Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus
Description: Wood frogs come in varying shades of brown and red. Most individuals have a black marking over the eyes that looks like a robber’s mask. During the breeding season, males can be heard making quack-like calls both day and night.
Size: Adults are 1.4 to 3.25 inches in length.
Diet: Adults feed on insects, arachnids, slugs, worms, and snails. Tadpoles are herbivorous.
Predation: A variety of snakes eat adult wood frogs. They also fall prey to snapping turtles, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, foxes, and birds. Tadpoles face a different set of predators: beetles, salamanders, wood turtles, and other wood frogs.
Typical Lifespan: Maturity may be reached in 1 to 2 years depending on the sex and population of frogs. Lifespan in the wild is usually no more than 3 years.
Habitat: Adults usually live in woodlands and lay eggs in vernal pools. During winter, they take shelter in leaf litter.
Range: Wood frogs are found throughout the forests of Alaska and the northeast. They are found in smaller numbers as far south as Alabama and northwest into Idaho. They are the only frog that lives north of the Arctic Circle.
Life History and Reproduction: Wood frogs have adapted to super cold climates by freezing over the winter. During this time, they stop breathing and their hearts cease to beat. They produce a special antifreeze substance that prevents ice from freezing within their cells, which would be deadly. Ice does form, however, in the spaces between the cells. When the weather warms, the frogs thaw and begin feeding and mating again. Wood frogs are one of the first frogs to begin the breeding season.
Fun Fact: In the amphibian world, wood frogs may be the species best able to recognize their family. When many tadpoles are in the same place, siblings seek each other out and group together.
Conservation Status: Stable, but habitat loss due to farming and development may affect them in some areas.
University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources