North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Little Grass Frog

Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
Classification: Nongame species
Range: Coastal Plain (blue)



Photo by Jeff Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

The little grass frog is the smallest frog in North America. It is relatively slender with long legs, small toe pads and a pointed head. The little grass frog can be tan, reddish, greenish or pinkish, and its pattern is variable. It has a bold dark line passing through its eye onto the sides of its body, which is a definitive characteristic. 
These frogs live in moist, grassy environments, especially near temporary ponds and other wetlands in the Coastal Plain. The breeding season for the little grass frog is long - from January to September, although their high-pitched, insect-like tinkling call can be heard throughout the year. Some people are unable to hear the call due to its high pitch. Little grass frogs lay eggs singly on the pond bottom or on vegetation in shallow water. The tadpoles complete their metamorphosis six to 10 weeks after hatching. 
Despite their small size, little grass frogs can jump about 20 times their body length.

The little grass 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.