Frogs and Toads of Indiana

***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. ***

A frog that eats crawfish and sounds like a hog?  Read on to learn more about the frogs  and toads that can be found in Indiana:

 

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

 

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 statewide with exception of lower Wabash Valley.

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Photo 1

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)

 

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 Indiana.

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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 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)

 

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 northern Indiana, but are not known to be south of Indianapolis.

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Photo 3

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)

The  spring peeper is one of Indiana’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 Indiana.  They can be found in a variety of habitats and breed in almost any freshwater source.

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Photo 4

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.

 

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

 

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 can be found statewide in Indiana.

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Photo 5

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)

 

The Green Frog is abundant throughout Indiana.  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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Photo 6

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)

 

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, except for the northwestern prairie region.

Lithobates Sylvaticus.jpg

Photo 7

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)

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.  Due to their name, it is not odd that they can be found in the southern portion of Indiana along with the west central area.

Photo 8

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)

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 not very common in Indiana.  If you were going to look for them you would find them statewide except the northwestern prairie area and the lower Wabash valley area.   They are often found near beaver ponds with dense vegetation.

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Photo 9

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)

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 visible in males.  The Eastern Spadefoot toad is found in the lower 1/3 of the state of Indiana – more specifically the lower Wabash and white rivers and in prairies in Harrison county.  This frog is a species of special concern and is considered rare in the state of Indiana.

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Photo 10

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)

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 in the southern portion of Indiana, but as far north as Delaware county.

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photo 11

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.

 

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

The Northern 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 almost statewide in Indiana, they are rare in the northern 1/4 of the state.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas.

photo 12

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)

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 in the extreme southwestern portion of Indiana.

Photo 13

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.

 

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

The Northern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  The northern leopard frog can be found in the northern, central & southeastern portion of Indiana.   This frog is a species of special concern in Indiana.  At one point this frog was very abundant throughout the United states, however since the 1970’s the number of northern leopard frogs has drastically declined.  These frogs were widely collected for dissection and frog legs which has not helped the population.  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.

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Photo 14

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.

 

Plains Leopard Frog (Rana blairi)

This frog is brown with large rounded dark spots with light borders.  As you can see from the photo above, the ear drum is very distinct.  The plains leopard frog can reach 3″.  They can be found near streams, ponds, creeks and ditches.  In wet, mild weather, they may be found far away from water.  The range of the Plain’s leopard frog is not known in Indiana.  It is a species of special concern within Indiana.

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Photo 15

The plains leopard frog’s call includes a few low grunting sounds along with a series of short clucks.  Listen to their call below:

 

Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus)

This frog has a large and stubby body with a distinct humped back while it rests.  It is covered in many irregular shaped spots and its belly is solid white.  It gets its name from its diet which consists of nocturnal beetles, small amphibians and reptiles and crawfish.  The crawfish frog can be found in low lying areas including meadows, prairies, brushy fields and crawfish holes.  In Indiana, they can be found in the southwestern and west central areas of Indiana with another population located in the southeastern region of Indiana.  The crawfish frog is very rare and endangered within the state of Indiana.

Photo 16

The crawfish frog has a loud and deep call which reminds me of a hog.  Listen to them below:

 

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

frogs-found-in

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 Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  6. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  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 Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Bob Warrick.  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 Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Original photo here.
  11. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  Original Photo Here.
  12. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.  Original Photo Here.
  13. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Jarek Tuszynski.  Original Photo Here.
  14. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  15. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andrew Hoffman.  Original Photo Here.
  16. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andrew Hoffman.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3325.htm
  2. http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/Amphibians_of_Indiana_April_2007.pdf
  3. https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/8979-Amphibians-of-Indiana

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6 thoughts on “Frogs and Toads of Indiana

  1. Thanks for all the descriptions, photos, and video links! A friend and I saw a frog or toad near Chellberg Farm at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It was very small and a light mud-brown color. I wish I could have seen more but it was flighty — almost literally. It would leap toward the tree line in at least four- to six-foot bounds.

    1. It could be the northern cricket frog. They are known for their very long jump span, however according to the Indiana DNR they are pretty rare in the northern 1/4 of Indiana. My 2nd guess would be the wood frog. Very cool either way. Always amazing to see an animal so small jump so far.

  2. Thank you for your answer (and forgive my tardiness in thanking you). I’m going to go with wood frog as the more likely. I couldn’t believe we saw a toad and a frog in the same grassy area in the middle of an event with a lot of people. I confess I herded both toward the woods but the frog at least was headed that way on his own. Thanks again!

  3. I have some tadpoles and I’m curious if you can tell me what type of frog they are. I live in Marion and fished them from my cousins pool cover and some are almost fully transformed. I’m not seeing any similar ones in your list.

  4. We are getting an unusual number of frogs in central Indiana.

    Unfortunately we see the babies dead by the dozens in our pool skimmer everyday. The neighbors say the are everywhere when they mow or walk through grass.

    They are frequently clinging to our patio doors!

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