The Pickerel Frog looks somewhat similar to the Northern Leopard Frog; however the Pickerel Frog is always brown (leopard frogs can be green or brown), spots on its back are somewhat rectangular, outlined in black, and tend to be organized in two rows. Sometimes the spots fuse to form bands. Pickerel Frogs measure 1½-3 inches long. They have prominent dorsolateral ridges, a white chest and belly, but a yellow “waistcoat” and yellow down the insides of its legs. Their yellow and brown eggs form a dense mass.
Pickerel Frogs call in Vermont from mid-April to mid-June, most commonly in the latter half of May. The Pickerel Frog’s call is described as a short snore.
The Pickerel Frog is generally found state-wide, but it is usually absent from extensive lowlands. It is often found near beaver ponds and reservoirs in upland meadows or old log landings with dense annual vegetation.
The Pickerel Frog is a fairly common species in Vermont, with a state natural heritage rank of S5. Please report sightings of this species in Vermont if you have not reported them within the last five years from a given location. Any natural history observations (feeding, migrations, road crossing areas, early or late season appearance, abnormalities, etc.) are appreciated. Photographs are always helpful, particularly if your report is the first report of this species from a town.
All the Vermont species listed in the Rana genus were reclassified into the Lithobates genus in 2007.
- Rana palustris at Amphibiaweb
- Lithobates palustris at Animal Diversity website
- Rana palustris at the Yale Peabody Museum website
- Listen to its calls
at Animal Diversity,
at Frog Quiz,
or at Yale Peabody Museum (.wav format)
Species summary written by Ariel K. McK. Burgess.