9 COMMON Amphibians in Manitoba (ID Guide)

Are you wondering what amphibians you can find in Manitoba?

common amphibians in manitoba

 

This is a great question! Although amphibians are widespread, they can be challenging to locate. Most amphibians, including frogs, toads, and salamanders, are secretive and shy. But in my opinion, looking for amphibians is a really fun experience!

 

Below you will find a list of the most COMMON and interesting amphibians that live in Manitoba. In addition, you will find detailed pictures, along with range maps for each species to help with your identification!

 

9 Types of Amphibians That Live in Manitoba:

 


#1. Northern Leopard Frog

  • Lithobates pipiens

species of amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 5-11.5 cm long.
  • Smooth skin is green, brown, or yellow-green with large dark spots.
  • Lighter-colored raised ridges extend down the length of the back.

 

You can spot these amphibians in southern Manitoba near slow-moving bodies of water with lots of vegetation. Northern Leopard Frogs are easy to see in or near ponds, lakes, streams, and marshes. I love how bright green most individuals appear!

Northern Leopard Frog Range Map

northern leopard frog range map

Due to their fairly large size, these amphibians eat various foods, including worms, crickets, flies, small frogs, snakes, and birds. In one study, a bat was even observed being eaten!

 

During the spring breeding season, the males will float in shallow pools emitting a low call thought to sound like snoring. However, the Northern Leopard Frog may also make a high, loud, screaming call if captured or startled.

 

Northern Leopard Frog populations are declining in many areas, and the cause is not exactly known. It’s thought to be a combination of habitat loss, drought, introduced fish, environmental contaminants, and disease.

 


#2. Green Frog

  • Lithobates clamitans

amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 5-10 cm, and the females are typically larger than males.
  • Coloration is normally green or brown with darker mottling or spots on the back.
  • Ridges run down the sides of the back, and they have webbed hind feet.

 

Green Frogs are among the easiest amphibians to find in southeastern Manitoba.

Green Frog Range Map

green frog range map

 

Look for them in permanent bodies of water, including lakes, ponds, swamps, and streams. They spend most of their time near the shoreline but jump into deeper water when approached. They also breed and lay eggs near the shore, typically in areas with aquatic vegetation.

 

The Green Frog produces a single-note call that is relatively easy to identify. Listen for a noise that sounds like a plucked banjo string, often repeated.

 

They use a “sit and wait” approach to hunt, so they are fairly opportunistic. Green Frogs will try to eat almost anything they can fit inside their mouth. The list includes spiders, insects, fish, crayfish, snails, slugs, small snakes, and even other frogs!

 


#3. Spring Peeper

  • Pseudacris crucifer

spring peeper - common amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are small and range from 2.5-4 cm long.
  • They’re typically tan or brown, with the females lighter in color.
  • Both males and females usually feature a darker cross or ‘X’ on their back.

 

These tiny amphibians are found in southeastern Manitoba.

 

You’ll typically spot Spring Peepers on the forest floor among the leaves. However, they have large toe pads that they use for climbing trees.

Spring Peeper Range Map

spring peeper range map

You can find them in ponds and small bodies of water, where they breed and lay eggs in the spring. After hatching, the young frogs remain in the tadpole stage for about three months before leaving the water.

 

Spring Peepers get their name from their distinctive spring chorus. They’re thought to sound like baby chickens’ peeps, and they are most often heard in early spring! LISTEN BELOW!

 


#4. Gray Treefrog

  • Dryophytes versicolor

gray tree frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 4-5 cm.
  • Mottled gray, green, and brown coloring. Look for a whitish spot beneath each eye.
  • Bumpy skin, short snouts, and bright orange on the undersides of their legs.
  • *Gray Treefrogs are essentially identical to Cope’s Gray Treefrogs. The only way to tell the difference is to listen to their breeding calls. You can learn more by visiting this site.*

 

Chameleons aren’t the only animal that can change colors! This incredible amphibian can slowly change colors to camouflage itself and match what it’s sitting on. They can vary from gray to green or brown. It’s common for their back to display a mottled coloring, much like lichen.

 

Gray Treefrogs are ubiquitous throughout their range. You’ll spot them in various wooded habitats, from backyards to forests to swamps. Like most amphibians in Manitoba, they tend to live close to a water source.

Gray Treefrog Range Map

gray tree frog range map

They stick to the treetops until it’s time to breed. Gray Treefrogs prefer to mate and lay eggs in woodland ponds without fish. They’ll also use swamps and garden water features.

 

Gray Treefrogs are easier to hear than to see.

Listen for a high trill that lasts about 1 second, commonly heard in spring and summer.

 


#5. Boreal Chorus Frog

  • Pseudacris maculata

boreal chorus frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 2.5-4 cm long.
  • Coloration is brown, olive green, or tan, with three dark stripes down the back that are sometimes broken into blotches.
  • Prominent black stripe on each side from nostril, through the eye, and down the sides to the groin.
  • Looks very similar to the Western Chorus Frog. Boreal Chorus Frogs are distinguished by having shorter legs.

 

While the Boreal Chorus Frog is a common amphibian in Manitoba, they are rarely seen. They’re small and secretive, inhabiting moist meadows and forests near wetlands.

Boreal Chorus Frog Range Map

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGSchorus frog range map - boreal, western, upland

These amphibians breed in shallow temporary ponds and pools such as flooded fields and roadside ditches. They require waters free of fish; otherwise, predators would eat most of their eggs and tadpoles!

 

Males produce a loud chorus of calls at breeding sites, which are easy to identify.

 

The sound has been compared to someone running a finger over the teeth of a comb (“reeeek“). You’re most likely to hear the calls in the late afternoon or evening.

 


#6. Wood Frog

  • Lithobates sylvaticus

wood frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 3.5-8 cm.
  • Coloration is various shades of brown, gray, red, or green, with females tending to be more brightly colored.
  • Distinct black marking across the eyes, which resembles a mask.

 

As the name suggests, Wood Frogs are found in moist woodland habitats, including forested swamps, ravines, and bogs. They travel widely and visit seasonal pools to breed.

Wood Frog Range Map

wood frog range map

This incredible little amphibian has a wide range across North America. They have adapted to cold climates by being able to freeze over the winter. Their breathing and heartbeat stop and their bodies produce a type of antifreeze that prevents their cells from bursting. In the spring, they thaw and begin feeding again.

 

Wood Frogs are among the first amphibians in Manitoba to emerge after the snow melts. Listen for a call that sounds a bit like a clucking chicken near vernal pools and other small bodies of water!

 


#7. American Toad

  • Anaxyrus americanus

amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult length is 5-9 cm.
  • Coloring is usually brown to gray, olive, or brick red. Typically, they have patches of yellow, buff, or other light colors, with dark spots.
  • The American Toad is distinctive for its many warts present over the back and legs.

 

These amphibians are common in southeastern Manitoba.

American Toad Range Map:Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS

 

American Toads are found in a wide variety of habitats, including forests, prairies, and suburban backyards. They are carnivorous and mainly eat insects, worms, spiders, and slugs.

 

American Toads have a very recognizable call. Listen for a musical trilling noise that can last for 30 seconds.

 

They like to breed in shallow water, and tadpoles have an amazing defense against predators. Incredibly, their skin secretes a toxic chemical so powerful that eating one tadpole can kill a fish! And like their tadpoles, adult American Toads are also toxic to other animals.

 


#8. Great Plains Toad

  • Anaxyrus cognatus

species of amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult length is 5-11.5 cm.
  • Coloring is pale white to tan or olive with large, dark-colored pairs of blotches down the back. Lighter tan or white belly.
  • A crest on the head forms a ā€œVā€ shape from the snout, moving outward on the head toward the back.

 

Great Plains Toads are found in temporary shallow pools, quiet streams, marshes, or irrigation ditches. They are most common in grasslands and can be found in desert brush and woodland areas.

Great Plains Toad Range Map:

 

Only a few weeks out of the year are suitable for the Great Plains Toad to feed and reproduce. Amazingly, they spend the rest of the year mostly dormant in underground burrows made by other animals.

 

Symmetrical dark splotches running down its back make this amphibian one of the easier toads to see, but you will probably hear one nearby long before you can spot it. Its call can last more than 50 seconds and is similar to a jackhammer!

 

When large groups of Great Plains Toads call, the sound can be near-deafening!

 


#9. Western Tiger Salamander

  • Ambystoma mavortium

kinds of amphibians in manitoba

Identifying Characteristics

  • Adults range from 7.5-16.5 cm in length.
  • Their coloring is greenish-yellow with black markings, ranging from large spots and stripes to small irregular shapes on the head, back, and tail.
  • This species has a thick body and neck and a short snout.

 

Western Tiger Salamanders are secretive and spend much of their time underground. You’re most likely to see these amphibians moving about and foraging on rainy nights. Their favorite hiding spots are burrows, which they can make themselves or borrow from other animals.

Interestingly, Western Tiger Salamanders have four distinct morphs as adults. Scientists classify them by whether they are aquatic or terrestrial and what they eat. For example, a typical Western Tiger Salamander eats insects and frogs, breathes above water, and spends time on land.

 

However, there is a terrestrial morph that cannibalizes other Western Tiger Salamanders! In addition, there are cannibalistic and non-cannibalistic AQUATIC morphs that have gills and breathe underwater.

The aquatic individuals are called paedomorphs, and while they are mature and able to reproduce normally, they retain a lot of the features of larval Western Tiger Salamanders. The most obvious feature is their frilly, long gills!

 


What types of amphibians in Manitoba have you seen?

 

Let us know in the comments!

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