New Jersey 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 New Jersey:

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 in all of the northern region except for Monmouth County within New Jersey.

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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 abundant throughout southern New Jersey and rare to see in northern New Jersey due to the American Toad’s presence.

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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 breed late spring – mid August.  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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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 except for the core Pinelands.

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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 May & July. Below is a video of the Gray treefrog calling.

 

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

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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 Jersey.  They can be found in a variety of habitats and breed in almost any freshwater source.

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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.

 

New Jersey Chorus Frog (Pseudacris kalmi)

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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.  It is quite common within the southern portion of New Jersey but is not common within the core Pinelands.

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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.

 

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

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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 common throughout New Jersey, but are absent from the acidic waters of the core Pinelands.

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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 April and July.

 

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

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Photo 7

The Green Frog is abundant throughout New Jersey 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.

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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)

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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, but they are rare within the core Pinelands.

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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)

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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 throughout the entire state of New Jersey, however they are rare within the northern region.

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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)

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Photo 11

The Pickerel frog looks very similar to the Leopard frog; however the pickerel frog has 2 parallel rows of squareish spots down its back.  These frogs are very common throughout New Jersey except for the core Pinelands.  They are often found near beaver ponds with dense vegetation.

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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.

 

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

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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 toad is found throughout the state of New Jersey.

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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.

 

Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

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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 were listed as an endangered species in 1979 due to the loss of habitat and limited distribution.  They can be found in Cape May and southern Cumberland, Ocean, and Atlantic Counties in the Southern Region.

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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.

 

Eastern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

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The Eastern Cricket frog measures 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 found throughout the entire state of New Jersey, except for the core Pinelands.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas.

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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.

 

 Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

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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.  They can be found across the entire state of New Jersey, except for the core Pinelands.

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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.

 

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes)

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The Carpenter frog is widely known for its dark brown color with (2) light yellow stripes on either side.  This frog can be found within all of southern region except northern Salem, western Camden, Gloucester counties and the cape may pennisula as well as in southeastern Manmouth County.

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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.

 

Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii)

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This treefrog is bright green in color with lavender stripes and orange portions concealed on legs.  The Pine Barrens treefrog can be found in the mid eastern portion of the state and appears to be limited to the acidic waters of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Although the pine barrens have a limited distribution throughout New Jersey, they can be locally abundant within their range.  This frog is listed as endangered within new Jersey.

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The Pine Barrens treefrog prefers shallow pools and temporary streams.  This species can be found by the breeding calls in May-July.  Their call sounds like a repetitive honking noise.  Listen to the call below.  After breeding, they return to a more terrestrial habitat.

 

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

frogs-found-in20

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 Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Anita Gould.  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 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 Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  Original Photo Here.
  14. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.  Original Photo Here.
  15. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Jarek Tuszynski.  Original Photo Here.
  16. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by USGS.  Original Photo Here.
  17. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Florida Fish & Wildlife.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/fieldguide_herps.htm
  2. http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/frogs.pdf

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15 thoughts on “New Jersey Frogs and Toads

  1. Lots of great info on New Jersey’s frogs, thank you. Now I can know what frogs are in my woods. Sorry, their woods.

  2. I’m in central jersey in the burbs and I created a small wildlife pond I don’t want fish just some snails and frogs but I’m not really sure where I could get native tadpoles and which ones would be best for my pond. Seems the only ones I can usually find are bullfrogs and my pond might not be big enough for them it’s 12 ft wide 4 ft length and deepest spots are only lil over 2 feet after adding soil and rocks

  3. August 6, 2019 Hi Eric, We have a small wildlife pond on our property in Somerset County. The green frogs have multiplied this season and there are too many for the size of the pond. We need to decrease the population. You are welcome to come over and take as many as you like. We will have to catch them using a net on a long pole (we have done this before) and place them in a tall pail (we have one) with a lid made from netting for transport. They are all very beautiful with different shades of coloration from the genetic pool that has mixed over a period of three years we have lived here. Some are the regular green color, some are darker olive green, some are yellow-green. Their leg markings have reptile pattern. They can jump at much as four feet! We do not feed them. They find all the bugs they need to grow. At night some leave the pond and hunt in the yard. They return to the pond. By day they sit, swim, and jump around in the water. They all have the beautiful gold circle around the eyes. They are cute and you can enjoy their songs. Our pond is also not deep yet the frogs winter at the bottom. We keep a small heater on the surface ot the pond sometimes if the weather drops to where the water will freeze. This heater (a small round disc shape) heats it enough in that spot to keep it from freezing. All the frogs survive and we have 20 goldfish that also survive. We started out with just 10 frogs and now there are at least 30. Please email me so that we can connect and give you the frogs you want and at the same time. Thanks, Emily & Paul

    1. Hi Emily and Paul. I ordered like a hundred green tree frogs and peepers earlier in summer online and a couple bullfrog tadpoles but noticed a few frogs in pond that might have just showed up Not even sure what type they are. We have seen up to 4. They might have ate the other frogs not sure but haven’t seen others. We also added guppies for mosquitos and now we have tons of them. I might be interested in some frogs and probably more just seeing your pond and how to improve mine. We are in Hamilton New Jersey.

      1. That’s interesting and exciting Eric. Experimenting is fun. Good luck with your wildlife project. Since your also an enthusiast like us, we’d welcome you visiting our pond. This Month of August is good. Are weekends or weekdays best for you and what time? We should exchange phone numbers to iron out details. Take a photo of your pond and text it to this number. Mine is 908-625-5852. Thanks. Emily

      2. Hey Eric-
        I am sorry I missed your original comment. Please don’t go out and find or buy any additional frogs for your pond. In regards to online bought frogs, they could be infected with Chytrid or Ranavirus which could wipe out majority of the local frogs just from 1 infected frog released. Native and Local frogs will naturally find the pond and then they will stay in the area. Any frogs not from within a couple miles of you will have different pathogens, which may be detrimental to the local wildlife and any further away can introduce genes that are not beneficial for the local populations (as a form of outbreeding depression).

        Other than the affect on the local wildlife, it is illegal to purchase or possess native species other than green or bull frogs (In New Jersey). At the very minimum the maximum green and bull frogs to catch for one day is 15 (nothing can be caught between April 1 -June 30), otherwise a permit will be required.

        This is my interpretation of your state’s code, here is the document so you can read the requirements for yourself : https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2018/fishcode18-19.pdf

        In general for the pond, as there are fish in it, there will be less frog species that will find the pond acceptable so that could be why they are leaving. Many frogs prefer fishless ponds.

        I would take Emily & Paul’s advice about visiting to see their pond and its success to learn about it, but I would not recommend buying or taking frogs from anywhere other than the closest pond to your pond.

      1. We were surprised to see the hundreds of tadpoles that were in there .. our first year with it .. but always have tree frogs on the house .. the one year maybe 2 years ago .. swear it was the end of the world coming.. house was covered in them .. love the way they sing in spring and after rain

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