Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of North Carolina

Frogs and Toads of North Carolina

North Carolina has over 25 different species of frogs and toads, making it a pretty good froggin state.

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

Frogs

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. These are your general backyard pond frogs.

gopher-frog-everglades-tours
Gopher Frog (Rana capito)

Common Name: Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Rana capito
Location: Southern part of the state
Breeding Season: February to April

The Gopher Frog is listed as an endangered species in the state of North Carolina. The frog has a nearly complete dorsal ridge and has slightly warty skin.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbiana)

Common Name: American Bullfrog
Scientific Name: Rana catesbiana
Location: Throughout the state
Breeding Season: April to August

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North Carolina. The frog lacks a dorsal ridge down its back.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bronze / Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

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

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

riverfrog
River Frog (Rana heckscheri)

*Species of Special Concern*

Common Name: River Frog
Scientific Name: Rana heckscheri
Location: Southern part of the state but hasn’t been seen in 20 years
Breeding Season: April to August is when they breed in nearby states

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.

Southern_Leopard_Frog,_Missouri_Ozarks
Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephalus)

Common Name: Southern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sphenocephalus
Location: Everywhere besides the western edge
Breeding Season: late winter to early spring

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

Pickeral_Frog
Pickeral Frog (Rana palustris)

Common Name: Pickeral Frog
Scientific Name: Rana palustris
Location: Everywhere besides the coast
Breeding Season: February to early April

The Pickeral Frog can be easily confused with the Leopard Frog but the Pickeral Frog has more rectangular “spots” than the leopard.

Wood Frog (Rana sylvaticus)

Common Name: Wood Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sylvaticus
Location: Western edge and some isolated populations near the coast
Breeding Season: Winter mostly during February

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

carpenterfrog
Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)

Common Name: Carpenter Frog
Scientific Name: Rana virgatipes
Location: East coast
Breeding Season:

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. Not all the tree frogs make their homes in the trees, but some on the ground.

Cricket Frogs – Acris

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

Common Name: Northern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name: Acris crepitans
Location: Everywhere besides the east coast
Breeding Season: April to August

cricket_frog3
Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

Common Name: Southern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name: Acris gryllus
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: February to October

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

1280px-pine_barrens_tree_frog
Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)

Common Name: Pines Barren Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla andersonii
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: March to October

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

GrayTreeFrog
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.

IMG_0887
Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

Common Name: Green Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla cinerea
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: April to September

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

hyla_femoralis
Pine Wood’s Tree Frog (Hyla femoralis)

Common Name: Pine Wood’s Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla femoralis
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: March to October

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

hyla_gratiosa_umfs_2014_2
Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosa)

Common Name: Barking Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla gratiosa
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: April to September

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

hyla_squirella1
Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella)

Common Name: Squirrel Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla squirrela
Location: Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season: April to August

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

Chorus Frog – Pseudacris

1570
Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

Common Name: Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
Location: Western point of the state
Breeding Season: February to April

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

peeper
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

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

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

Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)

Common Name: Upland Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris feriarum
Location: Middle of the state
Breeding Season: Winter and early Spring

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

2003-11-12_southern-chorus-frog2
Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)

Common Name: Southern Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris nigrita
Location: Eastern part of the state
Breeding Season: January to March

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

littlegrassmoss
Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)

Common Name: Little Grass Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
Location: East Coast
Breeding Season: January to September

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

35382_orig
Brimley’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi)

Common Name: Brimley’s Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris brimleyi
Location: East Coast
Breeding Season: December to April

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

Pseudacris_ornata
Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata)

Common Name: Ornate Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ornata
Location: East Coast
Breeding Season: December to March

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

Toads

North Carolina has a good amount of different toad species from three different families. Only members of the family Bufonidae produce Bufotoxin, a toxin that you don’t want to ingest.

True Toad – Bufonidae

North Carolina’s true toads kinda all look alike so identifying them can be hard. These toads are toxic so don’t eat them and wash your hands after touching them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Common Name: American Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
Location: Western half with isolated population in northeastern corner
Breeding Season: February to April

The American Toad is the largest toad in North Carolina.

b_quercicus_usgs
Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

Common Name: Oak Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
Location: East Coast
Breeding Season: April to August

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.

FowlersToad
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

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

Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

Common Name: Southern Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus terrestris
Location:  East Coast
Breeding Season: late February to May

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.

bufo-cranial

Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

There is only one species of Spadefoot Toad in North Carolina. Members of the family are known for their spades on their rear legs.

american_eastern_spadefoot_toad
Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
Location: Mostly in the east but isolated populations in the west
Breeding Season: Anytime after heavy rain

The Easten Spadefoot Toad is the only species of Spadefoot toad in North Carolina so if the toad has a spade on its rear foot, its the Eastern Spadefoot toad. They are a fossorial species, hiding underground during the day and only coming out at night to hunt for food.

Narrowed Mouth Toad Family – Microhylidae

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

gastrophryne_carolinensis
Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Common Name: Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinensis
Location: Eastern half
Breeding Season: April to October

The Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad is the only Narrowed Mouth toad in the state. Their narrow head makes them easy to identify. The toads can create secretions that humans do not want to get into their eyes or mouth. Please wash your hands after handling them and all frogs and toads.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Frogs and Toads of North Carolina”

  1. I live in Arden, Nc, and saw an unusual frog here (on my garage door window, in the rain): it as golden in color, and the body was less than 1″long, on Wednesday night, Aug.1, 2018, about 9:30 PM. Wish I’d been quick enough to catch it, since I’ve Never seen this ever before. Can anyone identify it for me?

  2. Please help me identify these Extremely small frog/toads. I have never seen anything like that and it’s as small or smaller than my fingernail. I found them in my flower bed under railroad ties under the dirt. I have 12 in an aquarium. I want to know what to feed them because I worry they would die from predators. Please help me.

Leave a Reply