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.
Species: Lithobates pipiens
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.
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.
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.
These frogs spend most of their time in grasslands that are marked by light vegetation.
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 frogs usually prey on numerous types of small animals and insects like worms, crickets, smaller frogs, mice, small birds, and fishes.
These are some common behavioral characteristics of the northern leopard frogs.
During the summer months, these frogs frequently roam around grasslands and woodlands that are located far away from their main habitat regions
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 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.
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.
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 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 Frogs reproduce in water, i.e. they practice aquatic reproduction. Breeding season commences on March and then goes on through July.
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.
The eggs of the northern leopard frogs take about 2 days to 17 days to hatch into small tadpoles.
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.
These fogs typically live in the wild for about 5 to 8 years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some interesting facts about these frogs.
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.
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.
Here are the pictures of the northern leopard frogs.
Here you can find out all about thousands of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fishes walking, flying, and swimming the Earth.
© 2018 (Animals Planet). All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Designed and Developed by Bedanta Softech