Frogs and Toads of Montana

***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 Montana:

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

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Photo 1

The Columbia Spotted frog has slightly bumpy skin that is smooth and moist.  They are typically brown or olive color with irregular spots.  They are known for their lower abdomen being bright salmon or a red color.  This frog is high aquatic and can rarely be found far from a permanent water source.  Below is the range of the columbia spotted frog.

 

The call of the columbia spotted frog is a clucking noise and sounds like the clicking of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.  Listen to the video below and around 52 seconds you can hear the frog calling.

 

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

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Photo 2

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 mountains and lowlands, but in Montana it is found in the eastern 2/3’s of the state.  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.

 

 

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

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Photo 3

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 in a couple spots in Montana where they were introduced.  The bullfrog is conseridered an aquatic invasive species within Montana along with an exotic species as it was not native to Montana.

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 June-July.

 

 

 

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)

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Photo 4

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.  The species is limited to the eastern 2/3rds of Montana.

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.

 

Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla)

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Photo 5

Adult pacific treefrogs have a dark band extending from the shoulder to the nostril.  The frogs back color may vary between green, brown, gray, reddish or bronze.  Frogs may reach 2″ in length.  The pacific treefrog may be found on ground or in low shrubs, dense vegetation and under rocks.  In Montana, they are found in the western portion.

The pacific treefrog has a two part Kreek-eeck call.  Listen to it below:

 

Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons)

Photo 6

The Plains spadefoot is known for its vertically elongated pupil and markings similar to a hourglass on its upper sides.  The plains spadefoot spends most of its life buried in the soil, but will emerge to breed after heavy rains in spring or summer.  They can be found in sandhills, grassland and the plains of Montana as shown below:

The call of the plains spadefoot is a brief snoring sound.  Take a listen below.

 

Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus)

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Photo 7

The rocky mountain tailed frog is gray or brown with many blotches.  Their skin has a very distinct bumpy texture with their total length reaching 2″.  They can be found in and along swift moving cold mountain streams and the western portion of Montana.

The male rocky mountain frog has a bulbous “tail” which helps in reproduction.  The range of the rocky mountain frog throughout the U.S. is rather contained so there is not much information on their call.

 

Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus)

Photo 8

The Great Plains Toad has numerous warts and prominent ridges on its head.  The females will typically reach 4.5″ with males being less than 4″.  They can be found in grasslands, sandhills and semi-desert shrubland.  The Great Plains toad can be found throughout eastern Montana as seen below.

The Great Plains toad has a long trill call that lasts several seconds long and can vary depending on the size of the male and the temperature.  Some people have compared this toad’s call to a jackhammer, but go ahead and listen to it for yourself below:

 

 

Western Toad (Bufo boreas)

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Photo 9

The western toad is chunky, with short legs and numerous warts (it is a toad after all).  It can vary in color from brown to green or gray with white and dark mottling on its tummy.  There is a conspicuous light colored stripe running down the middle of its back.  Their back feet have 2 large rubbery knobs on the heel which they use for digging.  The western toad is quite common and can be found in the western portion of Montana.

 

Their call is a soft birdlike clucking call.  Listen to it in the video below.  When handled, the toad may emit a twittery sound, puff up and urinate.  These toads are active during daylight hours and are much more active during damp weather.  The western toads population numbers have been declining for unknown reasons; even while in relatively pristine conditions.

 

Woodhouse’s Toad (Bufo woodhousii)

Photo 10

Woodhouse’s toad can vary in color from yellowish brown to greenish grey with a light stripe down the middle of its back and can reach up to 5″ in length with the males being smaller than females.  These toads can be found primarily in deep soils in river valleys and flood plains.  They burrow into soil to escape drought and cold.  Woodhouse’s toad can be found on the eastern 1/2 of Montana.

These toads breed from April to June in marshes, rain pools and other areas lacking strong current.  This toad’s call is a loud wahhhhhh lasting between 1-4 seconds and emitted several times a minute.

 

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 Gary Miolata here.

  1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Forest Service Northern Region.  Original Photo Here.
  2. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  3. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  4. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andrew Hoffman.  Original Photo Here.
  5. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Francis Eatherington.  Original Photo Here.
  6. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Stanley Trauth.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Charles (Chuck) Peterson.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Galactor.  Original Photo Here.
  9. Photo from Flickr and used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo by Oregon State University.  Original photo here.
  10. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by J.N. Stuart.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. http://fieldguide.mt.gov/displayFamily.aspx?order=Anura
  2. http://mtnhp.org/animal/Presentations/020507_Herps.pdf

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

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