Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

True Frogs (Family Ranidae)

Northern Leopard Frog
Lithobates pipiens

Northern Leopard Frog, photo courtesy of Stephanie Desranleau
Photo of Northern Leopard Frog courtesy of Stephanie Desranleau


  • 2 to 4 inches

  • Record: 4 3/8 inches

  • Appearance

  • one of three frogs found in Maryland that has distinct spots on the back and 2 back ridges that run from just behind the eye all the way to the tail bone

  • spots are not arranged in definite rows as they are in the Pickerel Frog but insides of the thighs are cream colored (not yellow as they are in the gray Treefrog)

  • similar in appearance to the Southern Leopard Frog except that the Southern Leopard Frog has a white spot on the tympanum, or ear drum; the Northern Leopard Frog has no spot

  • Photo of  Habitat for Northern Leopard Frog courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Photo of Habitat for Northern Leopard Frog
    courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


  • Any freshwater habitat, including lakes, ponds, streams, small wetlands, even backyard pools

  • May move a far distance from water, especially in wet grasslands or woodlands

  • When far from a water source, they will absorb dew from wet grass

  • How to Find

  • This frog is rarely found in Maryland; sightings have only occurred west of the Fall Line (roughly matched by I-95).

  • Listen for its call that sounds like a squeaky door being slowly opened, followed by clucking.

  • This is an introduced species.

  • Maryland Distribution Map
    Maryland Distribution Map for Northern Leopard Frog

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.