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.

Frogs

True Frog Family – Ranidae

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Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

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.

Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis)

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

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae)

Conservation status is Endangered

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Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa)

Conservation status is Endangered

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.

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

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

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Cascade’s Frog (Rana cascadae)

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.

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii)

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

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Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)

The Northern Red-legged Frog has a red on the backside of their legs.

California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii)

The California Red-legged Frog has red underside.

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Oregon Spotted Frog

The Oregon Spotted Frog might not even in the state anymore. They would be found in the way northern part of California in the  Warner Mountains. They have red on their underside.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

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California Tree Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) photo by Will Flaxington

The California Tree Frog is found in the southwestern part of the state. Noticeable difference between it and other tree frogs in the state is that it doesn’t have a stripe through its eyes.

Northern Pacific Tree Frog / Baja California Tree Frog / Sierra Tree Frog

The Pacific Tree Frog was split into three species but not all researchers agree with it. There’s no distinct differences between the calls or physical appears between the species, making them hard to tell apart. The species do live in different areas of the state. The Baja California Tree Frog is found in the southern part of the state, the Sierra Tree Frog is found in the middle part of the state, while the Northern Pacific Tree Frog is found in the northwestern corner of the state.

Tailed Frog Family – Ascaphidae

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Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei)

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

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.

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

The Western Toad is found throughout California besides the southeastern edge of the state.

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)

The Great Plains Toad is found in the southeastern part of California.

Conservation status is Endangered

The Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus) is only found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.in California. It has a light stripe down its back. It is a federally threatened species.

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Arroya Toad (Anaxyrus californicus)

Conservation status is Endangered

The Arroya Toad is found along the southwestern part of the state.

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Black Toad (Anaxyrus exsul)

The Black Toad is found only in the Deep Springs Valley of Inyo County. It has a distinct dark color with a white stripe down its back.

Woodhouse’s Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii)

The Woodhouse’s Toad is found in the southeastern part of the state. It has a white stripe down its back.

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Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus)

The Red Spotted Toad is found in the southeastern part of California. It has no stripe down its back.

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Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus)

The Arizona Toad might not even be found in California anymore. They were found in the southeast edge of the state but records of observations are few and old. They have no stripe down its back.

Colorado River Toad (Incilius alvarius)

The Colorado River Toad was found along the southeast border with Arizona but there hasn’t been any observations lately. They have enlarged parotoid compared to the other toads in the state.

Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad (Spea intermontana)

The Great Basin Spadefoot Toad has a glandular bump between its eyes. It is found along the northeastern border of the state.

Couch’s Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii)

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. The Couch’s Spadefoot Toad is found along the southeastern edge of the state.

Western Spadefoot Toad (Spea hammondii)

The Western Spadefoot Toad does not have a bump between its eyes and it does not have a sickle shaped spade. It is found in the more western part of the state.

Introduced

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Rio Grande Leopard Frog
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American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

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.

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African Clawed Frog
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Southern Leopard Frog
Common Coqui
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