Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Alabama

Frogs and Toads of Alabama

If you are looking to identify a specific frog and can’t figure it out from the page, you can check my Frog Identification and see how to contact me about helping you out.

Frogs

The frog species in Alabama come from two families, Ranidae – the true frog family and Hylidae – the tree frog family. There are 31 species of frogs from both families that are found in the state, making it the second most froggiest state in the United States.

True Frogs – Ranidae

Alabama contains 10 frogs from the family Ranidae, the True Frog family. These are your typical frogs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bronze Frog /Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

Common Name: Bronze Frog or Green Frog
Scientific Name: Rana clamitans
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season: April to August

The Bronze Frog has dorsal ridge that runs down their back. The males of the species have bright yellow throat while the female’s throat is just white.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

Common Name: American Bullfrog
Scientific Name: Rana catesbeiana
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season: March to August

The American Bullfrog is the biggest frog in the state, capable of reaching over 7 inches long. The mature males of the species have bright yellow colored throats.

Common Name: Pig Frog
Scientific Name: Rana grylio
Location: Southern border
Breeding Season: April to August

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.

Common Name: Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Rana capito
Location: Southern border with isolated population south of Birmingham
Breeding Season:

CR

Common Name: Dusky Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sevosus
Location: Probably extinct in the state
Breeding Season: February to March

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

Common Name: River Frog
Scientific Name: Rana heckscheri
Location: Southern border
Breeding Season: April to August

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.

Pickeral_Frog
Pickeral Frog (Rana palustris)

Common Name: Pickeral Frog
Scientific Name: Rana palustris
Location: Northern and southwestern part of the state
Breeding Season: winter and early spring

Common Name: Southern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sphenocephalus
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season:

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Common Name: Wood Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sylvatica
Location:
Breeding Season: January to February

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

Common Name: Crawfish Frog
Scientific Name: Rana arealatus
Location: Sumter County but could be anywhere along the northwestern border of the state
Breeding Season:

The Crawfish Frog gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin fold on the side and a small typanum.

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

Common Name: Northern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name: Acris crepitans
Location: Northeastern corner
Breeding Season: March to August

cricket_frog3

Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

Common Name: Southern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name: Acris gryllus
Location: Everywhere besides the northeastern corner
Breeding Season: March to August

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.

Chorus Frogs  – Pseudacris

Common Name: Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
Location: Northern half of the state
Breeding Season: December to April

The Mountain Chorus Frog has a backwards facing parenthesis looking like )(. They also have a dark triangle between their eyes.

Common Name: Spring Peeper
Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
Location: Everywhere
Breeding Season: January to April

Spring Peeper and the Mountain Chorus Frog are similar but the markings on their back can be used to tell them apart. The Spring Peeper has a noticeable X mark on their back.

Common Name: Upland Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris feriarum
Location: Everywhere besides the southern border
Breeding Season: December to April

Common Name: Southern Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris nigrita
Location: Southern border
Breeding Season: December to April

The Upland Chorus Frog and the Southern Chorus Frog look extremely alike. The main differences is in their calls and where they are found.

littlegrassmoss
Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)

Common Name: Little Grass Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
Location: Barely in the state’s southeast corner
Breeding Season: January to September

The Little Grass Frog is the tiniest frog in North America.

Common Name: Ornate Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ornata
Location: Southeast corner
Breeding Season: December to March

The Ornate Chorus Frog and the Little Grass Frog 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

Common Name: Pine Barrons Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla andersonii
Location: On border with Florida
Breeding Season: April to September

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

Common Name: Green Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla cinera
Location: Everywhere besides the northern border
Breeding Season: April to August

The Green Tree Frog has a white stripe down its side.

Common Name: Barking Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla gratiosas
Location: Everywhere
Breeding Season: April to July

The Barking Tree Frog has much rougher skin than the other tree frogs in the state.

Common Name: Squirrel Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla squirrela
Location: Southern half
Breeding Season: April to August

The Green Tree Frog, Squirrel Tree Frog, and Barking Tree Frog are all very similar. The Green Tree Frog has a white line down its side.

hyla_femoralis
Pinewoods Frog (Hyla femoralis)

Common Name: Pinewoods Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla femoralis
Location: Deep south and southeastern border of the state
Breeding Season: March to September

The Pinewoods Frog has dots / spots on the inner thigh.

Common Name: Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis
Location: Everywhere
Breeding Season: April to August

Bird Voiced Tree Frog (Hyla avivoca)

Common Name: Bird Voiced Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla avivoca
Location: Everywhere besides the northeast corner
Breeding Season: April to July

The Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, 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 Tree Frog is more greenish-yellow.

Toads

True Toads – Bufonidae

The True Toads are your typical toad. They usually have a parotid gland behind their eyes that contain a poison called  It is not advised to let your dog eat these guys.

b_quercicus_usgs
Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

Common Name: Oak Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus quercicus
Location: Southern part
Breeding Season: April to August

The Oak Toad is the most easily identifiable toad out of the true toads in the state. 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.

Here is a video of their call.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Common Name: American Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
Location: Northeast corner
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Southern Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus terrestris
Location: Southern half
Breeding Season: March to September

Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season: March to August

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 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.

bufo-cranial

Narrow Mouthed Toad – Microhylidae

Common Name: Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinesis
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season: April to October following heavy rains

The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad 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.

Here is a video of their call.

Scaphiopodidae – Spadefoot Toad Family

Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrooki
Location: Throughout state
Breeding Season: March to September following heavy rains

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

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Frogs and Toads of Alabama”

  1. The frog I wantnidentified is on my front porch every night. He’s pretty big and isn’t scared off by me at all. I have pictures and videos of him. I’d love to know what type he is. I’m torn between a gopher frog, American toad & Fowler toad. Please help.

Leave a Reply