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Leopard Frog

leopard frog(Rana pipiens)

Where could one find a northern leopard frog?
The leopard frog has a wide distribution in Minnesota; it is the only amphibian seen in every county in Minnesota. They live in wet prairies and sedge meadows, or along any open body of water. These frogs are migrators; in the spring they will travel up to a mile away from the stream or lake they hibernated in to a permanent breeding pond. After the adult leopard frogs leavee the mating pond in June every year, they can be found wandering in nearby fields, marshes, prairies, and pastures, up to a mile away from standing water. They spend their winters hibernating in the aquatic vegetation in ponds and streams.

Why does the leopard frog look so familiar?
Not only does the leopard frog have a large range and wide distribution, it is commonly used as a dissection specimen in biology classes. Leopard frogs are also often seen without much effort on our part; during their migration to their overwintering habitats, they frequently cross streets and highways in large groups. They travel on rainy nights and can cover roughly 100 yards per day.

What animals prey on the leopard frog?
Herons, raccoons, snakes, and owls are some of the animals who prey on the leopard frog. Humans also prey on them by using them as fishing bait and running them over with their cars and lawnmowers.

What does the northern leopard frog's call sound like, and why do they call?
Leopard frogs make four different kinds of calls. Their vocalizations can represent advertisement, aggression, courtship rituals, or defense. They can even make their calls underwater! Generally, their advertising call is a hoarse croaking followed by two clucks, and their aggressive calls consist of short chuckles. Calls vary among individuals, however, and are hard to interpret.

How can one tell the males from the females?
The easiest way to sex leopard frogs is by looking at the ears; males have ears larger than their eyes, whereas females have ears the same size as their eyes. Also, males are smaller, have vocal sacs that swell out of their armpits when they call, and their thumbs swell during the breeding season to help them hold on to a female during copulation.

What do leopard frogs eat?
They eat insects, worms, and spiders commonly found in meadows and fields. Their diet can shift to accommodate changes in the prey populations. Here at Warner Nature Center, we feed our northern leopard frogs crickets and mealworms.

How long do northern leopard frogs live?
They live to be around 3 years old, and they sustain their populations by laying many eggs; in Minnesota, each female frog lays between 2,000 and 5,000 eggs each year.

What happens when a person picks up a northern leopard frog?
These frogs are particularly difficult to catch and hold on to, not only due to their slimy, slippery, and toxic skin secretions (these secretions are protection against both disease and predation), but also because of their impressive leaping ability. The leopard frog also has a "release call" they will use if they are caught.

The information above is common scientific knowledge. For a list of specific resources, visit the Animal FAQ Resources page.

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