NatureMapping Animal Facts

Northern Leopard Frog

distribution map

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)
Also know as the meadow frog.
La Rana Leopardo Nortena - en Espaņol
Species code: RAPI

Description: The backs of adult northern leopard frogs and juveniles are a green or brown base color - covered with large, oval dark spots, regular in outline, and surrounded by a lighter border. Northern Leopard Frog The ventral color is white to cream, with some pinkish patches on the feet. These medium-sized frogs have large hind legs with dark bars, pale underparts, and prominent dorsolateral ridges. A white stripe runs along the upper jaw and back to the shoulder. The skin is smooth. (see photo)

Adult Northern Leopard Frogs range from 5.5 to 10 centimetres from nose to rump. Females are somewhat larger than males.

Tadpoles are dark brown or grey, with light blotches on the underside. The tail is pale tan.

Range/ Habitat: The northern leopard frog ranges through the northern part of North American, but have limited distribution on the Pacific Coast. The can be found living near ponds and marshes.

The Northern leopard frog in Washington State occurs around marshes and potholes in steppe and dry forest. However, little is known of its current status in the State. It once apparently occurred in much of the Columbia Basin and was common on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, but it appears to have be extirpated from much of the Basin. It may be restricted to the vicinity of the Crab Creek drainage near Moses Lake. It also occurs along the Pend Oreille River drainage and vicinity in northeastern Washington.

Diet: Carnivore. The northern leopard frog eats a wide variety of animals including ants, beetles, flies, worms, and smaller frogs. Using their large mouth, they can even swallow birds, and garter snakes.

Reproduction: The Northern Leopard Frog breeds between late April and early June in a wide array of habitats including marshes, ponds, lakes, ditches, and slow-moving streams.

Each female mates once, lays a single egg mass containing between 1000 and 5000 eggs - then leaves the pond.

Behavior: In summer, adults and juveniles commonly feed in open or semi-open wet meadows and fields with short vegetation. The meadows are usually near the margins of waterbodies where they seek cover underwater. Sometimes they are called "meadow frogs".

Did you know?

  • The northern leopard frog lives 2 to 4 years in the wild.
  • They are collected for the food industry (frog legs).
  • A group of frogs is called an army.

    Northern Leopard Frog
    Northern Leopard Frog

    More Information:
    Northern Leopard Frog Fact Sheet - B.C. Frogwatch Program
    Northern Leopard Frog Photo Gallery

    Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

    Photo Credit: BL

    Home | About Us | How to Participate | Biodiversity Modules | Projects | Maps | News | Resources