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Species Description

Bullfrog

Rana catesbeiana


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Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae

Description

The head, body, and front legs can be green, olive, or brown with small or large indistinct dark spots or blotches. The back legs are darkly banded; the belly and throat are white or yellow with gray mottling. The Bullfrog is the largest frog in the United States. Adult Bullfrogs average from 90 - 152 mm (3.5 - 6 in) in total length, but the record Bullfrog was 203 mm (8 in) in length.

Life Cycle

The Bullfrog breeds from April through early July. Its deep "jug-o-rum" call can be heard on warm spring and early summer evenings. The adult male is territorial during the breeding season, and defends its territory by biting, bumping, and kicking other males. Breeding takes place in permanent bodies of water such as oxbow lakes, sloughs, creeks, and ponds. The male grasps the female with his front legs around her body just behind her front legs and fertilizes the eggs as they are laid. Females lay as many as 48,000 eggs in one gelatinous mass. The eggs hatch within four to five days. The tadpoles spend 3 to 14 months in the water before metamorphosing into frogs. Bullfrogs inhabit a wide variety of permanent aquatic situations, including rivers, lakes, streams, swamps, and marshes. This frog can be seen sitting along shore vegetation both night and day from March through October. It is a voracious feeder and eats almost anything that it can swallow, including insects, crayfish, earthworms, leeches, spiders, snails, salamanders, frogs, snakes, turtles, lizards, fishes, birds, shrews, moles, and bats. In turn, the Bullfrog is eaten by water snakes, snapping turtles, large fish, herons, opossums, skunks, and raccoons. To escape cold winter temperatures, the Bullfrog burrows into the mud at the bottom of lakes, streams, or ponds.

Range

Bullfrog Region Map The Bullfrog is found throughout Georgia, as well as across the eastern United States and the southern portions of eastern Canada. There have been many Bullfrog introductions outside its natural range.

Conservation Status

The Bullfrog is a common species in suitable habitat. People hunt them for their legs, which some consider delicacies. The State of Georgia regulates the season and number of Bullfrogs that can be taken.

Similar Species

The Green Frog has dorsolateral folds. The Pig Frog has webbing to the very tips of the toes. The River Frog has white spots on its lips.