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Bullfrogs of Louisiana

Updated on October 26, 2014
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Since the mid-1980s Yvonne has maintained a registered NWF backyard wildlife habitat where a variety of birds, insects and frogs abound.

Amphibian: Rana catesbeiana, Also: Lithobates catesbeianus

Bullfrogs are the largest frog native to Louisiana. Their jug-o-rum call can be heard from north to south throughout the wetland areas. These amphibians have very wide mouths and are predators of birds, reptiles, small mammals and other smaller amphibians.

Bullfrogs have been popularized in the media since the days of old. Mark Twain's, The Jumping Frogs of Calavaras County heralded the exploits of a Champion jumping frog.

Who can forget the Budweiser commercials which brought much attention to this large amphibian?

In the south, bullfrogs are gigged so that some can enjoy fried frog legs which are said to taste just like chicken.

Identifying Bullfrogs

Bullfrogs are large, true frogs with smooth skin. The back is generally olive green and often has dark brown mottling, some having small bumps. There are no dorsolateral ridges. The belly is white to cream, but often is mottled with dark spots. It has long and muscular legs with almost fully webbed hind feet.

Both sexes have large eyes. The external eardrum (tympanum) of males is twice the size of their eyes. In females the tympanums are about the same size as the eyes. Bullfrogs are the only southeastern United States frog in which the adult male is larger than the adult female.

Tadpoles can reach 6 inches long and are olive green with scattered brown dots. The tadpoles lead solitary lives and move to deeper water before metamorphosis.

Bullfrog in Reeds Print on Zazzle


Buy Bullfrog in the Reeds by PhotoWolf on Zazzle.

Bullfrog Poll

What do you think of when you hear the word "Bullfrog"?

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Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog - Three Dog Night

Sing along while you peruse the lens.

Bullfrog Habitat

Bullfrog on Lilypads
Bullfrog on Lilypads

Bullfrog Habitat photo is public domain.

Bullfrogs are found in a variety of wetland habitats from man made to natural permanent water bodies. They usually prefer warmer bodies of water.

Bullfrogs are mostly nocturnal, but can sometimes be seen sunning or sitting in the shallows along the edge of the water.

Bullfrogs usually hibernate in mud underwater, but some individuals will hibernate in boroughs on land. Bullfrogs emerge from hibernation later than other species of frogs.

Food of the Bullfrog

Bullfrogs will eat just about anything that they can swallow. Some of the reported prey includes: leeches, centipedes, scorpions, fish, other frogs, small alligators, turtles, snakes, bats, birds, rodents and other small mammals.

Ambush is the primary hunting method of these large frogs. They may also follow the distress calls of other frogs and movement in the water. Cannibalism of smaller individuals occurs in dense populations.

Bullfrog Hunts... Anything - National Geographic

Frogs and Toads of the Southeast

Dorcas and Gibbons have come up with a dynamite nature series. Great photos and accurate information are included in all of these books.

Bullfrog Print on Zazzle


Calls and Sounds

Buy Bullfrog Print by Snappler73

The loud, bass note of the advertisement call which sounds like "jug-o-rum" or sometimes "more rummmm" or "brrruuuumm" is usually given while the frog is sitting in shallow water.

Male Bullfrogs emit a "'hoot" territorial call when approached by another male. The distress call is given with the mouth open when the frog is attacked. Some believe that the scream is given to attract mammal or bird predators that may interrupt the attack so that the Bullfrog can escape.

Bullfrog Call Video


Bullfrog Tadpole
Bullfrog Tadpole

Bullfrog Tadpole photo credit creative commons

In Louisiana, breeding occurs from March through October. males are very territorial and will wrestle with other males for dominance. Male Bullfrogs are smaller in size when they mature at the age of 1-2 years after metamorphosis. Females mature 2-3 years after metamorphosis.

Females choose a territory of a male. Older females have been known to call like males to attract more potential mates.

Mating and egg laying occurs in the thick vegetation of shallow permanent water. A female may lay as many as 20,000 eggs per clutch, which are spred out in thin sheets on top of the water and can cover an area 3 feet square. The tadpoles emerge 3-5 days after the eggs are laid. This stage can last from a few months to 2 years.

Moccasin Eating Bullfrog Print on Zazzle


Predators and Defenses of Bullfrogs

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Humans eat Bullfrog legs. Other predators of adults include alligators, snakes, large wading birds and some mammals like raccoons. Leeches, fish and salamanders prey on the eggs and tadpoles, however many predators do not find the eggs tasty, so bullfrogs are able to exist in bodies of water with fish.

It is believed by some that Bullfrogs are partially resistant to the venom of Cottonmouths and Copperheads. When caught by a predator, the Bullfrog will emit a piercing scream.

Bull frogs can live up to 8-10 years and some have been reported living to 15 years.

Bullfrog Scream Defense Mechanism

Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles Book
Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles Book

Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles

Stokes Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles

The Stokes's unique behavior-watching approach is applied to turtles, snakes, frogs, salamanders, alligators and lizards. Illustrations and range maps aid the amateur naturalist in understanding the fascinating courtship, breeding, territorial, migration, and hibernation habits of these animals.

Conservation Issues

Since bullfrogs require permanent aquatic habitat, destruction of the wetlands or pollution of the waters can reduce their population. However in Louisiana, Bullfrogs are present in most peramanent water bodies.

Changes in the environment caused by humans such as contamination with pesticides, ph changes and reduction of permanent water bodies will adversely affect Bullfrog populations. In the southeastern United States, Bullfrogs are an important part of the ecosystem. But in the western U.S., where they are an introduced species, they threaten many species of native frogs and thrive in the permanent man made water bodies of golf courses and resorts.

Bullfrog Waiting


Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog? - Dr. Seuss

In Louisiana It's All About the Legs

Even though we don't gig frogs and eat their legs, I would be remiss if I didn't add a section about frog legs as a food. If you put enough Cajun and Creole spices on just about anything, it will taste good.

Frog Leg Recipe

Fried Frog Legs

by Tony Chachere from Louisiana's Original Creole Seafood Recipes

12 frog legs

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sifted bread crumbs

1 cup chopped parsley

oil for frying

salt and pepper

sliced lemons and parsley to garnish

Scald frog legs for about 3 minutes in boiling water with 1/2 cup lemon juice and teaspoon of salt. Remove, dry with a clean towel and season with Tony's Creole Seasoning or salt and pepper. Dip in a batter made of 2 well-beaten eggs, then roll in bread crumbs. Cover frog legs well and drop in oil heated to boiling point. Fry to a golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain well on paper towels.

Fry parsley for 1 minute. Place a folded white napkin in a dish, lay frog legs on it and garnish with fried parsley and sliced lemon; or place frog legs in a bed of fried parsley and garnish with parsley and slices of lemon. (Serves 6)

Froggy Arts and Crafts

Frog themes are great for scrap booking and also for kids crafts. Here are a few ideas that you may want to try.

Origami Bullfrog - How to Make

Dover Reptiles and Amphibians Coloring Book
Dover Reptiles and Amphibians Coloring Book

Dover Reptiles and Amphibians Coloring Book

Dover Coloring Books: Reptiles and Amphibians

Dover coloring books are like no others. They are quality productions using heavy white opaque paper, with first-rate artwork and informative text and captions. Many appeal to adults as well as children. Teachers love them and appreciate being able to copy illustrations on office copiers for classroom use. Designers and craftspeople also use them because the illustrations in most Dover coloring books can be reproduced in design or craft projects without permission or fee.

© 2010 Yvonne L B

Don't Jump Away Before Leaving a Note.

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    • FallenAngel 483 profile image

      FallenAngel 483 

      7 years ago

      I was really absorbed in this lens. Sometimes these guys are sold in pet shops here. They hate being in tanks and it just seems cruel to me. I really enjoyed reading about what they get up to in the wild. I had no idea that the cottonmouth eats them. Thanks for another wonderfully educational lens.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Just hopped over to Bless this Frog Lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is the most comprehensive lens about bullfrogs that I came across. Nice job.

      Alex - About Bullfrogs.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      This is indeed an excellent lens! Beautiful photos! Angel Blessed and added to Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens

    • blue22d profile image

      Sandy Davison 

      9 years ago from Utah

      Excellent lens. This is a favorite as I love frogs. I sent it over to Facebook and hope it will drive traffic your way. Good job!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens about bullfrogs. Fits perfectly in the Meaning of Spring!

    • naturegirl7s profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L B 

      9 years ago from Covington, LA

      @PhotoWolf: Yes, that's why your photo was so great! The exact quote from Frogs & Toads of the Southeast is "Some researchers have suggested that adult bullfrogs are partially resistant to the venom of cottonmouths and copperheads." Obviously, the bullfrog you photographed was not one of the partially resistant ones. ;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you very much for featuring some of my bullfrog products on this wonderful lens. I'm not sure who claims bullfrogs are resistant to cottonmouth (water moccasin) venom, but as you can tell from my photo above, there was at least one frog that certainly was not.

    • SmilinEyesTreas profile image


      9 years ago

      What a wonderful lens!!!! I love bullfrogs. Thank you so much for featuring my Bullfrog Thoughts postcard. He certainly looked deep in thought on his rock when I photographed him.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      9 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Haha, the frog scream is funny. Hank, the Jack Russell had to run over right away. I wish we had these to listen to.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Thank you so much for allowing some of my frog lenses to rest here on your lilypad. Love the videos and frog info.


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