Frogs are small, mostly tail-less creatures that dominate the amphibian family with their large and diverse population. These amphibians are highly versatile and can be found in every corner of the world. It might come as a surprise to some, but they make great pets as well.
Did you know that there are about as many as 6,300 recognized species of frogs in the world? Out of these, the United States is home to over 109 species of frogs and toads. In this article, we are going to talk about 27 species of frogs and toads that can be found in Florida.
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbianus)
Often referred to simply as “Bullfrog” in Canada and the US, the American Bullfrog is a large member of the family of true frogs that is endemic to the eastern parts of North America.
The upper part of their body is colored in olive-green, with occasional mottling or greyish brown bands. On the contrary, their undersides are off-white, with yellow and grey blotches.
They have long hind legs coupled with short but sturdy forelegs.
The American Bullfrogs display sexual dimorphism, wherein the males are smaller in size than their female counterparts, and have a yellow throat that is absent in the latter.
Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes)
Mostly found on the coastal plains of the Atlantic in the United States, the Carpenter Frogs are medium-sized frogs that have a moderate population in Florida. They have been named after their calling sound, which is very similar to a carpenter hammering.
These frogs can easily be identified by their overall brown body with yellow stripes on both sides of their back. They have a small, grey-colored tail with the underside being white or yellow. They also possess a throat pouch that appears to be spherical when it is inflated.
Florida Bog Frog (Lithobates okaloosae)
The Florida Bog Frogs are one of the rare true frogs that can be found solely in the western parts of Florida. These frogs mostly occur in seepages or sluggish backwaters that have sand at the bottom.
They have a light green body and display sexual dimorphism, wherein the males are smaller than their female counterparts and have a yellow throat. Their tympana are also larger than females.
Their tadpoles are brown in color with light spots on their lower body and dark spots on their tail.
Pig Frog (Lithobates Grylio)
Named after their pig-like grunts, the Pig Frogs are a species of aquatic frogs found in the southeastern United States. These frogs are also referred to as “Southern bullfrog” and “Lagoon frog”.
The body of the Pig Frogs ranges from greyish-green to green in color, covered with black blotches. Some of them also display brownish blotches. They have a sharply pointed nose, large eardrums (tympana), and fully webbed feet.
Although these frogs are often mistaken for the American Bullfrog because of their similar size and coloration, their deep, snorting sound sets the two apart.
Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)
The Green Frogs are medium-sized true frogs that are native to the eastern parts of the United States. These frogs have two subspecies: Bronze Frogs (can also be found in Florida), and the Northern Green Frogs.
Just as their name suggests, the Green Frogs have a green head, while the rest of their body ranges from dark green and grey to brown. Their undersides are white with black mottling.
These frogs display sexual dimorphism, with the adult females being larger in size than males.
The diameter of the female’s tympanum is about the same as their eyes, while the males have a tympanum twice as big as their eyes. The males also have a bright yellow throat that is absent in the females.
River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri)
The River Frogs are a large species of aquatic frogs that are endemic to the south-eastern United States.
These frogs have a dark, blackish-green back with a dark grey belly covered with pale specks and waves.
Although they are similar in appearance to the American Bullfrogs, the distinguished white spots on their lower lip set them apart from the latter. They also have a unique pale band surrounding their groin.
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)
Native to the eastern parts of North America, the Southern Leopard Frogs are a large species of true frogs that inhabit the shallow freshwater bodies, occasionally venturing into slightly brackish waters.
These frogs have a large body ranging from green to brown in color. Their back is covered with large, rounded spots and a yellowish ridge running along their sides.
These frogs display sexual dimorphism, with the limbs of the males being larger than the females.
During the breeding season, the vocal sacs of the males get inflated, due to which they produce a call that sounds like a squeaky balloon, or a ratchet-like trill.
Tree and Chorus Frogs
Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)
The Pine Barrens Trees Frogs are a small species of the New World Tree Frogs that are threatened because of the loss of their habitat.
These frogs have a small, sap green body with prominent wide, dark stripes on it. Their toe pads are large, a characteristic trait seen in most treefrogs, with occasional gold-orange markings below their legs.
They are often confused with the Green Tree Frogs because of their similar appearance; however, instead of possessing white stripes like the latter, these frogs have lavender stripes on their sides.
Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)
The Little Grass Frogs are the smallest species of frogs in North America. Although they are members of the tree frog family, they lack the arboreal nature of their fellow tree frogs and can climb only up to a height of about 5 feet.
These frogs are native to the south-eastern parts of the United States, and mostly inhabit marshy swamps. They usually have a glossy, pale black body, with an occasional tinge of green or pink.
Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor)
The Gray Treefrogs are medium-sized arboreal frogs that are often referred to as “Eastern gray treefrog”, or “Tetraploid gray treefrog”. These frogs are endemic to the eastern parts of the United States and south-eastern Canada.
The Gray Treefrogs have the ability to camouflage their skin color from grey to green according to the substrate they’re sitting on. However, they are not as fast as the chameleons in changing colors.
On their legs is a dark bandish pattern that is unique to their species, and is often used as a distinguishing factor between them and their distant relatives, the Cope’s Gray Treefrogs.
Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis)
Commonly known as the “Southern gray treefrog”, the Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are a species of treefrogs found in most parts of the United States.
These frogs closely resemble the Gray Treefrogs, except the formers are found more abundantly in the southern parts of the country.
They have been named after the American Paleontologist who had first described them, Edward Drinker Cope.
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
The Spring Peepers are a small species of chorus frogs that can found in abundance throughout the eastern parts of the United States. At the beginning of the spring season, these frogs often make a unique chirping sound, which is why they have been named so.
The body color of these frogs ranges from tan to brown, with a dark cross forming on their back, which lends them their scientific name, “crucifer”. These frogs have large toe pads, which makes them adept climbers.
The adults are sexually dimorphic, with the males being smaller in size than females, and possessing a dark throat. The body of the females is also lighter in comparison to the skin of their male counterparts.
Bird-Voiced Tree Frog (Hyla avivoca)
Endemic to the United States, the Bird-voiced Tree Frogs are a species of tree frogs that mostly inhabit swamps, wetlands, and temperate forests.
These frogs receive their unique name because of their characteristic bird-like calls which are frequently heard in the summers and spring.
Although the upper body of the Bird-voiced Tree Frogs is originally pale grey or brown, it is capable of changing into green in accordance with the temperature and even with their level of activity. Their undersides are mostly grey with occasional flashes of yellow here and there.
Pine Woods Tree Frog (Dryophytes femoralis)
Native to the southern-eastern United States, the Pine Woods Tree Frogs are a small species of tree frogs.
The body color of these frogs varies greatly, from brownish-grey to reddish-brown or greyish-green, with dark markings heavily populating their back.
Many people often confuse them with the Squirrel Tree Frogs. However, white, yellow, or orangish dots found on their thighs distinguishes them from the latter.
Their feet are slightly webbed with large toe pads. Between the months of April and October, they produce a series of staccato sounds, because of which they have received the name of “Morse Code Frogs”.
Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)
Found abundantly in the United States, the Upland Chorus Frogs are a small species of chorus frogs that were treated as a subspecies of the Western Chorus Frogs until very recently.
The body color of the Upland Chorus Frogs varies from brown to greyish-brown or reddish-brown, although they are mostly brown in color. Their back is covered with dark blotching.
Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)
More commonly known as the “Southeastern Cricket Frog”, the Southern Cricket Frogs are a small species of hylid frog endemic to the south-eastern parts of the United States.
These frogs are similar in appearance to the Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs but are even smaller in size. Moreover, they have a more pointed snout and can cover a longer distance in a single jump.
Another distinguishing factor between the two is the sharply-defined stripe running down their thighs.
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
Endemic to the United States and north-eastern Mexico, the Northern Cricket Frogs are the only members of the tree frog family that are not arboreal in nature.
The body color of these frogs varies greatly, ranging from grey, to green, to brown, with their backs covered in a pattern of irregular blotches. Their legs have dark bands, with a white bar running from their eyes to their forelegs.
Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)
Mostly inhabiting the temperate forests and wetlands, the Southern Chorus Frogs are small hylid frogs native to the south-eastern parts of the United States.
These frogs have a body-color ranging from tan to greyish white. On their back are small, broken lines or spots, with tipped toes and small toe pads.
Their upper lip is marked with a distinctly thin black line, a feature that sets them apart from the other frogs.
Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata)
The Ornate Chorus Frogs are a species of small frogs that mostly inhabit the longleaf pine Flatwoods.
These frogs are endemic to the south-eastern parts of the United States and can have varying skin color based on their locality.
Although they are mostly red or brown in color, some of them have a green body as well. Their belly is white in color, covered with pale yellow spots.
Barking Tree Frog (Dryophytes gratiosus)
The Barking Tree Frogs are medium-sized members of the treefrog family that are known to inhabit the coastal plains. They have been named so because of their loud, explosive call that is somewhat like the barking of a dog. Out of all the treefrogs endemic to the United States, these frogs are the largest in size.
The upper body of the Barking Tree Frogs is yellowish, greyish, brown, or dull-green in color, with large, round markings all over their back. They have thick, leathery skin which is not found in any other frog species in the US and can shift their skin color slightly with the changing light conditions.
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)
Named in the honor of the American naturalist, Samuel Page Fowler, the Fowler’s Toads are medium-sized members of the family of true toads. Until recently, these frogs had no individual status and were regarded as a subspecies of the Woodhouse’s Toads.
The back of the Fowler’s Toads is colored in olive-green, grey, brown, or rusty-red, with dark, warty spots scattered all over it. Their belly is generally white except for a single, prominent black spot.
These frogs display sexual dimorphism, wherein the males are colored in a shade darker than their female counterparts.
Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)
Native to the coastal regions of the south-eastern United States, the Oak Toads are the smallest members of the true toad family in North America.
These frogs have a remarkably bright yellow stripe running down the length of their back, and black and brown spots scattered over it.
They are sexually dimorphic, wherein the females are considerably larger in size than their male counterparts.
Another distinguishing feature between the sexes is that the males have a pure white belly while the females have dark spots all over it.
Cane Toad (Rhinella marina)
Also referred to as the “Giant neotropical toad”, or “Marine toad”, the Cane Toads are endemic to South and Central America and have been brought to North America as an introduced species.
These toads are one of the largest toads found on the American subcontinent and have a dry and somewhat warty skin.
They have varying body colors and patterns and can have an olive-brown, reddish-brown, grey, or yellow back.
Their underparts are creamy-white in color and have brown or black blotches on them.
They display a significant sexual dimorphism in size, with the females being much larger than males.
Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris/ Anaxyrus terrestris)
The Southern Toads are a medium-sized species of true toads that are nocturnal in nature and mostly spend their days hidden in burrows.
Their head, back, and sides can range from brick-red to black in color, while their underparts are pale with an occasional spot on the chest.
The skin on their back is somewhat warty, with several spine-like warts grown on them. They are also sexually dimorphic in nature, with the females being considerably larger in size than their male counterparts.
Other Frogs and Toads
Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)
Endemic to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands, the Greenhouse Frogs are a small species of frogs that have been introduced to certain parts of the United States, including Florida.
These frogs have red eyes and a drab, olive-brown back, with broad stripes running on it. Their underparts are paler in comparison. Some frogs also have a mottled back.
African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)
Just as their name suggests, the African Clawed Frogs are a species of aquatic frogs native to Africa. These frogs are an introduced species in North America and are tongueless as well as toothless.
The adult frogs are significantly sexual dimorphic.
While the females have a large, rotund body, the males are smaller and slimmer. The males have black patches on their hands and arms which the females lack.
Just above their hind legs, the females have a bulgy hip-like structure wherein the eggs are stored.
Eastern Spadefoot (Pelobates syriacus)
The Eastern Spadefoots are medium-sized species of the American spadefoot toads that are native to North America. These frogs have a brown back with several yellow stripes running over it.
They have black irises and golden pupils, while the underside of their bodies is a paler shade of brown.
They are solitary in nature, and spend most of their lives deep underground, coming out occasionally to eat or to breed.
Conclusion: Types of Frogs in Florida
Out of all the frogs found in Florida, there are many that are endemic to the US, or to Florida itself. Most of them thrive in proper care and human company and can make great household pets. The next time you come across one, make sure you identify it.