American Bullfrog

Copyright Herschel Raney

Genus Species: Lithobates catesbianus

Size: 3″ to 8″ long

Location: Found throughout Arkansas

Advertisement Call: Low pitched Rumm, Rumm, R R R Rumm or maybe the sound of a light saber being swung through the air!





The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America weighing up to 1½ pounds.  This frog can catch and swallow small birds, snakes, and other frogs.  It can be an invasive species in a pond and devastate the local frog population.  It will be located in ponds, lakesides, and slow moving streams with lots of room.  They will seek vegetation to hide in when frightened.  The call is produced from a pair of vocal sacs under the chin and can be heard for ¼ mile or more.

Interesting Fact: If you are eating frog legs in a restaurant, you are probably eating a Bullfrog.

 American Bullfrogs mate from about April to July.  The males will wrestle each other to establish territories, so the smaller frogs end up on the fringes hoping to grab a passing female.  The female Bullfrogs can lay 20,000 eggs or more that float in large sheets on the surface and hatch into tadpoles in 4 - 5 days.  The tadpoles will take a year or more to develop into adult frogs.  These frogs are voracious eaters and continue to grow throughout their lives.  Bullfrogs can live for 6 years or more if they can avoid being eaten by something or someone.

They belong to the Ranidae family of New Frogs (Neobatrachia).  They were first discovered in colonial America by Mark Catesby who sent a sample to Carl von Linné in Sweden.  Linné named the New World frog Rana catesbiana for Mr. Catesby.  The bullfrog has been recently renamed Lithobates catesbianus.

Bullfrogs were initially an eastern frog, but frog farms were established around the country to support the restaurant trade, and the few that escaped were successful in their new environments.  Now Bullfrogs are found in the wild throughout the country.

Click for more about the American Bullfrog at Herps of Arkansas.