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Frogs in Maine

There are currently nine known species of toads and frogs in Maine. They come in various sizes and colors. Toads and frogs live in freshwater habitats so Maine is a good option for them.

Maine is one of the wettest states in the US with an abundance of freshwater resources. Consequently, there are many conducive places for these anurans to stay.

In this article, you will be provided with a list of toads and frogs in Maine. Information you will find includes zoological names, expected lifespan, size, physical descriptions, prey, and predators.

Frogs and toads typically live around swamps, ponds, lakes, streams, and marshes. Some can also be found near homes and in roadside ditches.

This article will be of use if you’re a frogger looking to catch frogs and toads. You will also find it helpful if you’re simply looking for more information on toads and frogs in Maine. Keep reading!

Table of Contents

  1. Frog Species in Maine
  2. Toad Species in Maine
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in Maine

1. Gray Treefrog

Grey Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) holding onto a white corner in Surry, Maine, USA
A Grey Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) holding onto a white corner in Surry, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
  • Other Names: Dryophytes versicolor, eastern gray treefrog 
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5cm (1.18-1.9 in); record length 6cm (2.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 7 years, up to 9 years

Hylid frogs are usually arboreal, living in trees. The gray treefrog has been spotted living in trees up to 20 meters above the ground.

These frogs can be found in some Canadian states like Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. Other states in the US that they live in include Minnesota, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Gray treefrogs are small and have warts on their skin. They are usually colored green, green-gray, gray, brown, or dark brown. A large dark-colored spot is present on their backs.

The digits on their forelegs and hindlegs have adhesive pads, adapted to climbing. In males, a yellow or yellow-orange pallor is usually noticed ventrally below the hindlegs. This is a difference from females whose ventral hindlegs are usually olive-gray pallor.

Beneath each eye, you would notice a white spot. This spot is more of an olive color in females of the gray treefrog species. Their bellies are white in color.

If you’d like to catch one of these frogs, check along prairie streams, rivers and swamps. It would help to check at dawn, dusk, or night; these are times of the day when they are the most active.

This nocturnal and crepuscular behavior helps them avoid the attention of predators. They also blend with their environments to avoid being seen. This is a part of cryptic adaptation to the environment, and it employs coloration.

Common predators include larger frogs, giant waterbugs, snakes, birds, and small mammals. Adult gray treefrogs are mainly insectivorous, but they also eat smaller frogs and terrestrial non-insect arthropods.

2. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a leaf at Scarborough, Maine, USA
A Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a leaf at Scarborough, Maine, 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: 0 to 3 years; up to 4 years in captivity

Spring peepers are small chorus frogs known for their chirping calls. These calls usually mark the beginning of spring, hence the name.

Frogs of this species can be found in places other than Maine, like Manitoba, Texas, Florida, and Cuba. They are good climbers but they like living on the ground, in ponds, swamps, and pools.

The usual colors you can find spring peepers in are brown, gray, and olive (various shades). However, you can find them in reddish and yellow colors although more rarely.

These frogs have white or cream bellies, with a dark cross on their backs and dark bands on their legs. Their feet are moderately webbed and they have large pads on their fingers and toes.

They are usually active during the later part of the day. They both live in water and on trees. They hibernate during winter, and so much activity is not observed from them during this period.

Diet is mainly small insects and arthropods. Predators of these frogs include salamanders, owls, birds, snakes, large spiders, and birds.

3. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on some dry leaves near Mt. Blue State Park, Maine, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on some dry leaves near Mt. Blue State Park, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Other Names: Bullfrog, North American bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 9 to 15.2 cm (3 to 5.6 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 7 years and up to 9 years in the wild; up to 16 years in captivity 

One of the species of frogs in Maine is the bullfrog. Bullfrogs are large in size and commonly seen in swamps, ponds, and lakes. They originated in the Nearctic region but have been introduced to some others.

These frogs live largely in water and they prefer warm, shallow, and still water. They are also found in areas modified by man.

Bullfrogs are the largest true frog species in North America. They come in different shades of brown and green, possessing dorsal dark spots. They have fully webbed digits on their hindlegs.

Females and males can be clearly told apart. You know it’s a female frog if its external ear and its eyes are about the same size. If its external ear is much larger than its eye, it’s a male.

They prefer warmth and hibernate in the cold, so winter is not a good time to go looking for them. They bury themselves for warmth in the winter. They are both diurnal and nocturnal, active both in the daytime and nighttime.

These frogs feed on snakes, insects, smaller frogs, crustaceans, worms, and aquatic eggs of frogs, insects, salamanders, and fish. They are eaten by herons, water snakes, raccoons, turtles, and humans.

4. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) in grassy waters in Hermon, Maine, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) in grassy waters in Hermon, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans
  • Other Names: Rana clamitans, bronze frog, cow frog, brown frog
  • Adult Size: 5.7 to 12.5 cm (2.3 to 4.92 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years in captivity 

You can find green frogs in Maine, Hawaii, Tennessee, Washington, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and a lot of other US states. They usually live in ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow-moving freshwater bodies.

Females of this species are larger on average than males. There is a range of colors you can find them in, such as dark brown, brown, bronze, olive, green and bluish. There are even green frogs of two colors.

A green frog typically has two ridges running down its back from each eye. These ridges are very pronounced. The frogs have very webbed feet.

Its back has small spots of darker pigment scattered on it, and its belly could be in different shades from white to yellow. Males have tympana much larger than their eyes while females’ tympana and eyes are fairly proportionate in size.

They like living alone, and they are active both day and night. They have excellent vision for spotting both prey and predator. Prey include insects, mollusks, and small frogs.

Predators include snakes, herons, birds, raccoons, turtles, and humans. They evade such predators by mimicry. They take advantage of the resemblance that they bear to bad-tasting mink frogs that taste bad to their hunters.

5. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) on a twig in Cherryfield, Maine, USA
A Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) on a twig in Cherryfield, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 8.7 cm (1.8 to 3.4 in); record 11.4 cm (4.5 in)
  • Lifespan:

Pickerel frogs are present in some Canadian and US states. Examples of these are Ontario, Quebec, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Chicago, Texas, and Maine. They like to live in streams and ponds with water unpolluted.

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

Their bellies are white and may be mottled. The surfaces underneath their groins and hindlegs are bright yellow to orange. They secrete repulsive and poisonous liquid from their skin.

They are nocturnal, so the time between dusk and dawn is ideal to go look for them. They also hibernate in the winter, burying themselves beneath pools during this time.

Pickerel frogs are usually eaten by larger frogs, snakes, birds, and raccoons. They eat insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They protect themselves from predation by their toxic secretions.

6. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on a wet street in Hermon, Maine, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on a wet street in Hermon, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens, meadow frog, grass frog
  • Adult Size: 5 to 11.5 cm (1.97 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 9 years in the wild

This is a true frog species 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.

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

They tend to have green, greenish-brown, or yellow-green coloration dorsally. They have smooth skin covered in large oval spots. Each spot is bordered by a halo of lighter pigment.

Ventral 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.

Outside the breeding season, these frogs like to live alone. They migrate to ponds during spring to breed and then leave for grasslands or meadows in the summer. They are more active in the night when breeding and more active during the day when foraging.

Like other frogs, this frog species is sensitive to movement and able to see a wide range. They eat both invertebrates — spiders, insects, insect larvae, snails, slugs, earthworms — and small vertebrates like smaller frogs.

Fish, herons, bigger frogs, snakes, raccoons, otters, foxes, gulls, and hawks are usual predators. They avoid these predators by leaping quickly and blending into a vegetated environment. Some take advantage of their likeness to pickerel frogs, living around them to avoid being eaten.

7. Mink Frog

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on a lilypad in Somerset County, Maine, USA
A Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on a lilypad in Somerset County, Maine, USA. – 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

Mink frogs are so named because they smell like minks, like rotting onions. They are a species of small frogs found in regions of Canada and the United States. They inhabit parts of Wisconsin, Quebec, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Manitoba, and Maine.

They are aquatic for the most part and so they like to live in permanent wetlands. They can also live on land in forested and damp areas.

Mink frogs could be brown, olive, or green in color. They possess smooth skin with dark irregular blotches.   If present, the ridges on their backs are poorly developed.

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

You can tell the sexes apart by tympanum size and throat coloration. Males have large external ears and bright yellow throats. Females have smaller tympana and white or pale yellow throats.

If you want to find a Mink frog in Maine, check around for ponds, lakes, or streams with water lillies. Mink frogs like to use water lilies as a sort of protection, so they are found in areas with abundant water lilies. They also produce a foul odor to avoid predation.

Adult Mink frogs have a fundamentally aquatic diet. They eat snails, spiders, dragonflies and beetles. They are eaten by green frogs and other usual frog predators.

8. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) in grass and leaves at Gouldsboro, Maine, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) in grass and leaves at Gouldsboro, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus
  • Other Names: The frog with the robber’s mask 
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 8.2 cm (1.5 to 3.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 0-3 years in the wild, up to 5 years

Another type of frog in Maine is the wood frog. It is commonly distributed across North America. You can find it in Maine, Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, and Canada.

It spends most of its time in the ground or around trees, but it can also be found in marshes, swamps, meadows, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, and mixed forests. Woods frogs like to breed in semi-permanent water bodies, but they leave their primary habitats to breed.

The easiest way to tell that you have a wood fog is by checking your frog’s eyes. It should have mask-like markings across its eyes, and a black patch from the tympanum to the base of the foreleg. There should also be a white outline across its upper lip.

You would notice these frogs in diverse shades of gray, green, brown, tan, and rusty color. A lateral mid-dorsal fold is also present in a bright yellow-brown color. Ventrally, the frogs are white.

There are however some differences between the sexes. Male wood frogs are smaller in size. The ventral part of their legs is also colorful.

On the other hand, female wood frogs are bigger than male ones. Their white bellies fade 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 foraging during the day. They are carnivores, eating mainly insects, beetles, spiders, slugs, snails, and worms. They are eaten by larger frogs, different snake species, herons, skunks, raccoons, and mink.

Adults of this species produce poisons to irritate predators. They are cryptically adapted to their surroundings, blending with the forest floor to evade predators.

When captured, a wood frog lets out a piercing cry to startle the predator and probably annoy this attacker enough to let the frog go.

Species of Toads in Maine

9. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete at night in Hermon, Maine, USA
An American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete at night in Hermon, Maine, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus 
  • Other Names: hop toad
  • Adult Size: 5 to 10 cm (1.97 to 4 in); record length 11.1 cm (4.4 in)
  • Lifespan: 0 to 10 years in the wild, average 1 year; up to 36 years in captivity

The only known type of toad in Maine is the most common in North America – the American toad. There are three subspecies: the eastern American toad, the dwarf American toad, and the Hudson Bay toad.

The American toad is found in large parts of North America. Some of these places include Chihuahua, Mexico; James Bay and Quebec, Canada; and California, Washington, Oregon, and Maine USA.

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

They have short legs, stout bodies, and thick, warty skin. 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 have four digits on their forelegs and five on their hind legs, like other anurans. Their hindleg digits are fully webbed. They have several dark spots on their backs. Each spot has one or warts on it.

Warts on their skin house several glands that produce a poisonous section. Through this toxin, cryptic coloration, and nocturnal activity, these toads evade predators.

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

The toad is preyed upon mostly by snakes. They in turn prey on insects and other non-insect arthropods.

Male and female American toads can easily be told apart. If your toad has a dark-colored throat that is black or brown, it is a male. Females have white throats and lighter bodies. They are also bigger than the males.

FAQ

What do frogs in Maine do in winter?

In winter, frogs in Maine hibernate. They usually stay at the bottom of a body of freshwater, like a pond or lake, and wait out the cold. Some species burrow into the ground and stay there all winter.

When do frogs start singing in Maine?

Frogs start singing in Maine at the end of winter when they are done hibernating. This is usually in spring, and the timeline can vary from place to place. You could start hearing frogs singing and calling anywhere from early January to early April.

What kind of tree frogs are in Maine?

The only kind of treefrogs in Maine are the gray treefrog and the spring peeper. They belong to the family Hylidae, the family consisting largely of frogs adapted to climbing.

When do frogs lay eggs in Maine?

Spring is the time of year when frogs lay eggs in Maine. It is usually around May.

When do frogs in Maine stop hibernation?

Frogs in Maine stop hibernation after winter, in the spring.

Winter usually ends in mid-March, with spring beginning right after. In spring, the weather warms up, signaling to the frogs that they should wake up. That is when hibernation stops.

Conclusion

None of the species of frogs and toads in Maine are endangered. Maine is a conducive place for anurans because it has a lot of freshwater options for them, and they cannot live in saltwater.

However, their abundance does not mean they should be killed or endangered. They are actually of positive economic importance to humans. This is because they eat a lot of insects that carry pathogens and destroy crops or household items.

Most of them are good for household pests because they don’t secrete toxins. The harmful toads and frogs in Maine include pickerel frogs, wood frogs, and American toads.

If you’re looking to get a frog as a pet, it is more advisable to go for the ones that are not poisonous. Some frogs’ toxins are not lethal to human beings, but they can cause some harm when ingested or let into the eyes.

Frogs in Maine that are not poisonous and make good pets include: gray treefrogs, spring peepers, bullfrogs, green frogs, and northern leopard frogs.

Good luck on your next frog fishing adventure!

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