Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of California

Frogs and Toads of California

California is home to a many different frogs and toads, with some being only found in the state. Learn more about the different species and how to tell them apart below.

Are you looking to identify a specific frog? Check out my page on Frog Identification.

Frogs

True Frog Family – Ranidae

The True Frogs are your typical frogs that you find along the shores of a lake or pond.

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

Common Name: Northern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana pipiens
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Northern Leopard Frog has fairly large spots all over their body. The dorsal ridge is nearly complete. The Northern Leopard Frog have an interesting history in the state. The frog is native to the state but most of the native populations have become extinct while non native populations of the frog have become established.

Common Name: Lowland Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana yavapainsis
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Lowland Leopard Frog is stockier and paler than the Northern Leopard Frog. It was found in the southern part of the state, near the border with Arizona but the frog has probably been extirpated from the state.

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana sierrae
Location:
Breeding Season:

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana muscosa
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog and the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog look very much alike. So much that they were thought to be the same species. Best way to tell them apart is by where they are at. The Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog is found in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California while the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog is found in the middle and northern parts.

Common Name: Columbia Spotted Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana luteiventris
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Columbia Spotted Frog is found in the northeastern border of the state. It has spots that are lighter in the middle.

Common Name: Cascade’s Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana cascadae
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Cascade’s Frog is found in the northern part of the state in the Cascade Mountains. They have a yellow color on their underside.

Common Name: Foothill Yellow-legged Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana boylii
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Foothill Yellow-legged Frog has yellow on their underside of their legs.

Common Name: Northern Red-legged Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana aurora
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Northern Red-legged Frog has a red on the backside of their legs. It is found along the northwestern coast.

Common Name: California Red-legged Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana draytonii
Location:
Breeding Season:

The California Red-legged Frog has red underside. It is found along the coast.

Common Name: Oregon Spotted Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana pretiosa
Location:
Possibly found in the way northern part of California in the Warner Mountains
Breeding Season:

The Oregon Spotted Frog might not even in the state anymore. They have red on their underside.

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Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

Common Name: California Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris cadaverina
Location:
Southwestern part of Cali
Breeding Season:

Noticeable difference between the California Tree Frog and Pacific Tree Frog is that it doesn’t have a stripe through its eyes.

Common Name: Pacific Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudaris regilla
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Pacific Tree Frog is all around the state. It has a dark stripe from its nose, down the side, to the butt.

Tailed Frog Family – Ascaphidae

Common Name: Coastal Tailed Frog
Scientific Name:
Ascaphus truei
Location:
Northern edge of the state
Breeding Season:

The Coastal Tailed Frog is the only tailed frog in California. The males retain a tail that they use for reproduction.

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Toads

True Toad Family – 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.

Common Name: Western Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus boreas
Location:
Southeastern edge of the state
Breeding Season:

The Western Toad has a very weak or no cranial crest

Common Name: Great Plains Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus cognatus
Location:
Southeastern
Breeding Season:

Video of a male Great Plains Toad calling by Annika Enloe

Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus)

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Yosemite Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus canorus
Location:
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Breeding Season:

The Yosemite Toad has a light stripe down its back. It is a federally threatened species.

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Arroyo Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus californicus
Location:
Southwestern part of the state
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Black Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus exsul
Location:
Deep Springs Valley of Inyo County
Breeding Season:

The Black Toad has a distinct dark color with a white stripe down its back.

Common Name: Woodhouse’s Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus woodhousii
Location:
Southeastern part of Cali
Breeding Season:

The Woodhouse’s Toad has a white stripe down its back.

Common Name: Red Spotted Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus punctatus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Red Spotted Toad has no stripe down its back.

Common Name: Arizona Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus microscaphus
Location:
Southeastern edge of the state but records of observations are few and old
Breeding Season:

The Arizona Toad might not even be found in California anymore. They have no stripe down their back.

Common Name: Colorado River Toad
Scientific Name:
Incilius alvarius
Location:
Southeast border with Arizona but there hasn’t been any observations lately
Breeding Season:

The Colorado River Toad have a more enlarged parotoid compared to the other toads in the state.

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Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

Common Name: Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name:
Spea intermontana
Location:
Norther eastern border
Breeding Season:

The Great Basin Spadefoot Toad has a glandular bump between its eyes.

Common Name: Couch’s Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name:
Scaphiopus couchii
Location:
Southeastern edge of the state.
Breeding Season:

The Couch’s Spadefoot Toad has a more sickle shaped spade compared to other spadefoot toads. It also does not have a bump between its eyes.

Common Name: Western Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name:
Spea hammondii
Location:
Western half of the state
Breeding Season:

The Western Spadefoot Toad does not have a bump between its eyes and it does not have a sickle shaped spade.

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Introduced

Common Name: Rio Grande Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana berlandieri
Location:
Breeding Season:

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeianus)

Common Name: American Bullfrog
Scientific Name:
Rana catesbeianus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog naturally found in the United States and comes with a big appetite. It will eat any animal that it can fit in its mouth making it a dangerous predator to native species.

Common Name: African Clawed Frog
Scientific Name:
Xenopus laevis
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

Common Coquí
Common Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui)

Common Name: Common Coqui
Scientific Name:
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Location:
Breeding Season:

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