Ohio is home to 15 species of frogs and toads. While some species are found throughout the state, some are concentrated in particular regions.
The 15 different species that can be found in Ohio are:
- Eastern Spadefoot
- Eastern American Toad
- Fowler’s Toad
- Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
- Cope’s Gray Treefrog
- Gray Treefrog
- Mountain Chorus Frog
- Northern Spring Peeper
- Western Chorus Frog
- American Bullfrog
- Northern Green Frog
- Pickerel Frog
- Northern Leopard Frog
- Southern Leopard Frog
- Wood Frog
In this article, we will go through all these different species and learn more about them.
Length – 1.75 to 3 inches
Eastern Spadefoot is one of the rarest species of amphibians in North America. It is the only species of toads in Ohio that has been listed as an endangered species by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It is a burrowing species that can be seen in Ohio from April to October, especially on warm, humid nights.
These toads are speckled with tiny warts on their skin. You can easily distinguish them with the help of their bright yellow eyes. As their name indicates, these toads have a spade-like projection on hind limbs. It is unique and can be used to recognize these toads.
They usually prefer dry habitats like soft, sandy soils. However, they can also be found in other wide range of habitats. They are secretive in nature and spend most of the year in the burrows.
Due to their burrowing nature, they are capable of surviving in suburban and agricultural areas as well. They are nocturnal foragers and feed on a wide range of insects, termites, works, invertebrates, etc.
Eastern American Toad
Length – 2 to 4 inches
Eastern American Toads are pretty widespread and abundant in Ohio. These are medium-sized toads with dry and warty skin. The skin color depends on the habitat, humidity, etc. They can be reddish, olive, tan in color.
They prefer rocky, wooded areas as their habitats. They can be found in a wide range of terrestrial habitats, ranging from hardwood to hemlock forests. They are capable of thriving in a variety of habitats and can also be seen in gardens and agricultural fields.
The adult toads are nocturnal. They hide under rocks or logs during the day. When it comes to food, these toads are opportunists. They eat a large number of insects and other invertebrates. These toads secrete poisonous substances in order to save themselves from the potential predator.
Length – 2 – 3.5 inches
Fowler’s Toads are abundant in Ohio. These toads are small in size and have dry, warty skin. The color is generally brownish or grayish. The males are darker than females in color. These toads are pretty similar to American toads in their appearance, but you can easily distinguish them by counting the number of bumps in each blotch.
American toads have one or two bumps per blotch, whereas Fowler’s toads have three or four. You can easily spot these toads in forested areas, especially near water. They are terrestrial and nocturnal in nature. If you want to see these toads, then a humid summer evening is the best time.
These toads are generally found in open woodlands, meadows, and beaches. During cold, hot or dry season, they burrow into the ground. Like all other toads, they feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
The tadpoles feed on algae and bacterial mats. You can easily identify these toads with the help of their calls, especially during the breeding season.
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
Length – 0.6 – 1.5 inches
Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are really small-sized frogs that are more common in the southwestern part of Ohio. In other parts, this species is less abundant. Like all other frogs, these frogs also have warty skin.
They are generally brown, tan, gray, or olive green in color. Amongst all the tree frogs in North America, these frogs are most aquatic.
They can be found in the open edges of water bodies like ponds, lakes, rivers, etc. They are even found in the flooded fields and ditches. These frogs are great swimmers. Although these frogs are generally found near permanent or temporary waters, they hibernate away from the water.
They usually hibernate under logs or rocks. They also hibernate in holes and cracks in the shoreline. They are opportunistic eaters and feed on insects, both terrestrial and aquatic. They also eat other small invertebrates.
Cope’s Gray Treefrog
Length – 1- 2 inches
Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are quite widespread all across Ohio, especially in the southern one-quarter of the state. These frogs, as the name suggests, are treefrogs that are really small in size.
They have warty or granular skin that is molted green to lemon-yellow in color. The color can change depending on the activity and environment. These frogs are great climbers and spend a significant amount of time in trees and shrubs.
These frogs are highly common in mature deciduous forests. They are inhabitants of wooded areas, especially near permanent and temporary waters. You can find them near ponds, lakes, swamps, etc. They also live in grasslands, prairies, fields, meadows, etc.
They breed in fishless wetlands. During the day, these frogs hide or rest in tree holes. They emerge during the night to eat insects and other small invertebrates. They find their food in trees and shrubs.
Length – 1.25 – 2 inches
Gray Treefrogs are generally found in the northern part of Ohio and are the largest treefrogs in Ohio. They are known for their camouflaging skill. These frogs can range from gray to brown in color, helping them camouflage by blending into the surroundings. Like Cope’s Gray Treefrogs, these frogs also spend time in trees and shrubs.
They are great climbers. During the day, they stay hidden in tree holes. Being nocturnal, it is only during the night that these frogs come down to hunt for their food.
These frogs prefer forested areas as their habitats. They are inhabitants of wooded areas near temporary and permanent water bodies like ponds, lakes, swamps, etc.
They prey on a wide variety of insects and even their own larvae. They also eat other tree frogs. Although it is hard to distinguish these frogs from Cope’s Gray treefrogs, they can be differentiated by their calls.
Mountain Chorus Frog
Length – 1 – 1.25 inches
Mountain Chorus frogs are concentrated in southeastern Ohio. Small in size, these frogs are found in grey or brown color. Little is known about these species, which makes it secretive. Most of them are brown in color. They have stripes or spots along their backs. Unlike other tree frogs, these frogs aren’t too adept at climbing.
These frogs are predominantly terrestrial and are generally found in woodlands and forested areas. They prefer shallow water bodies as their breeding habitats. You would hardly see them in the summer season. They spend the winter in burrows.
These frogs are mostly observed in spring when they assemble at woodland pools. They feed on insects and other invertebrates.
Northern Spring Peeper
Length – 0.75 to 1.3 inches
Northern Spring Peepers are quite common in Ohio and can be found throughout the state. It is one of the most popular species of frogs in Ohio. These are small treefrogs that are brown or tan in color. You can recognize them with the help of an X mark on their backs. These frogs live in marshy woods and temporary wetlands.
You can even spot them in low lands near flooded water bodies like ponds, swamps. Even though they are treefrogs, they tend to not climb more than 3 feet above the ground. They spend most of their time on the ground.
These frogs are nocturnal. They also hibernate under logs. The adult frogs come out to eat in the late afternoon and early evening. They feed on insects and other invertebrates. These frogs are good at tolerating cold conditions as they have natural “antifreeze” in their blood.
Western Chorus Frog
Length – 0.75 – 1.25 inches.
Western Chorus Frogs in Ohio are widely distributed in the glaciated parts and scarcely distributed in Ohio’s unglaciated parts. These frogs are tan, gray, brown, or olive in color, with some shade of white in the belly.
You can easily distinguish these frogs from the other treefrogs with the help of three dark stripes running down their backs. Due to their small size and protected coloration, these frogs are generally hard to spot.
They are found in a wide range of habitats. They prefer open habitats like wetlands. You can easily find them near temporary waters. They are also seen in cities. This is one of the early frogs to emerge in spring. At night, these frogs come out to chorus and feed. They feed on small insects and other invertebrates.
Length – 3.6 – 6 inches
American Bullfrogs are pretty common in Ohio and can be found throughout the state. In fact, they are widely spread all across North America. A large population of American Bullfrogs is found in Florida.
You will usually find them from April to October when they are not hibernating. These are the largest frogs in North America and can grow up to 8 inches or more. Females are larger than males. These frogs are green to yellow in color, along with dark pigmentation. They are found in various types of habitats where dense thickets are present.
They can be seen in marshes, open forests, swamps, and fields. They are known to prefer large permanent water bodies. These frogs are nocturnal predators and eat anything that can fit in their mouths. They feed on worms, fishes, snakes, rodents, other frogs, turtles, and even small mammals.
Northern Green Frog
Length – 2.25 – 3.5 inches
Northern Green Frogs are found throughout Ohio. They are green or brownish-green in color. They can even be bronze or brown. You can identify these frogs with the help of the folds that run from the top of their eyes down the side of their backs. Their legs and backs are spotted or blotched.
These frogs are found in a wide range of habitats. They are usually inhabitants of aquatic bodies like marshes, ponds, lakes, swamps, etc. Due to their semi-permeable skin, they don’t live in saltwater habitats. They are also extremely sensitive to pollution. These frogs are active during both day and night.
These frogs feed on any mouth-sized items. They eat insects, snails, snakes, fish, other frogs, etc. You can also identify them with the help of their sharp call.
Length – 2 – 3 inches
Pickerel Frogs are usually found in the eastern part of Ohio. These medium-sized frogs are tan or light brown, and they have irregular square-like patterns on their dorsal surface.
These frogs are pretty similar to Northern Leopard frogs, but you can easily distinguish them with the help of the shape of the spots. These frogs have square-shaped spots, whereas Northern Leopard frogs have round-shaped spots.
Although they can be found in a variety of habitats, they prefer cool, clean water and can usually be found near heavily wooded lakes and rivers. They also prefer rocky ravines, bogs as their habitat.
These frogs feed on both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. They eat insects, crayfish, snails, etc. The call of these frogs sounds a lot like the mooing sound of a cow. You won’t be able to locate them with the help of their calls as it is very low.
Northern Leopard Frog
Length – 2 – 4 inches
Northern Leopard Frogs are found all across Ohio, excluding the southeast region. These frogs are large in size. The females are larger than males. They are green, brown, or tan in color. You can easily recognize them with the large circular patterns on their backs and legs.
These frogs typically live near marshes and ponds. They are also called “meadow frogs” since they can be seen around meadows, especially during the summer season.
They can also be seen in well-covered grasslands. They feed on insects, other frogs, birds, snakes, etc. They produce a snore-like call. These frogs are kept as pets and are also captivated for medical research and dissection purpose.
Southern Leopard Frog
Length – 2 – 3.5 inches
Although Southern Leopard Frogs are widespread on the continent, they aren’t common in Ohio and are just found in extreme north central Ohio. The breeding population of these frogs has never been found in Ohio.
These frogs are green or brown in color, with a yellow ridge on each side of their backs. During summer, they take shelter in the dry land. During the winter and breeding season, they live near water.
They prefer shallow freshwater wetlands as their habitat. It is one of the few species that can also be seen in brackish marshes.
They are known to inhabit water bodies like ponds, swamps as well as the margins around lakes. These frogs also live in man-made canals and ditches. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
Length – 1.5 – 3.25 inches
Wood Frogs are found throughout the eastern, northwestern, and southern parts of Ohio. These frogs are dark brown or tan in color and can easily be recognized with raccoon-like masks across their eyes. These frogs camouflage themselves by changing their color.
These frogs are mostly active during the day. They prefer moist woodland as their habitat. You can find the, near temporary waters, especially during the breeding season.
Unlike most frogs, these frogs hibernate on land and are the first frog species to come out of hibernation in Ohio. They eat insects and other small vertebrates like slugs, snails, etc.
Difference between frogs and toads
It is common to get confused between frogs and toads because let us be honest, it is confusing. Despite being similar in a lot of ways, frogs and toads are quite different. Some of these differences are:
You can easily distinguish toads and frogs with the help of their skin and legs. Frogs have long legs and smooth skin. Toads, on the other hand, have short legs and rough skin. There are certain exceptions, but it is the best and easiest way to distinguish them.
Frogs usually spend most of their time in or around temporary or permanent waters. On the other hand, toads spend comparatively more time on land and are also quite common in gardens and yards.
You can also tell the difference by looking at the egg arrangement. Frog lay eggs in a mass, whereas the eggs of toads are arranged in a chain.
Frogs usually don’t produce toxins or poisonous substances, while toads do. Although these toxins are quite mild to humans, it is better to wash your hands properly if you ever happen to touch a toad.
The interesting thing is that you can also tell them apart when they are just tadpoles. Frog tadpoles are covered in gold flecks, whereas toad tadpoles are pure black.
These were the 15 types of frogs that are found in Ohio. Aren’t these species fascinating? We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned some amazing facts about different species of frogs living in Ohio. Do let us know which species you found most fascinating.