Wood frogs are interesting little creatures that can be found in the northern parts of North America. They are relatively common animals, but that doesn't make them any less interesting.
Wood frogs can be found in the wooded areas, grasslands and tundra of northern North America. They can be found in, near or far from bodies of water in their habitat. Adult wood frogs tend to move away from the water during the summer months.
A fully-grown wood frog is typically around three inches long. They are brown, tan or pinkish in color with a white underbelly and may also have differing patterns of blackish stripes and spots on their bodies. All wood frogs have one black stripe on either side of their face that begins at the front of the face, goes past the eyes and to the eardrum located near the back of the animal’s head. They have two ridges, one on either side of the back. A telltale feature that a wood frog has are toes on their front legs that are not webbed as completely as that of some other frogs. Males also have enlarged thumbs. This not only makes it easy to tell what kind of frog they are, but it also aids in discovering the sex of the animal, if you should have the need to do so.
Wood frogs mate in the early months of spring. During the mating season, the male wood frogs will spend time in the water, calling out to potential mates. Once they see another frog that they are interested in mating with, they will jump onto it’s back and hold on. They do this to decipher the sex of the other frog, as they are unable to do this without feeling the frog to see if it is swollen with eggs. If a male frog jumps on another male frog, the offended frog will give a croak of warning and the offender will jump off of it.
Female wood frogs will lay more than one thousand eggs at a time. They lay the eggs into the water and the eggs are sometimes attached to pond debris or plant life. Wood frogs reproduce in a group setting, so all of the eggs wind up in the same area, they then become covered in algae, causing an “egg mat” to form on the surface of the water. The tadpoles are a brownish-black color when they hatch. They are adults within two months of hatching.
Wood frog tadpoles will eat algae when they are young and quickly graduate to insect larvae. Adults eat insects, snails, slugs and worms. Birds of prey, raccoons and other small forest dwelling carnivores or omnivores may eat them.
The most interesting thing about wood frogs is their ability to freeze during hibernation. In the climates that these frogs dwell in, it is necessary to hibernate and in many of these areas, it is very cold during the winter. Wood frogs are able to find themselves some shelter under natural debris, rather than digging deep into mud or earth to hibernate, because they are able to freeze several times during hibernation and then thaw out in the spring. For more information regarding wood frog hibernation click here.
Wood Frog, retrieved 10/13/09, fcps.edu/islandcreekers/ecology/wood_frog.htm
Wood Frog, retrieved 10/13/09, enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?reenum=AR0033