Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Alabama

Frogs and Toads of Alabama

Frogs

The frog species in Alabama come from two families, Ranidae – the true frog family and Hylidae – the tree frog family. There are numerous species of frogs from both families that are found in the state.

True Frogs – Ranidae

Alabama contains 9 frogs from the family Ranidae, the True Frog family.

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Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)
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American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
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Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in the North America. It looks very similar to the Green Frog but the dorsal ridge wraps around the tympanum while the Green Frog’s dorsal ridge is incomplete and does not extend all the way to its rear. The American Bullfrog is also very similar to the Pig Frog but the Pig Frog has bolder spots / stripes on the back of its thighs while the Bullfrog has light spots.

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Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito)
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Dusky Gopher Frog (Lithobates sevosus)

Mississippi Gopher Frog or Dusky Gopher Frog is a critically endangered frog and is mostly extinct in Alabama so if you think you see it, it is more likely to be the Gopher Frog.

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River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri)

The River Frog does not have a dorsal ridge which is a key identification characteristic. Its skin is also a lot more rough and wrinkly than another true frogs.

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Pickeral Frog (Lithobates palustris)
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Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Pickeral Frog and the Southern Leopard Frog,  look very much a like. The Pickeral Frog has more square shaped spots on its back while the Southern Leopard frog has more circular ones.

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Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Wood Frog is a very easy to identify because of their mask around their face.

Tree Frogs – Hylidae

Alabama is blessed with a variety of tree frogs, 15 to be exact. They fall into 3 genera: the Cricket Frogs – Acris, Chorus Frogs – Pseudacris, and regular tree frogs – Hyla

Cricket Frogs – Acris

244 Northern Cricket Frog
cricket_frog3 Southern Cricket Frog

The Cricket Frogs look really similar but there’s a few ways to tell them apart. The Southern Cricket Frog, Acris gryllus, has a more pointed snout while the Northern Cricket Frog, Acris crepitans, has a more blunt snout. The Southern Cricket Frog doesn’t have as much webbing on the back legs as the Northern Cricket Frog.

Chorus Frogs  – Pseudacris

mtnchorusfrog Mountain Chorus Frog
spring_peeper Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer, and the Mountain Chorus Frog, Pseudacris brachyphona, are similar but the markings on their back can be used to tell them apart. The Spring Peeper has an X on its back while the Mountain Chorus Frog has 2 backwards parenthesizes that look like )(. Sometimes they touch that can kinda look like an x but there’s also a dark triangle between its eyes that the Spring Peeper doesn’t have.

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Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)
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Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)

The Upland Chorus Frog and the Southern Chorus Frog look extremely alike. The main differences is in their calls and where they are found. The Upland Chorus Frog is found in the Piedmont and Mountain areas while the Southern Chorus Frog is found in the Coastal Plains.

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Little Grass Frog
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Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata)

The Ornate Chorus Frog and the Little Grass Frog, Pseudacris ocularis, can appear similar in pictures but the Little Grass Frog is really tiny. Its usually about a half an inch big. Also the dark band that runs down the side of the Little Grass Frog is uninterrupted while the Ornate Chorus Frog has breaks.

Tree Frogs – Hyla

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Pine Barrons Tree Frog, Hyla andersonii, is identifiable because of its purple stripe from its eye down its side.

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Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)
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Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosas) 
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Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella)

The Green Tree Frog, Squirrel Tree Frog, and Barking Tree Frog are all very similar. The Barking Tree Frog has much rougher skin than the others. The Green Tree Frog has a white line down its side.

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Pinewoods Frog (Hyla femoralis)
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Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
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Bird-Voiced Frog (Hyla avivoca)

The Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, Hyla chrysoscelis, Pinewoods Frog, and the Bird-Voiced Frog look very much a like. The difference is the coloration on the inner thigh. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog has brighter orange color on the thigh while the Bird-Voiced Frog is more greenish-yellow. The Pinewoods Frog has dots / spots on the inner thigh.

Toads

True Toads – Bufonidae

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American Toad
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Oak Toad
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Southern Toad
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Fowler’s Toad

The Oak Toad, Anaxyrus quercicus, is the most easily identifiable toad out of the group of four. It is the smallest of the group and has a light line down its back. The Oak Toad also has orange on the bottom of its feet. The remaining three species of toads in Alabama are a lot harder to distinguish between. To identify the differences, you have to look at the top of the head. The Southern Toad, Anaxyrus terrestris, has knobs on the back of its head. The Fowler’s Toad’s, Anaxyrus fowleri,  parotid gland touches its postorbital ridge around its eye while the American Toads’s, Anaxyrus americanus, parotid gland does not touch or connected to it by a spur. Here’s an easy map I found that helps me.

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Narrow Mouthed Toad – Microhylidae

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The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis, is the only narrow mouthed toad in Alabama. One could potentially misidentify it has a Spadefoot toad because of its burrowing lifestyle but the head is narrower and there’s no spade on the back feet.

Scaphiopodidae – Spadefoot Toad Family

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The Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii, is the only Spadefoot toad in Alabama so it can easily be identified because of the spade on its back legs.

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