The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is a mid-sized, terrestrial frog, reaching up to approximately 3 inches in length. This frog is recognized by a dark mask that begins behind the eye, and extends past its tympanum or eardrum. Female wood frogs are more intensely colored and larger than males. Both sexes can range from tomato red to a dull or tan brown.
In Virginia, these frogs can be found in the upper coastal plain and throughout the piedmont region. Wood frogs breed for a short time during late winter when they congregate in large numbers in moist wooded areas. Egg masses are deposited on aquatic vegetation in shallow ponds. After nearly 2 months spent as tadpoles, newly transformed wood frogs emerge from the water to spend the rest of their lives back in the forest.
The wood frog is the only frog in North America that lives north of the Arctic Circle and is known for its ability to tolerate freezing! The composition of the cellular fluids change, which act like an antifreeze during the winter months. Up to 40 percent of a wood frog’s body may freeze for short periods of time, even causing the heart and other bodily processes to stop. When the warmer temperatures arrive, the frog thaws out and resumes normal body function!
Wood Frog information from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries