Home | Amphibians | Meet the Green Frog – Typical “Pond Frog” of the USA – Part 2

Meet the Green Frog – Typical “Pond Frog” of the USA – Part 2

Green Pond FrogThe widespread Green Frog (Lithobates/Rana clamitans) often provides aspiring herpetologists with an introduction to frog-keeping.  Please see Part I of this article for more on its natural history.

Status in the Wild

Although fairly common throughout much of its range, in some places the Green Frog is impacted by habitat loss due to shoreline development and the introduction of Bass, Carp and other fishes, which consume eggs and tadpoles.

In recent years, deformed Green Frogs have been found in ever-increasing numbers.  The cause is unknown, but pesticide or other chemical pollution is suspected.  Farm ponds usually have a higher incidence of deformed individuals than do urban or rural habitats.  Green Frogs are regulated as a game species in several states, as they are collected for the food trade (frog’s legs) and for use as fishing bait (ahh!).


Males establish small breeding territories, which they defend from other males.  Both sexes use the male’s mating call to access the caller’s size and suitability as a mate.

The eggs, up to 7,000 in number, are laid in a foamy surface film.  Females may breed twice yearly in the southern states.  The tadpoles feed upon algae, carrion and detritus.  In the southern part of the range, the tadpole stage lasts for 2-3 months; those in the north may overwinter as tadpoles.  Sub-adult Green Frogs may disperse as far as 3 miles from their natal pond.


Often the most common amphibian within their habitat, Green Frogs eat and are eaten by a great many creatures, and are a vital component of the local food web.

Green Frogs consume virtually any creature capable of being swallowed -flies, spiders, mosquitoes, dragonflies, millipedes, earthworms, beetles, moths and other invertebrates, small fishes, tadpoles and frogs are all on the menu.  Always hungry, they will even snap at a bit of cloth on a string moved about within their field of vision (many entered my collection years ago when they fell for this trick!).

Green Frogs and their tadpoles are an important food source for a wide variety of predators, including Giant Water Bugs, Dragonfly Larvae, various fishes, Water, Garter and Ribbon Snakes, Snapping Turtles, Otters, Raccoons and wading birds.  My observations in NYC habitats lead me to believe that the American Bullfrog is a major predator there.

A Few Observations

Green Pond FrogGreen Frogs have provided me untold hours of pleasurable observations.  I once found an adult hibernating under damp leaves in an outdoor pen (I had missed that individual when I took his cage-mates indoors for the winter).  I had assumed that hibernation always occurred under water, but it seems that there is some flexibility in this.  I’ve since learned that underwater hibernation is typical, and that hibernating frogs seek well-oxygenated locations; your own observations would be most appreciated.

I’d always enjoyed tossing crickets to the frogs that lived in an artificial pond at the Bronx Zoo, where I worked.  Visiting children loved this, as the residents were incredibly bold, even taking food from the hand.  In fact, this boldness led to a few accidents – wildly leaping Green Frogs sometimes landed too close to the pond’s resident Bullfrog, who was only too happy to gulp them down!


Further Reading

An interesting article on the Green Frogs resident at the Hilton Pond Center is posted here.

A video of a Green Frog calling is posted here.



  1. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Thanks for the interesting articles on green grogs. I don’t have an indoor habitat but I enjoy watching them in my small outdoor pond where I also have 6 goldfish cohabitating. They are fun and interesting to watch and lately I have found some behavior quite curious and was hoping you would be able to shed some light on it for me.

    As far as I can tell most of the frogs in my pond are female green frogs. They all have white throats however I have seen males in my swamp in the woods. All summer the frogs have cohabitated well together with up to 16 in one count but recently I have noticed some aggressive seeming behavior and I wonder why that is. It is getting cooler where I live in Michigan so perhaps they are fighting for hibernation rights. (?) But I will hear a consistent croaking from one and then she will jump on the back of another frog. Sometimes the bottom frog flees and sometimes it sits still under the aggressive frog for several minutes without a struggle. When it does flee and if it doesn’t flee far enough the aggressive frog will pursue it.

    This is a contrast to the behavior I have witnessed most of the summer where they will sometimes sit near enough that they are touching without any aggression.

    I’m just curious and perhaps this isn’t even aggression because there is no fighting. But sometimes one frog will chase others away from the rock they have chosen for their domain.

    I appreciate any insight you may have on this. I sure enjoy watching them and learning more about them.


    • avatar

      Hello Dee, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and for the kind words.

      Observing a group outdoors is the absolute best method of learning – there is still much unknown about even relatively common frogs, so please keep notes; any observations you might pass along would be most appreciated.

      Do you happen to know where your frogs hibernate? I’ve found Green frogs in both aquatic and terrestrial hibernation sites. Thanks.

      Females are very competitive while feeding; I’ve seen them push and wrestle when food appears. I’m wondering if yours are defending feeding sites – since they are “sit and wait” predators, this would make sense; but I have not seen anything published on the topic (perhaps you’ll be the first!). I can’t say why they would do so now and not in summer; however, many other animals will tolerate neighbors when food is plentiful (raccoons, Norway rats, Flat rock Lizards) but will defend territories when food is scarce. Insects are likely less abundant now, so this might be an explanation.

      Fighting would not likely be over hibernation sites, as Green Frogs often congregate in the fall and overwinter in groups.

      Males tend to stay in specific territories year-round, but will leave to mate in late spring; you may have had male visitors, so keep an eye out for eggs (goldfish may quickly consume them, however.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted when you have a chance,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    HiFrank we have a pond frog, who lost his back leg, at first joint ,it seems to be getting red under neath him, what shoulwe put on it so it does not get infected?IF you email me I will call you thelma thanks

    • avatar

      Hello Thelma, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Redness is usually a sign of a bacterial infection; Methylene Blue, available at most pet stores, is sometimes successful in treating infections that are largely limited to the site and have not become septic. Please see this article for details. Start with ½ the fish dosage (listed on bottle) and a 1 hour soak time; repeat daily for 5-7 days…if redness does not abate after day 3, increase the dosage to appx. ¾ fish strength (please write back also).

      Ideally, a vet should look at the animal…please let me know if you need help in locating an amphibian-experienced veterinarian.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Hi Frank, I know this article is old but hopefully you still follow comments on it.

    I’m currently in the process of raising 5 green frog tadpoles, 4 of which are now in metamorphosis. 2 have already begun feeding live food (phoenix worms) but they seem reluctant. I have to put the worm right in front of them; even then, they only eat one per sitting. The worms are tiny, about an eighth to a quarter inch long. Faster prey like fruit flies and crickets just get ignored.

    The froglets are just over inch long. They still have stubs of tail left. Should I be feeding them at all until their tails completely disappear? Is there anything else I should be doing to improve their appetites? I have 2 more with arms and 1 that’s still a tadpole and I want to be able to provide for them during this tricky time. So far I’ve been sort of figuring it out as I go.

    I would appreciate any advice you have. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    P.S. I sent a similar message to your frogforum.net account to no avail. So if you ever get it, just ignore it.

    • avatar

      Hello Brian, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. I write the articles on this blog and receive email notices each time a comment is posted, however old the article may be. Unfortunately, the frog forum site does not alert me to comments, and so therefore they are easy to miss.

      Frogs generally do not feed while they have some tail remaining; the tail itself seems to be used as a nutrient source; actually, I was surprised to learn that yours took some food at this time – thanks for the observation.

      Once the tails have been absorbed, provide them with as much variety as possible; this time, as you noted, is difficult and many are lost. Calcium and other minerals/vits are very important…powder all meals with supplements, alternating between Repticalcium, Reptivite with D3 and Reptocal. Chopped earthworms and sow bugs are ideal as a basis of the diet, and small guppies should be added as the frogs grow. Fruit flies are a bit small, but flightless houseflies (available via internet) are excellent.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted…any observation s would be most welcome and useful, as we still have much to learn in this area.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    Hello Frank, thanks for the quick reply. I’m glad to have your guidance – care info on green frogs is rather hard to come by, as opposed to the wealth of data available on more exotic tree and dart frogs.

    Right now I have a calcium w/ D3 that I use, but no vitamin supplement. I will definitely look into your suggestions. I offer food items to the 2 froglets twice a day. Sometimes they snap at them; sometimes they don’t. I’m not TOO worried as long as their tail continues to sustain them. But once they need to start eating in earnest, how often should they be fed? Should the amount of food offered be restricted in any way?

    As they change over from tadpole to froglets, I’m trying to find info on habitat requirements, e.g. gallons per frog, the ratio of land to water and depth of water level. Any insight you have on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

    I’m having a little trouble finding pillbug vendors on the internet. I’ve been to forums where some were concerned about potential diseases carried by houseflies. Earthworms are easily available, as should guppies. I might also try dubia roaches. Then there are always phoenix worms, crickets and perhaps mealworms when the frogs get bigger.

    I’ve actually logged many more observations while raising these creatures, but I don’t want to inundate you with data unless there is something you would be interested in specifically. That aside, I will definitely keep you updated on their progress.

    Thanks again for your advice and for your work in helping animals – and their keepers.

    • avatar

      Hello Brian, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the feedback and the kind words, much appreciated. I wish everyone were as thorough as you; please do keep me informed on your progress; as you say, there is not much work being done on native species. Many are threatened, and what we learn about common ones can be of use in breeding rare relatives.

      No need to restrict their diet…when young, they feed ravenously; however, they can also regulate their metabolisms to food availability, so you can feed daily, insert fast days, or feed larger meals 3-4x weekly; lots of flexibility as long as reasonable.

      You can start with a 10 gallon aquarium, 3-4 inches of water and plenty of floating live (preferable) or plastic plants…pothos, a common house plant, lives well as a floating aquatic. They will also use a solid land area in time (prefer to rest and feed on floating plants early on). A turtle dock is ideal – can also serve as a platform for offering guppies, as the frogs will likely not catch them in the water. By using a platform and plants, you can give them plenty of water as well as land – rocks, gravel islands take away too much water volume. As they grow, provide a s much space as possible – a 20 long for 4 juvenile, a 55 gallon for adults if possible. Filter the water with a submersible filter (please write in if you need more info) and do weekly water changes (1/2 volume should be fine, more in smaller aquariums) – ammonia builds up rapidly and will kill the frogs but it is invisible to the eye, so take care to watch water quality.

      While frogs seem not, in general, to require UVB, green frogs do bask and some UVA/UVB will help live plants. I’ve raised them without, but lately have been leaning towards providing a low-output UVB bulb.

      You can purchase sow bug cultures here. Yes, avoid wild-caught houseflies (more for your health than theirs!) but commercial cultures are fine to use. Mealworms are not ideal, but if you keep a culture going the newly-molted (white) grubs are a good food; pupae offered on tongs and the beetles can also be fed. Earthworms are ideal as a staple.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Been a couple weeks. I just want to give some updates well as a few generalized observations in hindsight on the green frogs under my care.

    All 5 have fully metamorphosed now, although they still have tiny bumps where their tails used to be. I took your advice and have cultures going for sowbugs and redworms (eisenia foetida). The feeding schedule is rather improvised – I determine when to feed depending on how much was consumed during the previous session. And it differs among individual frogs. Some of them appear to be more voracious than others; but, oddly, so far appetite has not followed size e.g. the heaviest eater of the group is only moderate in size.

    There is a crucial detail to consider – I don’t feed them in their habitat; I move them to a smaller acrylic enclosure. Not all of them respond well to this relocation. At this point, I can identify distinct “personalities” within the five. A major part of that is each frog’s level of anxiety in response to stimuli. I’ve noticed that the calmest one in the group is irked the least when moved to the feeding container; and this frog just happens to be the aforementioned “heaviest eater.” Conversely, the more nervous individuals wind up eating the least and only after much coaxing. They spend most of their time in there bumping against the clear sides trying to escape.

    I’m not saying this is definite proof, as there are variables that are not considered, but there certainly is a documented connection between appetite and comfort level, one that’s not exclusive to frogs. There is also the practical dilemma of how to deal with this. I have to move them for feeding because food items will likely drown in the frogs’ mostly aquatic cage. Uneaten/decomposing food will also muck up the water quality. I’m hoping comfort issues during feeding will subside over time and as the they get older/bigger.

    Other notes:

    -One of the larger froglets seems to have trouble aiming from time to time. It would lunge at prey before they’re even in range, or even if they are, just flat out miss. Afterwards it would pause for a few minutes, as if trying to swallow a meal that never made it, before resuming hunting. Is this sort of thing common among the newly morphed?

    -The biggest froglet (and as a tadpole) ironically has the most skittish disposition.

    -Their skins change color quite dramatically depending the moment. They go from nearly blackish green to light olive. So far, I think their shade of color is not a reliable identity marker.

    -I’ve heard the rare squeak come from the direction of their cage.

    -Exactly 14 days separated the appearance of a front leg in the first tadpole, from that of the last tadpole.

    -Metamorphosis periods are not equally long. The second tadpole to “pop” front legs did it 5 days after the first one did the same. But they finished resorbing their tails at roughly the same time. Tail length and overall size might be a factor.

    -I mistakenly tried to feed a couple of them while they were still resorbing. Surprisingly, each took one bite (tiny phoenix worms), but would be disinterested in further food until metamorphosis was complete.

    Wow, this turned into quite a wordy post. Sorry if I got carried away with my ruminations.

    Until next time.

    • avatar

      Hello Brian, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the most interesting update. Your observations concerning the timing of metamorphosis and stress are very useful; the professional herp journals are full of larval rearing articles these days (head starting programs for endangered species) and we still have much to learn. One Herpetological Review article this month detailed means of measuring stress hormones in captive tadpoles, as a way to evaluate their habitat.

      Personalities definitely vary greatly, as you have seen. Another interesting field that is little studied – affects survival in captivity, as stress leads to immune system weakness and disease; very good that you are aware and keeping track of this. Frogs often adjust to tong-feeding; you may want to try and see if this might work and allow you to leave them in their aquarium during feeding. Flay basking platforms also serve well as feeding stations – please see this article for details. Floating live (pothos) or plastic plants will keep agile insects such as crickets above the water.

      Color changes in this species are not often noticed by keepers – great that you are aware. Can be related to stress, temperature and possibly a way of communicating with others.

      Squeaks are heard during aggressive encounters, or when a frog is startled. Green frogs surprised on a pond edge usually do so when jumping into the water – to distract enemy, or perhaps as a warning to others.

      Bad aim is common; there is a condition known as “short tongue syndrome” which is related to a Vit A deficiency; afflicted frogs cannot catch food at all. However, this would not likely show up so early in their development (in my experience). Supplement their food often at this stage, and stay with worms and sowbugs as staples, and they should do well.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please be sure to keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    Hey Frank,
    It’s been a while. My frogs are doing well. They’ve grown quite a bit and have begun sounding the occasional croak.

    I have just a quick question concerning the impending heat wave here in NYC. What is the temperature range that green frogs can tolerate?



    • avatar

      Hello Brian, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the update; glad all is going well.

      We don’t really know much about their tolerance, as in summer wild frogs always have access to water. I can say from personal experience that normal NYC indoor temps, even if a room is closed and shoots up into the 80’s, is ok assuming they have plenty of water. For prolonged heat waves, or in attic type apts where temps really soar, you can float a bag of ice cubes or a reusable freezer pac in a plastic bag; changing the water in the Am and or PM, to bring temps down, is also useful, but don’t do a sudden change of over 15F.

      Heat can exacerbate existing health problems and renders infection (red leg, tiny cuts) more likely. Also watch your water quality, as decomposition/bacteria growth proceed faster. A filter, or even a simple airstone will be useful in summer, along with frequent water changes.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Thank you for the helpful tips. I hadn’t considered the water deteroriating more quickly in the heat. Will definitely be changing it more often these days.


  8. avatar

    I just found your posts through a Google search for “green frog behavior”. I am writing because I have a very large pond in my yard in which a male (I assume because of its calling behavior and coloring) became a resident of last summer. All summer he called, and this summer I was excited to see several tadpoles that must have overwintered in the pond. 9 of them are now juvenile frogs, and there are still about 5 tadpoles in various stages of metamorphosis. I also see two other adult frogs on and off in addition to the male who seems to be a permanent resident. These other two adults do not make sounds, so I wonder if they are females? And if they are females, I am wondering why I never see them mating with the male when he spends most of his time calling for a mate! Also, will the juvenile frogs eventually leave the pond? I am hoping not, but I have read that they do leave their birth sites. I am suprised at the color variations in the frogs also. The permane

    • avatar

      Hi Liz,

      thanks for the kind words. You should be able to write as long as you wish, may have been some sort of glitch.

      Great situation you have there; I have a small pond as well, and learn so much there, and enjoy it immensely. Some frogs will even take insects that I toss to them. they do vary greatly in color…one population even has a few blue ones. Yellow throats are typical of males, although very light in some. A sure way to sex them is to check the ear, or tympanum size (circle directly behind eye). In males, it is larger than the eye; same size as the eye or a bit smaller than the eye in females.

      Calling is also to announce territory, so mating not always involved. Egg laying and fertilization most often occur at night (they may ignore lights, or you can use night vision glasses if available). Another reason you may not see mating is that females are quite choosy…they judge the male’s size and fitness by his call, and may move off to greener pastures if not suitably impressed.

      Juvenile dispersal depends on many factors. they need smaller insects upon which to feed and lots of cover; adults will eat them, so the amount of pressure from resident frogs is another factor. In some situations, all leave, while in others some go and some stay.

      thanks again, enjoy and please keep me posted, Best, Frank

  9. avatar

    Sorry I got cut off-too much writing maybe! Anyway, the permanent male is bright green with a bright yellow throat. The other two adults that come by are darker green and seem more bumpy almost. I see these variations in the juveniles also-there are two that look more like the permanent male, and the rest look more like the other two adults. Thanks for your informative articles-I’d love to hear a response to my questions! I love to watch them, and these are some of the observations/questions that I have come up with.

  10. avatar

    Thanks for the quick and informative response! I will continue to observe and I will definitely keep you posted of interesting observations or questions I may have.
    Thanks again,

  11. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    An update on my frogs/pond:
    Well someone finally chose the male frog because about a week ago, I saw some eggs in the pond. I collected some of them and now I have tiny tadpoles.
    Question: If I decide to bring them inside for the winter as opposed to putting th back in the pond, will they also overwinter indoors?
    Also, I managed to catch one of the juvenile frogs so that I can observe it more closely. I have been catching insects for it and I want to make sure it is getting enough food. So far today it has eaten 4 flies (it’s pretty fun to watch it catch them) but to me, the frog looks a little skinny.
    Thanks for your help,

    • avatar

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for the update. The tads may transform before or during winter indoors – the metamorphs are quite small, and providing a variety of live foods can be difficult. The tads will grow well on tropical fish food and kale that has been soaked for awhile in hot water.

      Larger frogs are easier to keep than small ones, but there are many considerations…varied diet, water quality and so on. Please see Part III of this article and write back with any questions. For now, you can feed on most days…they gorge in the summer and grow rapidly; long term, nutrition is important as mentioned in the article. Enjoy and pl keep me posted, best, Frank

  12. avatar

    Hi, Frank

    I just stumbled on this forum and saw you seem to be keeping up with it…which is awesome. We have a big pond in our back yard (1 acre) in southeast Michigan and have had a lot of fun rescuing baby turtles from the “mean fish” as my 5-year old calls them and getting them big enough to safely release the following spring. We didn’t get a baby turtle this year, but did get a baby (thumb sized) green frog. We have him in 4″ of water in a 29G tank, with a heat lamp and UV lamp normally use for the turtles. I bought a bunch of crickets and set up a cricket “death row” in wait of the hungry tongue. ..

    My question, oh maestro of turtles…is how many to feed him a day…or if I even should feed him every day. I’ve read a lot online but trust your insight more. You seem to really love these sweet little stalkers…he ate 3 crickets today…which seems quite gluttonous!

    Chris and Ava in Michigan

    • avatar

      Hi Chris and Ava,

      Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. I post every week and answer all questions. You can sign up for the RSS feed if you’d like to get notices of new articles, etc.,

      Sounds like a great opportunity for your little one to learn. I was out in a swamp all day yesterday with my 4.5 yr old nephew; we spend 1-2 days week together, usually outdoors. Bull and green frogs were in full summer feeding mode, blasting out of the water to get crickets we tossed to them. Also watched bluegills on nest, freed a cicada from a spider web, examined a lg female eastern painted turtle and water scorpion and so on…not sure who had more fun!

      Green frogs eat every day during hot weather; usually need far less in captivity but since it is in a lg tank at high temps you can give 3-4 small crickets on most days; fast 1-2 days/week. Best to vary diet, please see feeding and supplement suggestions here and let me know if you have any questions. No need for heat, but likely makes things more interesting as they get very bold when warm. Be sure to do frequent partial or full water changes, even if you have a filter. They produce a good deal of ammonia; having it in a large vol of water, as you do, is a good safety net, but don;t ignore water quality.

      Enjoy and please keep me posted, Best, Frank

  13. avatar

    We have a backyard pond that is home to several wild frogs and toads. We have one frog who we first noticed had a white rear foot (the skin was white, there didn’t appear to be fungus or anything “growing” on the skin) which quickly progressed to a white leg. At the same time the white area was expanding, she started losing her foot. She is down to 2 bones of the foot that are now completely exposed. The area where the foot attached to the leg now has a small open sore on it. We are concerned that her other leg may do the same thing. Are you able to tell us a cause of this, anything we can do to help heal it, and if it is something we should be worried about spreading to the others in the pond?
    We may be able to email you a picture if it would be helpful.
    Thanks for your help

    • avatar

      Hi Ashley,

      A wide variety of bacteria that are normally present in the environment can cause what you describe. They often enter via a small wound or abrasion. Most are contagious, and in captivity can cause loss of tankmates, etc. …in a more natural setting, such as a pond, this is less likely. Sometimes a frog will lose the affected limb and survive, but usually it does not live long. Unfortunately, treatment is very difficult, likely impossible at this stage. Some vets recommend euthanasia via freezing, under the theory that the frog slowly goes into hibernation mode and then expires. Oragel (extra strength) an over the counter oral pain medication, is also used to quickly and painlessly euthanize amphibians (rubbed on the chest and abdomen).

      Sorry I could not provide a more pleasant response,

      Best, Frank

  14. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    A quick question about the juvenile green frog that I have in an aquarium-last night it was doing something I hadn’t seen before-rubbing itself with its back legs, opening and closing its mouth, sinking it’s eyes in and arching it’s back. I thought maybe it was trying to swallow something or vomit, or that it was ill. But today it is perfectly fine and eating. When I googled it, I found that shedding frogs exhibit similar behavior-but not specifically green frogs. Do green frogs shed their skin? If not, do you know what the frog may have been doing?

    • avatar

      Hi Liz,

      Great observation…it was shedding; this is often done very quickly, and under cover (as frog is vulnerable to predators while shedding) so it nice that you got to see it. If the light is just right, you can see the skin being peeled from back to front and shoved directly into the mouth. All amphibians shed and consume their old skins; youngsters do so most frequently.

      Green frogs make great terrarium pets, but attention must be paid to diet and water quality – they often look great and then die suddenly, esp. if ammonia levels rise in tank. Please let me know if you need any more info. Enjoy, best, Frank

  15. avatar

    I have noticed that my female green frog (Ottis) is shedding is this a safety concern?

    • avatar

      Hello Brianna,.

      I’m, not sure I understand what you are asking…they generally eat the skin as it is being shed (old skin is pulled over the head, like a sweater); please send some more info, thx, best, Frank

  16. avatar

    My female frog is shedding her skin. Why do they shed there skin? Is it because there growing out of it like a lizard? I just want to no as much as I can about this shedding skin thing. Thanks Brianna

    • avatar

      Hello Brianna,

      Sorry for the delay…site maintenance held me up. Like lizards, all amphibians shed their skin as they grow;frogs and salamanders usually eat the skin as it is removed; we’re not sure about what most caeciliens do. Arthropods (insects, spiders, crabs, shrimp etc) also shed. Adult frogs that are not growing much will shed less often; more to replace worn-out skin, it seems, than to make room for growth; the skin secretes mucus, protects against bacterial attack, etc. Frogs may go through rapid shed cycles when they have external parasites, or if they come in contact with harmful chemicals, acidic water, water high in ammonia, etc. Some, like the African Bullfrog, form a “cocoon” of several shed skins in which to aestivate (remain dormant) during droughts; African bullfrogs may remain in aestivation for 8-12 months! Please let me know if you need more info, best, Frank

  17. avatar

    I emailed you and now I am on the blog. You said the Green frogs will only eat live food but you mentioned powdered crickets and canned insects. Please help me understand. The female is getting more use to me being around unless startled. Would love to bring Big Mama and the little one inside for the winter but not sure how to catch these swift little jumpers. If I do leave them in the pond I’m thinking of filling a pot with dirt or some rotting leaves and a little pea gravel on top. Can they dig into that to hibernate? Do they need to eat during the winter if in an outside pond? Can you tell I am a bleeding heart animal lover?? I do want to let nature take it’s course but If I can give her a little nudge well that’s me. I’ll do all I can to help any and all critters but I do know I can’t save them all. I know you don’t have all the answers and our observations help you. I just want to keep observing. Thanks Frank

    • avatar

      Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for posting here.

      Powdered refers to coating live insects with vitamins and minerals; canned insects are sometimes accepted by frogs if moved about via tongs (frogs must be well-habituated if this is to be successful).

      But there’s no need at all to supplement their diets…tossing insects their way is an interesting way to observe their feeding habits, but is not important to outdoor frogs in terms of diet etc.

      No need to provide a hibernation site; they generally sink to the bottom as the weather cools; however, they sometimes also over-winter on land, beneath logs, leaves etc (a natural anti-freeze prevents cell damage, really quite amazing). Either way, they would not likely use an artificial site. They do not feed during the winter.

      I would not recommend trying to keep them indoors if you’ve no experience with frogs…they are very hardy, but challenging for a first-time keeper, especially if taken in at this time of year (internal circadian rhythms already preparing them for winter). Best to leave them to their own devices. There’s no way around the fact that development influences them, but also no way to reverse that …green frogs often do much better in artificial pools than in more undisturbed habitats..fewer major predators, less competition, etc. Risks too, as with anything, but they are primed for that…of the several thousand eggs deposited by a mature female, perhaps 3-4 survive to maturity in most habitats.

      thanks again, I look forward to updates, enjoy,. Frank

  18. avatar

    I am so excited. I went out and started digging up earth worms. Found one slim one about two inches long and managed to drop it right in front of the baby on a lily pad. It wiggled she jumped on it and in a couple seconds it was gone. Now what I am wondering is I dropped a couple in the pond for big mama as I missed the log or the worms wiggled off. Will they eat them while underwater? One landed on the netting. When she saw it she jumped and missed. Of course both went underwater. Am I feeding my fish or the frogs. Tomorrow I am going to the pet store to buy some crickets. Only going to put in a couple at a time in the middle of the pond and hope the frogs see them

    • avatar

      Hi Brenda,

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying! These frogs do not feed underwater but the fish will eat the worms; many likely fall in each night. Crickets float for awhile and will be easy for the fr4ogs to grab. Have fun, Frank

  19. avatar

    Not sure if you or any of your colleagues can help me with this. We have had a Bette fish in a 2 gal. tank for a few months. Thought it would be nice to give him a bigger home. Bought a 5 gal. tank, set it up, added conditioner and good bacteria to get it started. We used a net to transfer him. The person at the pet store said I really needed filtration to keep the tank clean. I know they really don’t like moving water but thought he would get use to it and find a spot to rest where the water was calmer. After an hour or so we noticed he wasn’t doing so well. Very still and just laying on the bottom. Sometimes on his side. We know that’s a bad sign. I took some water out of the big tank, put it in the small tank and transferred him back. My husband thinks the pressure of the bigger tank was killing him. He’s doing better now. Can we take some water out of the 5 gal and day by day add more, will he get use to it? Does he really need a filter? Can I baffle it so it’s not so strong? If you know someone who can give some advice I will be grateful. BTW I fed the small frog again today but have not seen Big Mama all day.
    Thanks for any help

    • avatar

      Hello Brenda,

      The problem may have been due to a difference in water chemistry; always best to habituate fish slowly, not using more than 50% new water at once with bettas. Rapid currents will bother them also, but reaction you’ve seen is typical of shock due to a rapid change in some water quality parameter….very mild filtration is fine. Baffling or deflecting outflow may help. Can keep w/o filtration if you prefer as you have in past…Java moss will help water quality, or you can add a peace Lilly…terrestrial houseplant, but lives well with roots in water. Best, Frank

  20. avatar

    He has been in the smaller tank overnight. Not moving mush unless startled. Not eating. water temp is 76 F. I baffled the new tanks filter with a plastic water bottle to deflect the out flow. Temp in there is the same. I did add a little more water conditioner. Should I make the water warmer? I can go to the pet store and get Java moss. Is the peace Lily something I can get there? I guess bottom line is do you think he stands a chance or is the stress irreversible?

    • avatar

      Hello Brenda,

      Temperature is fine…not much to be done other than to see if the fish re-adjusts, as shock rather than a disease is involved. Moss/plants are just a good idea in general, in order to add oxygen, utilize wastes…not necessary per se and will not likely affect recovery. With “new” water, the usual culprit is a pH or temperature change, although copper and other factors can be involved. PH test strips can be used to check pH, and always be sure to remove chlorine/chloramines via preps sold for that purpose. Let water run from tap for a few min before using, esp. if home may have copper pipes. Pl let me know if you need anything, best, frank

  21. avatar

    Thank you so much for your advice regarding my Betta. I baffled the flow of the filter, added a live plant and moss. He is now in the 5 gal. tank and doing great. He doesn’t even mind the flow of the filter but I still don’t leave it on all day. Hasn’t eaten much yet but I figure he still needs to adjust. I’ll offer small amounts, Just want to add this. Why are there so many different views on caring for these fish? I have looked at many sites and get as many different views. Many claim to be experts. Could it be that each fish is an individual and may be just enough different from another Betta to allow the different thoughts on how to care for them? Thanks Again

    • avatar

      Hi Brenda,

      Glad to hear. Best not to shut filter, as the beneficial bacteria living there are aerobic, and are the most important aspect of the system (convert ammonia to nitrates); w/o oxygen, they die, which could add to water quality problems (they are not present in unfiltered tanks, but once established on filter media, die0offs can cause problems). Let me know what filter you are using if you need help with it…, there are many options for bettas. As for info,,,..there are individual differences but bettas have been kept/bred for thousands of years in Thailand, and since the inception of aquarium-keeping here in the US, so their needs are well-known. Internet research can be confusing if one is not able to rate the expertise of the author, as there are no controls, peer review etc…just as bad with reptiles, amphibs, etc. A good basic aquarium book is always best for commonly-kept fish, can always uprate via responsible net sites…I can direct you to books, etc if you need. Enjoy, Frank

  22. avatar

    Using a top Fin 10 filter. Came with the set up. No flow adjustment that’s why I baffled it. You are right. I will not shut off the filter. I should have learned that with my 800 gal pond in the back yard. Dah. Yes if you could let me know of a good book about Betta I would appreciate it. I have come to trust you.
    Thanks Brenda

  23. avatar

    Just an update. Haven’t seen the small frog in days. The larger one was around a couple days ago. Must be the cooler weather is changing their habits. Hope I see them next year.
    Betta fish is 100% now. Leaving the filter running. He sleeps on top of the heater but it’s not on now. Looking for a betta leaf hammock. Pet stores are out.
    One question. The good bacteria is established in the filter and tank. When I change the charcoal filter should I put it in the tank to soak for a while or take some water out and soak it in that? I clean my pond filters in a bucket of pond water. Don’t want to mess it up.
    Thanks for all your help

    • avatar

      Hi Brenda, thanks for the update…they will be less active as the weather cools, or may move away; I’ve had some hibernate on land, although this is not typical.’

      You can re-seed the filter by keeping a small bit of the old media (charcoal, floss, etc) in along with the clean media. Some will remain on filter walls etc also, so rinse with temperate water, best , Frank

  24. avatar

    Hi Frank, I love your q&a! For 6 years I’ve had a 600-gal pond in Central Massachusetts with frogs and fish — I currently have 3-4 green frogs and 5 shubunkins. It’s Oct. 30; temperatures have been low 55-60 during the day and 35-40 degrees at night: there is one 1-year-old green frog balanced on a water hyacinth (that I want to remove) and another 1-year-old frog sitting in a plant pot at 1″ above the water level. They have been there for the last 5 days. I’ve never seen frogs sitting out this late in the year. I’m concerned they will dehydrate. Should I push them into the water? Thanks for your help.

    • avatar

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the kind words! In artificial environments, frogs sometimes change their behaviors…is the pond heated? But even in natural situations, there’s some flexibility..here in s. NY I’ve seen bull and green frogs basking on warm winter days at an outdoor pond at the Bx zoo..not heated, but supplied with 55 F water year round. Always a risk as seasons change…losses occur even in undisturbed habitats, but I would leave them..days are warm enough to spur movement if needed. I’ve found green and bull frogs overwintering on land, below wet leaves, which shocked me – so they will hopefully be fine. Please keep me posted..if they move off, check area where they have been, I’m interested to hear what they do. Best, Frank

  25. avatar

    Hi Frank, thanks for your suggestions. 36 hours after I wrote, both frogs had disappeared from their open-air hangout spots. and I have not been able to find them My pond is not heated, It has a vigorous waterfall that I keep going for aeration until a hard freeze, then I put in a de-icer to keep a hole in the ice.

    We are on top of a steep hill, our only frogs are the tadpoles I buy and introduce. I’ve been able to tame green frogs enough to feed them by hanfd — crickets and mealy worms and local bugs. They remember me (or the food) from summer to summer which is quite heart-warming. They croak at me when I’m cleaning the filter or tending the plants, and hop out of the pond at me looking for food. I’ve had two frogs stick around for 4 years, but most take off at the end of the summer, perhaps heading for the swamp at the bottom of out hill, about 1/4 mile away.

    Durning the summer I’ve noticed frogs take off for weeks (in one instance 2 months), then return. I’ve found them in my flower and rock garden 20-30 feet away from the pond. I’ve thought they hibernated in the garden too as I’ve never seen one hibernating. But I don’t search for them in the winter; I let leaves and debris accumulate at the bottom.

    From time to time I’ve also had bull frogs. Tadpoles are so similar to green frogs that I can’t choose one or the other. I love bullfrogs call but i’ve never been able to tame a bull frog. The only “volunteer” tadpoles I’ve had In my pond were quite small’ less than a inch.. I didn’t see them develope and I wondered if they were toad tadpoles.

    • avatar

      Hello Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the interesting observations…great that you can work so closely with them. I’ve had a few, indoors and out, that also hand feed etc..very nice to see. they definitely recall and ;learn from experience – easy to see if you approach a wild one! Bullfrogs will do so as well, but in my experience they take longer. one population nearby will come within 2 feet of us, but that’s bout it/. I had some very habituated bullfrogs in an outdoor pond at the Bx Zoo..I’d toss crickets to them for school groups. One day a young frog’s leap brought him right in front of a large adult, who stuffed the little one, kicking and fighting, down his throat as a group of youngsters watched!

      Would be interesting if you could document them over-wintering in the pond…success would likely depend on the amount of oxygen in the water. They can definitely sense water 1/4 mile away, so you’re likely right about the swamp. Interesting they they forage 20-30 feet away…I’ve seen that in leopard/pickerel frogs, but not greens.

      Toads of all types and treefrogs are especially good at locating water, and are quick to take advantage of new sites…ponds, construction pits, etc)…let me know if you wish to raise any of the little types indoors so as to ID the species; most are simple to rear.

      keep up the good work, and let me know what you see, enjoy, frank

  26. avatar

    I have a small pond in my back yard, it is now in the shade and as it is getting colder, I worry about the frog that is living in the pond. Should I take him out and put him in the ditch so he has mud to crawl into?’ I surly don’t want him to die.

    Thanks, Phebe

    • avatar


      They are good at finding hibernation sites, although artificial ponds can throw them off. please send more info -location, pool filter/aeration if any, depth; are there frogs in the site you would move him to? best, Frank

  27. avatar

    Thanks for your response Frank. My pond is very small, just a water feature really, 50 gallons, no fish, depth 2′ at deepest, but this guy is on a shelf only about 8″ from the surface water. The pond is in the sun during summer but now in total shade which is my concern. Filter and aeration is just a small pump that recirculates the water from the pond up to a little water fall of 2 levels, flows back into the pond and there is a little fountain. In the summer there are usually several frogs and toads in and around the pond that come from a ditch at the back of our property about 50 yards away. There are many other frogs in the ditch and my summer visitors seem to all retreat there for the winter and bury themselves in the mud; this guy has not left the pond and I would hate for him to die. Of course my husband thinks I’m crazy…….. At any rate I’ve been known to try and ‘save’ things but don’t know this time if I should move him. In winter the pond never totally freezes because I never turn the pump off, but if it gets really cold it does ice up except for where the water flows. Should I move him to the ditch?

    Thanks, Phebe

    • avatar

      Hi Phebe,
      Since other frogs move to the ditch, it would be best to re-locate this frog…they do vary a bit in their behavior, even re instinctual aspects, and the presence of open water etc can “throw off” their normal reactions to seasonal changes – so it makes sense (to frog-types, anyway!) to be concerned. Best, Frank

  28. avatar

    Frog transfer completed successfully!! Thanks for your input!


  29. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    We have a small backyard pond that has been a breeding site for various frogs and salamanders for several years. This year it is incredibly overpopulated with green frogs mating and laying eggs. However I noted a disturbing sight today with 2 green frogs tearing apart a live leopard frog almost three times their size. Could they be killing it for food or to protect their eggs or in a spirit of territoriality or all three?
    I never realized frogs could be so aggressive. Otherwise they put on a fascinating show for our entire family.

    • avatar

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for the interesting observation. I’m a little perplexed, perhaps you can send more details…green frogs will swallow any smaller frog, but their teeth /mouths do not allow for tearing motions; also, adults of breeding size would be as large, and usually larger, than an adult leopard frog.

      Male green frogs will drive one another away from females, but they are not stricktly territorial when breeding, as are bullfrogs.

      Males will attempt to grasp any suitably-sized frog in amplexus (mating embrace), including other species (and even fish, floating debris, etc!!). If several males grab onto the same female, it can appear very chaotic, and in some cases the female will be drowned – could this be what you have observed – several males attempting to mate with a leopard frog?

      Where are you located?

      Looking forward to hearing from you, best, frank

About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

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.
Scroll To Top