Washington 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 Washington:

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei )

Coastal Tailed Frog
Photo 1

The coastal tailed frog’s skin color matches the rocks they live in and can be brown, gray, green, red or yellow. They have a dark colored eye stripe and a triangle on their nose. They are called the tailed frog as they have a tail which serves as their reproductive organ. They can be found from the Cascade mountains to the coast, in higher mountain elevations in SE Washington, has been separated into a separate species. They are rarely found a far distance from water. Unlike most frogs, the tailed frog has a granular rough skin.

The coastal tailed frog lives in rocky, cold streams. Their closest living relatives are in New Zealand and they can live up to 20 years! These frogs breathe mostly through their skin which allows their lung size to be reduced which helps to limit their buoyancy in water. Breeding season is in the Fall and eggs are laid in strings in spring/summer underneath large rocks.

Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog
(Ascaphus montanus)

Photo 2

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 clear water and are rarely found away from the water. They can be found in the Blue Mountains of eastern Washington. Unlike most frogs, the tailed frog has a granular rough skin.

Tadpoles can take 4-5 years to complete metamorphosis. A couple of interesting facts about the rocky mountain tailed frog, is that the male does not vocalize. This is could be because the females would not be able to hear them due to the sound of the fast moving water within their habitats. They are one of the longest living frogs and can live up to 20 years! Lastly, they are one of the only frogs in the world that have internal fertilization.

Western Toad (Bufo boreas)

photo 14

The western toad is chunky, with short legs and numerous warts (it is a toad after all).  It can vary in color from gray, white, reddish broen, yelow or green with 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 shallow burrows or shelter under rocks and logs.  The western toad is quite common and can be found across Washington except in the southeastern portion of the state.

Breeding season is from February – April. Eggs are laid in strings and will hatch within 10 days. Tadpoles will take up to 2 months to complete metamorphosis. 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.

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 15

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, meadows, grasslands and flood plains.  They burrow into soil to escape drought and cold.  Woodhouse’s toad can be found in Southwestern region of Washington.

These toads breed from March to July in wetlands, marshes 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. It has been compared to the sound of a sheep. This toad can secrete a white toxin that can cause nausea and irregular heart beats if ingested.

Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla)

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.  They are found throughout Washington state.

The breeding season is from November – July in permanent or semi-permanent water sources. Tadpoles stay in groups to avoid predators and take up to 3 months to complete metamorphosis. The pacific treefrog has a two part Kreek-eeck call.  Listen to it below:

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)

Photo 6

The Great Basin spadefoot has a vertical pupil unlike most other toads which have horizontal pupils.  They can be greenish, gray or brown with a scattering of darker spots and blotches.  Each spadefoot has a wedge shaped digging spade on their hind feet, hence the name.  In Washington, they can be found east of the Cascade mountains in dry or semi-dry areas. They are seldom seen as they spend most of their life buried under the soil.

Breeding season is from April – June after heavy spring or summer rain. The eggs hatch within a few days and tadpoles complete metamorphosis in a week. That is the fastest metamophosis rate of any North American anura. Their call is a very nasal waaaaa sound.  Listen to it below:

Northern Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora)

Photo 7

These frogs are red to brownish coloring & can sometimes be found with black splotches and flecks of colors.  The Northern Red Legged frog produces a call underwater which requires the female to be close to the calling male in order to hear it.  When grabbed by predators, such as a garter snake, the Northern Red Legged frog will release a loud and startling scream. These frogs are typically found in humid forests, woodlands, grasslands and streamsides.  They will breed in any permanent water sources such as lakes, ponds, slow streams and marshes. In Washington, they can be primarily found west of the Cascades Mountains.

The breeding period for the Northern Red Legged frog is very short; typically only 1-2 weeks sometime between January and April. They need cool water for breeding and have been known to start breeding before the water has completely thawed from winter. Listen to their call below.

Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae)

photo 8

The Cascades frog is green or brown with black spots and a yellow stomach. They have a dark mask with a white jaw stripe. As it’s name suggests, it is found near the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. It prefers quiet water sources including ponds, lakes marshes or slow moving streams. They will stay near the water except when it is really humid out. One unique thing is their skin secretes an antimicrobial substance which will help to protect against unwanted infections or pests.

The breeding season is between March and August or as soon as the water sources are thawed. Eggs will be found near shore and are clumped together. The cascades frog will hibernate during winter and has been found buried into mud in up to 1′ deep of water.

American BullFrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

photo 1

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America. They can grow up to 8″ in length and weigh up to 1.5 pounds.  The bullfrog is unique as it can be found in freshwater ponds, lakes and marshes throughout Canada, United States and as far south as Mexico and Cuba.  They are typically green or gray-brown with brown spots. The American Bullfrog is an introduced species to Washington state and was originally only found to the east of the Rocky Mountains. They are currently found in many low elevation areas and live in lakes, ponds generally in the water or on the shoreline.

The bullfrog breeds from March to August. 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. 

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

photo 10

Green frogs are not native to Washington State, but they are native to the Eastern U.S. They have been introduced in 2 areas – Toad Lake in Whatcom County and Lake Gillette in Stevens County. They prefer marshes, ponds and lakes – typically an area with slow water with lots of plants. The green frog’s breeding season is spring- summer and the eggs hatch in a few days. They are diurnal and will utter a high pitched squawk if they are disturbed.

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

photo 8

The Northern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  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.  They hibernate underwater in the winter. The northern leopard frog range is not known, it is thought that they were more widespread than last census; it is currently disappearing from the state due to non native species and habitat loss.

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.

Oregon Spotted frog ( Rana pretiosa)

photo 12

The Oregon spotted frog is light brown or green skin with dark spots that are lighter in the center. The stomach and undersides of hind legs are red. In Washington, they are very rare with populations at Black river and Conboy Lake. They prefer marshes, wetlands and ponds that have slow moving quiet water.

The oregon spotted frog’s breeding season is February – July. In winter, they will hibernate in mud which is up to a foot of water deep. They are currently very threatened in Washington state and have disappeared from 70-90% of their previous range. This could be due to not being adaptable to the slightest of changes within their environment.

Columbia Spotted frog (Rana luteiventris)

photo 13

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. In Washington, they are found in the Cascades and in the eastern portion of the state.

These frogs were originally thought to hibernate all winter in mud under water, however there is evidence that they move around under the ice in winter. 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.

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

frogs-found-in-219

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next state!

Photo Credits:

Cover photo used by the CC0/public domain license.  Text was added.  See Original photo here.

  1. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Ken-ichi Ueda.  Original Photo Here.
  2. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Charles (Chuck) Peterson.  Original Photo Here.
  3. Photo from Flickr and used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo by Oregon State University.  Original photo here.
  4. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by J.N. Stuart.  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 Kerry Matz.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by kqedquest.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Greg Schechter.  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 Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Matt Reinbold.  Original Photo Here.
  11. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Stanley Trauth.  Original Photo Here.
  12. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Mid-Columbia River Refuges.  Original Photo Here.
  13. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Forest Service Northern Region.  Original Photo Here.

For more information:

  1. https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/amp_nh_animals_ranks.pdf?l4w3j
  2. http://www.burkemuseum.org/blog/curated/amphibians-reptiles-washington
  3. https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01542/wdfw01542.pdf
  4. https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/frogs.html

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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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5 thoughts on “Washington Frogs and Toads

  1. Good information, but I’m very confused. This says it’s for the state of Washington, but all of your entries say “Oregon”?

  2. Awesome! Frog people unite. i digress. i think we keep a couple green tree frogs in the kitchen for fly control and its a wonderful co-existence. my questions are there, one is bright green and croaks a lot and the other is very dark in color and has never croaked. so is this a male female thing, the croaking? and or is color an indicator of sex. Rock on crazy frog lady!

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