Frogs and Toads of Massachusetts
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.
Massachusetts is not blessed with a variety of frogs but its quality over quantity right?
True Frog Family – Ranidae
American Bull Frog (Rana catesbiana)
The American Bullfrog has no dorsal ridge on the side of their body and is larger at maturity than the Green Frog.
Common Name: American Bullfrog
Scientific Name: Rana catesbiana
Common Name: Green Frog
Scientific Name: Rana clamitans
The Green Frog has a dorsal ridge down the side of its body which differs from the American Bullfrog.
Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)
Common Name: Northern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana pipiens
Common Name: Pickeral Frog
Scientific Name: Rana palustris
Northern Leopard Frog and Pickeral Frog look similar to each other but the Northern Leopard Frog has round spots while the Pickeral Frog have more square shaped spots.
Common Name: Wood Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sylvatica
The Wood Frog is easy to tell apart from the other frogs in the state because of its racoon like mask around its eyes.
Tree Frog Family – Hylidae
Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)
The Eastern Gray Tree Frog is the largest tree frog in the state. The coloration of the frog can be gray or green. A yellow or orange color can be found on the back legs to help identify it.
Common Name: Eastern Gray Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
Breeding Season: April to July
Here is a video of some Eastern Gray Tree Frog males calling that I took
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Common Name: Spring Peeper
Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
Breeding Season: After the snow melts to July
The Spring Peeper is the smallest frog in the state. It has a noticeable X on its back which is a key identifying characteristic.
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.
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
Common Name: American Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
Massachusetts has two species of true toads – the Fowler’s Toad and the American Toad. They look very much a like but there are some differences in the back of the head.
The American Toad’s parotid gland is separated from the craniel crest while the Fowler’s Toad’s touches.
Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae
Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
Location: Sporadic throughout the state
Breeding Season: Following heavy rain fall from spring throughout the summer
The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is the only spadefoot toad in the state. They burrow into the ground with a spade on its back legs which gives it the name Spadefoot. It is also a way to identify the toad.