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Frogs in Massachusetts

There are 10 species of frogs in Massachusetts, only one of which is considered poisonous, the Pickerel Frog. Their skin secretes a toxin that can be fatal to other animals, while only causing some skin irritation when a human comes in contact with it.

While they are not the type of pet you can handle often due to their sensitive skin, they are great pets to look for as long as you don’t expect to get all cuddly with it.

According to regulations, it is unlawful to take or possess any frog for commercial purposes, meaning that you will need to have a sport fishing license in order to keep any frog that you might catch from the wild legally.

However, it is recommended that you buy your pet frog from a trusted breeder since wild-caught frogs will not be adapted to captivity. You are imposing less risk by seeking out a reputable breeder and getting yourself a captive-bred frog.

That being said, whether you are interested in getting a pet frog or are just curious about what frogs are native to the state, here is our list of frogs in Massachusetts.

Frogs in Massachusetts

Here are some of the frogs native to and roaming the state of Massachusetts:

1. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on some rocks and leaf litter at Caryl Park in Dover, Massachusetts, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on some rocks and leaf litter at Caryl Park in Dover, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans or Rana clamitans
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Insects and other invertebrates such as slugs, snails, crayfish, caterpillars, flies, moths, flies, spiders, and sometimes other frogs.
  • Substrate: Gravel and coco fiber
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 80 degrees Fahrenheit / 26.6 degrees Celsius
  • Tank Humidity: Between 60% and 80%

Green Frogs are, of course, green, sometimes with brown, or even bronze, tones to them. When their body temperatures drop, they might look completely black.

They also have multiple darker blotches and spots throughout their bodies. They have an almost gong-shaped circle at each “cheek” behind their eyes, which are typically bronze or brown in color.

They also have raised ridges that might come down from their head down their back along their sides.

They are mostly found in eastern North America.

Despite the rise in threats to their natural habitat, these frogs are still generally well-populated since they will gather for the breeding season.

They are common pets because of their laid-back nature and their simple care regime.

2. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on someone's fingers off Dale Street in North Andover, Massachussetts, USA
A tiny Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) resting on someone’s fingers off Dale Street in North Andover, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
  • Adult Size: 1 inch
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 5 to 10 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Insects like flies, spiders, beetles, and ants
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.

These small tree frogs are typically brown, gray, olive, or tan in color. Females will typically be lighter in color, smaller in size, and will have a dark coloration on their throats.

They will typically have a pattern of dark-colored crosses along their back as well.

3. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on someone's hands near Davenport Pond, Massachusetts, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) in some leaf litter near Puffers Pond, Leverett, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus
  • Common Names:
  • Adult Size: 1.4 to 2.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Arachnids, slugs, snails, and worms
  • Substrate: Safe soil, peat moss, or bark chips
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 18.3 to 23.8 degrees Celsius
  • Tank Humidity: Between 50% and 80%

These frogs are brown, gray, or tan with bumpy skin and a black “robber’s mask” on its face. Their underside is often lime green and they might also have a light stripe on their upper lip.

They range from Alaska all throughout Southern British Columbia all spanning all the way to Northeastern Canada and some of the Northeastern United States.

Wood Frogs are popular as pets and are relatively easy to care for.

An interesting thing about these frogs is their ability to partially freeze, causing their organ systems to become inactive.

When temperatures drop below freezing, up to 60% of these frogs’ body fluid will freeze up.

Learn more about Wood Frog freezing here:

4. Gray Treefrog

Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) sitting on a wooden log by a painted plant pot near Hanson Station, Massachusetts, USA
A Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) sitting on a wooden log by a painted plant pot near Hanson Station, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes versicolor
  • Adult Size: 1.25 to 2.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size:  10 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and hornworms
  • Substrate: Any mulch-type substrate like coconut fiber, dampened sphagnum moss, or bark
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 18.3 to 29.4 degrees Celsius
  • Tank Humidity: Around 50%

These frogs live for a long time, so you want to make sure that you are ready for the long-term commitment of caring for these color-changing amphibians.

Gray Treefrogs are native to the eastern states of the United States as well as the southeastern parts of Canada.

They can change colors from gray to green to black to white. These changes are much slower than a chameleon.

They also have bumpy skin and horizontal slits for eyes. They look just like the Cope’s Gray Treefrog.

5. Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in moist greenery near Santuit Pond, Mashpee, Massachusetts, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in moist greenery near Santuit Pond, Mashpee, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Common Names: American Bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 8 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 20 to 30 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Crustaceans, insects, fish eggs, salamanders, snakes, worms, and other frogs as well as tadpoles.
  • Substrate: Rocks and gravel
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit / 23.8 to 30 degrees Celsius

Bullfrogs are typically brownish-green or just green, but the shade of color they are may vary from light to dark.

They are great swimmers with long, powerful back legs.

These frogs make popular pets and can easily be found at any pet store or you can also find a reputable breeder if you are looking for unique bullfrogs such as the albino bullfrog.

6. Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) on rocks and sand near Freeman Park, North Carolina, USA
A tiny, sandy Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) on rocks and sand near Freeman Park, North Carolina, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Scaphiopus holbrookii
  • Adult Size: 1.6 to 3.1 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 9 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Insects, arachnids, invertebrates, and also insect larvae.
  • Substrate: Dry soils like sand or sandy loam
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 15.5 to 21.1 degrees Celsius

These are some of the least understood species of toads because not only are they rare to find, they like to spend their time burrowing, hidden from where they can be found.

These frogs are typically dark brown with yellow spots scattered along their bumpy skin. They have a cream underside, bright yellow eyes, and almost spade-like elliptical pupils.

People who have encountered them swear that they smell like peanut butter.

7. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) chilling in grass near Sandy Point State Reservation, Massachusetts, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) chilling in the grass near Sandy Point State Reservation, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens or Rana pipiens
  • Adult Size: 2.4 to 4.3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 to 20 Gallons per frog
  • Diet: Snails, slugs, leeches, flies, moths, worms, and insect larvae.
  • Substrate: At least 2 to 3 inches of organic potting soil, soil and peat moss mixture, reptile bark, sphagnum moss.
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit / 23.8 to 26.6 degrees Celcius
  • Tank Humidity: 50% to 70%

These frogs can be found in the Northern parts of North America, which is how they got their name.

They are typically brown or green on their backs with large, round, dark spots with a lighter-colored outline. Their undersides are typically white or cream in color.

This species of Leopard Frog is the most popular pet due to its bright green appearance and leopard-like spots, which is how they got their name.

8. Fowler’s Toad

Fowlers Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in grass at the Great River Preserve in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA
A Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in grass at the Great River Preserve in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.7 inches
  • Lifespan: About 5 years
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 to 20 gallons per frog
  • Diet: Small terrestrial invertebrates and insects
  • Substrate: Sand, bedrock, and sparse
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed, but can benefit from lower UVB 2.0 bulb and hides to escape light.
  • Tank Temperature: Around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 21.1 to 23.8 degrees Celcius
  • Tank Humidity: 60% to 70%

These frogs may vary from shades of gray, brown, and might even be very light in color. They have warts and several dark spots and some individuals may have blotches of green as well.

They have dry skin with warts and also very short legs.

They are related to the American Toad, but will actually go out of their way to avoid earthworms, which is the American Toads’ favorite.

They can be found throughout the eastern states of the United States.

9. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in the grass in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA
A dark, warty American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) in the grass in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
  • Common Names: Eastern American Toad
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years or more
  • Poisonous: No

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 15 to 20 gallons per toad
  • Diet: Insects and invertebrates
  • Substrate: Coconut husk fiber, unfertilized peat moss, leaf litter, or cypress mulch
  • UVB Lighting: Need a lower UVB 2.0 bulb for at least 12 hours
  • Tank Temperature: 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 15.5 to 23.8 degrees Celsius
  • Tank Humidity: At least 60%

These toads are typically brown or gray, whereas some individuals may be tan, olive, or brick red. They are short-legged, stout, and have thick skin covered in warts.

They can be found in both the Eastern United States and Canada. They are commonly found in gardens.

They typically feed from early morning all the way until evening and if they run into a predator, they puff up or inflate themselves in order to look inedible.

These guys are popular pets because they are quite cute-looking, are simple to care for, and aren’t picky eaters.

10. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in grass near Wolf Swamp, Massachusetts, USA
The toxic Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in grass near Wolf Swamp, Massachusetts, USA. – Source

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Adult Size: 1.75 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Poisonous: Yes

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10 to 20 gallons per frog
  • Diet: Small invertebrates, insects, and spiders.
  • UVB Lighting: Not needed

These small frogs can range from a tan, gray, brown, to olive green color with two rows of seemingly “drawn-on”, messy, dark brown squares. These squares also have a black outline to them.

It is important to keep in mind that these frogs are toxic. They produce a toxic mucus that seeps out of their skin.

While it will irritate humans and house pets, it can definitely harm and be fatal to smaller animals.

While these guys could make interesting pets, they are quite high-strung and need lots of space. They are easily stressed and must be housed alone since they will not get along with tankmates.

They are also semi-aquatic, meaning they will need both a terrestrial as well as an aquatic side to each half of their tank.

Here’s more information on how to care for a Pickerel Frog: https://www.animalspot.net/pickerel-frog.html

Conclusion

Whether you live in Massachusetts and have a pet frog already or are just an enthusiast looking to find out what species are native to the state, we hope we covered all the bases for you.

Feel free to leave us a comment down below letting us know about your experiences or knowledge of these species in captivity or if you’ve got a burning question to ask, go ahead and comment down below as well!

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