Classified as Least Concern, the pig frog is widespread and abundant part of the Everglades ecosystem. The Everglades provides a perfect environment for frogs and toads to live in. They are from the aquatic frog species and are found from South Carolina to Texas. They have also been referred to as the Lagoon Frog or Southern Bullfrog. They got their name from Leonhard Stejneger, a Norwegian-American naturalist in 1901, as their croak sounds similar to a pig’s grunt.
Other species found in the Everglades are:
Florida cricket frog
Florida chorus frog
Little grass frog
Southern leopard frog
Eastern narrow-mouth toad
Eastern spadefoot toad
The pig frog is green or grey-green in color with brown or black blotching, with their bellies having a yellow/brown pattern. They have a sharply pointed nose, webbed feet, and large eardrums. Often, they are mistaken for other species of frogs. Entirely aquatic, you will find them predominately on the edges of lakes, cypress swamps, and marshes that are heavy with vegetation. You can hear their pig-like grunts at night during the warmer months of the year.
A pig frog’s diet consists of crayfish, dragonflies, beetles, and other aquatic invertebrates. During their breeding season from late spring to fall, females will lay more than 10,000 eggs as a surface film that easily adheres to emergent aquatic vegetation. This particular frog’s breeding season is dependent on the rain.
Little is known of the life of the pig frog; they seem to be shy and easily startled. You will rarely see them during the daylight since they are nocturnal.
With large hind legs, they are harvested for consumption. Although, there is an advisory for pig frogs that are taken from any part of the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management areas due to elevated levels of mercury found in them.
Scientists are studying the pig frog in the Everglades for their importance in the food chain in the wetland. It is believed that scientists can learn a lot from the pig frog regarding the health of the Everglades.
Pig frogs have recently been introduced and are now well established in China, Andros Island, New Providence Island in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.