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.
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.
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.
Rarely 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.
You can read more about this frog’s natural history.
Green Frog image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Dustykid