14 Types of Frogs Found in Texas! (ID Guide)

What kind of frogs can you find in Texas?”

Common Frogs in Texas

 

I love finding, observing, and hearing frogs!

 

Even as a kid, I used to patrol the swamps by my house, catching them and then trying to sell them as pets to cars passing by. As you can imagine, no one was interested in buying my frogs, and I ended up letting them go at the end of each day. πŸ™‚

 

Today, I’m providing a guide to teach you about the different kinds of frogs found in Texas.

 

One of the BEST ways to find frogs is to learn the noises they make. So, in addition to pictures, you will find audio samples for each species below!

 

14 Frog Species in Texas:

 


#1. American Bullfrog

  • Lithobates catesbeianus

Types of Frogs found in Texas

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 3.6 to 6 inches.
  • Coloration is typically olive green, with some individuals having gray or brown mottling or spots.
  • Fully webbed back feet.

 

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in Texas!

 

Believe it or not, they can grow to weigh as much as 1.5 pounds (.7 kg).

American Bullfrog Range Map

american bullfrog range map

Green = native range. Red = introduced range.

 

Bullfrogs can be found in permanent bodies of water, including swamps, ponds, and lakes. During the breeding season, the male frogs select egg sites in shallow waters, which they defend aggressively. A female will then select a male by entering his territory.

 

They are named for their deep call, which is thought to sound like a bull bellowing.

https://youtu.be/M02_dnl9zCA?t=13

 

Bullfrogs are known to eat just about anything they can fit in their mouth and swallow! The list of prey includes other frogs, fish, turtles, small birds, bats, rodents, insects, crustaceans, and worms. I have personally witnessed one even trying to eat a baby duck!

 


#2. Spring Peeper

  • Pseudacris crucifer

Frogs species that live in Texas

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are small and range from 1 to 1.5 inches long.
  • They’re typically tan or brown, with the females being lighter in color.
  • Both males and females usually feature a darker cross or ‘X’ on their back.

 

These tiny frogs can be found in eastern Texas.

 

You’ll typically spot Spring Peepers on the forest floor among the leaves. However, they do 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 in the spring, where they breed and lay eggs. 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 a bit like baby chickens’ peeps, and they are most often heard in early spring! LISTEN BELOW!

 

Their calls are very distinctive, and once you know what to listen for, these frogs are very easy to identify by sound.

 


#3. Gray Treefrog

  • Dryophytes versicolor

Common Frogs species in Texas

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 1.5 to 2 inches.
  • 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.

 

Chameleons aren’t the only animal that can change colors! This incredible frog can slowly change colors to match what it’s sitting on to camouflage itself. 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 eastern Texas. You’ll spot them in a wide variety of wooded habitats, from backyards to forests to swamps.

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, which is commonly heard in spring and summer.

 

*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.*

 


#4. Pickerel Frog

  • Lithobates palustris

Texas Frogs species

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body length ranges from 2 to 4 inches.
  • Dark green-brown coloration with two rows of dark squarish spots running down its back. Bright yellow color on the underside of hind legs.
  • Females are typically darker and larger than males.

 

Pickerel Frogs prefer cool, clear waters in eastern Texas. You can find them in ponds, rivers, lakes, slow-moving streams, and even ditches.

Pickerel Frog Range Map

pickerel frog range map

 

During the breeding season, the males attract females with a low, snore-like call. The females will attach egg masses to branches in cool water, where the tadpoles will spend 87-95 days before becoming frogs.

 

Pickerel Frogs are the ONLY poisonous frog native to Texas.

 

When attacked, they produce toxic skin irritations that can be fatal to other animals and may cause skin irritation in humans if handled. As you can imagine, most predators leave them alone!

 


#5. Southern Leopard Frog

  • Lithobates sphenocephalus

southern leopard frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 2 to 3.5 inches.
  • Coloration is brownish to green with large darker green or brown spots on its back, sides, and legs.
  • Lighter ridges extend down the sides of the back, and the upper jaw sometimes has a light, yellow stripe.

 

The Southern Leopard Frog will occupy various freshwater habitats in eastern Texas. They are more terrestrial than many other true frogs and are often seen far from water. It’s also common to spot these frogs out on rainy nights!

Southern Leopard Frog Range Map

southern leopard frog range map

They breed during the winter and spring, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. These frogs often nest communally, and the females attach egg masses to aquatic vegetation.

 

Make sure to listen for their low, chuckling croak! Some people describe the sound like a “squeaky balloon” or a “ratchet-like trill.”

 

For food, Southern Leopard Frogs primarily eat invertebrates, such as insects and crayfish.

 


#6. Northern Cricket Frog

  • Acris crepitans

northern cricket frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults from 0.75 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Irregular color patterns including grays, greens, browns, yellows, and blacks.
  • A dark triangular spot between the eyes, blunt snout, warts, and dark banding on the legs.

 

This frog is one of the smallest vertebrates found in Texas!

 

But even though they are tiny, they can jump over 3 FEET in a single jump to escape predators, in addition to being excellent swimmers.

Northern Cricket Frog Range Map

cricket frogs common range map
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS

 

Although Northern Cricket Frogs are part of the treefrog family, they don’t spend much time in trees. Typically you can find them in ponds and lakes with plentiful vegetation as well as slow-moving rivers.

 

This frog gets its name from its unique call. As you can probably guess, the Northern Cricket Frog makes a breeding call that sounds like the repeating chirp of a cricket.

 


#7. American Green Treefrog

  • Dryophytes cinereus

green tree frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can grow up to 2.5 inches long and have smooth skin.
  • Yellowish-green to lime green with pale yellow or white undersides.
  • White stripes down their sides sometimes have black borders.

 

Even though they are common in their range, Green Treefrogs can be hard to find in eastern Texas since they spend most of their lives high in trees. They also can change color based on light and temperature.

American Green Treefrog Range Map

green tree frog range map

During mating season, they visit ponds, lakes, marshes, and streams to breed and lay eggs. They prefer bodies of water with a lot of vegetation.

 

Their breeding call is a repeated, abrupt, nasal “bark. Sound is typically the best way to locate these treefrogs.

 

Green Treefrogs are often kept as pets. They are popular because of their attractive appearance, size, and how easy it is to take care of them. For example, they don’t require artificial heating like most amphibians. But being nocturnal, it’s unlikely you will see them moving around much, so they are probably not the most exciting pets!

 


#8. Squirrel Treefrog

  • Dryophytes squirellus

squirrel tree frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are around 1.5 inches long.
  • Typically green, although individuals may be varying shades of yellow or brown with white or brown blotching.
  • The upper lip is often yellowish, and they sometimes feature whitish stripes.

 

These small frogs are found in eastern Texas in a variety of urbanized and natural habits.

 

Squirrel Treefrog Range Map

squirrel tree frog range map

They can be seen on trees and buildings, in backyards, pine-oak forests, hardwood forests, floodplains, and pine flat woods. You might even find them visiting your porch to catch bugs that are attracted to the lights!

 

To breed, they visit wetlands like ephemeral pools, roadside ditches, and other small water bodies that lack predatory fish.

 

During the breeding season, you may hear their raspy, duck-like call.

 


#9. Bronze Frog

  • Lithobates clamitans clamitans

bronze frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 2 to 4 inches long.
  • Bronze or brownish coloration with a white underside featuring dark, irregular patches.
  • Raised ridges extend the length of the body, and they have large eardrums and webbed hind feet.

 

The Bronze Frog is actually a subspecies of the Green Frog.

 

They’re most commonly seen near permanent water bodies, including lakes, ponds, shallow streams, and swamps. They prefer areas with a lot of vegetation. Occasionally, you can spot Bronze Frogs in woodlands if it’s near their other preferred habitats.

Bronze Frog Range Map

bronze frog range map

 

Much like Green Frogs, the call of the Bronze Frog is thought to sound like a banjo string being plucked.

https://youtu.be/G0uGjsM_gh4?t=18

 

They also have similar breeding habitats and lay eggs in shallow water, attaching the egg masses to vegetation.

 


#10. Crawfish Frog

  • Lithobates areolatus

crawfish frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 2.2 to 3 inches.
  • Yellow to tan or brown with dark brown or golden circles over their body.
  • White undersides.

 

Look for Crawfish Frogs in eastern TexasΒ in grassland and prairie habitats, including meadows and pastures.

Crawfish Frog Range Map

crawfish frog range map

They get their name from their habit of living in crayfish burrows for most of the year. These frogs rarely stray far from the burrow as they offer protection from predators and weather, including winter frost and prairie fires.

 

During the spring, the frogs breed during mild, rainy weather. The males seek out seasonal pools and wetlands free from fish, such as flooded pastures, roadside ditches, and ponds.

 

Males attract females with a low, loud, snore-like call.

 

The Crawfish Frog is now listed as “near threatened” on the ICUN Red List. Their main threats include habitat loss, disease (chytridiomycosis), and competition with other frogs.

 


#11. Plains Leopard Frog

  • Lithobates blairi

plains leopard frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 2 to 3.75 inches long.
  • Tan or light brown coloration with dark brown or greenish spots.
  • A distinct white line on the upper jaw and lighter ridges running down the sides of the back.

 

As the name suggests, this frog is found on the plains of Texas.

 

Plains Leopard Frog Range Map

plains leopard frog range map

The Plains Leopard Frog is almost always seen around permanent bodies of water, including streams, creeks, ponds, and marshy areas. They primarily eat insects, although these opportunists will eat almost any living thing they can fit in their mouth (including other frogs).

 

During the breeding season, the males produce a guttural, rapid “chuck-chuck-chuck” call.

 

The Plains Leopard Frog is relatively common but can be hard to see. First, they are nocturnal. Second, they are shy and dive into the water as soon as they are approached!

 


#12. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog

  • Acris blanchardi

blanchards cricket frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 0.6 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Warty skin is typically tan, brown, olive green, or gray with darker banding on the legs.
  • Dark triangular mark between the eyes on the head.

 

Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs can be found in or near permanent bodies of water in Texas, including bogs, lakes, ponds, marshes, and slow-moving rivers and streams. They can also sometimes be spotted in temporary bodies of water such as flooded fields and drainage ditches as long as there is a permanent water source nearby.

Blanchard’s Cricket Frog Range Map

cricket frogs common range map
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS

 

Interestingly, although they are in the “treefrog” family, they spend most of their time on the ground and in the water.

 

Unfortunately, Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are declining in parts of their range and are considered threatened. They face habitat loss, chemical contamination, and competition for resources. Another pressure they face is their short life span, as the average individual only lives one year.

 

Males make unique, repetitive, metallic breeding calls.

 

The calls are thought to sound like two pebbles or marbles being clicked together. The females lay small clusters or even single eggs, and the tadpoles emerge in late summer.

 


#13. Canyon Treefrog

  • Dryophytes arenicolor

canyon tree frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 1-2 inches in length.
  • Typically brown, gray-brown, tan, or gray-green with darker, irregular blotches on the back. They often match the color of their habitat.
  • They sometimes appear golden in direct sunlight, and the inside of the hind legs is bright yellow.

 

Canyon Treefrogs are found in rocky areas in Texas. They may be called treefrogs, but this species is mainly found perched on boulders and rock faces near permanent water sources.

Canyon Treefrog Range Map

canyon tree frog range map

During the hottest part of the day and periods of low rainfall, Canyon Frogs will seek shelter in rock crevices. They sometimes cluster together in these areas to help reduce moisture loss. They also have tougher skin on their back than most frog species to help them cope with their hot, dry climate.

 

You may hear the male’s low call during the breeding season, which is sometimes thought to sound like a distant sheep or goat. Since they are nocturnal, your best bet is to hear one at night.

 

Breeding occurs during spring rains, and the females lay large masses of 100 or more eggs which float in the water.

 


#14. Rio Grande Leopard Frog

  • Lithobates berlandieri

rio grande leopard frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 2.2 to 4.5 inches.
  • Coloration is tan, brown, or pale green. Dark brown or black spots, pale ridges down their back, and cream-colored undersides.
  • Angular, pointed noses, and long powerful legs.

 

Rio Grande Leopard Frogs live in Texas in grasslands, savannas, shrublands, and deserts but are never found far from water. Since they are primarily nocturnal, your best time to see them is at night when they are hunting for insects.

Rio Grande Leopard Frog Range Map

rio grande leopard frog
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS

 

Unlike many other species, these frogs don’t hibernate and are active year-round in Texas. When it does become too cold, they will burrow underground for protection.

 

These frogs mate during rainy periods of spring and fall. The male makes a distinctive rattling call which can be heard from one mile away! Interestingly, competing males will sometimes make a chuckling call to try and confuse females.

 

The females lay large masses of eggs, which they attach to aquatic vegetation. After hatching, the tadpoles slowly mature into adult frogs over the course of about three months. Adult frogs reach sexual maturity and begin breeding at around three years of age.

 


Do you need additional help identifying frogs?

Try this field guide!

 


Which of these frogs have you seen in Texas?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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