Delaware 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. ***

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

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)


Photo 1

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 in the northern Piedmont region of Delaware.  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 2

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 abundant throughout the coastal plain area within Delaware.  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.

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)


Photo 3

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.  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 4

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 Delaware in woods next to vegetated swamps and marshes.  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.  The peeper is one of the earliest frog species to breed in the area beginning as early as February during warm spells.  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.

Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)


photo 5

The Cope’s gray treefrog is smaller and smoother skinned than the gray treefrog.  The gray treefrog and Cope’s gray treefrog can be difficult to tell apart during breeding while they are both mottled.  However, most of the time the Cope’s gray treefrog has a solid lime green colored back.  Cope’s gray treefrog is a state-listed rare species.  Another way the Cope’s gray treefrog can be distinguished from the gray treefrog is by its call.  The Cope’s gray treefrog’s call is short and raspy.  Listen to the video below to hear.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)


Photo 6

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.  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 7

The Green Frog is widely distributed throughout Delware and can be found in and near shallow freshwater habitats throughout the state.  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.  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!

 Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Lithobates Sylvaticus.jpg

Photo 9

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 in all 3 counties within Delaware outside of the breeding season.  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.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Photo 10

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 can be found in all 3 counties within Delaware.  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 11

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.  They are often found near beaver ponds with dense vegetation.  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 sounds similar to a low and slow snore.

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)


Photo 12

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 is the only species native to Delaware that has a veritcal pupil in the eye.  They can be found in the sandy soil along the floodplains of streams and rivers.  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.

Eastern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

photo 13

The Eastern Cricket frog is one of Delaware’s smallest frogs 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.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas throughout Delaware.  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.

New Jersey Chorus Frog (Pseudacris kalmi)


photo 14

This subspecies of a chorus frog is 3/4″ – 1 1/2″ in size.  The New Jersey Chorus Frog can be found in swamps, moist woodlands, and the areas surrounding marshes, bogs and ponds.  The New Jersey Chorus frog can be found throughout the coastal plain.  There is little difference in the identifying characteristics of the Western Chorus Frog, Uplands Chorus Frog and the New Jersey Chorus Frog, except for the calls and range.  Listen below to the New Jersey Chorus frogs call.

 Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Photo 14

The green treefrog is slender frog that ranges from bright green to dull green with a white stripe down its side.  These frogs can reach 2.5″ and can be easily frightened.  They are typically found within marshes, swamps, small ponds and streams, but can also be found within brackish water sources.  On average, a female will lay 400 eggs.  The male’s call is a single note repeated over and over sounding like a “queenk”.  Listen to their call below.  Breeding takes place May through July.  It has been noted that the green treefrog will choose its prey not based on size, but based on activity level.  With the most active being eaten first.

Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

photo 15

The Barking treefrog is the largest frog native to Delaware; reaching 3″ in length.  It is known for its bright green color with dark brown spots.  It was discovered in 1984 in Delware and has only been found in a few coastal plains areas.  This treefrog is listed as endangered within the state of Delaware.  Their call is a loud ‘Tonk’ sound which from the distance the chorus can sound like barking dogs.  Breeding lasts March- August and it is a polygamous species; with the female choosing the male based on his call.  The barking treefrog can be found high within the treetops, but also burrowing within sand when temperatures get hot.  Listen to their call below.

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes)

Photo 16

The Carpenter frog is widely known for its dark brown color with (2) light yellow stripes on either side.  This frog is rarely seen within Delaware and can only be found within the Sussex county swamps.  They can be heard in April with a call that sounds like construction workers hammering, hence their name.  Listen to their call below.  Tadpoles are unique as they will remain a tadpole for around a year.  The carpenter frog thrives in acidic water and as the wetlands water becomes less acidic, other larger frogs are now taking over their habitats.

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


Photo Credits:

Cover photo used by the CC0/public domain license.  Text was added.  See Original photo here.

      1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
      2. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Perlick Laura.  Original Photo Here.
      3. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  Original Photo Here.
      4. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Matt Reinbold.  Original Photo Here.
      5. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  Original Photo Here.
      6. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
      7. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
      8. Not Used.
      9. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
      10. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Bob Warrick.  Original Photo Here.
      11. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
      12. Photo from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Original photo here.
      13. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Anita Gould.  Original Photo Here.
      14. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Jarek Tuszynski.  Original Photo Here.
      15. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Todd Plerson.  Original Photo Here.
      16. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by USGS.  Original Photo Here.

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3 thoughts on “Delaware Frogs and Toads

  1. Thanks so much for putting this together! So happy to be able to identify the frogs in our pond. The video with the sounds and the photos combined really helped me nail it.

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