Wisconsin Frogs and Toads

***This post is a part of my series where this year I will be highlighting a different states native frogs and toads every Friday. Check out this page to see all of my posts combined on one easy sheet. ***

Wisconsin is unique in that they have one of the longest running statewide frog and toad study; starting in 1984.  It consists of 100 roadside routes each of which includes 10 locations at which volunteers listen for each type of frog.  This is completed 3 times every year.  Read more about it here!

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

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

800px-Anaxyrus_americanus_-_American_toad.jpg

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 throughout WI and have adapted to urban settings where they occasionally can be found within parks and gardens.

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.

Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi)

1280px-Cricket_frog_Tyson.JPG

Photo 2

The Blanchard’s cricket frog is a small treefrog that’s skin color is quite variable.  The skin color can range from brown, green,grey or reddish tan and may change based on environmental conditions.  The cricket frog was once considered the most abundant frog of Southern WI, but over the past several decades it has rapidly declined for unknown reasons.  It was listed as endangered in 1982.  They can be found near ponds, lakes and adjacent streams and tend to breed in quiet water.  The cricket frog cannot withstand inundation for more than 24 hours and are not freeze tolerant, which may help attribute to their short lifespan.

Tadpoles typically have a distinct black tipped tail and can reach 1.9″ in length.  Breeding occurs between mid-May thru mid-August.  The Blanchard crickets call resembles the sound of 2 ball bearings clinking together.  Listen to the video below to hear them!

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

Hyla_chrysoscelisPCCA20060401-2867B.jpg

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 WI.

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

Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Hyla_chrysoscelis_UMFS_2016_5.jpg

photo 4

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.  These frogs can be found throughout the middle and SE of WI near forest edges and favoring brush over trees.

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.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

Pseudacris crucifer.jpg

Photo 5

The  spring peeper measures from 3/4″ to 1-1/2″.  It can be distinguished by it’s dark colored “X”across its back.  This frog is quite common throughout the state of WI.

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.

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)

15913671566_3c6f250136_k.jpg

Photo 6

The Boreal Chorus frog is brown with 3 dark lateral stripes or spots down its back with a white upper lip and measures only 1″ long. These frogs are typically found near heavily vegetated bodies of water, but also need a shallow open area for breeding.  These frogs may be found throughout WI with exception of the NE portion.

The boreal chorus frog sounds similar to the spring peeper in that it sounds like fingers running over a comb, however the boreal chorus frog’s call is more tinny and mechanical opposed to the musical whistle of the spring peeper.  Females lay 500-1,500 eggs in groups of 20-300.  Listen to the call below.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

5676671377_ed026cb2f4_b.jpg

Photo 7

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 listed as a state special concern frog in WI.  This species is not tracked by the National Heritage Inventory, however if there is any further evidence of decline it may be tracked.  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 July.

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

lithobates clamitans.jpg

Photo 8

The Green Frog is abundant throughout WI.  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!

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis)

lithobates septentrionalis.jpg

Photo 9

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.  They are listed as a species of special concern by the state of WI.  Mink frogs are notoriously secretive and can be hard to find.  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 10

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 can be found throughout WI with exception of the SW corner.  Wood frogs have the shortest breeding time of any frog in WI, lasting only 2 weeks right after frost-out.

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)

Lithobates_pipiens.jpg

Photo 11

The Northern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  The northern leopard frog is listed as a species of special concern in WI.  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.

 

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)

Pickerel_Frog.jpg

Photo 12

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 listed as a species of special concern in WI as it has a complex habitat range.  It looks for a cold stream to overwinter in and then moves to warmer ponds for breeding and then forests to forage for food.

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 and stay tuned for our next state!

 

frogs-found-in-221

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 Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  Original Photo Here.
  3. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Patrick Coin.  Original Photo Here.
  4. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  Original Photo Here.
  5. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  Original Photo Here.
  6. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Tom Koerner.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Matt Reinbold.  Original Photo Here.
  9. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  Original Photo here.
  10. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  11. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  12. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. http://wiatri.net/Inventory/FrogToadSurvey/
  2. http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/er/ER0666.pdf

 

Like “The Frog Lady” on facebook or follow aapanaro on instagram to get some sneak peeks into the frog lady’s frog room!  

thefroglady

Subscribe by email for the latest updates or Join me on facebook and like “The Frog Lady” to get all the latest updates on your newsfeed.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s