New York Frogs and Toads

***This post is a part of my series where this year I will be highlighting all of the different states native frogs and toads.  Check out this page to see all of the United State’s native frogs broken down by state. ***

From 1990- 1999 New York State completed the Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project.  This provided them with a bunch of good data on locations of these species.  Learn more about it out here.

Here are the frogs and Toads that can be found in New York:

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)


Photo 1

The Eastern Spadefoot has smoother and more moist skin than most toads and is speckled with very tiny warts.  This species varies in color from tan or yellowish to dark brown without bold spots like other southern toads.  They usually have 2 vertical light lines running from the back of their eyes down their dorsum creating a hourglass shape.  The lines are usually more visable in males.  The Eastern Spadefoot toad can be found in the south-eastern portion of the state; from the southern end of the Adirondacks through long island.

Photo 2

The Eastern Spadefoot prefers dry habitats with sandy soil, but can be found in almost any habitat.  Their ability to remain buried for long periods of time allows them to live in suburban and agricultural areas.  These spadefoots spend almost all of their time buried under ground, with the exception of breeding time.  During breeding time, the spadefoots emerge from their burrows and the male will let out a short explosive “wank” call which sounds like a call of a crow.  Something odd about these guys is that some people believe that the Eastern spadefoot smells like peanut butter.

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)


Photo 3

The American toad is mainly nocturnal and is most active when the weather is warm and humid. During the winter, the toad will burrow deep into the ground below the frost line.  As the frost line gets deeper, the toads will burrow deeper beneath the ground. They can be found throughout New York state.

Photo 2

The toad has a high musical trill which can last upwards of 30 seconds.  American toad is highly terrestrial and can only be found in the water for a short period while breeding and laying eggs.  Below is a video that shows the American Toad calling.

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)


Photo 4

The Fowler’s toad is usually brown, grey, olive green and rust red in color with darkened warty spots.  As these toads become adults, a pale stripe will form down its back.  The belly is usually whiteish with one dark spot.  These toads are very rare within Vermont and can only be found in the southern Connecticut river valley near undisturbed shorelines.  This toad was listed as endangered in 2015 and has been listed as of special concern by the state of New York.

Photo 2

This toad has a long, loud, high pitched W-A-A-A-H-H-H call.  Listen to it in the video below!    It is said that they can be mistaken for a herd of sheep calling in the night.  The Fowler’s toad will make a series of quick, short hops as the American toad will make a few larger hops.  The fowler’s toad will amplexus in June& July.  The female can release 7,000 -10,000 fertilized eggs which will hatch 2-7 days later.

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

photo 5

The Northern Cricket frog is one of New York’s smallest vertebrates; measuring an average of 1″ in length with the females being slightly larger.  These frogs can jump a surprisingly long way (5-6′) for their small size.  They can range a combination of black, yellow orange or red on a base of brown or green.  This frog is listed as endangered and is part of the Recovery Plan for New York State populations of the Northern Cricket Frog which aims to improve the diversity and increase its population.

Photo 2

This frog was named for its breeding call which sounds very much like a chirp or trill of a cricket repeated for about 20 beats or like 2 pebbles clicked together.  Listen to its call below.

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)


Photo 6

The grey treefrog may range in color from green to brown to grey (as shown above).  During the day, they may be found sleeping on tree branches or leaves.  Their toes have a sticky pad which allows them to easily climb vertically up windows, siding, trees; etc.  They may be found throughout the state but are most commons within the low lying areas and are absent from the highest elevations within New York.

Photo 2

Female grey tree frogs may lay 1,000-2,000 eggs in clusters of 10-40.  Tadpoles can be distinguished by their redish-orange tails.  Male grey treefrogs have a short melodic trill that lasts only a second.  They will generally call on warm and humid evenings between April & July. Below is a video of the Gray treefrog calling.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

Pseudacris crucifer.jpg

Photo 7

The  spring peeper is one of Vermont’s smallest frogs measuring from 1″ to 1-1/2″.  It can be distinguished by it’s dark colored “X”across its back.  This frog is very common throughout the state of New York in woods next to vegetated swamps and marshes.

Photo 2

It’s chorus of a shrill high pitched call can be heard from up to a 1/2 mile away!  Listen to its call in the video below.  Similar to the American toad, these frogs spend most of its time on land and only are in the water to breed and lay eggs.  Like most tree frogs, the spring peeper is nocturnal and loves to hunt ants, spiders and other small insects during the evening.

Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata)


photo 8

The Western Chorus frog is typically brown, grey or green with 3 dark stripes down its back.  The underside will be a white or cream color.  Males have a yellow vocal sac.  These frogs can be found in variety of habitats including marshes, meadows and wooded swamps across the northern parts of western NY.

Photo 2

Breeding typically begins in spring, often while snow and ice are still on the ground.  The male has a surprisingly loud call which sounds like the running of a finger along a comb, but not well.  Females lay 500-1,500 eggs in groups of 20-300 eggs.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)


Photo 9

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America.  They are typically green or gray-brown with brown spots. They can grow up to 8″ in length and weigh up to 1.5 pounds.  The bullfrog can be found near large permanent bodies of water with vegetation near the shorelines.  They are locally common in the Lake Champlain Basin and the Connecticut River Valley.

Photo 2

It has a very deep call which resembles the mooing of a cow.  Watch the video below to hear!  Both genders of the bullfrog croak.  Their calls may be heard day or night between May and August.

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

lithobates clamitans.jpg

Photo 10

The Green Frog is abundant throughout New York and can be found in almost every town.  It is typically greenish-brown with dark mottling on its head, chest and under its legs.  The throat color ranges to yellow for a male to white for the females.

Photo 2

These frogs can produce as many as 6 different calls – however the most distinctive sound is a throaty boink that sounds like a loose banjo string being plucked.  Listen to the video below to hear!

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis)

lithobates septentrionalis.jpg

Photo 11

The Mink frog is a green and brown frog that can be found in the water near lilypads.  The lilypads are used as stepping stones, basking sites & shelter.  New York is at the southern edge of the Mink frogs range.  They are only found in the north central and northeast portions of New York and even there they are unusual.  Mink frogs are notoriously secretive and can be hard to find.

Photo 2

The female may lay up to 4,000 eggs in the spring and some tadpoles will transform to frogs in 3 months, while others will transform the following spring.  Individually, their call sounds like a series of taps which sound like pieces of wood being tapped together.  As a group, their calls sound like horse’s hooves on a cobblestone path.  Listen to the video below to hear!  The Mink frog has been said to produce a musky odor upon handling.

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Lithobates Sylvaticus.jpg

Photo 12

The Wood frog is known as a brown, tan or rust colored frog with a dark colored around its eyes.  Some call it a “robbers mask”.  These frogs are found statewide and within almost every town in New York.

Photo 2

Their call sounds like a quacking of a duck.  Watch the video below to hear!  Two interesting facts about the wood frog, is that while the frogs do not show any paternal care to their young, it has been discovered that tadpoles that have been separated from parents can pick their parents out and aggregate around them.  Secondly, the wood frog is very tolerable to cold temperatures.  These frogs can tolerate complete freezing of up to 65% of their body as they pump any water within their body to their extremities and at the same time pump large amount of glucose from the liver into their cells.  This creates a syrupy sugar solution which acts as antifreeze within their body.  Their blood will freeze, the heart will stop beating and all breathing and muscle movements cease until early spring as they begin to thaw and re-animate.

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)


Photo 13

The Northern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  The northern leopard frog is fairly common throughout the state of New York and can be found in the Lake Champlain basin area.  It needs 3 different habitats to match its lifestyle – permanent water for overwintering, floodplains & marshes for breeding & meadows and fields for foraging.

photo 2

These frogs are opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will eat anything that fits in their mouth including beetles, ants, smaller frogs – including their own species, birds and even garter snakes.  It’s call is like a low and rumbling snore and grunt sound.  It has also been known to scream loudly when grasped or frightened by a predator.  Listen below to their call.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Photo 14

The southern leopard frog is a greenish brown color and has 2 yellow lines down the back and one above the lip.  These frogs can be found in shallow freshwater or slightly brackish water.  They are usually found a powerful jump or two away from the water, however in summer they may be found far from the water where they venture for insects.  They are not very common in the state of NY but may be found in the NE portion and long island.

photo 2

The southern leopard frogs call sounds like a squeaky balloon or chuckling croak.  Females may deposit 3,000-5,000 eggs in cluster within the water.  Listen below to hear their call.

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)


Photo 15

The Pickerel frog looks very similar to the Northern Leopard frog; however the pickerel frog has 2 parallel rows of squareish spots down its back.  These frogs are very common throughout Vermont, but they are missing from the low land areas.   They are often found near beaver ponds with dense vegetation.

photo 2

As a defense the skin of the pickerel frog produces a toxic substance which makes them unappealing to most predators.  Listen to the video below to hear their call.  It is similar to the Northern Leopard frog, however it is shorter and faster, causing it to sound more like a finger running over tines on a comb.

Thanks for reading! Check out all of the United State’s native frogs and toads here.


Photo Credits:

Cover photo used by the creative commons license.  Text was added.  See Original photo by Giorgio Galeotti  here.

  1. Photo from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Original photo here.
  2. Distribution map photos were found on the NY state department of environmental conservation website.  See originals here.
  3. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  4. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Perlick Laura.  Original Photo Here.
  5. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.  Original Photo Here.
  6. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Matt Reinbold.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Mark Nenadov.  Original Photo Here.
  9. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  10. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  11. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  Original Photo here.
  12. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  13. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  14. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Bob Warrick.  Original Photo Here.
  15. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.

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18 thoughts on “New York Frogs and Toads

  1. You really covered a lot of frogs in this post. Frogs and toads of the amphibious varieties are something I don’t normally associate with NY though of the human kind I can think of a few.

    This was quite a serious and comprehensive post. Nice job.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  2. i live on Long Island NY and I have a frog spending a lot of time in my heated salt water pool. He actually jumps on me and my pool float and seems to enjoy just floating around the pool. Is this normal and OK?

    1. Is it a southern leopard frog? These frogs are known for liking brackish water. I am sure other species of frogs have adapted as well. If you have removed it once, and it jumps back in, it must not be an issue for it. Just make sure you have some way for it to get out of the pool.

      1. I don’t know what kind of a frog he is. Fred the Frog exits by swimming up to the steps and simply jumping out. If he’s been floating with me and I get out sometimes he gets out with me and sits very still on the grass, I assume waiting for a bug to go by for a meal, though I believe frogs eat at night, and on a hot day like today he usually goes to the edge of the pool and dives back in. He seems to like the in wall skimmers I assume to get out of the sun and into a smaller enclosure and he also leaves the skimmer no problem so the suction is not holding him in.

        I know it’s bad to touch a frog so I only touch Fred with my hands very wet in the pool, Is this OK?

  3. it was 1953 (massapequa, ny) walking south from the RR tracks (also had the Tackapausha preserve at my back) heading towards the Tackapausha museum, on sunrise hwy. there was woods there then, and i walked along the small stream running north and south. when i came upon a frog about 1 1/2 inches long, and to my astonishment it was all colors of the rainbow. i tried to catch him but failed (i was a good frog catcher at the age) i searched the stream, that was barely 2 feet wide and maybe 3 inches deep but nothing. i waited for two hours, but he never came up. i reluctantly left. i will never forget that as long as i live. i wonder what would have happened if i caught him.

  4. My wife was walking in this woodsy hiking park in Woodstock, NY and she and her walking companion saw a small [1.5″ X 2.5″] bright red frog. She said it was as red as lipstick or a fire engine. I haven’t found anything resembling that listed for our area. Are there red frogs in upstate NY? Thanks, David

  5. Thank you for this great resource! Our kids just raised (and released) some wood frog tadpoles. We used your pics, call sounds, and distribution map to identify the species. Great to have all this in one place! You hard work is very much appreciated!

  6. This was a great article! I recently had trees cut down in the back yard here in Rome. Today we were trimming the brush from the trees lying on the ground and a frog caught my eye. It was maybe 1-2 inches and almost a translucent yellowish color. Any idea what it was? I caught it and moved it to a safer area away from where we were chopping off branches from the limbs and dragging them away.

  7. Hi,
    I love to see all the different frogs in my pond! Also my favorite toads at night by my garage. I saw a frog today that looked like a blob of moss – the size of a nickel. I had to get close to see that it was a frog. Is this a type of tree frog? I wish I could attach a photo.

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