Maryland 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 Maryland:

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 abundant within the state of Maryland. 

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.

Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

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The Barking treefrog is the largest frog native to Delaware; reaching 3″ in length.  It is known for its bright green color with dark brown spots.  It can be found in the coastal areas of Maryland.

Their call is a loud ‘Tonk’ sound which from the distance the chorus can sound like barking dogs.  Breeding lasts June- July and it is a polygamous species; with the female choosing the male based on his call.  The barking treefrog can be found high within the treetops, but also burrowing within sand when temperatures get hot.  Listen to their call below.

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 is found in the coastal areas of Maryland. 

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.

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 can be found throughout the south and eastern portion of Maryland near forest edges and favoring brush over trees.

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 American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus)

The Eastern American toad and the dwarf American toad are very similar.  The differences between the dwarf American toad and Eastern American toad are the dwarf American toad is smaller (2″ or less), reddish brown and has few dark spots on the back.

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The Eastern 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.    The Eastern American toad prefers rocky and wood areas and will become active at dusk.  This is Missouri’s most common toad.  They can be found most of Maryland.

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.

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.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas. In Maryland, the eastern cricket frog is common within most of the state.

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.

Eastern narrow mouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)**

**Although it bears the name of “toad” it is actually considered to be a frog.

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This frog is typically 1″ in length, with females being slightly larger.  One defining characteristic of this frog is the fold of skin on the back of the frogs head.  The eastern narrow mouth toad is grey or brown in color with smooth thick skin.  It can be found in grassy areas on rocky slopes and in rock filled canyons.  They will hide under rocks and can sometimes be found with tarantulas.  As shown in the photo below, they can be found in the southernmost counties of Maryland.

The male eastern narrow mouth toad’s belly will create a substance that will stick the mating pair together.  The female will lay up to 850 eggs on the surface of the water.  They will take 2 days to hatch and will be toadlets within a quick 30-60 days.  It’s call sounds similar to a bleating sheep with a baaaaa.  Several calling frogs together sound like bees or a bunch of toy airplanes.  I was very surprised by the pitch of their call.  Have a listen below:

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

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The Eastern Spadefoot has smoother and more moist skin than most toads and is speckled with very tiny warts.  This species typically had a light brown to yellow brown color mottled with dark brown.  The back of the eastern spadefoot may be dark brown with exception of a couple light yellow stripes.  The lines are usually more visible in males.  The Eastern Spadefoot has a vertical pupil in the eye similar to a cat.  They can be found in the sandy soil along the floodplains of streams and rivers.  The Eastern Spadefoot prefers dry habitats with sandy soil, but will breed in flooded fields or ditches in warm rainy weather.  They can be found across most of Maryland except for the northern inland portions.

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.

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

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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 white-ish with one dark spot.  These toads are found throughout Maryland.

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 March – August.  The female can release 7,000 -10,000 fertilized eggs which will hatch 2-7 days later.

https://youtu.be/ezHxi2DEHOE

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 the inland portion of Maryland.

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

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. They can be found in the coastal areas of Maryland.

On average, a female will lay 400 eggs.  Breeding takes place April – August.  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.  The male’s call is a single note repeated over and over sounding like a “queenk”.  Listen to their call below.

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

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The mountain chorus frog is a small species which ranges from tan to light brown with a dark brown mottling pattern.  This species is not associated with water and is typically found near woodlands.  The mountain chorus frog is located only on the Allegheny Plateau of Allegany and Garrett Counties within Maryland.

The mountain chorus frog has a high pitched call which sounds similar to a fire alarm.  Listen to the call below!

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.  The New Jersey Chorus frog can be found throughout the coastal plain. 

There is little difference in the identifying characteristics of the Uplands Chorus Frog and the New Jersey Chorus Frog, except for the calls and range.  Listen below to the New Jersey Chorus frogs call.

Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota)

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The green frog 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.  The green frog is similar to the bullfrog, however the bullfrog is larger and lacks the skin fold behind the eye to mid torso.   The Green Frog is seen across the state of Maryland.

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!

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

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The Northern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  It needs 3 different habitats to match its lifestyle – permanent water for overwintering, floodplains & marshes for breeding & meadows and fields for foraging. The northern leopard frog can be found within a small inland central location within Maryland.  This is seen as an introduced species into the state.

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.

Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer)

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The  spring peeper is measures from 1″ to 1-1/2″.  It can be distinguished by it’s dark colored “X”across its back.  This frog can be found in the statewide in Maryland woodlands.  

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.

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)

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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 listed as a species of greatest need of conservancy in Illinois as it has a complex habitat requirements.  It looks for a cold stream to overwinter in and then moves to warmer ponds for breeding and then forests to forage for food. It is common throughout the state of Maryland.

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.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephala)

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The Southern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  The southern leopard frog has been found in the coastal areas of Maryland.  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.

Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)

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Upland chorus frogs are usually brown, grey brown or reddish brown in color with darker blotching.  They have 3 stripes running along their back with a dark triangular spot between the eyes.  These frogs are secretive and rarely seen or heard except immediately after it rains.  They can be found in a variety of habitats including vegetated areas not far from a permanent water source.  In Maryland, the upland chorus frog can be found inland.

The call of the upland chorus frog is a raspy trill sound which ascends higher in pitch, similar to running a finger across tines on a comb.  Listen to the males call below.

 Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

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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 can be found throughout Maryland.

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.

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 creative commons license.  Text was added.  See Original photo by Dough4872 here.

  1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  2. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Todd Plerson.  Original Photo Here.
  3. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by USGS.  Original Photo Here.
  4. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Fredlyfish4.  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 Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren.  Original Photo Here.
  7. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Rusty Clark.  Original Photo Here.
  8. Photo from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.  Original photo here.
  9. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Perlick Laura.  Original Photo Here.
  10. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Patrick Coin.  Original Photo Here.
  11. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Jarek Tuszynski.  Original Photo Here.
  12. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andrew Hoffman.  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 Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  15. Photo from Wikipedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  16. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Matt Reinbold.  Original Photo Here.
  17. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
  18. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Bob Warrick.  Original Photo Here.
  19. Photo from Flickr Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Andrew Hollander.  Original Photo Here.
  20. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.

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11 thoughts on “Maryland Frogs and Toads

  1. Hi last August I found a tiny orange frog with a white belly in middle patuxent environmental area. It was maybe half an inch long, in muddy ground near the river. I haven’t found any results that look like it anywhere, any idea what it might be? I have photos but don’t see a way to upload them here.

    1. Feel free to contact me here: https://thefroglady.wordpress.com/contact/. I will reply via email so you can send the photos. There are a couple of frogs that could have an orange coloring: Eastern Cricket Frog, Mountain Chorus frog, New Jersey Chorus Frog, Spring Peeper, or the Wood Frog depending on it’s location within Maryland. Based on the species that have been sighted in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, I would guess Spring Peeper.

  2. I have a small pond on my 1/2 acre homesite in Howard County. Over the past 15 years, we see Northern Green Frogs, Southern Leopard Frogs, and American Toads. I’m a bit perplexed though. I’m quite familiar with the trill of the American Toad, but, yesterday, in the early afternoon, a frog was emitting a very similar trill. I suspect it was a male Northern Green Frog as, what I believe was a female, was sitting close by. I do have a brief video, albeit of limited quality as it was taken with an iPhone. Can I send it to you for assessment?

    Peter

  3. Hello.

    I need help identifying a couple of frogs and toads. They just don’t seem to match the photos in my field guide or the images on your site. May I send a few photos to the wordpress.com/contact email above?

    Thank you.

    p.s. Photos were taken in the Lake Frank/Lake Needwood area (Montgomery County, MD).

  4. Saw a mystery frog today in the Middle Patuxent River. My son was worried that he came out too early and might freeze during one of the upcoming cold nights. Courtesy of your site we Identified him as a wood frog, are reassured he is fine in this weather, and now know what to listen for too!
    Thanks and Best Wishes

  5. This is way cool! Do you live in Maryland? I have a frog singing under my window right now. I’ve been trying to find him, but he’s hidden well in my pond. Can you help me ID him? I’ve recorded his song. I’ve compared to the the ones you’ve featured here, but he doesn’t match. He can’t be that unusual. He makes a long, high-pitched trill. Let me know where to send the audio file.

  6. Do you know what tadpoles start out as gray, but backs turn lime/green when all legs appear and they start absorbing tail? The green is outlined by a darker line behind the eyes, and legs are mottled. Twice the size of toadpoles in the same stage. Have a photo. Thanks!

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