Northern Red-legged Frog

October 23, 2015
Heidi Rockney and Karen Wu
Northern Red-Legged Frog

Northern Red-Legged Frog. 
Photo: Heidi Rockney

Name: Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)
Order: Frogs (Anura)
Family: True Frogs (Ranidae)

What they look like

  • Males up to 7cm,  females twice as big, up to 14cm
  • Red to brownish coloring sometimes with black splotches and black flecks
  • Have a black ‘mask’  with a white jawline that doesn’t extend to shoulders and eyes that turn outward
  • Long legs with black bands and red on underside
  • Have folds in skin on their back and along sides

Where they live

  • View a map of where they live
  • Found primarily west of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state
  • Prefer forest wetlands and quiet, permanent water
  • In wet, humid weather have been known to venture from water sources into well-shaded vegetation


  • They have an unusually short breeding period of 1-2 weeks, sometime between January and April
  • Need cool water for breeding and sometimes will start breeding before water has completely thawed out from winter freezing.
  • Eggs are attached to branches near water surface a few feet from the shoreline

Cool Biology Facts

  • Have very quiet voices and are not often heard by humans, sometimes calling underwater
  • They have been known to live as long as 15 years in the wild (in colder areas of range).


Distribution Map

Map of Northern Red-Legged Frog distribution in Washington state. Learn more on the NatureMapping Foundation website.

Explore more of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Washington or check out All About Amphibians.

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