Green Frog

Photo: Jodie Owen

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Scientific Name: Rana clamitans

Classification: Nongame species

Abundance: Abundant-statewide

Species Profile (Coming Soon!)


Green frog-juvenile (Photo by Jeff Hall)

Green frog (Photo by Jodie Owen)

Green frog (Photo by Jodie Owen)

Green frogs' call is an abrupt "c'tunk," often compared to the sound of plucking a loose banjo string. An abrupt "eeek!" may also be given as an "alarm call" by startled individuals as they leap into the water.

Additional Information

This common frog closely resembles the bullfrog; however, the green frog has a distinct ridge or fold of skin, called a dorsolateral fold, on either side of its body. The green frog is more brown or bronze than green sometimes. The face and the lips of the green frog are often bright green. The belly is white, usually with some dark spots or mottling. Two similar and weakly defined subspecies are found in North Carolina, the green frog (Rana clamitans melanota) in the Mountains, Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain and the bronze frog (Rana clamitans clamitans) in the southern Coastal Plain.

Green frogs are smaller than bullfrogs, but their habitats and habits are similar. They are found throughout the state with the exception of some barrier islands. Eggs are deposited as a surface mass. The tadpoles resemble those of the bullfrog but are smaller, often having a lower tail fin and lacking distinct black dots. Tadpoles may take up to a year to transform.

The green frog is classified as a nongame species with no open season. It is unlawful for any person to take, or have in possession, any nongame mammal or bird unless that person has a collection license or is collecting fewer than 5 reptiles or fewer than 25 amphibians that are not endangered, threatened, or special concerned species.

There are no reported problems with this species. 

Frogs and toads can be monitored fairly easily in a variety of ways. One way is through frog call monitoring. The North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program attempts to do just that by corralling data collected by volunteers across the state that monitors specific frog call routes. Each species of frog and toad has a unique call that is distinguishable from others.  Some are more difficult for humans to separate than others, but the frogs know who’s who!  Learn your frog calls, and you too can distinguish who’s calling in the ponds.  Another way to monitor frogs and toads is by looking for egg masses deposited in wetlands and/or by looking for tadpoles in those same wetlands. Different frogs breed at different times of the year, so when to look for eggs is dependent on the species of interest. Eggs typically hatch within a couple weeks of being deposited, so there is a fairly short window for detection. Frog eggs can sometimes be identified to family, but are somewhat tricky to identify to species level.  Tadpole identification can be similarly tricky, so learning and listening to frog calls is definitely the easiest method for determining what frogs and toads are using a wetland. Tadpoles are a little easier to monitor, as most species have tadpoles present in wetlands for longer periods of time. This is, again, variable by species.  Most species have tadpole stages that last at least several months, but the range in timing for different species is everything from a couple of weeks to several years.  The smaller frog and toad species tend to have shorter tadpole cycles, while the larger frogs and toads tend to have longer times to metamorphosis.