What is the Mississippi Gopher Frog?
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The gopher frog is one of the cutest big frogs I know. A calling male sounds exactly like someone snoring, a loud and marvelous noise you can actually enjoy, when it's a frog. Another lovable feature is that when you pick one up it's likely to put its hands in front of its face, like a child shielding his eyes from a bright light. Unfortunately, you may never get to see one, because the gopher frog is rare, and seemingly becoming rarer.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned about its fate. So are the southeastern timber and pulpwood companies, on whose land many of these amphibians live. Is site preparation during forestry activities one cause of its apparent disappearance? This evidence of concern is a good sign, a sign that many people care about the status and fate of this fascinating animal.

The Gopher Frog, Rana capito and the closely-related Mississippi Gopher Frog, Rana sevosa, are highly secretive upland frogs, unlike the pond- and river-loving cousins, Rana catesbiana and Rana grylio. Often, but not always, found in association with gopher tortoises, the Mississippi Gopher Frog frequently uses gopher tortoise burrows as shelter. Habitat requirements and management needs are similar for each.

Gopher Frog: Rana capito is found in the Coastal Plain from North Carolina to Alabama. Two populations above the Fall Line, tentatively assigned to R. capito, are known from Shelby County Alabama and Coffee County Tennessee. R. capito is protected by each state in which it occurs, but is not federally listed.

Mississippi Gopher Frog: Rana sevosa formerly occurred in the Coastal Plain west of Mobile Bay from Alabama across Mississippi and into Louisiana's Florida Parishes; it is now known from a single site in Mississippi and is federally listed as Endangered.