Leopard Frog

Leopard Frog is the name for several spotted frogs in the genus Lithobates. Each of these frogs has green or brown skin with spots that resemble a leopard pattern. You can find leopard frogs anywhere in the United States as well as many parts of Canada and Mexico. If you are interested in keeping one of these amphibians as a pet, keep reading while looking at their behavior, tank size, habitat, and more to see if they would make a good pet for your home.

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Quick Facts About Leopard Frogs

Species Name: Lithobates
Family: Ranidae
Treatment Level: Currently
Temperature: 68–75 degrees Fahrenheit
Temperament: Coward, easily frightened
Color Shape: Green, brown
Lifetime: 8–10 years
Size: 2–5 inches
Diet: Beetles, ants, flies, worms, crickets
Minimum Tank Size: 10–20 gallons
Tank Setting: Land and water

Leopard Frog Overview

The Leopard Frog can be any of several similar small frogs found in the United States, including the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog, Bigfoot Leopard Frog, Lowland Leopard Frog, Northern Leopard Frog, and many others. While it’s fairly easy to find these frogs anywhere—even in New York City—their numbers are significantly lower than before. Some species see conservation measures being put in place to preserve the species.

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How Much Do Leopard Frogs Cost?

The cost of your Leopard Frog can vary greatly depending on the breeder, species, size, and other factors. Some can cost as little as $6–$10, while others may be closer to $100. However, unlike cats or dogs, you don’t have to pay to be spayed or neutered, nor do you need expensive vaccination shots or regular flea and tick medications, so frogs are quite budget-friendly.

You will need to purchase a 10–20 gallon tank to hold your Leopard Frog, and you will need to increase the tank size by 10 gallons for each additional frog you wish to add, which can be an expensive one-time purchase. You will also need to buy and feed them insects or other live food on a regular basis.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Leopard Frogs are mainly nocturnal animals although they sometimes come out during the day. This type of frog will eat anything it can put in its mouth, including other frogs, but will mainly stick to insects, especially flies, crickets, and beetles. It is non-toxic and will not harm humans, but it may carry salmonella bacteria, so you should wear gloves when handling it and wash your hands frequently. They don’t like it when you pick them up, so you’ll only do this when cleaning the tank. While pet frogs don’t jump easily, you should be prepared to jump 3 feet or more—they are great escape artists.

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Appearance & Variety

Leopard frogs can vary in coloration even within the same population, and many will change color continuously. It has a smooth olive or brown skin with dark oval spots, the size of which can vary between species and a white or cream colored belly. The body is slender with a pointed snout and long strong legs. At one time, the Leopard Frog was one species, but when scientists used it for laboratory experiments, they noticed little difference between them, and today there are more than twenty different species accepted as Leopard Frogs. Despite the differences, it is easy to spot Leopard Frogs, and they all live near marshy areas where there is plenty of shelter and food.

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How to Take Care of a Leopard Frog

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Settings

Tank

You will need a 10 to 20 gallon tank to hold your Leopard Frog and another 10 gallons for each additional frog you wish to house. Part of the tank needs to be moistened so that the frog can swim and dive, while another part needs to be drained so that your frog can dry out and eat. Plexiglass is a great way to separate tank parts, and sticks and twigs can help your pet move from one area to another.

We recommend using a removable water tank so you can change the water and clean it every few days without having to rummage through the entire habitat.

  • See also: 16 Best Pet Frogs for Beginners (With Pictures)

leopard frog in the pond

Temperature

You need to keep the temperature in your aquarium between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and lower it to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It can be difficult to reach these temperatures in some of the warmer areas of the United States. If you want the frogs to breed, you will need to hibernate the frogs over the winter by lowering the temperature to about 38 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 months.

  • See Also: Frogs in Winter: What Do They Do & Where Do They Go?
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Plants, Lighting, Humidity

Providing vegetation for your frog to climb and use to hide can help your pet feel more secure and provide an environment that is closer to nature. Leopard frogs are nocturnal, so there’s no need to worry about adding lighting, and they enjoy humidity levels between 50% and 70%, which most of us have in our homes. Therefore, there is no need for a humidifier or hygrometer.

leopard frog up close

Can Leopard Frogs Make Friends with Other Pets?

It’s a good idea to keep your Leopard Frog away from cats, but dogs shouldn’t bother them unless they’re out. These frogs are quite shy, so you can keep them together without worrying about territorial disputes as long as the cage is big enough.

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What Feeds Your Leopard Frog?

You can feed your frogs almost any insect available, and they will even eat worms. We do not recommend serving insects caught from outside as they may contain harmful parasites. Crickets are the most popular and easy to find in pet stores. Experts recommend feeding insects well before you feed them to frogs to make them more nutritious. You should also coat the crickets with a calcium powder supplement just before giving them to your frog.

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Keeping Your Leopard Frog Healthy

Keeping your Leopard Frog healthy to reach a maximum lifespan of 8-10 years is not that difficult and just requires that you give them enough space in the right temperature zone and feed them a few times per week. You can lower the temperature to allow them to hibernate or keep the temperature where they are, and the frogs will stay active throughout the winter.

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Breeding

Mating occurs in water and usually occurs when the frogs wake up from hibernation, so if you want to breed them in captivity, you will need to lower the temperature in the tank during the winter. When the female swims, the male will hold on to her back with special thumbs. Then, 2-3 days after mating, the female will lay several hundred to several thousand eggs in large numbers, and the male will fertilize them. Tadpoles hatch in about a week and become frogs in about 3 months.

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Are Leopard Frogs Right for You?

Leopard Frogs make great pets that are easy to care for and live a very long time. We recommend buying captive frogs over catching wild ones as many of them are experiencing a decline in numbers. The aquarium isn’t very expensive, and you might even have one if you’ve ever kept fish. Creating habitats isn’t difficult either, and you can get creative with them, so it can be a lot of fun, especially for kids.

We hope you enjoyed our look at this American frog and learned some new facts. If we’ve convinced you to try it in your home, please share our guide to Leopard Frogs on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay