Eastern and central USA, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Aquatic - prefers ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams with sufficient vegetation for cover.
Wild: Insects, crayfish, minnows, other frogs. Larger specimens have eaten small birds, young snakes, small mammals
Zoo: Earthworms, crickets, superworms
Incubation: Eggs - about 14 days. Tadpoles take 4 months to 2 years to metamorphose
Clutch size: up to 20,000, but average 6-7,000
5 to 9 years in wild, 16 years in captivity
This is the largest frog in North America, ranging from 3.5 to 8 inches long. The color is shades of green to brownish above with random mottling of darker gray. There is a large external eardrum (larger in males than in females). The hind feet are fully webbed except for the last joint of the longest toe. The belly is cream to white, and may be mottled gray.
Behavior: They are nocturnal. Although primarily aquatic, if frightened they flee to nearby vegetation as often as to water.
North American bullfrogs prefer warm weather and will hibernate during cold weather.
Reproduction: The breeding season is May to July in northern areas, and February to October in southern areas. Aggregations of males will call in chorus to attract females to the breeding site. The egg masses are attached to submerged vegetation. They must not be incubated at temperatures above 82 degrees. Most such eggs develop abnormally and die. About 4 days after fertilization, tadpoles emerge with gills and a tail. Tadpoles mature slowly, taking 1 – 3 years to reach adult stage (depending on location – a few months in the south, 3 years in Nova Scotia). These frogs breed once a year and there is no parental involvement after the eggs are laid.
Did You Know?
- This species has been introduced into areas outside its natural range in unsuccessful attempts to commercially harvest frog legs. (Hybridization with tastier species has also been unsuccessfully tried.) These introductions of the American Bullfrog into non native areas has been devastating to many amphibian populations in the western United States. The American Bullfrog out compete other amphibians for food and they also prey upon those native species causing population decline.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the Wolf Wilderness at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.