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Meet Green Frog

Photo by Matthew Kosloski on Unsplash

Most green frogs are green, but some are brownish green, yellowish green, or olive. Their legs have dark bands across them, and their skin is yellowish or white below the bands. Males usually have a bright yellow throat.

Green frogs look similar to bullfrogs, but they are smaller and have two ridges extending from behind the eye to midbody. These ridges are lacking in bullfrogs. Adult green frogs are about four inches in length.

Green frogs live throughout the Great Lakes region near inland waters, such as

swamps, ponds, lakes, marshes, bogs, and the banks of slow-moving rivers and

streams. They hibernate through the winter in the mud beneath the water.

Breeding season lasts for about two months in late spring. Males establish and defend

breeding territories in shallow water. To attract females, they give out explosive “bongs”

that sound like plucking a loose banjo string. Males also give out more aggressive calls

and growls when defending their territories from intruding males. When startled of

attached by predators, both males and females give out alert calls that sound like the

screams of a human baby.

Females lay 1000 to 4000 small black-and-white eggs in clusters that float on the

surface of the water or hang from water plants. About four days later, the eggs hatch

into tadpoles, which are green with small black dots and yellow bellies. It can take

anywhere from 3 to 22 months for tadpoles to metamorphosis into full grown frogs. Most

tadpoles undergo this transformation before winter, but some go into hibernation and

wait until next spring to transform. Adults reach maximum size when they are about five

years old.

Green frogs are carnivores. They eat all manner of insects and crustaceans as well as

vertebrates, such as small snakes and frogs. They have an excellent sense of vision

and tend to lie in wait for any prey that comes within reach. Adult green frogs are preyed upon by larger frogs, turtles, snakes, herons, other wading birds, raccoons, otters, mink, and humans. Eggs and tadpoles are eaten by leeches, dragonfly larvae, other aquatic insects, fish, turtles, and herons.

Often, I'll see green frogs and mistake them for leopard frogs. Both have green and brown variations. But leopard frogs have dark green to black spots along their sides. The easiest way to distinguish them however is by their sounds. Check out this video to learn more about these mosquito eating machines.

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