Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of North Carolina

Frogs and Toads of North Carolina


North Carolina is home to a rich, variety of frogs from the family Ranidae and Hylidae.

True Frog Family – Ranidae

There are seven species of true frogs in North Carolina.

Carolina Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito capito)

The Carolina Gopher Frog is a subspecies of the Gopher Frog. The dorsal ridge of the frog is nearly complete.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbianus)

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in the state. It lacks a dorsal ridge.

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

The Green Frog looks identical to the American Bullfrog but it has an incomplete dorsal ridge.

River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri)

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.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

The Southern Leopard frog has large spots on its body and a complete dorsal ridge.

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

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

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes)

Carpenter Frog is identifiable because of their brown color and two yellow lines that run down their back.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

North Carolina is home to a wide variety of tree frogs from three different genera.

Cricket Frogs – Acris

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

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

Tree Frog – Hyla

Pine Barrons Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)

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

Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) and  Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)

The Gray Tree Frogs are identical besides their calls. They also have a yellow / orange marking on their hind legs.

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

Green Tree Frog has a white line down its side of the face and the side of its body.

Pine Wood’s Tree Frog (Hyla femoralis)

The Pine Wood’s Tree Frog has orange dots or spots on the inner back legs.

Barking Tree Frog

The Barking Tree frog has much rougher skin than any other tree frog.

Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella)

The Squirrel Tree Frog lacks a white line down its side and has smooth skins.

Chorus Frog – Pseudacris

Mountain Chorus Frog Pseudacris brachyphona

Mountain Chorus Frog can be identified by the marking on its back. The mark looks like )(.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

The Spring Peeper is distinguished by the X shaped marking on its back.

Upland Chorus Frog  (Pseudacris feriarum

The Upland Chorus Frog has three stripes down its back. The stripes are often broken.

Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)

The Southern Chorus Frog is the darkest of all the Chorus Frogs. It has three stripes that can be broken or even spots.

Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)

Little Grass frog has a line that runs through the eye and down its side. There are no spots on its chest.

Brimley’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi)

Brimley’s Chorus Frog has a line that runs through the eye and down its side. It has spots on its chest.

Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata)

Ornate Chorus Frog has a line that runs through the eye and down its side. The lines are often broken.


North Carolina has a good amount of different toad species from three different families.

True Toad – Bufonidae

North Carolina’s true toads kinda all look alike so identifying them can be hard.

American Toad Anaxyrus americanus
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)
Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)
Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

The Oak Toad 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 North Carolina are a lot harder to distinguish between. To identify the differences, you have to look at the top of the head. The Southern Toad has knobs on the back of its head. The Fowler’s Toad’s parotid gland touches its postorbital ridge around its eye while the American Toads’s parotid gland does not touch or connected to it by a spur. Here’s an easy map I found that helps me.


Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

There is only one species of Spadefoot toad in North Carolina.

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

The Easten Spadefoot Toad is the only species of Spadefoot toad in North Carolina so if the toad has a spade on its foot, its the Eastern Spadefoot toad.

Narrowed Mouth Toad Family – Microhylidae

There is only one species of Narrowed Mouth Toad in North Carolina.

Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

The Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad is the only Narrowed Mouth toad in the state. Their narrow head makes them easy to identify.


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