Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of South Carolina

Frogs and Toads of South Carolina

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

South Carolina is home to a rich variety of frogs and toads from a few different families.

True Frog Family – Ranidae

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Bronze /Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

Common Name: Bronze / Green Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana clamitans
Location:
Throughout state
Breeding Season:

It has an incomplete dorsal ridge down its back.

Common Name: Pig Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana grylio
Location:
Southern part of state
Breeding Season:

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American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

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

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in the North America. It looks very similar to the Green Frog but the dorsal ridge wraps around the tympanum while the Green Frog’s dorsal ridge is incomplete and does not extend all the way to its rear. 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: River Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana hecksheri
Location:
Eastern half of state
Breeding Season:

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.

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

The Southern Leopard Frog has large spots on its body and the skin is smooth.

Common Name: Pickeral Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana palustris
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Pickeral Frog looks like the leopard frog but has rectangular spots on its back.

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Common Name: Wood Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana sylvatica
Location:
Western part of the state
Breeding Season:

The Wood Frog is a very easy to identify because of their mask around their face. They can vary in color from brown, red, and silver.

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Gopher Frog (Rana capito)

Common Name: Gopher Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana capito
Location:
Eastern part of state
Breeding Season:

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

Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)

Common Name: Carpenter Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana virgatipes
Location:
Eastern part of state
Breeding Season:

Carpenter Frog is identifiable because of their brown color and two yellow lines that run down their back.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

Tree Frogs in South Carolina can be broken down into three groups or genus –  Cricket Frogs (Acris), Tree Frogs (Hyla), and Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris).

Cricket Frogs – Acris

Common Name: Northern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name:
Acris crepitans
Location:
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Southern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name:
Acris gryllus
Location:
Breeding Season:

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 Frogs – Hyla

Common Name: Bird-Voiced Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla avivoca
Location:
Southern border
Breeding Season:

Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Common Name: Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla chrysoscelis
Location:
Throughout state
Breeding Season:

 Cope’s Gray Tree Frog is found throughout the state. While named Gray Tree Frog, the frog can be green in color.

Common Name: Pinewood’s Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla femoralis
Location:
Breeding Season:

The 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-yellow color on the thigh while the Bird-Voiced Frog is more greenish-yellow. The Pinewoods Frog has dots / spots on the inner thigh.

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Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)

Common Name: Pine Barrens Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla andersonii
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

Common Name: Green Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla cincerea
Location:
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Barking Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla gratiosas
Location:
Breeding Season:

The largest tree frog native to the state.

Common Name: Squirrel Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla squirella
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Green Tree Frog, Squirrel Tree Frog, and Barking Tree Frog are all very similar. The Barking Tree Frog has much rougher skin than the others. The Green Tree Frog has a white line down its side.

Chorus Frogs – Pseudacris

Common Name: Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris brachyphona
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

Common Name: Spring Peeper
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris crucifer
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Spring Peeper is a tiny chorus frog. It has a distinct X shape on its back.

Common Name: Southern Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris nigrita
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

Common Name: Upland Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris feriarum
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

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Brimley’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi)

Common Name: Brimley’s Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris brimleyi
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

Common Name: Little Grass Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacrus ocularis
Location:
Breeding Season:

Little Grass frog has a line that runs through the eye and down its side. There are no spots on its chest. It is the smallest frog in North America.

Common Name: Ornate Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris ornata
Location:
Breeding Season:

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

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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: Oak Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus quercicus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Oak Toad is the most easily identifiable toad out of the group of four 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.

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American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

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

Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus fowleri
Location:
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Southern Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus terrestris
Location:
Breeding Season:

The remaining three species of toads in South 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

Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name:
Scaphiopus holbrooki
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Eastern Spadetoad is the only spadefoot toad in the state. They have a keratonized sheath on their rear feet that helps them dig.

Narrowed Mouth Toads – Microhylidae

Common Name: Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad
Scientific Name:
Gastrophryne carolinensis
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad is the only narrowed mouth toad in the state. Their heads are narrow and pointed.

Invasive Species

eleutherodactylus_planirostris01
Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

Common Name: Greenhouse Frog
Scientific Name:
Eleutherodactylus planirostris
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Greenhouse Frog is a small frog native to the Caribbean. It has spread around because of the trade of tropical plants.

4 thoughts on “Frogs and Toads of South Carolina”

  1. I saw a black toad with orange spots the other day and was wondering if it was poisonous. I have 3 young children and a dog who love to outside, need to know. Thanks

    1. It has some toxins in its skin, if your kids touch the toad, just make sure they wash their hands. Also don’t let your kids eat the toad. If the dog eats it, it might feel unwell for a few days and might puke or have diarrhea

  2. I found a toad out side in upstate south Carolina and I was wondering what toad it is, I haven’t seen a toad with white skin like This one. The toad was light grey with dark grey spots.

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