Gopher Frog - Rana capito aesopus
Creaking Door or Snore
Description & Identification:
Medium-sized, reaching 4.33" (11cm); body is pudgy. Dorsum is dusky gray with a scattering of dark spots, irregular in shape and faintly surrounded with lighter gray or white; underside is creamy white; distinct dorsolateral ridges are yellowish-brown or bronze; belly is white; skin is smooth or slightly warty.
Several hundred eggs are laid in a large mass just below the surface and attached to pickerel weed or other emergent vegetation in temporary ponds or cypress heads; eggs are white and black; hatch in 2-3 days. Tadpoles are large, about 3.5" (89mm); body is globose and greenish; top of the head is yellowish with black spots; a black spot present above each eye; sides and tail muscle are pinkish; upper tail crest has large black spots and the lower fin is sparsely spotted at the tip. Metamorphose in approximately 100 days after hatching.
Habitat & Behaviors:
In Florida, commonly seen in and around the mouth of gopher tortoise burrows; apparently may use the burrows of other animals such as armadillos; often there is a smooth, worn place in front of the burrow where the frog frequently sits. Largely nocturnal, it remains inside its burrow or under stumps or logs during the day. Found in dry, xeric habitats such as oak or pine scrub and sandhills. The crawfish frog, its close relative of the north and southern United States, is found in wetter areas and also lives in the burrows of other animals, especially those of crayfish.
Leopard frogs, also with dark spots on the back, are greenish and have slender bodies and snouts.
A rumbling snore that may be heard for a great distance; winter and spring but may also be heard during the summer after heavy rains. Calls from cypress heads and temporary ponds.