mink frog

(Rana septentrionalis)

Conservation Status
mink frog
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


Mink frog is a medium size frog, 1¾ to 3 long at maturity.

The background color is olive-brown to green. The back and sides are covered with dark brown spots or mottling. The chin, throat, and belly are yellowish-white, and may have gray spotting or mottling. The skin is smooth, not warty. When rubbed the skin emits a mink-like odor that has been compared to rotting onions. Raised ridges (dorsolateral folds) on the back, if present, are usually weakly developed. Few individuals have prominent dorsolateral folds.

The disk covering the ear opening (tympanum) in males is larger than the eye. In females it is the same size or slightly smaller than the eye.

The hind feet has a broad web covering all of the toes, with only the tip of the fourth toe free.




1¾ to 3



Listen to mink frog

Similar Species


Green frog (Rana clamitans) always has well-defined dorsolateral folds on the back. The hind feet are only partially webbed. The skin does not produce a rotting onion odor when rubbed.


Lakes, ponds, slow areas of rivers, deep bogs.




Adults can often be seen sitting on lily pads.




Males: 3 years

Females: 4 years


Life Cycle


Between late May and August the female lays a mass of 500 to 4,000 eggs under water on the submerged stem of an aquatic plant. The egg mass often detaches and sinks to the bottom. The amount of time the eggs take to hatch is variable.

When the egg hatches a tadpole emerges. Some tadpoles metamorphose into froglets after about one year, others require two years. At the time of metamorphosis the froglets are almost 60% of their final adult size.

To avoid freezing, overwintering tadpoles and adults hibernate in the mud at the bottom of the same water they inhabited the rest of the year. They enter hibernation in late September and emerge in late April or early May.

Most mink frogs live only 1 or 2 years after metamorphosis. Males sometimes survive 3 years, females sometimes 4 years.


Tadpole Food




Adult Food


Spiders, snails, dragonflies, whirligig and other beetles, earthworms, and other invertebrates.


Distribution Map



7, 14, 29, 73.





  Class Amphibia (amphibians)  
  Superorder Batrachia (amphibians)  
  Order Anura (frogs and toads)  
  Suborder Neobatrachia  
  Superfamily Ranoidea  


Ranidae (true frogs)  


Rana (Holarctic true frogs)  
  Subgenus Aquarana (North American water frogs)  

In 2006 most North American true frogs were transferred from the genus Rana to the genus Lithobates by Frost et al. The change was controversial and was not accepted by all authorities. In 2008 and 2009 the change was rejected by Stuart, Pauly et al., and by other systematic reviews. In 2016, a consortium of Rana researchers from Europe, Asia, and North America showed that transferring the species to Lithobates caused problems of paraphyly in other genera. In that same year, Yuan et al. returned all North American true frogs to the genus Rana, using subgenera for all of the well-defined species groups within Rana.

Most sources, including GBIF, ITIS, NatureServe, iNaturalist, and Amphibian Species of the World, use the name Lithobates septentrionalis. A few, including NCBI, UniProt, and AmphibiaWeb, use the name Rana septentrionalis. AmphibiaWeb suggests using the original name followed by the subgenus name in parentheses, in this case Rana (Aquarana) septentrionalis.




Lithobates septentrionalis


Common Names


mink frog








Dorsolateral folds

Two parallel lines, one on each side of the back, of raised glandular skin between the back and the sides of most North American frogs of the family Ranidae.



The circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening of some reptiles and amphibians.
























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Rana [Lithobates] septentrionalis
Jake Scott

  Rana [Lithobates] septentrionalis  



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Other Videos
  Mink Frog (Rana septentrionalis)

Published on Apr 30, 2012

No description available.

  Mink Frog

Published on Oct 7, 2013

In this video, a mink frog (Rana septentrionalis) is shown by the shore of Kiwassa Lake in the rain. The mink frog is classified by some authorities, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), under the scientific name Rana septentrionalis. This, however, is not widely accepted. The mink frog is a largely aquatic species of frog found in the northern United States and Canada. They rarely leave the water, unless during or after heavy rain. In this circumstance, it was raining fairly heavily, so I guess I got lucky. The mink frog gets its name from the mink, as they smell alike. The mink frog is assessed as being of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This video was recorded on the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) owned shore of Kiwassa Lake in New York on August 31, 2013.

  Mink frogs calling

Uploaded on Mar 19, 2009

Mink frogs calling in a Minnesota lake




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