The little frogs that have moved into the new pond are Green Frogs (Rana clamitans melanota), a species that is common around the Great Lakes region and south across the eastern part of the continent. Green frogs aren’t necessarily green. My guide, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by James H. Harding, says: “A Green Frog may be green, yellowish-green, olive, or brown, or any combination of these colors; occasional aberrant individuals are blue.”
Blue! Yes please! I want a blue frog in my pond! No luck so far. My visitors are mostly a brownish or olive colour. Green Frogs also have a fold of skin, called the dorsolateral fold, that extends from the eye to about two-thirds down their back, and the upper lip area is bright green or yellow.
Green Frogs get quite large, up to 4.2 inches long, but the little guys in my pond are about an inch and a half. They are likely juvenile frogs stopping by on their search for new habitats. They’ll need much deeper water with mud to bury themselves in for the winter.
Green Frogs are predators of a wide variety of insects and other tasty food items including beetles, flies, caterpillars, snails and crayfish and even, for large individuals, smaller frogs or snakes. They have a ‘sit and wait’ approach to food shopping, capturing any prey that happens to wander into their reach. Green Frogs are in turn considered a good snack by a host of bigger creatures including raccoons, snakes and wading birds.
Males begin calling in May and have a prolonged breeding season. Judging by the evening songs, it is just wrapping up now. Their call is a short, twangy note often compared to a banjo string being plucked. You can listen to their song at the Adopt-a-Pond site here.