern leopard frogs generally feed on the terrestrial lands.
  • They stay active in the nighttime as well as during the daytime.
  • In some cases, they may choose to sit very idly for avoiding predation.
  • They dive in the water to avoid dangers when startled or scared.
  • During the summer months, these frogs frequently roam around grasslands and woodlands that are located far away from their main habitat regions

Northern Leopard Frog Call

These frogs produce a call that often sounds like the noise produced by a small boat engine. They also produce a sufficiently loud scream if they are captured or frightened. They usually call at night and also sometimes during the daytime.

Northern Leopard Frog Hibernation

Northern Leopard Frogs generally hibernate with lower metabolic rate and body temperature. The period of hibernation starts from the month of October/ November and lasts till March. These frogs bury themselves deep in muddy lands while hibernating. They may also swim to the bottom of the semi-frozen lakes to achieve the same purpose. In other instances, they may also hibernate in caves.

Northern Leopard Frog Predators

Predators of northern leopard frogs include snakes, racoons, herons, skunks, bullfrogs, and hawks. The tadpoles are mainly preyed on by numerous water birds and fishes.

Northern Leopard Frog Adaptations

The following are the common adaptations of the northern leopard frogs.

  • These frogs have got a large mouth that enables them to easily swallow birds and animals that are almost as big as their own size.

  • Northern leopard frogs can move at quite high speeds, covering almost 5 to 6 feet in a single jump in a zigzag manner. Such a motion often makes it difficult for predators to easily catch them.

  • The color of their bodies allows them to hide from their predators.
  • The northern leopard frogs are able to catch their prey very easily by jumping long distances and moving at great speed.

  • These frogs can produce a loud shout that can scare their predators. Sometimes their captor gets so startled that eventually, they let the captured frog go.

Northern Leopard Frog Reproduction

Northern Leopard Frogs reproduce in water, i.e. they practice aquatic reproduction. Breeding season commences on March and then goes on through July.

Reproduction of Northern Leopard Frog

Reproduction of Northern Leopard Frog

The males arrive at the breeding spot before the females to select the best breeding spot. When the female frogs arrive, the males produce a loud snoring sound to attract the attention of the females. Once mating is over, females lay eggs and then leave the breeding ground. These egg masses may float in water or remain attached to the water plants. The total number of eggs within one single cluster may vary anywhere from 650 to 7648. The eggs are fertilized externally.

Northern Leopard Frog Life Cycle

The eggs of the northern leopard frogs take about 2 days to 17 days to hatch into small tadpoles.

Life Cycle of Northern Leopard Frog

Life Cycle of Northern Leopard Frog

Time taken for hatching depends on the temperature. The tadpoles generally complete metamorphosis within about 3-6 months. The female frogs reach sexual maturity by the time they are 2 or 3 years of age. The males attain reproductive maturity by around 1 or 2 years of age.

Northern Leopard Frog Lifespan

These fogs typically live in the wild for about 5 to 8 years.

Northern Leopard Frog Pet

Northern leopard frogs generally enjoy a lot of popularity in the pet market. Here are some things you need to know when you are looking to pet them.

Northern Leopard Frog Housing

Get a nice tank for these frogs and make sure that it is sufficiently spacious. You can get a 10-gallon tank which can work well for a single frog. Keep half of this tank covered with water and these the remaining part as land. Make sure that the terrestrial area is about 2 to 3 inches deep so that the frog can burrow. You can also add a small piece of wood to create a basking spot.

Water of Northern Leopard Frog:

Use only de-chlorinated water when you are looking to arrange a living space for these frogs. Do not use a water filter though as its vibration can prove to be a major disturbance for them. Make sure to change the water by about 50% twice a week at least.

Lighting of Northern Leopard Frog:

While they do not need any special lights, you can still use the UVB or UVA lights. Keep lighting moderate in the tank since these frogs normally hide in the bright light.

Temperature of Northern Leopard Frog:

Room temperatures should be kept within 20 °C to 24 °C in the daytime. During the night, you can lower the temperature range around 16 °C.

Feeding of Northern Leopard Frog:

You can feed them different kinds of small insects like beetles, flies, worms, and crickets. Sometimes they are also willing to consume fruits and vegetables. It is important to maintain a lot of variety while feeding these frogs. Ideally, you should feed them once every two days. It is also important to provide them with some vitamin supplement for at least once per week.

Handling of Northern Leopard Frog:

Do not handle them unless it is absolutely necessary. Make sure that you wash your hands using a good soap after you have handled them or their habitat.

Northern Leopard Frog Video

Interesting Facts of Northern Leopard Frog

Here are some interesting facts about these frogs.

  • Northern leopard frog is considered to be the state amphibian for Vermont and Minnesota.
  • Unlike many other species of frogs, they do not make use of any skin secretions to get rid of predators.

  • Northern leopard frogs have been used extensively for medical research purposes. Many chemical substances obtained from these frogs are considered to be potential treatments for cancer, lung tumors, brain tumors and pleural mesothelioma.

  • They are very similar to pickerel frogs.

Northern Leopard Frog Conservation Status

The northern leopard frogs are classified under the category of “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their populations are however threatened in some regions of US.

Pictures of Northern Leopard Frog

Here are the pictures of the northern leopard frogs.

Life Cycle of Northern Leopard Frog

Life Cycle of Northern Leopard Frog

Reproduction of Northern Leopard Frog

Reproduction of Northern Leopard Frog

Diet of Northern Leopard Frog

Diet of Northern Leopard Frog

Habitat of Northern Leopard Frog

Habitat of Northern Leopard Frog

Physical Description of Northern Leopard Frog

Physical Description of Northern Leopard Frog

References

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