It is estimated that there are about 100 adult Mississippi gopher frogs left in Mississippi. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
A public hearing took place Feb. 1 in Gulfport, Mississippi to discuss land that may be designated as critical habitat for the Mississippi gopher frog (Rana sevosa). The frog, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates to number around 100 adults, has been on the Endangered Species list since 2001 and can only be found in the state of Mississippi, around Glen's Pond in Harrison County, and several other sites in Jackson County. The hearing was held to determine critical habitat for the frog and detailed what was required to be designated critical habitat. The federal government is considering 7,000 acres for critical habitat designation. These lands are comprised of government land, land controlled by a conservation group, and a privately owned, 1,500 acre site in St. Tammany Parish in adjacent Louisiana.
The Mississippi gopher frog is a midsized frog that is about three inches in length. Its colors range from black and brown to gray and its skin feature dark spots and warts. It was once found in nine counties on Louisiana's lower coastal plain and has not been seen in the state since 1967. They are called gopher frogs because they use active and abandoned gopher holes as well as tortoise burrows and other small mammal burrows as places to hide.