Last Updated: 9/5/14
My Pickerel Frogs
Photos of my Pickerel Frogs
Photos of Other People's Pickerel Frogs
Rana palustris, or the pickerel frog, is an interesting frog. It sort of looks like a leopard frog but with dark rectangular spots over a yellowish-brown body. Pickerel frogs grow from about 1.5 to 3.5 inches long. Males croak at night. They stay around water all year round and eat insects. Pickerel frogs can release toxic secretions that can kill other frogs in an aquarium with them. If kept in small confined quarters with other frogs, the other frogs may die from the pickerel frog's toxins. I've seen my pickerel frogs hanging with green frogs and had no deaths. Of course, they were not confined together.
In March of 2012, I heard a male pickerel frog calling in my 1800 gallon pond for sure for the first time. He was hiding in the rocks and calling. Listening to internet recordings, I confirmed the species. I have yet to confirm any breeding of pickerel frogs but there are a lot of them that overwinter in my biofilter. I see fewer in the warm months. The call of the male is like an elongated, deep brrrr sound, almost like a cross between a kazoo and an instrument string. There are links below with recordings. I have not witnessed courtship, egg laying, or pickerel frog tadpoles but I presume it is similar to the other frogs with which I do have experience.
I have found pickerel frogs to be less skittish than other frogs; you can almost pet one. One just showed up at our pond in 1997 and again in 1998. It appeared to prefer a solitary life. It did not return in 1999 or 2000. Imagine my surprise when on 11/12/00, I removed the bioballs and lava rock for routine cleaning and found FIVE young pickerel frogs starting hibernation in the filter! I could not believe it! I moved the spunky frogs to the main pond. At some point, my sole pickerel frog must have found a friend and laid eggs. At least three of pickerel frogs died in March of 2001 from the same mystery problem that killed 75% of my green frogs each spring in the early 2000's but some pickerel frogs made it. By 2008, I see pickerel frogs all the time. I have yet to find an amplexing pair though or proof that a batch of eggs or tadpoles belong to them. By 2010, I normally only see the pickerel frogs in the colder months but I have a few of them. A few always die in the ponds each winter.
On 1/2/11, I found 11 pickerel frogs in the biofilter during cleaning. I moved them to the main pond because I was worried that, if the power went out, they would be left high and dry in the filter and freeze. They would have been better off in the filter! Not only did the power not go off but, as of 4/18/11, I removed 22 pickerel frogs from the 1800 gallon pond and one from the 153 gallon! They all died! ;-(
I have always had a lot of pickerel frogs in my biofilter and 1800 gallon pond in the winter. I have also lost many of them in the winter. I did not, however, ever hear a male calling for sure until 3/20/12. This male pickerel frog called for days from a crevice in the rocks. I compared the call to those on-line, and it is definitely a pickerel. Maybe now they will even lay eggs in my ponds!
Photos are listed from newest to oldest.
These photos are from the 3/27/14 cleaning of my 153 gallon pond.
Dead pickerel frog - on the snow. Yep, there is two inches of snow there, and I am cleaning the pond!
Anorexic pickerel frog - this one was alive but very skinny.
Newt, pickerel frog, rosy red minnows, and snails
Newt, pickerel frog, rosy red minnow, and snails
Newt and frog
Newt and pickerel frog - side view; it looks like the frog has a long tail but that is the tail of the newt
Newt and pickerel frog - view from above
Here are photos of 9 green frogs, 3 wood frogs, and 2 pickerel frogs waiting in a bucket while I
cleaned out the 153 gallon pond on 3/30/13.
From 3/30/13 as well:
Pickerel frog in a bucket
Pickerel frog in a bucket
Pickerel frog in my 1800 gallon
pond on 9/23/07.
Two pickerel frogs in my 1800 gallon pond on 9/23/07. The frog on the right is the same one as the last photo.
On 2/24/07, I took these photos in the 1800 gallon pond of a pickerel frog that was moving
around in the melting pond.
Pond - melted deep end. There is a pickerel frog moving on the bottom in the middle of the photo.
Pickerel frog - close up of the frog from the previous photo.
Pickerel frog - a different close up.
On 10/19/06, I found a pickerel frog on my 1800 gallon net (not that uncommon) but this time I got the camera (not so common). Here you can see the pickerel frog on the net from a distance, zoom in of the pickerel frog on the net, and the pickerel frog close-up once I had him in a net. He put his hands over his eyes (he was shy I guess). He was tired after trying to bounce away from me but I put him under the net and into the pond after this photo.
Photo of a baby pickerel frog from
away at my 18 gallon pond on
Photo of the same baby close up on 8/17/03.
Photo of a baby pickerel frog in the 1800 gallon pond on 3/9/02.
Photo of a pickerel frog in my 1800 gallon pond on 4/22/01.
On 9/10/07, Tom sent me some photos of his two pickerel frogs that he was holding:
Pickerel frog legs
Pickerel frog legs
To see a photo of a pickerel frog and hear a call, go to this frog site . Our pickerel frog had different coloration because there is some variation (as with leopard frogs).
To see another photo, hear a call, and get info, go to the Toronto zoo site.
The Herps of Texas web site has a photo and information on the pickerel frog as well.
You can hear and see a pickerel frog at Frogs & Toad of Virginia & Maryland - this is an archived version as the site is gone now.
These two sites also have photos, calls, and information on the pickerel frog:
The Frogs & Toads of Tennessee
The Frogs & Toads of Georgia
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