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Frogs in Delaware

There are twenty-two (22) species of toads and frogs in the US state of Delaware. This number includes nineteen (18) frog species and four (4) species of toads.

In this article, the various types of toads and frogs in Delaware are discussed, with certain characteristics and attributes peculiar to the adults of each species listed.

The information provided includes the species’ geographic ranges, habitats of choice, physical descriptions, behaviors, mating calls, and additional mechanisms to avoid or ward off predators.

Frogs and toads are colored to match their environments. Their dorsal skin is usually the color of the ground or the color of vegetation, and some species can change color to match different surroundings.

Ventrally, they have a light color, usually from white to bright yellow. This adaptive coloration camouflages them. In water, aquatic predators below mistake their light bellies for the light entering the water body.

Other predators may mistake them for vegetation when they are on trees, around shrubs, or in water, because of the color of their dorsal skin. This saves them from predation.

While some species are more active during the day (diurnal), others may be more active at night (nocturnal) or at dusk and dawn (crepuscular). This activity in the cover of darkness makes them less seen and therefore less prone to predation.

To further protect themselves from these attackers like birds, larger reptiles and amphibians, small mammals, fish, and even humans, toads secrete toxic fluids. Some frog species are poisonous as well, but most are not.

Frogs and toads have widely spaced eyes for clear and broad vision, and external eardrums to sense movement around them and calls of their conspecifics (frogs of the same species).

Toads typically have short legs and stout bodies, and so they move slowly by walking or hopping. Frogs have longer legs and more slender bodies, so they are able to move faster by jumping, leaping, and swimming in water.

Adult frogs and toads are primarily insectivorous. They feed on insects and their larvae, other non-insect arthropods, and even smaller chordates like frogs and mammals.

Read on to learn more about Delaware’s frogs and toads.

Table of Contents

  1. Frogs in Delaware
  2. Toads in Delaware
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in Delaware

1. Northern Cricket Frog

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a loose leaf in Sussex County, Delaware, USA
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a loose leaf in Sussex County, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Acris crepitans
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.3 to 3.6 cm (0.5 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 months in the wild, up to 4.9 years in captivity

The northern cricket frog, a member of the family of tree frogs, can be found in the US, Canada and Mexico.

The frog however does not live on trees. Instead, individuals can be found along ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers.

Frogs of this species are small in size. They have very warty skin, webbed toes, and a triangle mark between their eyes. Their hind limbs are fairly long and do not have sticky toe pads for climbing.

These frogs are usually gray, light brown, or green in color. A mid-dorsal stripe, usually orange or brown, is seen in most individuals. Dark bands are visible on their thighs and a line from each eye to each forelimb.

This species is diurnal. The call of the northern cricket frog sounds like two stones being quickly clicked together. They are not arboreal, so they cannot climb trees to avoid predators.

As an anti-predator mechanism, these have a powerful jump of over three feet. That jump power has been likened to a six-foot human being able to jump 200 feet.

They jump in a zigzag manner to escape predators.

2. Mountain Chorus Frog

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) on a rainy rocky road in Bath County, Kentucky, USA
Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) on a rainy rocky road in Bath County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
  • Other Names: Appalachian mountain chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3.8 cm (1 to 1.5 cm); average 2.8 cm (1.1 in)
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years in the wild (for only about 15% of eggs laid)

Mountain chorus frogs can be found in two separate populations: one in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and one in central and northern Alabama.

These frogs are usually found in places with lots of trees, but they move to shallow pools and ditches to breed. They have been found living at elevations as high as 1.05 km (3444.88 ft).

Dorsally, they are colored from gray to olive. Most are light brown with spots of varying shades of brown down their backs.

Their color can also change with age. Males’ throats can be any color between yellow and black, while females have white throats.

A dorsal stripe runs across their eyes and backs. They also have a marking on their backs that resembles reverse parentheses { )( }. These reverse parentheses occasionally touch and form an X shape on their backs.

Between the eyes of a frog of this species, a dark triangle can be noticed. Like most chorus frogs, it has a white line on its upper lip. Flashes of yellow can be seen under its legs.

The call of mountain chorus frogs is described as a series of rapid, high-pitched, and slightly shrill chirps. Their dorsal color blends into the leafy surroundings, making them less conspicuous to predators.

3. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on dry leaves in New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on dry leaves in New Castle County, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
  • Other Names: Peeper
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 3.5 cm (0.75 to 1.3 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 years in the wild, 4 years in captivity

Spring peepers occur in eastern states of the US and in parts of Canada like Manitoba.

They live on trees in moist woodlands, fields, grassy lowlands, and ponds. During the winter when most anurans hibernate, they can be found in mud.

On their backs, individuals are typically colored gray, tan, olive-brown, or brown. On their belly, the usual color is white. There is an often irregular brown mark on its X-shaped back. Males and females show no conspicuous dimorphism.

Dark bands can be noticed on the legs of this frog. Its feet are moderately webbed and have sticky toe pads. The padding on the toes is an adaptation for climbing. Although this frog lives mostly in trees, it is often seen on the ground among leaves.

Spring peepers are nocturnal and hard to see around outside the breeding season. Their calls are whistles, high pitched and chirp-like. They signal the beginning of spring, hence the name of the species.

To avoid being attacked, these frogs like others are adaptively colored to blend in with their environment. They also jump away from predators when attacked or scared, and they burrow into the ground to hide also.

4. Western Chorus Frog

Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) on a large stick in Durango, Mexico
Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) on a large stick in Durango, Mexico. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris triseriata
  • Other Names: Midland chorus frog, striped chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 3.2 cm (0.75 to 1.26 in)
  • Lifespan: 1 to 5 years in the wild

Although a member of the tree frog family, the western chorus frog species rarely climbs. The frog occurs in Canada and the United States.

Individuals like to live in open, damp areas like marshes, moist woodlands, meadows, edges of forests, flood plains, and swamps.

They can be found in such colors as gray, light brown, dark brown, green, and rust orange. They have three dark dorsal stripes in dark brown or gray. A dark triangle may be found between their eyes.

On their upper lip runs a white line. Two dark stripes are found running from the snout across each eye and continuing down the groin of the western chorus frog. Venter is whitish with dark dots on the chest.

In the mating season, males have darker throats than females. Females tend to be a little bigger in size than males. They have excellent vision that is used to both sense and evade predators and catch prey.

These frogs are crepuscular, showing most activity at fish and dawn. Outside the breeding season, they are rarely seen.

The call of a western chorus frog is a short trilling squeak “cree-ee-ee-ee-eek”.

5. Boreal Chorus Frog

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) on some bricks in Alberta, Canada
Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) on some bricks in Alberta, Canada. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris maculata
  • Other Names: Pseudacris triseriata maculata 
  • Adult Size: 3 to 3.8 cm (1.18 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 3 years, record longevity of 6 years

Boreal chorus frogs like are distributed throughout much of Canada and the US.

Canadian regions where they occur include Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. In the US, they are found in New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

Individuals like to live in open spaces and in forests with open canopies. As long as there is enough vegetation for cover and food in the form of insects present, frogs of this species are comfortable.

Habitats they can be found in include grasslands, streams in marshy areas, roadside ditches, splash pools, beaver ponds, swamps, shallow lakes, flooded fields, and other freshwater sources without fish.

Boreal chorus frogs are small in size and they have smooth, moist skin. On their backs, they are colored in any shade from a greenish gray to brown. They usually have three stripes on their backs in a darker pigment than their dorsal color, and they may be broken.

From each eye to the groin, these frogs possess a dark stripe. A dark triangular pattern may also be seen on the head of some boreal chorus frogs, between their eyes. A white stripe is seen across their upper lip.

Their bellies are a light color, typically white, yellowish, or cream, and there may be dark mottling on the chest and throat. They have long toes with small toe pads for climbing. Their feet are webbed and their snouts are pointed.

The call of a boreal chorus frog is a loud chirp-like sound likened to the sound of drawing a finger down a comb’s teeth. It is a short sound that may be repeated 30-70 times per minute.

The frog is diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular, showing activity at any time of day. Weather and temperature affect its activity levels.

It shows more daytime activity in cooler months and more activity at dusk, night, and dawn in the hotter parts of the year.

6. Squirrel Tree Frog

Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella) on sticks in Doral, Florida, USA
Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella) on sticks in Doral, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla squirella 
  • Other Names: Chameleon frog, rain frog
  • Adult Size: 2.2 to 4.1 cm (1 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 8.5 years in captivity

Frogs of this species are native to the southeastern region of the United States of America. They have also more recently been introduced to the Bahamas.

They are found in marshes, swamps, and surrounding areas of lakes and streams. They prefer areas with moisture that can provide them both shelter and food, like gardens, bushes, vibes, trees, and shrubs.

Squirrel tree frogs are small in size even in adulthood and they come in various dorsal colors. They are usually gray, green, brown, or yellowish with either solid or patterned skins. Like chameleons, individuals’ skins can change to different colors.

Some have light broken stripes down their sides, and some have partial bars between their eyes. To identify a frog of this species, one might have to go through an elimination process involving other tree frog species with more stable dorsal pattern characteristics.

These frogs are mostly active during the night but can be spotted hunting for insects during the day if it is humid. Their call is usually heard during the rain.

It sounds like the chattering of a squirrel, hence the name.

7. Barking Tree Frog

Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) swimmin on water in the dark in New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) swimmin on water in the dark in New Castle County, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla gratiosa
  • Other Names: Dryophytes gratiosus
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 7 cm (2.01 to 2.76 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 7 years, up to 12.5 years in captivity

Barking tree frogs, like other amphibians, live both on land and in water. The weather influences where you find them — they can be found high on trees in warm weather and inside the ground in dry weather.

They are the largest species of frogs currently known in the southeastern region of the United States. Their backs are usually gray, brown, or green with dark round spots. Their bodies could change color and the spots would fade to a lighter shade as well.

A yellow stripe is noticeable on each side of the barking treefrog. Their toes have large adhesive pads for climbing trees. Skin is usually rough.

The call of the barking tree frog resembles the barking of a dog and has 9 to 10 syllables. These frogs are nocturnal, and they are greedy and opportunistic feeders, eating many arboreal insects and crickets.

To avoid predators, they are able to detect movement easily. Their sense of sight and adaptive coloration help them are their anti-predator mechanisms.

8. Green Tree Frog

Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) on a leaf in Sussex County, Delaware, USA
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) on a leaf in Sussex County, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla cinerea
  • Other Names: American green treefrog
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 6.4 cm (2.6 to 5.2 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years

Another species of frog in Oklahoma is the green tree frog.

It is found largely across central and southeastern states of the US. It prefers habitats with plenty of floating vegetation and an open canopy.

These frogs possess long legs with big toe pads and smooth skin. Their hindlegs are webbed extensively and have two tubercles between the toes. They are medium-sized frogs, with females larger than males.

Most green tree frogs are bright yellow-green in color. There are other dorsal colors, in shades between reddish-brown and green. Golden spots overlaying the dorsal color are frequently noticed.

Their venter is usually white or cream in color. Each side of their dorsum has a prominent lateral stripe that is also colored white or cream.

They are solitary for most of the year and most active in moist or humid weather. They communicate with different and distinct calls. There is a mating call, a call to signal when they sense rain, and an alarm call.

They avoid predators by closing their eyes and tucking in their legs to blend in with the color of the leaves.

9. Gray Tree Frog

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on concrete in Bear, Delaware, USA
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on concrete in Bear, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
  • Other Names: Dryophytes versicolor, eastern gray tree frog
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 cm (1.18 to 1.9 cm); record SVL 6 cm (2.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years

The gray tree frog lives high in trees, up to 20 meters above the ground.

These frogs can be found in some parts of Canada and the USA. These include Quebec, Manitoba, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire.

These frogs live along prairie streams, rivers, and swamps. Individuals are small in size with warty skin. Dorsal coloration is usually green, green-gray, gray, brown, or dark brown. A large dark-colored spot is present on their backs.

The digits on the forelegs and hindlegs of gray tree frogs have sticky pads that help them climb trees. In the males, the ventral surface of the hindlegs is usually yellow or yellow-orange in color.

In females, however, the hindlegs’ ventral surfaces are usually olive-gray in color. Beneath each eye, there is a white spot on this species, which is more of an olive color in the female frogs. Their bellies are white in color.

This nocturnal and crepuscular behavior helps them avoid the attention of predators. Their call is a short flute-like and musical trilling sound.

10. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in a hole in a treetrunk in New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in a hole in a treetrunk in New Castle County, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis
  • Other Names: Southern gray treefrog 
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 6 cm (1.26 to 3.26 in)
  • Lifespan: 2.5 to 7 years in captivity

Cope’s gray tree frogs are native to North America, commonly found in Ontario, Canada, and other USA states like Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. They can be found around both temporary and permanent water bodies.

Males and females look alike, with a white mark underneath each eye. Their bodies are quite rough and warty, although smoother than the bodies of most toads. Their toes have pads, a biological adaptation for climbing.

Dorsal coloration is largely varied, affected by substrate, humidity, and season. The most common dorsal color is gray, with black blotches on their backs. There are also individual Cope’s gray treefrogs colored green and brown.

They are nocturnal, showing most activity in the daytime. Like most frogs, this species is solitary and sedentary. Their call is a fast and flute-like trill that is high in pitch.

Some larger frog species hunt and feed on Cope’s gray treefrogs because of their fairly small size. They avoid their predators through their nocturnal activity and cryptic adaptation.

11. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in dry grass in Ontario, Canada
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in dry grass in Ontario, Canada. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens, grass frog, meadow frog
  • Adult Size: 5 to 11.5 cm (1.97 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years in the wild

This species of frog is native to regions of Canada and the United States.

It is common in Minnesota and Vermont and is their state amphibian. It is also found in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Northern leopard frogs like to live around permanent, slow-moving water with aquatic vegetation. They move far from the water when it is not the breeding season, and they prefer open spaces to woodlands.

Individuals are typically colored green, greenish-brown, or yellow-green dorsally. They have smooth skin covered in large oval spots. Each spot is bordered by a halo of a lighter hue.

On their bellies, the color is usually white or cream. There are two distinct ridges on the back of the northern leopard frog, running along each side. Males are mostly smaller than females, possessing large thumb pads and dual vocal sacs.

They migrate to ponds during spring to breed and then leave for grasslands or meadows in the summer. They are more active at night when breeding and more active in the day when foraging.

The call of a northern leopard frog is a short snoring sound. In addition to insects and their larvae, this frog ears smaller frogs. It avoids its predators by leaping away quickly and blending into the vegetative environment.

These frogs avoid their predators by taking advantage of their likeness to pickerel frogs, living around them to avoid being eaten. This is because although northern leopard frogs are not poisonous, pickerel frogs are.

12. Mink Frog

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on lilypads in water in Ontario, Canada
Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on lilypads in water in Ontario, Canada. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates septentrionalis
  • Other Names: North frog
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.6 cm (1.8 to 3 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years in the wild

Another species of frog in Delaware is the mink frog.

Mink frogs are found in regions of Canada and the United States. They inhabit parts of Wisconsin, Quebec, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Manitoba, and New York.

They like to live in permanent wetlands or around any body of freshwater, preferably around ponds, lakes, or streams with water lilies because they use these plants as a sort of protection. They also live on land in damp, forested areas.

Mink frogs are small and they are usually brown, olive, or green in color. They possess smooth skin with dark irregular blotches and dots on it. If present, the ridges on their backs are poorly developed.

Their ventral side is usually whitish or yellowish in color. All five digits of their hindlimbs are webbed together. They also have round spots or stripes on the upper part of their back legs.

Tympanum size and throat color can be used as parameters for differentiating between the sexes. Males have large external ears and bright yellow throats. Females have smaller tympana and their throats are usually white or pale yellow.

Mink frogs’ call is a rapid series of three or more croaks and it sounds like a metal hammer tapping on wood. When in a large chorus, the sound they produce sounds much like popcorn popping.

Their nocturnal activity makes them less noticed by predators. When attacked or threatened, they produce a foul odor, much like the smell of rancid onions.

This makes them a less attractive meal to their attackers.

13. Southern Leopard Frog

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) in water at Ocean View, Delaware, USA
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) in water at Ocean View, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sphenocephalus
  • Other Names: Rana sphenocephala, Florida leopard frog 
  • Adult Size: 8 cm (3.15 in) on average, up to 13 cm (5.12 in)
  • Lifespan: usually <1 year in the wild, up to 2 or 3 years

The southern leopard frog is an endangered species native to the southeastern part of North America. It occurs in some other US states like Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Jersey, Texas, and New York.

It inhabits areas around bodies of freshwater but leaves the water to moist vegetation in the summer. This species is one of the most terrestrial species of true (ranid) frogs as it shows a lot of activity on land.

Individuals have long legs and slender bodies. Their heads are sharply pointed. From behind each eye to the hip, there is an obvious fold in a lighter color. Dorsal coloration is usually green or brown, with dark and distinct spots.

The tympana on southern leopard frogs are about the size of their eyes, with a white dot in the middle on some individuals. These frogs do not have toe pads, and females are usually bigger than males.

They are nocturnal, hiding during the day in vegetation close to water. Their calls are short trills that sound like a chicken clucking or like the sound made from rubbing a finger against a balloon.

They usually evade predators by entering the water and swimming away. Humans hunt this species for food, as a source of frog legs.

14. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in Black Swamp Creek, Delaware, USA
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in Black Swamp Creek, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus 
  • Other Names: Rana catesbeiana, bullfrog, North American bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 9 to 15.2 cm (3.5 to 6 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years in the wild, up to 16 years in captivity

The bullfrog is native to the eastern part of North America.

However, it has been introduced to other places including Europe, Asia, and South America. It is a largely aquatic species that can be found around still and shallow bodies of water.

The bullfrog is a largely aquatic species found around bodies of water. Individuals can be found in swamps, ponds, marshes, ditches, rivers, and streams with abundant vegetation. They prefer still and shallow water.

They are the largest species of true frogs in North America. Their backs could be colored in different shades from brown to green, with darker colored blotches present. They have fully webbed hind legs and white bellies.

In males, the external ear is much larger than the eye, while the eye and external ear are relatively the same sizes, or the ear smaller in females. Also, the male’s throat is yellow while the female’s throat is white during mating season.

These frogs are both diurnal and nocturnal. They however prefer warm and humid weather and are active at any time of day in such weather. Their call has been described as a low rumbling “jug-o-rum”.

They eat snakes, worms, crustaceans, tadpoles, other frogs, aquatic eggs, terrestrial vertebrates, and even frogs of the same species. They endanger some other species of frogs.

Although bullfrogs are hunted by man as a source of frog legs, they face no threat of extinction. Their undesirable taste protects them from predation.

15. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on a leafy sidewalk in Hockessin, Delaware, USA
Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on a leafy sidewalk in Hockessin, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans 
  • Other Names: Rana clamitans, bronze frog, Northern green frog
  • Adult Size: 7.5 to 12.5 cm (2.95 to 4.92 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years in captivity

The green frog is a species of frog in Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Tennessee, Washington, Ohio, Kentucky, and a lot of other US states. They like to live in ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow-moving freshwater bodies.

A green frog typically has two dorsolateral ridges running down its back from each eye. These ridges are very pronounced. Green frogs can be found in several colors like dark brown, brown, bronze, olive, green, and bluish. There are even green frogs of two colors.

These frogs have very webbed feet. Their backs have small spots of darker pigment scattered on them. Ventrally, their bellies could be colored in different shades, in any shade from white to yellow.

Some differences can be noticed between the sexes. Males have tympana much larger than their eyes while females’ tympana and eyes are fairly proportionate in size. Females of this species are larger on average than males. 

Green frogs are both nocturnal and diurnal. They are sometimes hunted and eaten by humans. Their call has been described to sound like a twang, seeming like a plucked banjo string.

By mimicry, they are able to avoid predation. They resemble bad-tasting mink frogs that taste bad to their hunters.

For this reason, they occur with mink frogs, confusing predators to stay away from them.

16. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in straw and dry leaves in Greenville, Delaware, USA
Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in straw and dry leaves in Greenville, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Other Names: Rana palustris
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 4 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years in the wild

This frog species is native to North America. States in the US where this species can be found in include Oklahoma, South Carolina, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Vermont.

Individuals can be found living in cool streams with trees, swamps, springs, grassy fields, prairies, and weed-covered locations. They love to live near bodies of water that contain unpolluted water.

They have two lines of darker chocolate-colored spots on their backs, and these spots are shaped like squares. These two lines are in between two folds in their back that extend to their groin area. Their upper jaws also have a light line along them.

Pickerel frogs are usually white, bright yellow, or yellow-orange underneath, on their bellies and chests. Their bellies may also be mottled. The skin under their groins and hindlegs is any shade from bright yellow to orange.

Males are typically smaller than females and these males have short forearms and swollen thumbs. Pickerel frogs are nocturnal. Their call is low and snore-like.

They are average-sized frogs that are easily eaten by larger frogs. To protect themselves from predators, they secrete toxic fluids that are poisonous enough to kill small mammals and even hurt humans.

17. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on wet leaves in Hockessin, Delaware, USA
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on wet leaves in Hockessin, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus 
  • Other Names: Rana sylvatica, the frog with the robber’s mask 
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 8.2 cm (1.5 to 3.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild

The wood frog is another species of frog in Delaware.

It is commonly distributed across North America. It can be found in several places within the United States and Canada.

This frog lives mostly on the ground or around trees, but it can also be found in marshes, swamps, meadows, and mixed forests. Woods frogs leave these primary habitats of theirs to breed in semi-permanent water bodies.

A wood frog has mask-like markings across its eyes. These markings are black patches from each tympanum to the base of each of its forelegs. A white outline is also present, across its upper lip.

Frogs of this species come in diverse shades of gray, green, brown, tan, and rust. A mid-dorsal fold is also present, running down their backs in a bright yellow-brown color. Ventrally, the frogs are white.

While males are smaller in size with the ventral part of their legs colorful, females with their white bellies fading to a yellow-orange pallor towards the legs. The females are however more brightly colored dorsally than the males.

Wood frogs are more diurnal, actively scrounging and feeding during the day. Their call sounds much like the clucking of a chicken.

They produce poisons to irritate predators in case of capture or attack.

When captured, the wood frog lets out a piercing cry. It may startle the predator and annoy it.

18. Carpenter Frog

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes) in murky water somewhere in Dare County, North Carolina, USA
Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes) in murky water somewhere in Dare County, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates virgatipes
  • Other Names: Rana virgatipes
  • Adult Size: 4.1 to 6.7 cm (1.6 to 2.6 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 6.2 years in captivity

The carpenter frog is a true frog species found along the eastern coast of the United States. This species is restricted to the coastal plain, found in acidic bogs, blackwater swamps, and grasslike vegetation in this area.

Physically, this type of frog looks somewhat like a toad. This is because its hind limbs are short. Dorsal coloration is usually brown or bronze while ventral coloration is white with black mottling.

There are no dorsal ridges on the carpenter frog. However, four stripes of lighter pigment are conspicuous on the length of its back. A light line is also noticed on its upper lip.

Their toes are webbed, but the webbing does not reach the last toe. Males have narrower heads than females. Carpenter frogs are generally medium-sized frogs.

It is so named because its call sounds like the hammering of a carpenter. Five other less identifiable calls have been noticed among individuals of this species. They are secretive and shy, so they are difficult to see or capture.

They are cryptically adapted to their environment, blending in to avoid predation. When attacked, they quickly duck under the water.

They then raise their heads after some time to scan the surroundings.

Species of Toads in Delaware

19. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in grass in Wilmington, Delaware, USA
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in grass in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
  • Other Names: Bufo americana, hop toad 
  • Adult Size: 5 to 10 cm (1.97 to 4 in), record SVL of 11.1 cm (4.4 in)
  • Lifespan: 1 to 10 years in the wild, up to 36 years in captivity

There are three subspecies of the American toad: the eastern American toad, the dwarf American toad, and the Hudson Bay toad. Individuals of this species occur largely across North America in Mexico, Canada, and the USA.

American toads are very rampant because they easily live in any environment in which there is dense vegetation for cover and insects for food. These toads also require semi-permanent water to breed in.

They have short legs, stout bodies, and thick, warty skin, characteristic of most toads. Warts on the skin could be red or yellow, but the general dorsum is usually colored brown, olive, or gray.

Skin color can change because of stress, temperature, or humidity. American toads’ hindleg digits are fully webbed. They have several dark spots on their backs and each spot has one or two warts on it.

Male and female American toads can easily be told apart. Males have dark-colored throats that usually are black or brown. Females have white throats and lighter-colored bodies. They are also bigger than the males.

These toads hide under rocks, stones, twigs, and other such things in the daytime. They are nocturnal, showing most activity when the weather is warm and humid. Their call is a long and high-pitched “bu-r-r-r-r-r”, usually 6-30 seconds long.

In case of attack or capture by a predator immune to their toxin, the toads blow up their skin with air to make them hard to slow or urinate on themselves in order to be less appealing to eat.

20. Fowler’s Toad

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on a concrete slate in Lewes, Delaware, USA
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on a concrete slate in Lewes, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
  • Other Names: Bufo fowleri
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 9.5 cm (2 to 3.75 in)
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Fowler’s toads are found in the eastern and southeastern regions of the United States, along the Atlantic coastal plain, and in some parts of Canada. They can be found in other states like Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Iowa.

They like to live in places with open canopy, preferring either woodland with widely spaced trees or grasslands that do not encourage the growth of very tall trees. They also like to live on beaches. Primarily, they prefer to live in open spaces.

Fowler’s toads are usually medium-sized. The dorsum is typically colored tan, gray, brown, or greenish gray. They have dark or black spots on their backs, with each black spot having three to six warts.

They characteristically have a white or light-colored mid-dorsal stripe. Bellies are whitish, white-yellow, or cream and have a single gray spot. Typically, the male toads are darker in color and the females lighter.

Toads of this species are primarily nocturnal but they are also active in the daytime except in extreme heat or cold. Their call sounds like a baby crying or a sheep bleating, and it lasts for 2-5 seconds.

This species is considered to be at risk. This is due to the activities of off-road vehicles, the use of chemicals in agriculture, and predation.

If shaken or attacked by predators, Fowler’s toads pretend to be dead by lying still. These toads can also secrete toxins from warts on their skin to irritate and even poison their predators, like other toads.

21. Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) in sand and rocks in Clewiston, Florida, USA
Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) in sand and rocks in Clewiston, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinensis 
  • Other Names: Eastern narrowmouth toad, eastern narrow-mouthed toad
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4 cm (1 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years in captivity 

This is a species of small toads found in the entire southeastern portion of North America and introduced in the Bahamas. They live anywhere provided there is shelter and moisture.

Eastern narrowmouths have a fold of skin running across their heads behind their eyes. This distinguishes them from other frog species. The fold can move to protect the toad’s eyes from insects.

Unlike most true toads, they have very smooth skin. The external eardrums, called tympana, that are present in most anurans are not present in this species of frogs.

The head of this toad is narrow, sharp, and pointed. As its name suggests, its mouth is small. Males and females can be told apart by pigmentation: males are typically darker in color than females.

Dorsal coloration is varied, including light tan, brown, red, reddish-brown, gray, and nearly black. The mid-dorsal area usually has brightly colored strips covered in patches and spots. Its white stomach is heavily spotted.

Eastern narrowmouths are nocturnal. Their call has been described as abrasive. It sounds like a lamb bleating, or like an electric buzzer “beeeeeeeeee”.

They avoid their hunters by burrowing into the soil and by their nocturnality. They also produce mucous secretions that irritate predators.

22. Eastern Spadefoot

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) climbing leaves in Frederica, Delaware, USA
Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) climbing leaves in Frederica, Delaware, USA. – Source
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
  • Other Names: Eastern spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.8 cm (1.7 to 3.1 in)
  • Lifespan: 5 to 9 years in the wild, 7 to 10 years in captivity

The eastern spadefoot is another species of toad in Delaware, endemic to North America.

It likes sandy soil, moderate temperature, and rainy regions. It burrows into the ground, covering itself with leaves and twigs for protection and insulation.

Eastern spadefoots are dark in color. The skin on their backs is full of warts. Dorsal coloration is in different shades ranging from olive to black. Ventral coloration could be gray to white.

They have two conspicuous lines running along their backs and tapering together at the posterior end. They have small parotid glands, large eyes for nocturnal sight, and black spade-like protrusions on their hindlegs to aid burrowing. The color and darkness of skin are affected by the environment and not sex.

They like to live alone and are active both in the day and at night, but more active during the day. They are very active in humid weather. Their call is a low-pitched “waaaaa” repeated at short intervals.

They feed on insects, insect larvae, worms, arachnids, termites, and other invertebrates. Other toads, different species of snakes, and various birds feed on the eastern spadefoot.

To avoid predators, this toad quickly buries itself in the soil which its skin blends with. It also produces a secretion that is foul-tasting and foul-smelling to predators.

FAQ

What kind of toads live in Delaware?

Four (4) kinds of toads live in Delaware. These include American toads, Fowler’s toads, eastern narrow-mouthed toads, and eastern spadefoot toads.

Are there any poisonous frogs in Delaware?

Yes, there are poisonous frogs in Delaware. Although pickerel frogs are the only poisonous frogs native to the state, the wood frog is also found in Delaware and it is poisonous.

Conclusion

Delaware’s swamps, freshwater marshes, wetlands, and estuaries make the state home to various species of anurans. Out of the 5000+ species found in the world currently, there are 18 frog species and 4 toad species found in Delaware.

Like other frogs and toads elsewhere, Delaware’s anurans are solitary for most of the year. They prefer to live alone save for the breeding or reproduction season when they can be found in large groups.

In this time, males congregate at breeding ponds or pools and call out to their female conspecifics with their breeding or advertisement calls. If interested, females meet them and they mate in amplexus.

Eggs are fertilized externally in water, except in frogs of the genus Ascaphus. Females release their eggs into the water body and then males release sperm into the water to fertilize the eggs.

After fertilization, little or no parental care is shown towards the young. Eggs then go through two additional stages of development (metamorphosis), growing into larvae (tadpoles) and then into adults.

Because they are cold-blooded and cannot regulate their bodies’ internal temperature, anurans do not fare well in extreme heat or cold. For this reason, they hibernate during the colder winter months and aestivate during the hotter months of summer.

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