Precious Frog basics

Oregon Spotted Frogs in amplexus – male on top, female below. Photo: Andy Wright.

Northern Pacific Tree Frog, Oregon Spotted Frog, and American Bullfrog.

Annual cycle of Oregon Spotted Frogs in British Columbia.


The Oregon Spotted Frog is considered a medium-sized frog. An adult frog is around 5 to 9 centimeters long from their nose to their rump. They are larger than Northern Pacific Tree Frogs, who grow to a maximum of 5 centimeters, but they are smaller than American Bullfrogs, who grow to be over 20 centimeters in length (not including the legs).

Our Precious Frog logo highlights the golden-yellow eyes found in all Oregon Spotted Frogs, but the body colour of these frogs is highly variable. Oregon Spotted Frogs can be dark brown, tan, pale green or even bright red! All Spotties have spots on their back and head; these spots are dark around the edges and light in the middle. Oregon Spotted Frog eyes are set to look up to the sky, not straight out to the sides. If you look down at an Oregon Spotted Frog in the water it looks like it is staring back up at you.

The Oregon Spotted Frog is an aquatic creature, only coming out of the water briefly to bask or forage for food. They live in floodplain wetlands associated with permanent water bodies which provide them with the different types of habitat they need for breeding, foraging, and over-wintering.

Spotties breed communally in shallow water wetlands from February until the end of March. Males call out to females using a low-pitched call that sounds like knocking on wood (listen here!). Females lay their eggs in clusters, one on top of the other. The frogs come from all around the wetland to breed together and then, once the eggs have been laid, quickly disperse throughout the wetland again.

Oregon Spotted Frogs are ambush predators that eat at the surface of the water. When a tasty dragonfly, spider, or other insect comes sets down nearby, the frog will lower itself below the water, swim slowly to within striking distance, then launch itself out of the water at its prey using its strong legs and well-webbed toes. Adults will also eat small-leaved floating vegetation, and tadpoles feed primarily on algae and detritus.