American Bullfrog

Fact File

Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 8 inches

Distribution: Found statewide, this species breeds in almost any permanent body of water such as lakes, ponds and reservoirs throughout Virginia. Seldom inhabits ephemeral wetlands.

Identifying Characteristics

This is the largest species of frog in North America. It has a dark greenish and yellowish throat with a whitish or yellowish belly, often with heavily mottled small dark blotches. Adult males have a yellow throat and a tympanum larger than the eye. Easily confused with the Green Frog, however, the dorsolateral fold of the American Bullfrog turns downward just behind the tympanum.

Did You Know?

When grasped, bullfrogs will often emit a high pitched distressed call that is believed by some scientists to attract mammals or birds which may interrupt the attack.

Role in the Web of Life

Breeding occurs primarily from May-August. Territories are established by calling and defended by vocalizations, postures, and combat. Their advertisement call is a deep sounding vrrr-rooom, vrr-rooom said to resemble the distant roaring of a bull. Hibernation typically occurs underwater partially buried in the mud, but will occasionally hibernate on land in burrows.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: March 23, 2021