Pickerel Frog – Rana palustris

I was super happy to find this large frog and 2 small ones in our prairie!

Status: Special Concern, rare but stable

Pickerel frogs overwinter in cold water habitat but spend most of their time out of water. We could expect to see them until October when they will burrow into the bottoms of streams for the winter. It’s about April when we see them again. Breeding will begin shortly after emerging and is usually in wooded areas. Once this is complete, they’ll move to our prairie areas.

Vernal pools are important for these frogs; not only do they prefer to spend time in the shallower waters, they prefer to lay their eggs in waters that aren’t deep. Eggs are generally laid in May with tadpoles hatching in 7 or so days. While tadpoles are herbivorous, tasty treats for adults are caterpillars, butterflies, flies, gnats, and beetles – they can find lots of these in our prairies.

Their defense against snakes is a skin secretion which makes them taste bad and could be toxic to some critters. These secretions can be irritating to bare human skin as well.