The Northern Red Legged Frog of the Pacific Northwest
The northern red legged frogs have smooth skin covered in small black bumps. It is rather small, with males reaching up to 7 cm in length and females may reach up to 10 cm or more. They are a reddish brown in color. They are an indigenous frog of the southern B.C. Coastal Region.
This frog is slim with long, thin back legs, they have prominent folds running from behind their eyes down the sides of the back. They have a dark face with a light upper lip stripe running back to the shoulder. The most recognizable features of these frogs is the red coloring of the underside of their hind legs.
The eyes are a gold color and appear mostly covered by the eyelids when the frog is viewed from above.
Northern red legged frogs thrive in the cool temperatures of the southern coastal forests. They prefer to live in forest wetlands, breeding in shallow ponds and streams that are well shaded. Adult frogs spend much of their time on land. They will often take shelter under logs to stay cool and damp.
Northern red legged frogs mate and lay their eggs very early in spring, as early as January or February on the southern coast. They like slow moving streams, ponds and marshes for breeding.
Male northern red legged frogs behave like males of other species in that they call to attract females, the thing is is that they call from up to a meter below the surface with very deep sounds in tone.
Females lay eggs in large, jelly like clusters of around 1000, attaching the clusters loosely to stems of aquatic plants just below the surface. Embryos develop and hatch in 3 to 4 weeks, then spend 4 to 5 months in the tadpole stage. Tadpoles eventually turn into little froglets. quite adorable at this stage.
Northern red legged frogs take three to four years before becoming sexually active. Adult northern red legged frogs feed on insects and other small invertebrates, which they hunt along the edges of streams and ponds. Tadpoles graze on algae. During the breeding season they can be found in most ponds and streams.
This frog has a limited range in B.C., being found only in the southwestern part of the Province along the mainland coast, Vancouver Island and on some of the smaller coastal Islands.