Animals

California Red-Legged Frog

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Red-Legged Frog

Rana draytonii

History

One of the frogs was collected for Chytrid fungus testing in native populations in the San Francisco Bay Area (at Mori Point). It was transferred to CuriOdyssey in 2008. Our other frog received a leg injury in the wild (hatchdate unknown) and came to us in Jan. 2015.

Fun Facts

The California red-legged frog was immortalized in Mark Twain’s short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County.” Red-legged frogs were held in high esteem for their relatively meaty legs by California’s early gold-miners, and were thought to have inspired Twain’s tall tale.

Birth Date

Unknown, but estimated to be 2006 or 2007.

Diet in the Wild

Invertebrates such as insects, worms, and spiders, as well as vertebrates like small tree frogs and small mice.

Diet at the Museum

Crickets and baby mice.

Life Span

In the Wild: 8 to 10 years.
In Captivity: 12 to 13 years.

Habitat

Marshes, streams, deep pools, ponds, lagoons, and slow parts of lakes; most common in wooded areas and attracted to areas with good cover.

Range

California coast from Shasta to Baja Mexico.

Conservation Status:

Declared threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1996. Red-legged frogs were once common throughout California, but their numbers have been in steep decline as the marshes they favor have been drained for cropland and housing tracts. The frogs have also dwindled as a non-native amphibian, the bullfrog, has invaded their territory. Bullfrogs are enthusiastic consumers of red-legged frogs. The frogs have vanished from 70% of their range.