Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Northern Red-legged Frog

>>Northern Red-legged Frog
Northern Red-legged Frog 2017-03-07T09:41:51+00:00

Project Description

Species at risk Index

Northern Red-legged Frog Rana aurora

The red-legged frog is found in southwestern British Columbia, Washigton, Oregon, and northern California. Its preferred habitat includes streams, ponds, marshes, and moist forests. Red-legged frogs range in colour from dark brown, olive, grey, to reddish and have black spots on the back. The skin on the underside of the legs and the belly is red.

More Information

Photo by Ryan Batten

  • Blue List
  • Special Concern

More Information

These frogs breed for 2-4 weeks in early spring, with the males typically calling underwater to attract the females. Egg masses are laid on vegetation in the water and usually hatch in May. The tadpoles are greenish-brown, have pinkish bellies, and dark and light flecks on the back. They feed primarily on green algae. By July, the tadpoles metamorphose into frogs. Adults feed on a variety of prey items including caterpillars, beetles, isopods, and other small invertebrate species. They hibernate overwinter between November to February, either on land or in water, as long as the location does not freeze.

There are several threats facing this species, with the prominent one being habitat loss and degradation. Predation and competition by introduced bullfrogs as well as exotic fish species is also thought to be a threat to red-legged frogs. Conservation efforts for this species can include encouraging and establishing development practices that are more sensitive to the needs of amphibians, such as maintaining pond and wetland habitats in urban and rural areas. Protection of moist forest habitat and streams is also important for this species. Avoiding pollution of wetlands and streams is imperative to avoid negatively affecting the water quality. Care must be taken not to transfer tadpoles and other critters between ponds, as introduced species may be inadvertently spread to new locations.

 Government of Canada Species Profile

COSWIC Status Report

Red-legged Frog Call courtesy BC FrogWatch