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What Do Northern Leopard Frogs Eat?

Updated on July 12, 2013

What do northern leopard frogs eat?

Northern leopard frogs were named after the brown irregularly random spots in their backs and legs. They used to be one of the most abundant specie of frogs in Northern America but its population has declined due to several reasons. Some of these reasons are destruction of its habitat, pollution and proneness to malformation that makes it challenging for them to survive.

Northern Leopard frogs can be found living in different kinds of habitats like tundra and wet prairies or along open bodies of water. Sometimes they are referred to as meadow frogs because of their fondness to stay in grassy areas and damp meadows. These frogs migrate over the year. They awake underwater hibernation in the spring where they gather in breeding ponds. Mating season usually falls around April to June. The females can lay 1000-7000 eggs, which are attached to submerged vegetation. Their eggs hatch depending on the temperature which can range from one to three weeks. The tadpoles then transform into frogs during July and August. The adult frogs, on the other hand, spend most of their time during the summer foraging in grassy places.

Northern Leopard Frogs are known to hibernate in the winter for up to 3 months. During this period, their activities slow down and they may even stop eating. These frogs usually hibernate in the bottom of bodies of water that do not freeze solid.

Northern Leopard Frog's Diet

Northern leopard frogs are carnivores. They consume a wide selection of invertebrates. They usually eat almost any kind of insect like crickets, wax worms, fly larvae, slugs, bugs, spiders and even snails and other small frogs including their species. It is suggested that their diet is mostly determined on the availability of the food rather than their preference but reports have shown that beetles are a staple in their diet because they are available throughout the season. Other common insects that Northern leopard frogs eat are grasshoppers, crickets, bees, moth and butterfly larvae, bees, ants and wasps. They adapt with the changes in environment by adjusting their diet according to the prey population. Northern leopard frogs are known to eat anything that moves and fit in their mouths, which on occasion large northern leopard frogs also consume small vertebrates like birds, voles and garter snakes.

While adult northern frogs are carnivores the young northern leopard frogs or tadpoles are principally herbivores. They feed on algae, plankton and other small plant materials and other aquatic vegetation in their habitat. They only turn into carnivores after they undergo a metamorphosis and become frogs where they eat anything they can catch.

Northern leopard frogs’ basic method of catching prey is through ambush. They stay still and wait for a prey to come by and they spring at them with their powerful legs. Their camouflage not only helps them in hunting for food but prevents them from being other animal’s food, as well. Some animals that prey on Northern leopard frogs are snakes, turtles, racoons, owls, herons, fish and a variety of mammals.

Northern Leopard Frog


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    • Valene profile image


      7 years ago from Missouri

      I love this frog! I am currently volunteering for the annual Frog and Toad Survey with USGS and just did a run last night. Didn't hear any Northern Leopards, but I'm pretty sure I heard the Southern Leopard Frog. My survey was in Smithville, MO.


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