Natural Area Preservation

Pickerel Frog

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Rana palustris

Identifying Features

  • Appearance to Leopard Frogs – spots are more squarish, often outlined in black and arranged in two irregular rows between dorsolateral folds.  Bright yellow or gold color is present on groin and underside of hind legs.
  • Rarely observed in southern Michigan.  Locally common in northern Michigan.
  • Favor grassy stream banks and places where streams or cold springs flow into bogs, fens, marshes or weedy ponds; polluted or stagnant water is avoided.
  • In winter, hibernate in soft mud or beneath submerged logs or rocks on stream bottoms or in deeper parts of ponds and bogs.
  • May remain active year round in streams or spring-fed ponds.


  • Steady, low-pitched snore lasting one to two seconds.  Similar to Leopard.


  • Breeding occurs in April or May.
  • Migrate to nearby meadows and open woods, although they do NOT move very far from water.
  • Produce toxic skin secretions- although sometimes eaten by snakes, Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, and fish.
  • Females lay from 800-3000 eggs in one or more masses attached to submerged twigs or grasses.


  • Hatching occurs in 10-21 days or less if high water temperatures, tadpole transformation into frogs occurs in 60-90 days.
  • Sexual maturity is reached in second year after hatching.

Conservation Note

  • Strongly prefer cool, clear waters and are intolerant of pollution.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Forests.
  • Grasslands and savannas.
  • Exposed rock and sand.

​​​​Natural Area Preservation
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Remy Long​
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Hand
  Stewardship Specialist
Michael Hahn
  Stewardship Specialist