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Frogs in California

There are 33 different types of frogs in California. Most are endemic but 5 species are invasive, and more can always find their way into the state.

The 33 different types of frogs in California inhabit the wide variety of forests, wetlands, streams, lakes, rivers, and mountainous habitats that this large state possesses.

With the wide range of toad, tree frogs, and true frog species living in the state, it is fun to learn about the variety of frogs that can be found. Here are all of the frog species in California, and facts to know about each one.

Now you can know the species you may come across in California’s diverse landscape.

Frogs In California

1. Boreal Toad

Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas) in forest litter at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County, California, USA
A Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas) in forest litter at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas boreas
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2.4 to 3.9 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

In the upper northern region of California, Boreal Toads can be found in a variety of habitats. Marshes, springs, small lakes, forests, woodlands, and desert riparian areas are some of the places this frog can be found. Boreal toads are active in the day and night after winter.

When summer comes they become nocturnal and avoid the heat. This species enjoys high altitudes and needs a large source of water to breed.

Dry, and bumpy is their skin texture covered in warts. This species can be identified from the California toad from its belly which is covered in dark blotches. Adults will range in sizes around 2.4 to 3.9 inches.

Brown to green is their coloring, and they have a large white line running down their back. A parotoid gland is also on this species which helps it secrete a toxin from its skin.

Boreal toads feed on a large variety of food since they are omnivores. Algae, insects, invertebrates, and aquatic life are what make up the majority of their diet.

Boreal toads have seen a decline in their population due to diseases like chytrid fungus. This fungus can suffocate and kill the toad, stopping water from being able to absorb through its skin. 

2. California Toad

California Toad (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) in some coarse sand near Angeles National Forest, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA
A California Toad (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) in some coarse sand near Angeles National Forest, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas halophilus 
  • Other Names: Western Toad
  • Adult Size: 2.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 8 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

California toads are a subspecies of the Western toad, inhabiting most of California. Woodlands, meadows, grasslands, and forests are some of the places they live in.

California Toads are rarely found in California deserts but have a scattered population in some dry areas.

From January to July, this toad breeds and lays eggs in marshes and ponds. During the breeding season, they move to higher elevations. October is when the California Toad becomes inactive, as they hibernate over the winter.

California toads have a similar appearance to the boreal toad but have a bigger head, eyes, and smaller feet. Tan, brown, gray, or yellow is their coloring.

They have dark blotches on their skin, with rough warty skin. The warts are reddish-brown, and their throats are lightly colored. 

Grasshoppers, beetles, flies, and mosquitos are some of the food California toads eat.

Living throughout the state they feed on a large variety of insects. Vision is used to locate prey, when spotted they lunge and catch them with their sticky tongue.

In summer, they become nocturnal, but they can usually be found in the day or night. Instead of hopping like other frogs, this toad walks. 

3. Arroyo Toad

Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) in some dry straw and leaves at Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County, California, USA
An Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) in some dry straw and leaves at Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: N/A 
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus californicus
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Arroyo Toads live in a small area of California near Mexico. They live in deserts near rivers and creeks.

They can be found along rivers, and prefer to live in sandy areas. Adults will live and bury themselves in sandy soil. Arroyo toads like to live in areas with minimal vegetation.

Most of the day they will spend their time underground and will come out to hunt at night. From August to January they will hibernate, and remain underground.

Arroyo Toads have rough bumpy skin and are covered in warts. They have greens, tan and olive-colored skin, with a dark mottled pattern. Their warts are a reddish-brown color. Their skin has a parotoid gland, which helps it produce a toxin to ward off predators.

Small beetles, caterpillars, moths, crickets, and other insects are what make up most of their diet. The toxin found on its skin makes it deadly for a predator to try and eat this species.

Some animals are immune, but this toxin gives it valuable protection. This species is considered endangered and has seen a decline in population. Habitat destruction is the main cause of this species’ low population.

4. Yosemite Toad

Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus) in some dry and green grass somewhere at Inyo National Forest, Mono County, California, USA
A Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus) in some dry and green grass somewhere at Inyo National Forest, Mono County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus canorus
  • Other Names: Bufo canorus
  • Adult Size: 1.2 to 1.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

In sunny areas like meadows, forests, and areas near water, the Yosemite toad can be found. This species primarily lives in mountainous habitats with water.

Living at an elevation of around 4,800 to 12,000 ft, they use the sun to manage their temperature.

In California, they are only found in the Central area. Yosemite toads breed in shallow waters. They are named where they are commonly found, which is in Yosemite National Park.

Medium-sized, this species is covered in large warts. Yellow, green, black, tan, or copper-colored are their possible colors. Their eyes are dark brown with golden iridophores.

Their pupils are horizontal. Oval parotoid glands are located on the side of their body, which help make a toxin to cover their skin.

Yosemite toads eat insects like bees, wasps, flies, and millipedes. Garter snakes, birds, and larger frogs will feed on this species in the wild.

Like other amphibians, this toad’s population has been decreasing and they are considered endangered.

5. Great Plains Toad

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) on gravel at Salton Sea in Oasis, California, USA
A Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) on gravel at Salton Sea in Oasis, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $15  

Great Plains toad has a small range in California and can be found in the state near the border of Arizona. Desserts, desert scrubs, wetlands, sandhills, and grassland are some of the places they live in. In winter they burrow underground, but in California, they do not need to burrow as deep. In the daytime and during rainy days is when they are most active. 

Great plains toads have dry warty skin. Light brown, gray, or olive are their possible colors. Light blotches cover their back. Their belly is pale white with no pattern. Some frogs may have a light thin line that runs down their back. 

This species has a healthy population in its range and is listed as least concerned. Garter snakes are the main predator of that species. The toad uses its chemoreceptors to sense a chemical trail left by the snake and escape them.

Moths, flies, cutworms, and beetles are some of the food bugs they eat. They are insectivores, so they only eat insects.  

6. Black Toad

Black Toad (Anaxyrus exsul) on mossy rocks at Inyo National Forest, California, USA
A Black Toad (Anaxyrus exsul) on mossy rocks at Inyo National Forest, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus exsul
  • Other Names: Inyo toad, Deep Springs toad
  • Adult Size: 5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Black toads have a strong population in their habitat, but their range is extremely limited in California. Listed as a vulnerable species, this frog has been the victim of habitat destruction. Marshes, ditches, and springs are some of the areas they live.

In Deep Springs Valley of Inyo County, this species lives with a healthy population but is found nowhere else. Compared to other toads in North America, this species is highly aquatic, even when breeding is not occurring.

This toad’s skin is all black and covered in white and tan spots. This species usually has a light white stripe running down its back.

Their belly is pale but covered in black splotches. Black toads have smooth skin for a toad but they are still covered in warts. 

Like other toads, this species has a parotoid gland that produces toxins and stops predators from eating it. Insects and small invertebrates are their main source of food.

Because of this species’ limited range, the local Deep Springs College has taken it upon itself to help maintain the population of this species and keep their environment healthy. 

7. Arizona Toad

Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on gravel somewhere in Gila National Forest, Grant County, New Mexico, USA
An Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on gravel somewhere in Gila National Forest, Grant County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus microscaphus
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Arizona toads are found mostly in Nevada and Arizona but have a small range in California near the border of the two states. Riperarinans, upland, and oak forest habitats are where they can be found, near the Colorado River.

Ponds, rivers, and shallow ponds are where the Arizona toad breeds, starting February and ending around April.

Gray, pink, brown, beige, and pale yellow are their possible colors, with a dark mottled pattern. Their skin is dry and covered in warts.

Warts on their skin are reddish-brown, and their belly is a pale white. Arizona toads have webbed feet that are useful in helping them burrow in the ground. Male and females both have pale throats and parotoid glands around their necks. 

Beetles are this toad’s main source of food, but they will feed on a variety of insects.

May to September is when this species is active, hibernating during the winter. In dry spells and extreme heat, they will also take shelter underground.

8. Red-spotted Toad

Red-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on a rock at San Bernardino National Forest, Riverside County, California, USA
A Red-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on a rock at San Bernardino National Forest, Riverside County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus punctatus
  • Other Names: Bufo punctatus
  • Adult Size: 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years 
  • Average Price Range: $10

Near the border of Arizona and Nevada, red-spotted toads have a range in that area of Southern California. They are nocturnal and spend their time underground during the day.

This species tends to stay near a source of water.  Rocky deserts and locations near a stream are habitats they live in. They can also be found in oases, grasslands, and woodlands. Rocky areas are preferred so they can hide under them. 

This small species is named after the red or orange warts that cover its body. They can be olive, brown, or light gray in color. Their head and body are flat, with a pointy snout.

The red-spotted toad has dry skin, with parotid glands on the side of their heads like other toads. Their eyes are big and have horizontal pupils. 

Red-spotted toads secrete fewer toxins from their glands and are a docile species. The little toxin they do secrete helps them from being eaten by local predators.

In its range, this species has a healthy population. Not seen often due to their nature, they may come out from underground during heavy rainfall. 

9. Rocky Mountain Toad

Rocky Mountain Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii) on pavement near Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, California, USA
A Rocky Mountain Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii) on pavement near Joshua Tree National Park, Riverside County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii 
  • Other Names: Western Woodhouse’s toad
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Rocky mountain toads live in a variety of habitats, inhabiting a small range in Southern California around the Arizona and Nevada border. In river bottoms, canyons, desert streams, and suburban areas are where they can be found.

This species is nocturnal, spending most of its time underground. Sometimes it can be seen during the day during the breeding season. From October to February they will hibernate underground.

This toad’s skin is bumpy and covered in warts. They are a large species with gray, brown, green, or yellow coloring.

Dark blotches sit on their back, and they have a white stripe on the back of their snout. Rocky mountain toads have a place or beige belly with no pattern. Males of this species will have a darker throat. 

Spiders, small insects, mice, and lizards are some of the animals this species prey on.

The toxin secreted by this species is not particularly powerful but is enough to put a bad taste in a predator’s mouth. The rocky mountain toad may also breed with other species of toad-like the Western Toad.

10. Sonoran Desert Toad

Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius) in dirt with grass and rocks by Saguaro National Park, Pima County, Arizona, USA
A Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius) in dirt with grass and rocks by Saguaro National Park, Pima County, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Bufo alvarius
  • Other Names: The Colorado River Toad
  • Adult Size: 7 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: About $90

Living mostly in Mexico, the Sonoran Desert toad or Colorado River toad can also be found in California. This species is semiaquatic and can be found near streams, rivers, and canals.

Starting in May they will breed and lay eggs in bodies of water. Breeding will last until August and is more prominent during heavy rain seasons. This toad is nocturnal and will stay underground during hot periods. 

Sonoran desert toads are a large species capable of growing up to 7 inches. They are the largest species of toad in the United States and can be green or brown in color.

Their skin is smooth and leather-like. Small warts cover their body as well as glands that produce a poisonous toxin. 

The toxin made by this species is powerful and can even paralyze smaller animals. They are still preyed on by raccoons, as they have learned to avoid the toxins when eating them.

Sonoran desert toads will eat insects, small mammals, and other small animals they come across. 

11. Coastal Tailed Frog

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) in grass at Six Rivers National Forest, Humboldt County, California, USA
A Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) in grass at Six Rivers National Forest, Humboldt County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Ascaphidae
  • Scientific Name: Ascaphus truei
  • Other Names: Tailed frog
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.97 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Coastal tailed frogs live in the Northern regions of California in the upper coastal region of the state. In forests, they live in cold rocky streams. Fast-moving rocky waters are needed to lay their eggs in.

This species is nocturnal and is active from spring to fall. Usually, they spend their time near the streams they breed in, but will move on land during heavy rainfall. 

Coastal toads are medium-sized and are olive, brown, gray, or copper in color. They have rough skin and flat bodies. Males of this species are smaller in size and have a tail-like organ back used for breeding.

Their belly is pale and covered in light spots. Coastal-tailed frogs have long hard fingers, used for gripping wet rocks. With reduced lungs, they breathe mostly through their skin and help them keep their buoyancy in water. 

When in danger this frog will jump into the water and let the stream carry it to safety. Hunting at night they consume a wide variety of insects and invertebrates to survive.

Rocks are essential to their habitat as they use them to camouflage into their environment and stand on them to find prey. 

12. Lowland Leopard Frog

Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) in some mud and grass at Prescott National Forest, Arizona, USA
A Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) in some mud and grass at Prescott National Forest, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates yavapaiensis
  • Other Names: San Felipe leopard frog
  • Adult Size: 1 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Lowland leopard frogs are a subspecies of leopard frog that lives on the edge of Southern California. Streams, ponds, rivers, and other bodies of water are areas they live in.

This species tends to stay close to the water and is active most of the year. In winter they take shelter and are inactive during the colder periods.

Leopard frogs are named after the leopard pattern painted on their backs, which are large dark spots. Tan, brown, and shades of green are their dorsal color, with a yellow coloring on their belly.

Some frogs have two dorsolateral stripes that run down their sides, usually yellow in color. 

Leopard frogs eat small fish, other frogs, birds, and small invertebrates. They rely on their camouflage to avoid being eaten by predators.

Large birds, snakes, and bigger frogs are some of the animals that prey on this species. 

13. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on concrete at Beaver Creek Road, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on concrete at Beaver Creek Road, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $15 

Northern leopard frogs have a scattered population in California, living in grasslands, meadows, forests, canals, marshes, and woodlands.

This species is active in the day and night and will move away from water when the breeding season is over. March to July is when breeding occurs, happening in a variety of water sources. In winter they will hibernate and bury themselves in the mud. 

Ranging from green to brown in color, they are covered in dark brown spots. Their bellies are cream-colored. On their upper jaw is a white stripe and on their back are two pale dorsolateral stripes.

Northern leopard frogs have long legs and narrow heads. Younger frogs will have little to no spots on their back.

Leeches, fish, small birds, and snakes are some of the animals that species eat. Using vegetation and hiding in waters are ways they try to avoid predators like birds, snakes, and larger frogs.

Humans also threaten this species with the destruction of habitat, and we sometimes use this species in classrooms or labs for dissections. 

14. Southern Leopard Frog

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) on a leaf near Great Valley Grasslands State Park off Yosemite Highway, Merced County, California, USA
A Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) on a leaf near Great Valley Grasslands State Park off Yosemite Highway, Merced County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sphenocephalus
  • Other Names: Rana sphenocephalus
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5  inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $15

Southern leopard frogs live in a small range in Southern and Central California.

Ponds, lakes, canals, streams, rivers, and other shallow freshwater habitats are places they live in. Southern leopard frogs are mostly nocturnal and are active year-round in southern locations. After breeding they will move inland and use vegetation and shade to stay cool. 

Southern leopard frogs are dark green to brown and are covered in dark spots along their back and legs. They are medium-sized with long limbs and two light-colored dorsolateral stripes running down their back. On their upper jaw is a white line.

Crayfish and small invertebrates are what this frog eats. In California, this subspecies is rarer, as they mostly inhabit the eastern half of the United States. Carnivorous mammals, larger frogs, and snakes are some of the animals that prey on this species.  

15. Rio Grande Leopard Frog

Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri) on rocky sand near Salton Sea at Joshua Tree Park, Riverside, California, USA
A Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri) on rocky sand near Salton Sea at Joshua Tree Park, Riverside, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates berlandieri
  • Other Names: Mexican Leopard Frog
  • Adult Size: 2.25 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

Rio Grande leopard frogs are aquatic with a small range in southern California. Permanent water sources like streams, creeks, lakes, and ponds are some of the places they live in.

They are nocturnal and may be seen occasionally during the day. Rio Grande leopard frogs are found mostly near water and are active year-round. They will hibernate in cold temperatures, and bury themselves in dry periods.

Like other leopard frogs, this species is known for the dark leopard-like posts covering its body. Their body is green, tan, or olive color while their underside is pale white.

Males of this species have a swollen dark thumb, with a pair of vocal sacs.

Depending on what is available in their areas, Rio Grande leopard frogs eat flying bugs and other insects. Their camouflage is used to avoid predators, as well as hiding under rocks and vegetation.

Crayfish, turtles, fish, and birds are some of the species that prey on this frog. 

16. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in some aquatic vegetation at William B Pond Clay Banks at The William B Pond Picnic Facilities, California, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in some aquatic vegetation at William B Pond Clay Banks at The William B Pond Picnic Facilities, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Other Names: lithobates catesbeianus
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 8 inches 
  • Lifespan: 7 to 15 years 
  • Average Price Range: $20

American Bullfrogs are an invasive species in California but have managed to find a home in habitats all over the state. Rivers, marshes, swamps, ponds, ditches, and brackish waters are some of the places they live in.

This species prefers slow-moving water with plenty of vegetation. Bullfrogs are hardy frogs and an extremely invasive species. Originally native to the Eastern U.S, they have managed to take home all across the country. 

Bullfrogs are the largest frog species in North America, with some capable of reaching up to 8 inches large in rare cases. They have smooth skin with brown to green in color.

On their back is a dark mottled pattern, and their belly is lightly colored. Males are smaller than females and have a yellow throat. The call of this frog sounds like a low-pitched bull sound.

Bullfrogs will eat anything from birds, bats, small mammals, frogs, and snakes. They are known to eat other species and negatively affect the environment they invade. In some areas of the U.S, this frog is eaten, usually only the meat on their legs. 

17. African Clawed Frog

African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) and baby in a body of water off Loma Ridge at Limestone Canyon Regional Park, Orange County, California, USA
An African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis) and baby in a body of water off Loma Ridge at Limestone Canyon Regional Park, Orange County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Pipidae
  • Scientific Name: Xenopus laevis
  • Other Names: Xenopus
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The African clawed frogs are an invasive species of frog found in Southern and Northern California. They are native to Eastern and western Africa but have found their way in the U.S by being imported for pet trading.

This species lives in a variety of habitats like streams, ponds, wetlands, and canals. They live primarily in water but will travel on the ground to find new sources.

African clawed frogs have flat bodies with small heads. They have smooth skin and range in colors of gray, green to brown. Their underside is yellow.

This species can change its color by becoming darker or lighter depending on its environment. They have round eyes and long clawed hands. 

Aquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, and worms are some of the animals this frog feeds on. Disease and parasites brought over by this species impact the native life that lives near it.

They are able to secrete a toxin from their skin that is harmful to potential predators. They also compete with local species for food and habitats, making it harder for native frogs to survive.

18. Common Coqui

Common Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui) on a green leaf somewhere near Holly Park, Los Angeles County, California, USA
A Common Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui) on a green leaf somewhere near Holly Park, Los Angeles County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: N/A
  • Family: Eleutherodactylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus coqui 
  • Other Names: Puerto Rican coqui
  • Adult Size: 1.3 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 6 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Common coquis are an invasive species in California, native to Puerto Rico. It is thought they found their way to the U.S mainland by laying eggs and burrowing in potted plants shipped overseas.

They live in highly vegetated areas and will inhabit ground litter on the ground during the day. They are nocturnal and move to the trees at night. 

Common coquis are white, or yellow with smooth wet skin. They are capable of having a variety of patterns like stripes, blotches, or no pattern at all. They have large golden eyes, with narrow pupils.

Their toes are equipped with large sticky pads to help them with climbing. This species is named after and recognizable by its loud call. Males will make a loud “Ko” sound. 

This tree frog species survives on spiders, crustaceans, and smaller frogs. They are able to breed quickly and can have large populations of frogs living with each other.

While common in some are areas they invade, in their native home in Puerto Rico they are a threatened species due to habitat loss. Birds, snakes, and large spiders are some of the predators this species faces. 

19. Western Spadefoot

Western Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) on wet dirt and sand at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, San Diego County, California, USA
A Western Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) on wet dirt and sand at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, San Diego County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Spea hammondii
  • Other Names: Hammonds spadefoot 
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Western spadefoots live all over California, in sandy areas with loose soil. They live in woodlands, grasslands, forests, and floodplains. Sandy soil is preferred since they are a burrowing species, spending most of the day underground.

Western spadefoots are nocturnal, and live their life on the ground. Water sources are near where they live, as they use them for breeding.

Western spadefoots are small with stubby bodies. They are green, brown, cream, or gray in color. Covered in stripes, blotches, and spots, their underside is light-colored.

Males have dark throats. Their eyes are golden and vertical. They have short legs used for burrowing and are covered in warts.

Insects like moths, crickets, larvae, ants, flies, and worms are what they eat. One feeding is enough to keep them satisfied for several weeks.

They will live underground to avoid predators. Large birds, mammals, frogs, and snakes are animals that prey on this species. 

20. Couch’s Spadefoot

Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii) on wet sand near Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, California, USA
A Couch’s Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii) on wet sand near Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Scaphiopus couchii
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Couch Spadefoots can be found in Southern California, living in prairies, grasslands, and areas with sandy soil. Most of this time is spent buried, but they use water to breed like lakes, pools, and ponds.

In rainy seasons they become more active and will stay underground in the winter.

This frog is named after its spade-like foot, which helps it burrow into the ground. They are small with warty skin. Their eyes have horizontal pupils.

Green and brown and what these species colors are, covered in dark blotches. They have pale bellies with a mottled pattern. 

Small insects like termites, beetles, and grasshoppers are what this species eats. They are nocturnal and will come out at night to hunt. Predators include birds, fish, and snakes. 

21. Great Basin Spadefoot

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) on someone's hands near Mammoth Lakes, California, USA
A Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) on someone’s hands near Mammoth Lakes, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Spea intermontana
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 1.4 to 2.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Great Basin Spadefoots can be found in Northern California, living in grasslands, and open woodland. Loose soil is used for burrowing, or they will take shelter in rodent burrows.

This species is nocturnal and spends the day hiding underground. Water sources like ponds and lakes are only visited for breeding. 

They are a small round species with gray to olive coloring. They have cat-like eyes and bumpy skin. The back foot is used for digging and has a black “spade” on it. They are covered in black spots and have a pale yellow belly. 

Insects like ants, beetles, flies. Worms and some plants are eaten by this species.

They will be preyed on by owls, crows, snakes, and foxes. This species is hardy and can lose up to 48% of its moisture and survive. 

22. Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae) in moist vegetation near Yosemite National Park, California, USA
A Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae) in moist vegetation near Yosemite National Park, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana sierrae
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.2 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog lives in high altitudes near water. Lakes, ponds, streams, and riverbanks are near where they are usually found.

They are active during the day and become inactive at the bottom of lakes in the winter. Spring to fall is when they are most active, and in times of heavy snow, they may be active for only a short period.

This frog is medium-sized with long legs. They have smooth skin and a moist look too. Olive, yellow, or brown are their possible colors. Yellow or orange coloring appears near their legs.

Their coloring and range are what give them their name. When handled, some say this species smells like garlic.

Insects and small invertebrates are what this species survives off of. They are covered in protective bacteria that protect them from the chytrid fungus, which is what kills off certain species.

Still, they are endangered as their population has been decreasing due to pollution. 

23. Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog

Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa) in some vegetated water near Black Mountain, California, USA
A Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa) in some vegetated water near Black Mountain, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana muscosa
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.2 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Southern Mountain yellow-legged frogs live in lakes, ponds, meadows. Pools and streams. Their range is mostly within the Sierra Nevada Mountains across California.

They live in high elevations and are most active during the day. They try to avoid bodies of water inhabited by predatory fish. In winter they will hibernate at the bottom of ponds and will emerge in the spring to breed. 

This medium-sized species can be yellow, brown, or olive-colored. They are covered in dark brown or black spots. Their hind legs have yellow or orange color underneath them.

Disease, pesticides, and environmental changes are some of the reasons these species populations have been declining. They are listed as endangered and are actively trying to be conserved by breeding in captivity and keeping in zoos.

This species lives off insects and small invertebrates. 

24. Oregon Spotted Frog

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) in wet sand near Crescent Lake Junction, Diamond Peak, Klamath County, Oregon, USA
An Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) in wet sand near Crescent Lake Junction, Diamond Peak, Klamath County, Oregon, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana pretiosa
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.7 to 3 inches 
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Oregon spotted frogs have a small scattered range in Northern California, living in a variety of aquatic habitats. Forests, marshes, slow-moving and permanent freshwater are where they can be found. This species spends the majority of its life in water and will bury itself in the mud during winter to overwinter.

Brown, tan, green, or brick red are their possible colors. Black spots cover themselves on their back, sides, and legs.

Their jaw has a white stripe on it and red coloring appears on their sides and legs. Their bellies are red, while their throat is a white color. 

Beetles, flies, spiders, and water insects are some of the bugs that species eat. Their predators include larger frogs, water birds, and garter snakes.

Oregon-spotted frog population has been steadily decreasing, and they are listed as vulnerable. 

25. Columbia Spotted Frog

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) on rocky sand at Wells Gray Provincial Park, Cariboo, British Columbia, Canada
A Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) on rocky sand at Wells Gray Provincial Park, Cariboo, British Columbia, Canada. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana luteiventris
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.8 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Columbia spotted frogs have a small range in California, near the eastern northern corner of the state. They live in mountain habitats with water sources like lakes, ponds, wetlands, and springs.

Open areas with sunlight are preferred since they enjoy basking in the sun. They are active from spring to summer and will hibernate underground in the winter. 

Columbia spotted frogs are brown, red, gray, or olive green in color. They have dark spots covering them, which also gives them their name. Their belly is pale with dark mottled spots covering it.

They have dark eyes, smooth wet skin, and long limbs. They are very similar to Oregon spotted frogs, and can be told apart by the location. 

This frog will hunt during the day or night. They will feed on aquatic and land-dwelling invertebrates.

The Columbia spotted frog is rare in California but has a range in the U.S in the states Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Nevada. 

26.  California Red-legged Frog

California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) on someone's hand near Mount Diablo, San Francisco, California, USA
A California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) on someone’s hand near Mount Diablo, San Francisco, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana draytonii                                  
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.7 to 5.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

California Red-legged frogs can be found all through the western coastal areas of California. Forests, woodland, streamsides, and grasslands are common places to find this species. Water sources like ponds and rivers are used for breeding.

Depending on its location, this species may breed at the beginning or end of the year. During summer and hot periods, they will become dormant to avoid the heat. 

The California red-legged frog is one of the largest species located in the western United States, with the ability to grow up to 5 inches. They are named after their hind legs, which are mostly red when fully grown.

Brown, gray, olive, or reddish are possible colors for them. They are covered in dark spots and have a pale belly.

This species is losing population due to disease and habitat loss and is a threatened species.

Raccoons, garter snakes, bullfrogs, and other predatory animals are some of the things that prey on this species. The California red-legged frog will eat anything it can find like insects, spiders, and other smaller frogs. 

27. Cascades Frog

Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae) on mossy rocks at Klamath National Forest, Siskiyou County, California, USA
A Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae) on mossy rocks at Klamath National Forest, Siskiyou County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana cascadae
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Active during the day, cascade frogs live in wet mountainous areas with woodlands. Streams, pools, lakes, bogs, ponds, and marshes are common in their habits and used to breed. They try to avoid waters with a high population of predatory fish.

Cascade frogs are named after the Cascade mountains of Oregon and Washington, but also have a small range near the tip of Northern California. Active for March to August they will overwinter near the waters they breed in.

Cascade frogs are medium-sized with olive green, copper, or brown coloring. They have yellow coloring around their legs and black spots on their back.

Smooth skin and a wet look, this species has long limbs. Their sides are yellow and on their face sits a dark mask pattern.

To escape predators like snakes they will hop into the water and swim away. Larger frogs, snakes, mammals, and birds are some of the animals that prey on this species.

Like other frogs, Cascade frogs survive by eating small invertebrates. 

28. Foothill Yellow-legged Frog

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) on a rock in the sun at Humboldt Redwood State Park, Humboldt County, California, USA
A Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) on a rock in the sun at Humboldt Redwood State Park, Humboldt County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana boylii
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 1.5 To 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 12 years 
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

The foothill yellow-legged frog is a species found across California, known for its yellow legs. Thai species live in streams, rivers, and other rocky areas near water.

They can also be found in parts of Oregon, and Mexico. Most of the time this frog is found near water and is active during the day. 

Foothill yellow-legged frogs are brown, reddish, or olive in color. They have a mottled pattern with dark spots covering them. Their skin is bumpy, covered in small warts. This frog is medium-sized and has large back legs.

Their chest is colored light yellow, and the throat and chest of this species are dark. Yellow is seen on the underside of their hind legs, and lower belly. The snout of this species is triangular shaped. 

The population of this species has declined and disappeared in some parts of its range in California. Insects like spiders, flies, snails, and aquatic insects are some of the things this frog eats.

They have even been seen eating their own species. Destruction of habitat, disease, and pollution are some of the problems troubling this species. 

29. Northern Red-legged Frog

Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) on wet leaves at Prarie Creek Redwood State Park, California, USA
A Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) on wet leaves at Prarie Creek Redwood State Park, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana aurora 
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3 inches long
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A 

Northern Red-legged tree frogs live in a variety of forest habitats, with a spread-out population around California. They are active during the day, living in forests, foothills, grasslands, and near streams. Red-legged frogs breed in permanent habitats like lakes, ponds, and wetlands.

January to February is when this species breeds, males will call from the water during this time. This frog usually is not heard when calling, because it will do it at night, mostly underwater.

This medium-sized frog is brown, olive, or grey, covered in black specks. A dark line sits on their faces and extends to their shoulders. Their back legs and lower belly have a red tint, which is also how they get their name.

The belly of this frog is a light yellow color. As they age the red coloring on the legs is more prominent. Some of the frogs of this species may be all red. 

Northern Red-Legged frogs eat a variety of insects and invertebrates. Raccoons, garter snakes, fish, and birds are some of the predators that feed on that species.

They rely on camouflage for protection and will flee when threatened. Populations of this species have been stable, and they are listed as the least concern.  

30. California Tree Frog

California Tree Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) on a rocky surface at Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, California, USA
A California Tree Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) on a rocky surface at Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris cadaverina
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 1 to 2 inches 
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 inches
  • Average Price Range: N/A

California Tree Frogs have a small range in Southern California, with a scattered population near the coast. In desserts, oasis environments, and rocky mountainous areas are where they can be found. Spending most of their time on land, they will live near a water source.

California tree frogs will go into the water to breed and lay their eggs. They are nocturnal and will hide in hidden away shaded areas during the day, like in crevices of rocks. Winter, from December to March is when they are inactive. 

The California treefrog has shades and patterns to help it blend in with a rocky habitat. They are grey to light brown, with dark blotches on their skin.

Their underside is white, with yellow coloring near their legs. Their skin is rough and covered in warts. Males have dark yellow coloring near their throats. 

Snakes, birds, and large mammals are what usually prey on this species. They use their coloring to help blend into rocks or would jump into the water when they sense danger.

California tree frogs have a healthy population and are only found in California and Mexico. 

31. Baja California Treefrog

Baja California Treefrog (Pseudacris hypochondiraca) on a rock near Castaic Lake, at Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, California, USA
A Baja California Treefrog (Pseudacris hypochondiraca) on a rock near Castaic Lake, at Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris hypochondiraca
  • Other Names: San Lucan chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 0.7 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Baja California tree frogs have a range scattered across southern California but are most common on the Western coastline of the state. Living in a variety of habitats, they will travel to a source of water to breed. In regular conditions, they can be found in grasslands, pastures, deserts, and oases.

During the breeding season, they will mate and lay their eggs in shallow water with dense vegetation. This species is active day and night but will hibernate in extreme temperatures. 

Baja California Tree Frogs vary in colors of green, grey, and brown. They have pale and dark markings covering them. They have a dark mark on their eye, and a y shaped mark on top of their head.

Habitat and environment will change how they look, as they can change colors to match their surroundings. Their underside is pale, with yellow markings by their legs. 

Insects are their main source of food, using ambushing techniques and their long tongue to hunt. At night when insects come out are when they hunt the most, eating mostly flying insects. 

32. Pacific Treefrog

Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris Regilla) in some grass at Redwood National Park, Humboldt County, California, USA
A Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris Regilla) in some grass at Redwood National Park, Humboldt County, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris Regilla
  • Other Names: Pacific chorus frog, Northern Pacific Treefrog
  • Adult Size: 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $11

Pacific Tree Frogs inhabit the Pacific Northwest in North America, and a small region in California. This treefrog spends the majority of its time on the ground, living near ponds, springs, streams, swamps, and other freshwater habitats. Moist dark areas are where they can often be found, hiding near dense vegetation.

They can sometimes be found in high elevations, up to 11,000 ft. Mostly found alone, this species groups up in large numbers to breed. Active from the evening until late night, they can be found all year except in hot, or cold periods.

Pacific Tree Frogs only grow up to 2 inches, and females are usually larger than males. This frog’s colors range from green to brown, with a black stripe around their eyes.

A y-like marking sits on their head, and their underside is lightly colored with small black dots. Like some other species of frog, this species can change its shade depending on its habitat.

Predators of this species include larger frogs, predatory water birds, raccoons, and other carnivorous species of animal.

Hopping, hiding, and camouflage is their main defenses against predators. In their range, they have a healthy population but are still susceptible to the decline in population seen by other amphibians. 

33. Sierran Treefrog

Sierran Tree Frog (Pseudacris sierra) on a gray rock at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito, California, USA
A Sierran Tree Frog (Pseudacris sierra) on a gray rock at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito, California, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris sierra
  • Other Names: N/A 
  • Adult Size: 0.7 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Sierran tree frogs live in coastline habitats on the western coast of the United States.

Ponds, creeks, and slow-moving waters in high altitudes are where they can be found. These frogs are active both in the day and night. In more intense cold or heat, they will avoid going out and hibernate in moist areas.

This frog spends most of its time on the ground near water but has a tendency to climb vegetation. They are active most of the year and breed from November to July. 

Ranging from dark green, light green, to tan in color, these tree frogs are medium-sized. They have black markings near their eyes and brownish blotches on their back.

Their skin is moist and covered in warts. The Sierran treefrog has long legs, which have sticky pads on their feet to help them with climbing. 

When threatened this treefrog will hop away, jump into the water, and hide to defend itself. Their green color works as a great camouflage and helps protect them. Flying insects and other invertebrates are what they feed on.

At night is when this treefrog hunts, but during breeding season they will scavenge all day. 

Wrapping up

California 33 frogs are living in the diverse habitats the state provides. Water is used by most species to breed, but depending on the species they will spend their time on land, water, or in trees.

Their characteristics and traits can help you identify one species from the next.

Some of the frogs on this list like the Leopard frog or California Treefrog can make good pets. If you are thinking about getting a frog as a companion you should research the types of species as each frog has its own needs. Some are easier to keep than others, and some may require more care.

For California herping and looking for different species of frogs is fun since they can be found in a wide range of habitats. Many species have their preferences and will be active during different periods of the day and year.

Hopefully, this helped shed light on some of the species of frogs living in California.

Frogs in other states

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