Leopard Frog

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Leopard Frog

Last updated: February 24, 2021
Verified by: IMP
Image Credit Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock.com

They can jump up to three feet

Leopard Frog Scientific Classification


Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Leopard Frog Conservation Status

Leopard Frog Facts

Main Prey
Insects, Mollusks, birds, Worms, snakes, frogs
Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Largely solitary
Fun Fact
They can jump up to three feet
Estimated Population Size
Biggest Threat
Habitat loss, pollution
Most Distinctive Feature
Leopard-like spots
Other Name(s)
Meadow frog, grass frog
Gestation Period
70-110 days
Average Spawn Size
Up to 6500
Forest, grassland, wetland
Various, including raccoons, foxes, snakes, birds, frogs, humans
Common Name
Leopard Frog
From southern Canada through northern South America

Leopard Frog Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Green
Skin Type
Five to eight years
One half to three ounces
Two to five inches

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“Leopard frogs are very popular with humans.”

Leopard frogs are a popular pet, a delicious food source, and they have found a calling in laboratory experiments in laboratory experiments and science classrooms. Leopard frogs, also known as a meadow or grass frog, is the common name for lithobates, the “true frog” genus. They share this name with the American Bullfrog and others.

5 Incredible Leopard Frog Facts!

  • These frogs live about five years.
  • A female may lay nearly 7000 eggs at one time.
  • The tadpoles have eyes on top of their heads rather than on the sides like many other species.
  • Not all species of these frogs have the distinctive spots from which they get their name.
  • Leopard frogs can be cannibals, sometimes eating other smaller leopard frogs.

Leopard Frog Scientific Name

The scientific name for these frogs is Lithobates, which is the genus name for amphibians in the true frog family. They are in the family Ranidae, class Amphibia. They are also known as grass frog, meadow frog, or Rana pipiens. There are potentially twenty-three known species of these frog:

  • Atlantic Coast Frog (Lithobates kauffeldi)
  • Bigfoot Frog (Lithobates megapoda)
  • Browns’ Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum)
  • Chiricahua Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis)
  • Forrer’s Grass Frog (Lithobates forreri)
  • Guerreran Frog (Lithobates omiltemanus)
  • Island Leopard Frog (Lithobates miadis)
  • Lemos-Espinal’s Frog (Lithobates lemosespinali)
  • Lenca Frog (Lithobates lenca)
  • Lowland Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis)
  • Montezuma Frog (Lithobates montezumae)
  • Northern Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
  • Northwest Mexico Frog (Lithobates magnaocularis)
  • Peralta Frog (Lithobates taylori)
  • Pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris)
  • Plains Frog (Lithobates blairi)
  • Relict Leopard Frog (Lithobates onca)
  • Rio Grande Frog (Lithobates berlandieri)
  • Showy Frog (Lithobates spectabilis)
  • Southern Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
  • Tlaloc’s Leopard Frog (Lithobates tlaloci)
  • Transverse Volcanic Frog (Lithobates neovolcanicus)
  • Vegas Valley Frog (Lithobates fisheri)

Leopard Frog Appearance

These frogs are between two to five inches in length and vary in color between species anywhere from dull brown to bright green, and all the shades in between, many with white underbellies. Regardless of their main body color, nearly all of these frogs have dark spots in a leopard-like pattern. They are so similar in appearance that they were believed to be all one species until they came into common use in laboratories in the 1940s, at which point scientists began to note distinct differences between the species. The female of the species is larger than the male, and southern frogs tend to be smaller than northern frogs. The tadpoles are distinguishable from other frog species because they have dorsal rather than lateral eyes and a white stripe in between their nostrils.

Alexander Sviridov/Shutterstock.com

Leopard Frog Behavior

These frogs are solitary, coming together only for mating. They do have parental care, as the offspring are briefly cared for by the females before going off on their own. These frogs are nocturnal, semi-aquatic, and hibernate in the winter, when they may stop eating for as long as three months! The tadpoles are herbivores, but fully grown adults are carnivorous. The male’s calling noises have been likened to a snore.

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Leopard Frog Habitat

These frogs divide their time between land and water. They require moisture from the water, but most of their food is found on land since they feed primarily on insects. They favor grassland that is near water. Bodies of water also allow them to escape predators more easily. They can be found anywhere from the Hudson Bay in Canada down to Mexico and even into upper South America.

Leopard Frog Diet

While these frogs primarily feed on insects, they are opportunists and will eat whatever they can find. This may even include other leopard frogs! They have been known to consume small birds and snakes. They are somewhat lazy hunters, who tend to sit and wait for prey to come along. They then catch them with long tongues that are tacky and stick to prey to keep it from escaping before it is swallowed whole.

Leopard Frog Predators and threats

These frogs have many predators because they are not one of the species of frog that secretes a toxin through their skin. They are hunted by birds, reptiles, mammals like raccoons and foxes, and even other frogs. Humans are a threat to them not only because people consume frog legs, but because these frogs, northern leopard frogs, in particular, are commonly used in labs and also in classrooms for dissection, and due to habitat encroachment.

Leopard Frog Reproduction and Life Cycle

These frogs reproduce by sexual reproduction. Once a male and female mate, the female frog may lay up to 6500 eggs at one time. Depending on many factors, including weather, those eggs may take anywhere from two to four months to hatch into tadpoles and grow into adult frogs. Though adult frogs are carnivores, the tadpoles are herbivores who eat algae and decaying organic matter. These frogs generally live an average of five years in the wild, though they have been known to live as long as nine years.

Leopard Frog Population

The conservation status for most species of these frogs is decreasing. While there are many species of frogs that are not considered in any danger, many other species have populations that are in decline, with several species listed as endangered or even critically endangered. At least one species, the Las Vegas or Vegas Valley Leopard Frog, is listed as extinct.

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Leopard Frog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are leopard frogs carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?

Leopard frogs are carnivorous, though the tadpoles are herbivores.

What is a leopard frog?

A leopard frog is a brown or green frog with dark oval spots in a pattern that resembles a leopard. The males have a calling sound similar to a human snore.

How do you care for a leopard frog?

To thrive, a leopard frog needs adequate space, temperatures between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a habitat with both terrain and freshwater. Their habitat must be cleaned every couple of weeks and they must be fed not only insects but nutritional supplements, for growth and to protect them from disease.

Do leopard frogs make good pets?

Leopard frogs do make good pets, but they do require weekly maintenance on their habitat. They do not enjoy being held and they can carry salmonella, so handling should be kept to a minimum and post-handling hygiene is important.

Are leopard frogs poisonous?

No, nor are they venomous, but they can transmit salmonella.

How big do leopard frogs get?

Leopard frogs can grow up to five inches in length.

What does a leopard frog eat?

Leopard frogs eat insects, worms, snakes, birds, and other frogs.

Can leopard frogs live with fish?

Because Leopard Frogs are carnivorous, they should not be kept with any fish that are small enough for them to ingest, but larger species of fish should be fine. They are only semi-aquatic, so they cannot be kept in a tank without an above-water land area.

  1. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/leopard-frog
  2. EOL, Available here: https://eol.org/pages/1019093
  3. IUCN Redlist, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/search?query=leopard%20frog&searchType=species
  4. The Spruce Pets, Available here: https://www.thesprucepets.com/leopard-frogs-1236814
  5. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_frog
  6. Thought Co, Available here: https://www.thoughtco.com/northern-leopard-frog-facts-4588922
  7. National Geographic, Available here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/facts/northern-leopard-frog

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