Wood Frog

Wood Frog.
Credit: Mark Conner

Name

  • Common name: Wood Frog
  • Scientific name: Lithobrates sylvaticus
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Ranidae

Viewing opportunities

  • Though adult frogs can be found well away from water, you are more likely to find them on the edges of rivers and ponds.
  • You may hear male Wood Frogs calling early in the spring in ponds. They sound a little bit like a chorus of quacking ducks, but don’t be fooled! If the frogs notice your approach, they will stop calling. Wait quietly and patiently for a few minutes until they start their serenade again.
  • Walk around the edge of a pond slowly, watching carefully for frogs jumping in front of you.
  • Rainy days can be the best time to hit the trails and find frogs in moist meadows and forests.
  • Be sure not to pick up a frog you might find. Oils and chemicals on our hands can be harmful to the frog’s delicate skin.

Description

  • Some individuals, but not all, have a light coloured stripe down the middle of the back.
  • Prominent ridges called dorsolateral folds run from the back of the head down the frog’s back.
  • Dark mask that passes through the eye from snout to shoulder, bordered below by a white stripe.
  • Creamy white underside.

Fast facts

  • Length: 6 cm
  • Weight: 8 g
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
  • Predators: Birds, weasels, fish, foxes, rodents,
  • Habitat: Wetlands

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S4S5 (Apparently Secure/Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined

Behaviour

The Wood Frog is the only common and widespread amphibian in Yukon, and it is found as far north as Ney Khwi Vun on the Old Crow Flats. It lives in a variety of habitats and adults can be found well away from water. They gather together to breed in clear, shallow ponds from late April through June, often with some ice still on the water. The Wood Frog thrives in the north because it grows quickly and can tolerate cold. Wood Frogs hibernate in winter. They actually freeze solid in cold temperatures, but protect their cells from damage by producing their own antifreeze!

Diet

Adults eat insects, worms, snails and other small invertebrates. Tadpoles feed on various plants and algae.

Distribution

Wood Frog distribution map.

Sights and sounds

env-wood-frog-audio.mp3

Credit: William W. H. Gunn/Macauley Library at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Wood Frog eggs.
Egg masses in ponds.

Frogs and people

  • Since amphibians also “breathe” oxygen and water through their moist skin, they are extremely sensitive to pollution and changes in their environment. As a result they are often used as indicators of ecosystem health.
  • In many parts of the world frogs are seen as messengers of spring and good news, and a source of wisdom, knowledge, and healing.
  • For several Yukon First Nations, frogs are animal shamans and guardian spirits.

Management plan

Download the Management Plan for Yukon Amphibians.