Visiting Pickerel Frog

Gray tree frogs and American toads frequent my vegetable garden. Another visitor has moved in for a time: a pickerel frog.

I rarely see the American toads as they are nocturnal. The gray tree frogs are common on the rain barrels. The new frog shows up in various places wherever plants grow tall.

I’ve seen pickerel frogs in the garden before and assumed they were green or southern leopard frogs. They leap off and vanish into the vegetation before I get a good look at them.

side of pickerel frog
Another way to recognize a pickerel frog is to see the brown bars across the back legs. The round patch behind the eye is the ear. These frogs like to hang out in areas with thick, tall plants, especially grass better known as weeds in the garden. It moved down into the lambs quarter section.

This particular frog was in a patch of walking onion plants. I was removing weeds when it leaped out of the last patch. Unfortunately from the frog’s point of view, the weeds along the workshop wall had all disappeared leaving it in the open.

Several pictures later I left the frog to find the hollyhocks in the bottom corner. They need weeding too, but are huge and in full bloom now. The weeds will wait.

Looking over the pictures I got out my copy of “The Amphibians and Frogs of Missouri” by Tom R. Johnson from the Missouri Department of Conservation and looked up green frogs. This was definitely not a green frog.

back of pickerel frog
The folds down each side of the back with two lines of white rimmed brown patches are typical of a pickerel frog. Another identification is the orange yellow under the arms and belly. The gathered back legs are ready to launch this frog if I get too close.

Next I checked out the Southern Leopard Frog. These pictures didn’t match very well. I browsed and found the Pickerel Frog. This was a match.

These are interesting frogs and often associated with wet caves (a cave with water), one of the only frogs to stay back in caves. We have a creek, but no known caves.

The frogs do live along the creek especially the small flood ponds near the creek. When I walk along the creek I hear the frogs plop into the water and sometimes catch a glimpse of legs disappearing beneath the leaves at the bottom of the water.

Rarely I spot the frog before it leaps. They are spotted is all I have time to see as these frogs are very wary.

My best chance to observe a pickerel frog will be spotting my garden visitor.

Frogs are diurnal. Toads are nocturnal like the one in “Waiting For Fairies“.