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Frogs In Kentucky

There are 24 different species of frogs in Kentucky. There have been some hybrids of frogs that have overlapping breeding grounds but most have not been officially recognized as separate species.

Frogs like to live within a mile or so of their breeding grounds except when they travel upland during winter hibernating. The species of frog found in Kentucky can make great pets for beginners or intermediate amphibian pet owners.

Some can secret a liquid on their bodies that can be harmful to pets if ingested and can be irritating to human skin and eyes. They are fast leapers and most have wet slippery skin so it can be difficult to catch one.

The state is home to different types of frogs like treefrogs, true frogs, true toads and spadefoots,  cricket frogs, narrow-mouthed frogs, chorus frogs, and spring peepers. Most frogs in Kentucky can be heard calling during the evening in the spring but some species can be heard calling year-round, day and night.

Identifying the different types of frogs can be easy if you know what to look for. 

Table of Contents

  1. Frogs in Kentucky
    1. American Toad
    2. Fowlers Toad
    3. Eastern Spadefoot
    4. Upland Chorus Frog
    5. Western Chorus Frog
    6. Spring Peeper
    7. Mountain Chorus Frog
    8. Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
    9. Northern Cricket Frog
    10. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
    11. Cope’s Gray Treefrog
    12. Gray Treefrog
    13. Bird-voiced Treefrog
    14. Barking Treefrog
    15. Green Treefrog
    16. Wood Frog
    17. Crawfish Frog
    18. Southern Leopard Frog
    19. Plains Leopard Frog
    20. Northern Leopard Frog
    21. Pickerel Frog
    22. Green Frog
    23. American Bullfrog
  2. FAQ
  3. Conclusion

Frogs In Kentucky

1. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in the grass at night in Erlanger, Kentucky
An American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in the grass at night in Erlanger, Kentucky. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
  • Other Names: Eastern American Toad
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $30

The American Toad can be found all across Kentucky but is most commonly found in the eastern portion of the state. These toads live in a variety of habitats but most prefer to live in or near woodlands.

They can be found living near bodies of water like streams, rivers, and ponds. During the summer it’s more common to see this species in fields and grasslands moving closer to their breeding ponds. These frogs hibernate and during the winter they’ll go underground just below the frost line to avoid freezing.

This species can be found with brown, gray, yellow-brown, light brown, or reddish-brown skin. Females of this species typically grow much larger than males and are more brightly colored.

Some frogs can have dark spots but most are plain colored. These dark spots usually contain 1 or 2 warts.

They can be distinguished from fowlers toad by the number of warts in each dark spot. Fowler’s toads tend to have 3 or more warts per dark spot rather than 1 or 2 like the American toad.

American toads diet mainly consists of small creatures like mealworms, crickets, spiders, slugs, and beetles. Predators of these toads include snakes, raccoons, and birds of prey.

This frog secretes a bufotoxin from its skin to prevent predators from eating them. This toxin can cause skin and eye irritation in humans and may be harmful to small animals if ingested. 

2. Fowlers Toad

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on a stick near Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA
A Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on a stick near Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
  • Other Names: Bufo fowleri 
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

Though this species is not as common as the American toad they can be found all throughout Kentucky most commonly in the southeastern portion of the state. These frogs can be found in a variety of habitats but seem to prefer ones with well-drained sandy soil.

They can be found near bodies of water like flooded fields or shallow ponds and rivers. This species usually lays its eggs around late April or early May until mid to late July.

The Fowlers toad can have brown, green, tan, and light-green skin but are usually a pale color. This species has dark spots on its back that typically contain three or more warts.

They often get confused with American toads but are generally much paler and are a bit smaller. Fowler’s toads can be heard calling during their breeding season.

Their call is often described as a nasally, sheep-like call. They survive off a diet of insects and invertebrates like beetles, mealworms, slugs, and spiders.

These toads’ main predators are snakes and raccoons. When they feel threatened they will either play dead, bury themselves, or try to escape.

3. Eastern Spadefoot

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) in moist greenery in Garrard County, Kentucky, USA
An Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) in moist greenery in Garrard County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pelobatidae
  • Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
  • Other Names: The spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 1.75 to 2.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The Eastern Spadefoot can be found throughout Kentucky but is much more uncommon than other species in the state. This species isn’t seen very often because they spend most of their lives underground.

They prefer habitats with moist sandy soil in upland woodland areas. They burrow in holes most of the year.

They will emerge after heavy rainfall to mate usually in temporary ponds or flooded fields. This species of toad is usually a dark color like black or dark reddish-brown with yellow splotches on its legs and a yellow hourglass-like shape from behind its eyes down its back.

The Eastern spadefoot may look and hop like a toad but they are different from true toads. While true toads have horizontal pupils and wart-covered skin, this species has vertical pupils and relatively smooth skin with much fewer warts.

They have short hind legs with one long digging spur or their “spade” on each back foot which is where the name Spadefoot comes from. In Kentucky, Eastern Spadefoots can be heard both day and night from early January to October even though most breeding takes place from April to July.

They can be seen calling while floating in shallow water. Like other species found in Kentucky, this frog secretes a liquid from its skin that can cause irritation to its predators and can even be fatal to other amphibians.

4. Upland Chorus Frog

Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum) in wet sticks and straw near Billly Dunlop Park, Kentucky, USA
An Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum) in wet sticks and straw near Billly Dunlop Park, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris feriarum
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 5 years 
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Upland Chorus frog is found in the southeastern and southwestern portions of the state but is more frequently found in counties in the southwestern corner. When they aren’t breeding these frogs live on land in pastures, weed fields, wetland borders, and forested hillsides.

They aren’t easy to spot because they tend to hide under dense vegetation and leaf litter with only the tip of their snout exposed. These frogs are one of Kentucky’s smallest amphibians males only grow to about 1.5 inches while females grow to around 2 inches.

Frogs of this species are usually dark brown, reddish-brown, or gray-green with three dark stripes running from their heads down their back. Some frogs are plain colored and have no stripes. Like other chorus frogs, this species has a diet consisting of small ants, beetles, spiders, and mealworms.

Their breeding season occurs between late January and early May. They can be heard calling from the edges of the breeding pond which is usually a wet meadow or a shallow pool. Their calls are similar to the sound of running your finger down the teeth of a comb.

5. Western Chorus Frog

Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) in a leafy enclosure in Campbell County, Kentucky, USA
A Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) in a leafy enclosure in Campbell County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris triseriata
  • Other Names: Midland Chorus frog, Striped Chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 5 years 
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Midland Chorus frog is found in the western areas of Kentucky in habitats like fields, grasslands, marshes, wetland borders, low wooded areas, and forested hillsides. During the breeding season, they can be found hidden under dense aquatic vegetation.

They prefer to breed in temporary pools of water to avoid predators eating their eggs. This species of frog is similar looking to Upland Chorus frogs except they are usually paler and the three stripes on their back are darker and sometimes broken into dark splotches.

They typically have two dark brown or black stripes running from their eyes down the sides of their bodies. Some can be plain-colored with no stripes at all.

This frog’s call sounds almost identical to the Upland Chorus frogs. Scientists are still trying to figure out a way to differentiate their calls.

Their calls can be heard from late January to early May. They survive off a diet of small creatures like ants, beetles, flies, mosquitos, and moths.

They have similar predators to other amphibians in the area such as snakes, large birds, and other carnivores.

6. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) sitting on someone's hands near grass in Morning View, Kentucky, USA
A Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) sitting on someone’s hands near grass in Morning View, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer 
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The Spring Peeper is widely distributed throughout the state of Kentucky. Their call is one of the first heard at the beginning of spring.

They can be heard calling from mid-February to mid-June. During their breeding season, they are mostly seen near or in water sources like ponds and wetlands.

During the rest of the year, they are found in forests, grasslands, and lowland woodland areas. These frogs are usually tan or light brown in color with a dark X-like marking on their back.

Males tend to be slightly smaller with darker throats while females are larger with pale cream-colored throats. These frogs like to spend most of their time on the ground where their skin coloring allows them to easily blend in with the leaf litter and debris.

A Spring Peepers call is a loud Peep sound that is pleasant when heard from far away but very sharp and loud when heard in a close region.

Their diets consist of small bugs like spiders, beetles, worms, mealworms, and ants. Their main predators are large birds, fish, and reptiles. 

7. Mountain Chorus Frog

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) on concrete at Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, USA
A Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) on concrete at Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Mountain Chorus frog is found within the eastern portion of Kentucky mainly in the southeastern areas. During their breeding season, they can be found in temporary woodland pools or shallow roadside ditches and males can be seen calling from open areas.

These frogs will be active day and night from February to July. After the breeding season, these frogs hide under leaf litter and other debris on forest floors and are rarely seen.

This species is typically tan, gray, or olive green sometimes with a dark triangle between its eyes or two dark crescent shapes on its back almost like reverse parentheses. Some frogs of this species can be plain colored with no markings at all.

They tend to have yellow coloring between their legs and males have darker throats. Unlike most chorus frogs this species has large sticky toepads and a robust body.

Mountain chorus frogs feed on small bugs like beetles, moths, ants, flies, and spiders. Like other amphibians, their predators are things like large lizards, birds, and other large mammals.

Their call is described as a short raspy trill repeated twice per second.  

8. Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) in greenery and dry grass in Lyon County, Kentucky, USA
An Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) in greenery and dry grass in Lyon County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinensis
  • Other Names: Narrowmouth toad
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The Eastern Narrow-mouthed toad is found all across the southern region of Kentucky but is mainly located in the southwestern corner of the state. They can be found living in a wide variety of habitats including overgrazed pastures, rocky glades, and abandoned quarries.

They prefer to live in places with moist soil and lots of leaf litter and natural debris. During the breeding season, they can be found in wet grassy meadows, small ponds, and roadside ditches.

The Eastern Narrow-mouthed toad is one of the smallest species in Kentucky. They rarely grow beyond an inch and a half. These toads have small round bodies with a short snout and short stubby legs.

They are most often gray, brown, or reddish-brown with one dark stripe on each side of their bodies. There’s typically a fold of skin across the back of their head behind the eyes.

Unlike most frogs and toads, they seem to lack the visible external eardrum. Eastern narrow-mouthed toads typically breed from May to August and most often their calls are header right after a summer rain.

Males can be very hard to find since they tend to hide under vegetation when calling. Their call sounds similar to the Upland Chorus frog’s call but is more high-pitched.  

9. Northern Cricket Frog

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a dry leaf in Lyon County, Kentucky, USA
A Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a dry leaf in Lyon County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Acris crepitans
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The Northern Cricket frog is distributed across most of Kentucky but is mostly found in western areas of the state. These frogs tend to make their homes near shallow bodies of water like shallow streams pools, and ponds.

They are a part of the treefrog family but unlike other treefrogs, they have very tiny toepads so they spend all their time on the ground or in shallow water. This species of frog is usually green, brown, or gray with a pale yellow or cream-colored belly.

They also have an upside-down triangle between the eyes on the back of their head. They can be identified by their very large hind legs.

Due to their large hind legs, they are excellent leapers despite their small size. Kentucky is home to two species of cricket frogs and the only way to tell them apart is through DNA analysis or by range since they have very few overlapping areas of distribution.

You can hear the males call during both day and night from April to August. These frogs are active most of the year except during winter when the water starts to freeze.

10. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog

Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) in someone's fingertips in Covington, Kentucky, USA
A Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) in someone’s fingertips in Covington, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Acris crepitans blanchardi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.625 to  1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Blanchard’s Cricket frog is currently only found in southeastern areas of Kentucky. These frogs prefer habitats near bodies of water like the edges of lakes, permanent ponds, bogs, and slow-moving streams and rivers.

They like bodies of water that have thick mats of aquatic vegetation. Unlike other frogs, this species doesn’t leave the immediate area of the breeding pond once their breeding season is over.

This species of frog is usually a shade of brown, gray, or yellow-brown with a thick stripe of light or dark shades of green down the middle of its back. Like other cricket frogs, this species is a part of the treefrog family but isn’t a very good climber due to its small toepads.

Because of this, they spend their life either in the water or on the ground. They tend to have an upside-down triangle shape on the back of their head between their eyes.

Blanchard’s Cricket frogs can be heard calling from mid-April to late July. Their call sounds similar to two metal pieces clicking together.

This species will crawl into animal burrows or crayfish burrows to shelter themselves for the winter and will emerge from hibernation in late March or early April.

11. Cope’s Gray Treefrog

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) on a leaf in Lancaster, Kentucky, USA
A Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) on a leaf in Lancaster, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis
  • Other Names: Tree toad
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The Cope’s Gray treefrog is widely distributed across Kentucky and can be found basically anywhere within the state but is most commonly spotted in the southwestern corner. These frogs aren’t commonly seen on the ground they prefer to stay perched on trees or shrubs.

They can be found inhabiting woodlands, grasslands, meadows, prairies, fields, and swamps. This species of frog is typically gray, pale white, or green.

Almost like a chameleon, these frogs can change color to match their surroundings. If they’re resting on a tree trunk they will be either a pale or charcoal gray color and if they’re perched on some foliage they can range from pale to darker shades of green.

This species of frog also has a bright yellow or orange coloration on the concealed areas of their inner thighs. They use this coloring to try and scare predators when they leap.

Cope’s Gray treefrog looks identical to the Gray treefrog and the best way to tell them apart is by their calls. The Cope’s call is a loud, harsh, trill that slows down in colder temperatures and speeds up in warmer temperatures but is usually faster paced than the Gray treefrogs call.

You can hear this call from April to July during their breeding season.

12. Gray Treefrog

Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) in the grass at Campbell County, Kentucky, USA
A Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) in the grass at Campbell County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes versicolor
  • Other Names: Tree toad
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The Gray treefrog is much less common than the Cope’s Gray treefrog in Kentucky. This species is only found in a few counties in the state.

They have been identified in the upper northeast corner by Boyd county and the upper north-central area by Meade, Breckinridge, and Hardin county. This species prefers to live in moist habitats like woodlands, swamps, and pine barrens.

Males can be seen and heard calling perched on trees and shrubs near their breeding pond. The Gray treefrog looks identical to the Cope’s Gray treefrog however, the Gray treefrog tends to be slightly larger than the Cope’s Gray treefrog.

This species can change color based on its surroundings. They are able to change their color within minutes so they are either a pale or charcoal gray when perched on tree trunks or they can change to a pale or dark shade of green when resting on foliage.

Like a few other species of frog, the Gray treefrog has a bright yellow coloring on their inner thighs that they use to scare off predators. These frogs are opportunistic predators meaning, they will eat anything they can find in the trees like ants, moths, beetles, and even smaller frogs.

When these frogs become inactive they will hide in treetrunk holes and under dense foliage.

13. Bird-voiced Treefrog

Bird-voiced Treefrog (Dryophytes avivoca) sitting on a leaf near Kentucky Lake, Kentucky, USA
A Bird-voiced Treefrog (Dryophytes avivoca) sitting on a leaf near Kentucky Lake, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes avivoca
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Bird-voiced treefrog is found only in the western area of Kentucky. They are not often seen and spend most of their time high up in the trees.

This species like to live in habitats such as forested wetlands, cypress swamps, and flooded bottomland hardwood forests. During their breeding season, they are seen more often because they come down from the tree and hang around closer to still water.

This species of frog is found in many different colors because like the other gray tree frogs it can change its color to match its surroundings. It can be shades of pale or dark gray and shades of pale or dark green whether it’s on a tree trunk or the foliage.

These frogs are similar looking to the Cope’s Gray tree frog just a bit smaller in size. Unlike the Cope’s Gray tree frog they have a pale green color on their inner thighs instead of bright yellow.

Their breeding season runs from April thru July which is when you can hear males calling from trees close to the breeding pond. Their call sounds like a series of 10 to 20 high-pitched whistles.

Like most frogs, this species has a diet consisting of small insects and invertebrates. 

14. Barking Treefrog

Barking Treefrog (Dryophytes gratiosus) on a wooden gate in Christian County, Kentucky, USA
A Barking Treefrog (Dryophytes gratiosus) on a wooden gate in Christian County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes gratiosus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

The Barking Treefrog is only found in the Western Pennyrile section of Kentucky. They are the state’s largest treefrog with some adults reaching up to three inches.

They like to inhabit areas near cypress ponds, woodland ponds, sinkhole ponds, open pastures, and flooded ditches. They tend to stay high up in trees or shrubs when there are some around but can also be found buried in wet sandy soil in treeless areas.

These frogs are most commonly seen as having shades of green or brown skin with scattered yellow or gold specks on their backs.  They may also have a pale yellow or whitish band on the sides of their bodies and legs.

Their skin is usually leathery, bumpy, and can change color depending on the temperature, time of day, and surroundings. Barking treefrogs are some of the only treefrogs that can be found in treeless areas with little or no standing water.

How these delicate frogs are able to survive in these areas is a mystery to scientists. This frog can be heard calling after heavy rain periods from mid-May to mid-July.

Their call sounds like a low-pitched sounding donk that is given in intervals of one every two or three seconds.

15. Green Treefrog

Green Treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) on a rock at Trigg County, Kentucky, USA
A Green Treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) on a rock at Trigg County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes cinereus
  • Other Names: American green tree frog
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The Green Treefrog is found mainly in the western portion of Kentucky but can also be found in small areas in the northeastern corner. They are found in different types of habitats near lakes, ponds, marshes, and streams.

Until the early 1980’s Green Treefrogs were only found in cypress swamps and other similar wetlands until they started spreading east and are now as far as Cave Run Dam in Northeastern Kentucky. They prefer to breed in permanent bodies of water and call near areas with lots of aquatic vegetation.

Like most other treefrogs this species is able to change color and become different shades of green and brown depending on temperature and surroundings. Green treefrogs are similar looking to Barking treefrogs but are slightly smaller with a more slender body.

Most adults of this species only grow up to a maximum of 2.5 inches. Green treefrogs can be heard calling from early May to mid-August in shallow water where there’s plenty of vegetation.

Their call is a loud quank that can easily drown out the sounds of calls from nearby males of other species. Like other treefrogs this species is opportunistic hunters, they will eat whatever is most convenient usually things like ants, spiders, flies, and moths. 

16. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on concrete at Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on concrete at Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus
  • Other Names: Rana sylvaticus
  • Adult Size: 1.375 to 2.75  inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $30

The Wood frog can be found all throughout Kentucky but are unlikely to be seen in central northern areas. They prefer to stay on land and can be found near a variety of water sources during their breeding seasons such as wet meadows, ravines, forested swamps, and bogs.

They will move upland to hibernate when the colder months come and they need to hibernate. This species of frog is typically a variety of shades of brown with two black stripes down its back.

They can also be other colors such as shades of pink to pale black. Their colors can change based on the environment and their stress levels. Females are usually larger and have brighter colors.

These frogs have a diet consisting of small bugs like flies, ants, spiders, and mealworms.

From mid-January to March these frogs can be heard calling and in Kentucky, they are one of the first frogs of the year to start calling. Once breeding has finished they leave the bodies of water and disappear into the woods. 

17. Crawfish Frog

Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus) in wet straw in McCracker County, Kentucky, USA
A Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus) in wet straw in McCracker County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates areolatus
  • Other Names: Northern Crawfish frog 
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
  • Average Price Range: $75

The Northern Crawfish frog is currently only found in the western corner of Kentucky. They are found in a variety of habitats like pastures, overgrown fields, grasslands, and prairies.

They make their homes in burrows in the ground. They will spend most of their lives in or around their burrows waiting for passing prey.

They are generally found within a mile of their breeding pond. This species of frog can be seen with different shades of yellow or brown skin.

They typically have dark circles all over their backs that help them blend into the tall grass they tend to live in. This species has a distinct skin fold on either side of its body that is more prominent in males.

Northern Crawfish frogs can be heard calling from March to April during their breeding season. This typically occurs at night during and after heavy rainfall.

Their call sounds like a deep low pitched snoring and can be heard up to a mile away. These frogs will spend a lot of their time both day and night near their burrows hunting for large insects to eat.

18. Southern Leopard Frog 

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) on a large piece of bark near Lakeview Heights, Kentucky, USA
A Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) on a large piece of bark near Lakeview Heights, Kentucky, 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

The Southern Leopard frog is found all over Kentucky except in far eastern regions. They are most commonly spotted in western areas of the state.

This species is Kentucky’s most widely distributed Leopard frog. They like to make their homes in habitats such as fields, meadows, and woodlands.

They prefer to stay in areas near their breeding pools. They tend to breed in bodies of water like ponds, wetlands, and flooded ditches.

This species generally has different shades of brown or green skin with two skin folds on either side of its body and dark spots interspersed on its back. Their stomachs are usually a pale yellow or cream color.

Their external eardrums have a distinct white spot in the center. Their snout is usually the only spot on them that lacks dark circles.

Southern Leopard frogs are most active after rainfall during their breeding season. Their breeding season typically occurs from April to March but they can breed practically any time of year.

You can hear their calls all through the year except in December. Their call sounds like a mix of loud chuckling, low grunts, and growls.

19. Plains Leopard Frog

Plains Leopard Frog (Lithobates blairi) in dry rocks and sand in Seward County, Nebraska, USA
A Plains Leopard Frog (Lithobates blairi) in dry rocks and sand in Seward County, Nebraska, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates blairi
  • Other Names: Blair’s leopard frog
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $30

The Plains Leopard frog is very rare in Kentucky and you’re not very likely to come across one. They have only been identified in Fulton County in the western corner of the state by the Tennesse and Missouri state borders.

Plains Leopard frogs and Southern Leopard frogs overlap in the distribution in Fulton county so several hybrids of the two have been found but have yet to be scientifically reviewed. This species prefers to live in habitats like grasslands, prairies, along forest edges, crop fields, and grassy or weedy areas near bodies of water.

These frogs are typically different shades of brown most often light brown or tan and sometimes green. They are covered in round dark spots on their back and oblong dark stripes on their legs.

These frogs have two skin folds on either side of their body that is usually a cream color. They are similar looking to the other Leopard frogs found in the state but some distinctive features are a round dark spot on the center of its snout unlike the Southern Leopard frog and a clearly visible gap in the dorsolateral fold (skin fold) by its hind legs on its back.

Plains Leopard frogs can be heard calling from early March to late April. Their call sounds like a slowed-down version of the Southern Leopard frogs.

Due to their larger size, the Plains Leopard frog has a diet consisting of small creatures like snakes, birds, worms, insects, mollusks, and other frogs. 

20. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on some greenery in Boone County, Kentucky, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on some greenery in Boone County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Other Names: Meadow frog
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5  inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $15

The Northern Leopard frog has a distribution throughout the eastern portion of Kentucky. They are commonly found near the Ohio and Indiana state borders.

Like other Leopard frogs, this species prefers to live in grasslands, wet meadows, fields, pastures, and grassy or weedy areas near bodies of water. They can be found in shallow ponds and open wetlands with dense vegetation during their breeding season.

This species of true frog is similar looking to other Leopard frogs in Kentucky but have a distinctive feature that can help you identify them such as a dark round spot on the center of its snout unlike the Southern Leopard frog and its dorsolateral fold don’t have a gap in them, unlike the Plains Leopard frog. They typically have shades of either brown or green skin with dark round spots on their back and dark round and oblong spots on their legs.

Northern cricket frogs have similar breeding periods to other leopard frogs in Kentucky. Their breeding season is short-lived only lasting for about 2 maybe 3 weeks.

The males can be heard calling from vegetation near the breeding pond. Their call sounds like a long snore followed by various soft grunts or chuckles.

21. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) on a large rock in Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
A Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) on a large rock in Fayette County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Other Names: Rana palustris
  • Adult Size: 1.75 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $15

The Pickerel frog has a wide distribution all over Kentucky except for some western areas. They tend to live in habitats like prairies, forests, fields, meadows, along woodland streams, and can also be found in caves or small rock crevices only on the bases of cliffs.

They prefer to use bodies of water like ponds, small lakes, and wetland areas for breeding. These frogs are nocturnal so its more likely to hear them call in the evenings during their breeding season.

This species of true frog is often found to have a similar appearance to Leopard frogs but the dark spots on their back are more square and oblong-shaped instead of round. They are most commonly a light or medium shade of brown with dark brown or bronze-colored spots on their back.

They have two prominent bronze folds of skin running down their back. Pickerel frogs mainly eat ants, spiders, and small invertebrates.

They are nocturnal amphibians so they can be found hunting for insects and heard calling from evening until dawn. Their breeding season takes place around March or April but generally only lasts 2 or 3 weeks.

22. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on light gravel in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on light gravel in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans 
  • Other Names: NorthernGreen Frog
  • Adult Size: 2.25 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

The Green frog is a species of true frog found that can be found all over Kentucky. They are one of the most common frogs in the state.

They prefer to inhabit areas near water like streams, shallow rivers, ponds, wetlands, and springs. They use the bodies of water they live near as breeding areas.

During the breeding season, their eggs can be found floating on the water’s surface usually attached to aquatic vegetation. This species of true frog is normally a uniform shade of brown, light brown, tan, or bronze.

They typically only have green near their mouths or on the upper half of the body. They may or may not have dark spots or mottling on the lower halves of their bodies.

Males have large external eardrums and during breeding season they have a yellow throat. Females however have much smaller external eardrums.

Like most frogs, the Green frog eats small creatures like insects and invertebrates. The males can be heard calling from late April to early September.

Their call is described as a note plucked on a loose banjo string.

23. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) in grass in Johnson County, Kentucky, USA
An American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) in grass in Johnson County, Kentucky, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana catesbeiana
  • Other Names: Bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 8 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog found in Kentucky. They are a very common true frog species that are found all over the state, especially in the western and central regions.

They are commonly found in habitats like large ponds, lakes, swamps, wetlands, and slow-moving areas of rives and streams. They are always found near permanent bodies of water, especially during their breeding season.

These frogs are easily identified by their large size because they can grow up to 8 inches. They are typically a mix of brown or green coloring with bright green heads and are the only species of frog in Kentucky without dorsolateral folds.

They may have dark stripes on their back legs and brown or reddish-brown mottling on their backs. American bullfrogs eat a large number of different creatures like turtles, birds, fish, other frogs, crustaceans, and bats.

They catch their prey and swallow it whole so they will eat almost anything they can fit in their mouths. Due to their lack of predators and high reproduction rate they can quickly wipe out native species in areas they inhabit.

FAQ

Are there poisonous frogs in Kentucky?

There are currently no poisonous frogs in Kentucky. Though some frogs secrete a liquid from their skin that can be fatal to other amphibians, harmful to small animals if ingested, and irritates human skin.

When do frogs lay eggs in Kentucky?

Each species of frog has its own breeding season and some can lay eggs all year. Most of the species found in Kentucky breed during the spring when it starts to warm up but there are still plenty of rain showers.

What types of treefrogs live in Kentucky?

There are currently six different species of treefrog that can be found in Kentucky each has its own distribution and preferred habitat.

Wrapping up

Out of the 109 species of frogs and toads found in the U.S. Kentucky is home to 24 of them. Some are extremely common and can easily be found while some remain secretive or are only found in small portions of the state.

Frogs can be fun to observe but some species found in Kentucky secrete a liquid from their skin that can be harmful to pets if ingested and can cause skin and eye irritation. The species of frogs and toads found in Kentucky prefer to live in areas that are near their breeding ponds and have dense vegetation nearby.

Treefrogs prefer to be up high in trees or hidden within the foliage. The other types of frogs are found to either burrow in the ground or hide under leaf litter and natural debris.

Frogs in Kentucky are most likely to be seen during the springtime in the evening when most frogs are out hopping around looking for a mate. Frogs can eat a wide variety of creatures including, insects, invertebrates, crustaceans, other frogs, birds, and lizards.

The species of frogs found in Kentucky can be identified through multiple factors like area, coloring, markings, and size. Studying the frogs in different areas can help you identify the ones you come across.

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