Lithobates (Rana) capito Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Gopher frogs are short and stout, rarely reaching 4 inches in body length. The head and mouth are quite large with prominent eyes. The back is marked with dark, round spots and yellowish or dark dorso-lateral ridges.
Unlike most frogs, which are usually found near water, the gopher frog lives in highpine sandhills and sandy scrub habitats. The gopher frog is a common inhabitant of gopher tortoise burrows, and its geographic range is almost identical to the range of the gopher tortoise.
Gopher frogs are explosive breeders. When heavy rains refill dry ponds and depressions, males move from the dry, upland sandhills to these ephemeral, predator-free ponds and begin their distinctive snoring choruses. Gopher frogs will breed at any time of year— whenever conditions are right.
This frog was once found over most of peninsular Florida, but it has become much less common as upland habitats have been converted to other uses.
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