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Pickerel Frog- Lithobates palustris

pickerel frog


 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Amphibia
 Order: Anura
 Family: Ranidae
 Genus: Rana
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


Pickerel FrogThe pickerel frog is 1¾-4 inches in length and has smooth brown or tan skin. It has rows of square, dark brown spots on its back; a light belly; and patches of bright yellow or orange on the inside of its thighs. It has a light stripe on its upper lip and two light gold colored folds of skin called dorsolateral folds that run from the back of its eyes down along the sides of its back. The male has a pair of vocal sacs.

The pickerel frog is sometimes confused with the northern leopard frog. The northern leopard frog looks similar, but its spots are round and randomly scattered on its body, and it doesn't have patches of bright yellow or orange skin on the inside of its thighs.


MapThe pickerel frog is found from southeastern Canada south to South Carolina and northern Georgia, and Alabama and west to Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, and eastern Texas. It is found in New Hampshire.


Pickerel FrogThe pickerel frog is often found near streams, lakes, ponds, bogs, and swamps with cool, clear water. In the summer, it can be found in grassy meadows and fields.



The pickerel frog eats insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. The pickerel frog tadpole eats algae and plant matter.

Life Cycle

Breeding season runs from March to May. Males gather in breeding pools and call to females with a low-pitched, snore-like call. The female lays an egg mass of up to 3,000 eggs in shallow water. The egg mass is usually attached to submerged vegetation. The tadpoles begin to turn into frogs in about 3 months. In the winter, the pickerel frog burrows into the mud on the bottom of a pond or stream and hibernates.


The pickerel frog produces a bad-tasting toxic secretion that protects it from some predators, especially snakes.