Pickerel Frog Facts

Pickerel frog facts are genuinely interesting to read.

The pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris) as its scientific name suggests is usually confused with the leopard frog due to its brown spotted body. The distinctive factor between these species is the yellow-colored thigh of the pickerel frog which connects with two rows of folded skin that further stretches to the top of the frog's head. The life cycle of these frogs is quite interesting as they all go through a metamorphosis. Adult frogs mate and lay thousands of eggs. When these eggs hatch, their life cycle begins as tadpoles in the form of larvae. These then develop into frogs after a span of 87 to 95 days.

This frog unlike other frogs has a snore-like call. A call that is usually used by  male frogs during the breeding period to attract females. They also communicate with the help of this call which is hardly audible to humans.

Continue reading for more interesting facts about the pickerel frog. To know more about other such animals, check marsh frog and pacman frog facts too.

Pickerel Frog

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Ants, small bugs, spiders, and sawfly larvae

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

2-4 in (4.5-7.5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown-black, white, and yellow-orange

Skin Type

Soft and moist skin

What are their main threats?

Green frogs, snakes, bullfrogs, and large birds

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Flood plain swamps, coastal plains, turbid waters, cool springs, ponds, streams, and weed-covered areas


Canada, eastern Texas, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Wisconsin





Scientific Name

Lithobates palustris





Pickerel Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pickerel frog?

The pickerel frog is a frog belonging to the Ranidae family of animals.

What class of animal does a pickerel frog belong to?

Pickerel frogs belong to the Amphibia class of animals.

How many pickerel frogs are there in the world?

Although this species of the Rana genus frogs is not extinct and has a stable population, the exact number of their population is not known.

Where does a pickerel frog live?

These animals belong to the list of reptiles and amphibians. Eastern Texas, central America, Canada, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Wisconsin are a few areas where this animal range is highly found.

What is a pickerel frog's habitat?

They have a wide habitat range in the eastern parts of America. These frogs are specifically found in water bodies near coastal plains, flood plains, and swamps. Ones located in the south are mainly found in warm ponds, streams, and springs. In the northern areas, these small animals prefer a habitat with cool wetlands, ponds, springs, and streams. In hot weather or specifically during summers, these pickerel frogs seek woodlands, or weed-covered areas, and grasslands as their favorable habitat.

Who do pickerel frogs live with?

Although this pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris) is spotted with many other frogs near ponds and streams, their exact social life preferences are not clearly known to humans.

How long does a pickerel frog live?

The exact life cycle and life expectancy of these frogs are not known as they hibernate for long durations. It is said that these pickerel frogs have an average lifespan of five to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

As these frogs are known to hibernate until late March or April, their breeding season is said to begin in early May. The breeding usually happens in the cool water of natural or temporary ponds. To attract females, males carry out a low-pitched call from under the water. This call by males is so low and might be inaudible to humans. Once the female agrees and pays attention to the call, the male grabs the female with his front legs and rests on her back. These frogs use the amplexus process of reproduction. In this process, females lay egg masses attached to the pond vegetation, then males externally fertilize the eggs that these females lay.

Over the period of 10 to 21 days,  700 to 3000 eggs hatch. There are thousands of tadpoles on the vegetation branches of the pond. These tadpoles go through a metamorphosis process over a span of three months or 95 days to turn into young frogs. They then take another two years to grow into sexually mature adults.

What is their conservation status?

This species of pickerels do have predators, however they are listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in their Red list for reptiles and amphibians across the world.

Pickerel Frog Fun Facts

What does a pickerel frog look like?

These frogs are often confused with northern leopard frogs in physical description. Pickerel frog females are darker and larger than males. Pickerels have chocolate-brown squarish spots usually divided in two rows on their head and the back between their dorsolateral folds. These rows of dorsolateral folds usually reach their groin. In case of description, the pickerel frog is distinguished from the northern leopard frog with the help of this bright yellow-orange-colored groin and thigh area. This palustris, pickerel frog, has its bright yellow and orange thigh connected to the white-colored belly and long hind legs. Males are distinguished by their vocal sacs, swollen thumbs, and stout forearms especially during the breeding season. This pickerel frogs breed do not have long tongues like other frogs, but they have a big mouth that can fit prey as big as themselves.

Pickerel frogs are confused with leopard frogs because of their chocolate-brown spots.

How cute are they?

This Rana species of frog might have a bright yellow and orange colored distinction from the leopard frog but it is still not considered cute, especially because of its skin secretions that are irritating to humans.

How do they communicate?

As male frogs of this species are distinguished by their paired vocal sacs, it is understood that they do communicate with their acoustics. A male tries to attract females with its low snore-like sound during the breeding period. This snore-like call is quite low-pitched and recognized mostly by females alone.

How big is a pickerel frog?

This is quite a large frog, especially when compared with the Paedophryne amauensis. These pickerels with brown spots are at least 10 times bigger than Paedophryne frogs with a size of 2-4 in (4.5 - 7.5 cm).

How fast can a pickerel frog swim?

This range of Rana species does not have webbed feet to help them swim rapidly. They can swim a little and live in the water but their swimming speed is not known.

How much does a pickerel frog weigh?

These amphibians are considered to be medium-sized frogs but their weight range is still not gauged by human recordings.

What are their male and female names of the species?

This species of pickerels do not have different names based on their gender.

What would you call a baby pickerel frog?

Once the eggs hatch, the small by-products or larvae of these frogs are called tadpoles.

What do they eat?

Although the tadpoles of this species are considered herbivorous until they develop fully, adults usually feed on ants, small bugs, snails, spiders, and sawfly larvae.

Are they poisonous?

Yes. These pickerel frogs produce toxic skin secretions that they use to kill small animals. Even though this poisonous secretion does not kill all predators, many frog-eating snakes avoid preying on these frogs as they might be fatal after consumption.

Would they make a good pet?

Pickerels are kept as pets and most of the time they need a lot of care as they are semi-aquatic creatures. Additionally, they might prove to be poisonous to other pets in the house. They are not always considered as the best of pets.

Did you know...

Even though  pickerel frogs living in the south, eastern, and northern regions are considered to be poisonous, they aren't half as deadly as the golden poison frog. These golden ones are also known as poison dart frogs and they can kill fully grown humans with their poison.

These pickerel frogs have a mixed habitat preference, for instance the population living in the south prefers warm water whereas the ones in the north prefer cold water to live in.

Are pickerel frogs poisonous to dogs?

No. Even though pickerels secrete toxic substances that might kill a few predators, their secretion is not harmful to dogs.

Do pickerel frogs eat worms?

Yes. These frogs do eat worms and usually feed on earthworms and waxworms for their dietary supplements.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other Amphibians including crocodile skink, or glass frog.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our frog color by numbers coloring pages.



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