Home | Amphibians | Meet the Green Frog – the USA’s Typical Pond Frog – Part 1

Meet the Green Frog – the USA’s Typical Pond Frog – Part 1

Green Frog
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Green Frogs (Lithobates/Rana clamitans) and their tadpoles are often the first species to be collected by curious children exploring the great outdoors. They make hardy and interesting pets – so much so that experienced herp-keepers, myself included, often make room for a pair in their collections. Overlooking this fascinating frog because it is so common is a big mistake! Today I’d like to provide a short introduction, followed by care and natural history details next time.

Description

The Green Frog fits many folks’ impression of a “typical” frog – it is 4” long and usually sports a green upper jaw, a green or brown body and a white belly; males generally have yellow throats.

Populations south of the Carolinas are considered to be a separate subspecies, and are known as Bronze Frogs (Lithobates clamitans clamitans); the northern subspecies is classified as Lithobates clamitans melanota.

Range

Green Frogs occur across much of Eastern and Central North America, from southern Canada (Ontario and Manitoba) through eastern Minnesota to eastern Texas and north-central Florida. They have been introduced to Hawaii, Washington, Utah, Iowa and elsewhere.

Habitat

Frank's FrogRarely wandering far from the water’s edge, Green Frogs may be encountered along permanent water bodies including ponds, swamps, streams and the shores of large rivers and lakes. They may be quite common in farm ponds and even in large cities – in my wanderings I have found them in all of New York City’s 5 boroughs.

They emit a loud “squeak” and jump into the water (sometimes skittering across the surface for some distance) when alarmed, but usually re-appear in the same spot shortly. Fairly bold and perpetually hungry, Green Frogs will snap at a string or grass blade moved slowly within their view.

Green Frogs and their tadpoles accept a wide variety of food and are easily raised in captivity – more on that in Part II. Please write in with your questions and comments.

Thanks, until next time,

Frank Indiviglio

Further Reading

You can read more about this frog’s natural history.

Green Frog image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Dustykid

6 comments

  1. avatar

    A green frog, now named Pickle, came to live in my pond which is in a courtyard (basement level) with 6′ walls surrounding it. Little when he arrived, I have no idea where he came from or how he got down to the pond! He is clearly happy, well-fed and almost tame! He shares the pond with 10 goldfish and 2 albino Afican clawed frogs. This summer he emerged from hibernation and was quite vocal for several months but no pal came along! He’s not calling anymore. Is it okay for a frog to be solitary? Should I make an effort to find him a mate? We live IN the city! There are a few backyard ponds but no natural lakes or streams within miles? How could I find a friend for Pickle? Please advise! Many thanks!

  2. avatar

    Hi Katie,

    Amazing how they show up, isn’t it…I’ve had them arrive in isolated ponds in the Bx Zoo and parks in Manhattan. Interesting that he was able to overwinter, as they need specific conditions..pl send me some info as to pool size, where it is, etc. when you have time.

    They are not social in any sense..males call to attract females for mating, and to keep away other males, but they do not interact after egg-laying. Re-located frogs usually try to leave and get back to where they cam e from (i.e. if you purchased a female and released) although if conditions are right and / or the wall is secure, one may stay. Eggs would likely be eaten by the fishes and African clawed frogs.

    They are not often offered for sale..sometimes in spring by dealers on kingsnake.com; I can send some possibilities if you wish; Enjoy and pl keep me posted, best, Frank

  3. avatar

    Where is part II of this article. I need to know what to do with 3 adult green frogs that I took in from my pond. My liner has holes in it and I had to bring in my fish as well until spring when I can replace liner. Its winter now, so what do I do with them? Will they survive if I take them to a local pond? They are now acclimated to indoor temps.

  4. avatar

    Hello Julie,

    Unfortunately it’s too late to release them. You can keep 3 in a 20 gallon aquarium or, if easier, a large plastic storage bin (for ventilation, simple air holes will work, but best to cut away some of the top and use aquarium silicone to attach fine mesh.. You can either dump and re-fill with de-chlorinated water (using this , or something similar you may have for fish) or use a simple reptile/amphibian filter. Usually I recommend a varied diet, but for a few months adults can get by on crickets alone; powder the crickets with Calcium and a vitamin supplement. Floating plastic plants and/or floating cork bark will work well as resting areas; easier than setting up dry land areas. They do fine a room temps…a cool area, a basement or similar would be best, as they will slow down, eat less, produce less waste. At 55 F they need only 3-5 crickets each, per week. Here is Part II. Please let me know if you need more info, best Frank

  5. avatar

    I figured it was too late. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it, and my kids will too. They were so excited when I brought in the frogs too.

  6. avatar

    My pleasure..I hope the little ones enjoy. The frogs usually adjust well…give them plenty of floating plants (plastic fine…but use ones that are fish safe); this will calm them, since they will not feel exposed…may get bold in time. Main reason for losses is water quality, esp. high ammonia…more sensitive than most fishes, as they absorb over a greater surface; partial or full water changes are essential; even if filtered do a 1/2 change per week at least. Let me know if you need anything, best, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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