areolata (aka Ringed Frog, Hoosier Frog,
The crawfish frog is 2 to 3
inches long and is yellow to brown in color, with
an all-white belly and numerous dark spots on the
back, each with a lighter-colored ring
surrounding it. There is a distinct skin fold on
either side of its back.
This frog is found in
grasslands, prairies, woodlands and other open
areas from Indiana to Nebraska, south to Texas
and east to Mississippi. Unlike most other frogs,
the crawfish frog does not typically live next to
water, but it does require a permanent or
semi-permanent pond or other fish-free pool of
water in order to lay its eggs. It spends almost
all of its adult life in a burrow and is
therefore rarely seen outside of the breeding
The crawfish frog is so named
because crayfish form a principal part of its
diet, although it will eat almost any small
creature it can swallow, including other frogs.
The breeding season runs from
late winter through mid-spring, depending on
climate. Males attract females with a load call
that sounds like a deep snore. After mating the
female deposits an egg mass of up to 7,000 eggs
in shallow water. It takes about twelve days for
the tadpoles to hatch, and two years for the
tadpoles to mature into adult frogs. Sexual
maturity is reached by the frog's third year.
Crawfish frogs are nocturnal
and solitary, and quiet except during the
breeding season. They are fast and fairly nimble
on land, but slow and somewhat clumsy in water.
They can escape land predators with speed or by
taking refuge in their burrows, but in water
their only defense is to dive toward the bottom.
genus & species Rana ateolata
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