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Gotcha, Pig Frog!

Pig Frogs (Rana grylio) — sometimes known as Lagoon Frogs or Southern Bullfrogs — are aquatic frogs that live in the Southeastern United States. Smooth-skinned and agile jumpers, they’re almost entirely aquatic, preferring lakes, wetlands, cypress swamps, and marshes that are heavy with vegetation. These innocuous little fellas are always heard, but not always seen. When I finally spied two of them — straining at odd angles into the wetland waters to nab shots, not always the safest endeavor — I was a happy camper.

A Pig Frog in the Florida Wetlands

What’s so interesting about this frog is its sound. The pig-like grunt is used by the males to attract females, and it sounds very similar to a grunting alligator (although not quite as deep) — and unbelievably, it’s just as loud, echoing through the waters. So when we’re walking in the Everglades, or in other areas thick with swamp or wetlands…and we hear a loud *GRUNT* with no visible noise-maker…we always pause. Even for those accustomed to alligators, this little frog’s resounding trickster guttural calls and lack of sight/access are daunting. Click here for their sound.

Another Pig Frog in the Florida Wetlands

Sorry Pig frog, but Kermit you are not:

Fun (??) Fact:

Many cultures prize frog legs as an epicurean treat (ick). While most frog species are edible, it’s the larger ones — such as bullfrogs and pig frogs — that are large enough to be profitable. They’ve long been staples of the frog-leg industry in Florida, and are hunted at night from boats using lights and miniature pitchforks known as “frog gigs.” Not anyone can take up frog gigging or selling these frogs, however — a commercial freshwater fish dealer’s license is required.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds like they’re snuffling for truffles!

    August 1, 2012
    • They’re unbelievably loud, for such tiny things! I’ve seen people jump out of their skins, it’s hysterical.

      August 1, 2012
  2. Pam #

    I’ve never seen a pig frog – nice! And I love Kermit singing!

    August 1, 2012
    • 🙂 That song gets me every time, honestly.

      August 1, 2012
  3. The lovers, the dreamers and me salute your pictures of the noisemaker I have heard but never seen.

    August 2, 2012
  4. Deb Platt #

    Great article. I really enjoyed getting to hear the grunt.

    August 2, 2012
    • I’m glad you enjoyed our little pig frog…! While it’s impossible to fully grasp their clamorous selves on the computer, at least you got a taste. 🙂

      August 2, 2012
  5. My daughter’s spirit animal is a frog. There is something magical about sitting on the back porch listening to their noise on an otherwise quiet evening, isn’t there? Love your blog! ❤

    August 2, 2012
    • I love hearing our frogs… They’re such amazing animals, when you think about it — of land and water! The variety of their colors amazes me… And this little guy? He’s a hoot.

      Thanks so much for your kind words!! ♥

      August 2, 2012
  6. I’m not familiar with this one. The call is like a staccato fog horn!

    August 4, 2012
    • …And just imagine the noise level, as it echoes through the wetlands / swamp! I can’t convey how loud it is. As loud as a gator. Truly. These little frogs are hysterical…!

      August 5, 2012
  7. marialla #

    THANK YOU FOR TELLING US ABOUT THE PIG FROGS. THEY REALLY DO SOUND LIKE PIGS. TOO BAD THEY CAN’T BE TRICKY EVASIVE OF MAN’S MANY TRAPS!!

    August 6, 2012
    • You’re so welcome! They’re unbelievably loud… Sounding more like our gators, than anything else! 🙂

      August 6, 2012
      • linda richman #

        They keep me up all night ! Wish I could quiet them . Any suggestions?

        May 18, 2014
      • Ohhhh I know they can be so incredibly loud — especially the pig frogs! I wish I had some advice for you, but unfortunately I don’t. They’re just more active in certain seasons. 🙂 I actually enjoy the sound, it puts me to sleep (but I was born in the south, heh).

        June 13, 2014
  8. Great capture (photography) of the frogs. I was lamenting the other day about how there are few frogs left in western Washington. When I was a child, frogs were numerous and I played with tree frogs. Sigh.

    PS I like your new profile photo.

    June 26, 2014

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