Vermont 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. ***

Get involved with native Vermont amphibians by filling out an observation form when you stumble across any frogs.  Make sure to submit accurate information and any documentation you have of these frogs.  Find out more here!

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

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

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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 Vermont and they are one of the most common amphibian species in Vermont.

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)

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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 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 Vermont.

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)

 

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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 but are most commons within the low lying areas and are absent from the highest elevations within Vermont.

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)

 

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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 Vermont 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.  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)

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Photo 5

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.  It is listed as Endangered and as a species of great concern by Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan.  These frogs are typically found near heavily vegetated bodies of water, but also need a shallow open area for breeding.  Historically they have been found in Grand Isle and Franklin counties, but they have not been seen or heard since 1999.

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)

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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.  They are locally common in the Lake Champlain Basin and the Connecticut River Valley.

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)

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Photo 7

The Green Frog is abundant throughout Vermont 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.

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)

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Photo 8

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.  Vermont is at the southern edge of the Mink frogs range.  They are only found in the north central and northeast portions of Vermont and even there they are unusual.  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)

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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 statewide and within almost every town in Vermont.

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)

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Photo 10

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 Vermont 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.

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)

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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.  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.

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.

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Photo Credits:

Cover photo used by the creative commons license.  Text was added.  See Original photo by Bob 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 Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Tom Koerner.  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. Photo from ADW  used under the creative commons license.  Photo taken by James Harding.  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 Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  11. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. http://vtherpatlas.org/SpeciesList.htm
  2. https://www.fws.gov/newengland/pdfs/FrogPoster_emailable.pdf
  3. http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=73163&pageId=149850
  4. http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=229835

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8 thoughts on “Vermont Frogs and Toads

  1. Just saw something that reminded me of Vermont toads. When I was younger back in ~2008, sometimes if I went under my porch, there was a massive toad, I mean like over half a foot wide massive. I just now was able to identify it however, it seemed like a cururu toad, but I see those are in Brazil. Is it possible these buddies are unidentified in Vermont? What other giant toad species could they be? The color was a typical like greenish brown, with toad warts n all.

  2. There are some cane toads located in the U.S. I did take a look at the USGS map and there was one spotted in MA, so it is possible it was a cane toad. The American Toad and/or Fowler’s toad would not be that large.

  3. We found a black toad with orange eyes up near our frog pond in Sheldon Vt.What is it?

  4. I’ve got something in my pond by the hundreds that at first I thought were geese in the distance, hide whenever I get out there, and lay big spherical clusters of eggs attached to reeds or grass up near St. J… any idea what they are?

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