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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Wood Frog: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Wood frog facts that will leave you awe.

Lithobates sylvaticus or Rana sylvatica, is a frog species found in North America. The body size of the wood frogs ranges from 2-2.8 in (5-7.1 cm). It feeds on various forest floor invertebrates. Although, tadpoles eat dead and decaying organic matter of plants and animals, eggs of other reptiles, and amphibians. The life cycle involves the metamorphosis of egg, larva or tadpole, and adult. The breeding season is from early March to the last of May. During the breeding season, their behavior involves emitting calls to attract females. For breeding, they need fish-free water bodies. Females deposit eggs near the other egg masses. After hatching and metamorphosis, the juveniles often move to new locations.

Both genders have brown, red, gray, and green body colors. There is a distinct patch on the eyes known as robber's mask. As diurnal amphibians, frogs are mostly active during the day, except in mating season, when they are also active during the night. The wood frog tadpoles breed near temporary water bodies like ponds and streams. They also require water bodies surrounded by vegetation in which they hide to protect themselves from predators.

If you like the wood frog, continue reading for more interesting facts and also check out the Chinese giant salamander and the Japanese giant salamander.

Wood Frog Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wood frog?

A wood frog is a type of frog species.

What class of animal does a wood frog belong to?

It belongs to the class Amphibia of phylum Chordata.

How many wood frogs are there in the world?

The population size of the wood frogs is unknown.

Where does a wood frog live?

Wood frogs live in a range of habitats with distribution across the world. The wood frog's habitat ranges from the forests of northeast and Alaska of the United States to south Alabama and Idaho. Its range extends to north Georgia and northeast Canada Alaska, and British Columbia. Rana sylvatica is the only frog species that thrive north of the Arctic circle and the most broadly distributed species in Alaska. It also survives in the Medicine Bow National Forest.

What is a wood frog's habitat?

Different habitat includes a variety of places such as thicket, bogs, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, wet meadows, and tundra. During the summer season, the adult spends its time in moist woodland and forested swamps. In the winter season, also the breeding season, it migrates to the nearby uplands with breeding pools to overwinter. However, some might remain in the primary place even in the winter but move from the principal site to breed in early spring. Most frogs hibernate in the topsoil layer, under leaf litter, which is near to the breeding ponds. As water breeders, they need fish-free water bodies to reproduce. The various water bodies include ephemeral, vernal pools, and freshwater wetlands. The breeding site may range over one kilometer far from the primary site. Wood frogs are mostly active during the day and scarcely move around at night, except in mating season. These animals are the primary amphibians to appear for mating just after the snow melts, along with spring peepers.

Who do wood frogs live with?

Wood frogs are solitary animals but gather in groups during the mating season near breeding ponds.

How long does a wood frog live?

The lifespan of adult wood frogs is between four and five years, specifically living in Quebec and southern Illinois. Many studies show that male wood frogs live for about three to four years. The reason behind the shorter lifespan of males is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) ranges from early March to May. They breed in temporary water bodies rather than permanent pools like lakes, pools, and streams. It is due to the fact that the ephemeral pools provide protection to both adult wood frogs and their offsprings, including eggs and tadpoles, from being eaten by fish and various other predators in persistent water pools. The mating frogs come out from winter sleeping in early spring and move to nearby water bodies. To attract females for mating, the males emit duck-like quacking sounds. After that, they approach females and grasp their forearms from behind before clasping their thumbs together around the females in a position known as 'amplexus'. They stay in this holding position until the females deposit the eggs to the submerged substrate, particularly a type of vegetation or toppled branches. Generally, the eggs are installed near the other egg masses, which creates bigger accumulations of eggs. A single female lays from 1000-3000 eggs at a time with a diameter of 3.9-5.1 in (10-13 cm) of a single egg. It increases the survival of the offsprings. After some days, the egg mass becomes flatten and settled on the water surface. There is a benefit associated with early mating, as egg litters closer to the nucleus of the boat absorb warmth and grow faster than those on the edges. They also have more cover from predators and other dangers. However, breeding in temporary pools has many disadvantages too. For instance, if the pool gets dried up before the wood frog tadpoles enter into the next stage, they will die. So, breeding pairs increase the survival of their offsprings by mating in the early days of spring. Eggs hatching takes place after 9-30 days.

The development of wood frogs' larvae involves two stages. In the first stage, the fertilization of eggs takes place, and their development to freely living tadpoles begins. In the second stage, the larvae develop into juvenile frogs. Their growth rate depends on numerous factors, such as water temperature, quality of water, food availability, and population density. After metamorphosis, a low percentage of juveniles move to different places, permanently. However, some young ones return to their native pool to mate. Most wood frogs mate only for a single time in their lives but some of them mate over three times. The accomplishment of both larvae and tadpoles is crucial for the gene flow and genetic mutation of the next generations. Wood frogs display explosive breeding at the onset of the first warm rain. Frogs wake up from the long sleeping and migrate to breeding pools.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the conservation status of this animal is Least Concern, as these animals are abundantly present in the world. Even though they are a common species in most parts of their habitat, the loss of their native places in a few areas puts them in the category of species of Special Concern. Many predators that help control the species include ribbon snakes, larger frogs, water snakes, raccoons, mink, herons, and snakes. The wood frog life cycle is complex that depends on numerous factors, such as, damp lowlands, multiple habitats, and woodlands. Therefore the conversion of its habitat requires integrated, landscape-scale preservation.

Wood Frog Fun Facts

What do wood frogs look like?

Wood frogs' body length ranges between 2-2.8 in (5-7.1 cm). Females are bigger than males. Adult wood frogs are generally light brown or rust-colored with a dark eye mask, also known as robber's mask. However, every individual can vary its color. Due to this, the wood frog camouflage in the vegetation and easily avoid predators. The wood frog's underside parts are dull yellow or green. There is a white outline on the upper lip of these frogs. During mating season, the wood frogs turn a little orangeish yellow.

Wood frogs have a wood like body coloration, along with a slimy and shiny body.

How cute are they?

They are not cute animals as some frogs can be poisonous to touch. However, some individuals still keep them as pets.

How do they communicate?

They communicate with a call of duck-like quaking sound. The male frog's exhibit repeatedly calls to attract females for mating.

How big is a wood frog?

The wood frog size is between 2-2.8 in (5-7.1 cm), which is 10 times smaller than the herring.

How fast can a wood frog move?

Frogs are known to be fast and light jumpers. As they can live both in water and land, they can move fast underwater and on land too.

How much does a wood frog weigh?

The weight of this North American frog is approximately 0.28 oz (8 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names for wood frog species.

What would you call a baby wood frog?

The baby wood frog is generally known as a tadpole or larva.

What do they eat?

Wood frogs eat on various insects and other tiny invertebrates, such as slugs, beetles, moth larvae, mosquitoes, beetles, flies, and snails. They also eat algae, plants, and eggs, and larvae of other amphibians. The tadpoles feed on water bugs, diving beetles, and larvae of ambystoma salamander.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, wood frogs are poisonous creatures. They possess glands that secrete a minor amount of toxin or poison onto their skin which could only harm smaller animals, prey, and especially predators. Although, humans have no harm from the toxin of these animals. It should be noted that, if your pets such as a cat or dog eats them or their skin gets in touch with the Lithobates sylvaticus then it can harm the pets.

Would they make a good pet?

Some people keep frogs as pets because they are tiny and easy to handle, while many feel gross about them due to their slimy skin. Also, they require only small diets. In aquariums, these creatures need special requirements. To give them the feel of their natural habitats, there must be certain plants planted in the aquarium, so that they can feel safe and hide in them when frightened. During day time, they need a great amount of UVB light. In the breeding season, they will require good quality water with the appropriate temperature, minerals, nutrients, and pH. Just after hatching, tadpoles will need food to eat. Keeping all these in mind, they come with hefty care, which is the reason why many people do not pet them.

Did you know...

The wood frog scientific name, Lithobates sylvanticus, has been derived from the Greek word Litho, meaning 'stone' and bates, meaning 'one who haunts'. However, the term sylvaticus is a Latin term that refers to 'amidst the trees'.

How is a wood frog different from a regular frog?

The wood frogs go through a process of freezing and thawing every year. Wood frogs freeze their bodies in the winter. As a response, there is the conversion of urea and glycogen into glucose. Both components (urea and glycogen) act as a cryoprotectant to restrict the formation of eyes and for the reduction of osmotic pressure in the cells of the body. If the surroundings get too frigid, then there are chances that these animals will die.

Do wood frogs bite?

No, the wood frogs do not bite but they use their teeth to hold the prey before swallowing it.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians from our olm facts and African bullfrog facts pages.  

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our frog coloring pages.

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