Pickerel frog

Rana palustris

Pickeral Frog

 

© A.B. Sheldon

This medium-sized frog, is similar to northern leopard frog but spots located between dorsolateral folds along the back are paired and rectangular, not rounded.

Identification

General description: The slender pickerel frog has bulging eyes, long legs, a lanky body, two big ridges between its back and sides, and smooth skin.

Size: Pickerel frogs are 1 3/4 to 3 1/4 inches long.

Color: The pickerel frog has a pale brown background with brown spots in rows on back. Its underside is light-colored with yellow where the legs and body connect.

Sounds: Quiet, long drawn-out snore. Similar to the northern leopard frog, but lacking the chuckle at the end.

Reproduction

Pickerel frogs begin to reproduce at two years of age. In spring males begin calling to attract females. The female lays a blob of 700 to 3,000 eggs in the water. It takes about two weeks for the eggs to hatch and 8 to 11 weeks for tadpoles to develop into frogs.

Pickerel Frog range map

 

Range map for Pickerel Frog

Habitat and range

Pickerel frogs prefer cool streams and other wet areas in woodlands. They spend their winters burrowed in the mud beneath ponds or streams. In summer they may be found in fields away from water.

Breeding habitat: Backwaters of rivers and streams.

Summer habitat: Inhabits cool, clear water of wooded streams with a dense forest canopy. Feeds in grassy openings adjacent to streams.

Winter habitat: Aquatic, rivers and streams.

Population and management

Pickerel frogs have no special status in Minnesota.

Fun facts

The pickerel frog protects itself from predators by giving off a poisonous chemical. This chemical can irritate humans and can even kill captive animals forced to share living space with this frog.