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Northern Leopard Frog

Lithobates pipiens

  • Family: Ranidae
  • Adult Size: Up to 3½ inches
  • Range: The northern leopard frog is native to the northern United States and Canada. It is found as far west as New Mexico and central Arizona.
  • Habitat: Usually found in or near a permanent water source, including streams, ponds and rivers, but during periods of precipitation, northern leopard frogs will travel miles from a permanent water source. Because it is sometimes found out of water, it is sometimes referred to as the “meadow frog” in much of its range.
  • Captive Lifespan: 8 to 12 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Beginner

Overview

If the proper environment is provided, the northern leopard frog will thrive under captive conditions. A 20 gallon aquarium should be the considered the minimum size enclosure for accommodation of this species. The cage should contain a large aquatic area, and the frogs should be able to fully submerge themselves in the water. A bare minimum would be 2 inches of clean water with a plastic foam pad or piece of cork as a place for the frog to get out of the water. The water should be frequently changed to maintain water quality. Also integral to cage design is the use of both a basking bulb to provide heat and a fluorescent light to provide light in the UVB spectrum (these bulbs will be labeled with their UVB percentage). In the wild, these animals spend some time basking and the use of these lights will be helpful in keeping these animals healthy in the long term. Aquatic and terrestrial vegetation is helpful in providing these secretive animals with a place to remain hidden from view. Ambient temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit are considered ideal for the maintenance of this species. Slightly higher temperatures under the basking light allow northern leopard frogs to warm up if necessary. A cage top should be in place to prevent this frog, which can jump great distances, from leaving the enclosure.

Crickets are a good staple food item. Supplement these with mealworms, silk worm larvae and earthworms. Northern leopard frogs have a voracious appetite and can become obese if overfed. Gut loading crickets with a variety of vegetables and commercial cricket food is a good way to provide nutritious food items. A vitamin/mineral supplement should be used with this species, especially for younger animals still undergoing periods of rapid growth. This will help to ensure proper bone development.

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