Frogs in Minnesota

By Snaketracks / November 21, 2021

There are 14 different species of frogs and toads in Minnesota. Minnesota is the 11 largest state with over 11,842 lakes to be found.

These lakes along with the various other habitats are perfect for frogs to breed and live in. Frogs and toads are cold-blooded, and most will go into a dormant stage in the winter.

In the spring is when most species will become active and their calls can be heard around the waterways. Each species is unique and has its preference for where it lives, found all over the state.

In this article, you’ll find all frogs in Minnesota and information about each species. New knowledge is always being discovered about their habitat and lifestyle, helping us understand frogs better.

Frogs are susceptible to pollution and habitat loss, which has caused some species populations to decline.

Learning about frogs and why they are important can help us understand them and better protect them. Frogs are an important part of the Minnesota ecosystem and a fun animal to study.

Let’s take a look at all 14 frogs in Minnesota and what makes them unique.

Frogs in Minnesota 

1. Canadian Toad

Canadian Toad (Anaxyrus hemiophrys) being held at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota, USA
Canadian Toad (Anaxyrus hemiophrys) being held at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus hemiophrys
  • Other Names: Dakota Toad
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 12 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Canadian Toad can mainly be found in the western part of Minnesota north of the Minnesota River.

This species is more aquatic than most toads and prefers to live near standing water or woodland edges, but can also be found elsewhere like grasslands, ponds, lakes, and areas with soft moist soil. During the breeding season, they inhabit places like streams and shallow wetlands.

This is a nocturnal species so it is unlikely to see them during the day.

The Canadian Toad is usually brown or olive green with a yellowish line running down the center of its back. They tend to be covered in dark brown, black, or reddish spots.

Their belly is light with small dark spots mostly on the throat. These toads have dry, thick skin that is covered in reddish warts.

They can look similar to the American Toad but are distinguished by the large raised bump between their eyes. 

Beetles, ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies are the main components of this species diet as well as the occasional spider.

Thes males call can be heard in late spring when breeding occurs. Their call sounds close to an American Toad’s but is shorter and lower-pitched. 

2. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete near Lake Marion in Lakeville, Minnesota, USA
A warty American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete near Lake Marion in Lakeville, Minnesota, USA. – 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

Inhabiting areas all across Minnesota, the American Toad is one of the most common toads in the state. Near streams, rivers, wetlands, and other water sources are where they can be found.

In the summer, they live in forests, fields, and grasslands, moving towards the water to breed.

During winter, the American Toad hibernates underground. They will stay just below the frost line to avoid freezing. 

They might be brown to reddish in color and are covered in warty, bumpy skin. In the dark blotches found on their back, there are usually one or two warts to be found.

They have white chests covered in speckles. They are typically around two to 3 inches in size with thick, stout bodies.

American Toads primarily feed on insects like worms and snails.

They secrete a bufotoxin from their skin, making predators less likely to eat them due to their bad taste. Their parotid glands are right behind their eyes, where a predator will likely bite.

Hognose Snakes will eat this toad and some animals like raccoons will feast on their belly. 

3. Great Plains Toad

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) in green grass in Fargo, Minnesota, USA
A Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) walking in green grass somewhere in Fargo, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

Great Plains Toads inhabit a small sliver of the western Minnesota region. These are the second largest frogs to roam the state.

They live in damp grasslands and fields, spending the majority of their life underground. As a burrowing species, they come out from underground into the heavy rain to breed and hunt, staying underground to avoid the heat. 

Warm rains will trigger breeding and cause them to congregate in ponds and shallow waters. Breeding relies heavily on rain and will fluctuate from year to year.

They are brown, greenish to gray, have large dorsal spots, and are covered in small bumps and warts. Small spots are found on their sides along with green patches on their legs.

Males will have a dark throat and will make a gurgling call to breed.

Farmers are glad to find this toad nearby as it feeds on crop-eating pests and other insects. It is active and hunts mainly at night.

With a small range, this species is rare to find and is a species of concern.

Some snakes and rodents will try to eat this frog, but the secretion from its skin makes them unpalatable. They will also puff up to make themselves bigger when threatened.

4. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) on a large green leaf near Long Meadow Lake, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA
A Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) on a large, green leaf near Long Meadow Lake, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs have a population scattered across Minnesota and are found in a variety of habitats within the state. They spend most of their time up in the trees or hiding in vegetation.

During the breeding season, they will go to wetlands and ponds to mate. They are mostly active at night and will spend their time hiding in trees during the day.

These tree frogs are large and vary in color depending on their environment. Gray to light green are possible colors and they are identifiable by the bright orange coloring between their legs. 

Insects are their main source of food and hunting is done at night. It is rare to see them as they spend time high in the trees at night, but they will be in the water and on the ground during the breeding season.

March to August is when they breed and sound off their musical call to those around. 

5. Mink Frog

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) in the mud by Dry Lake Falls, St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA
A Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) in the mud by Dry Lake Falls, St. Louis County, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates septentrionalis
  • Other Names: North Frog
  • Adult Size: 1.75 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Living in the Northeastern parts of Minnesota, the highly aquatic Mink Frog is typically found near water. Rivers, lakes, and other water sources with lily pads are their preferred habitat.

Lily Pads and vegetation are used for hiding and traveling across the water. Permanent water sources are inhabited by this species for breeding. 

Their skin produces a musty odor similar to a minks smell. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the smell, it can be compared to rotting onions.

Mink Frogs have bright green heads and are typically medium-sized. Their body color can range from brown to green and they will typically sport black spots, which cover parts of their back.

They have smooth, wet skin and are Minnesota’s most aquatic species. Males have a bright yellow throat and will make a rapid calling sound.

Mink Frogs have seen a decline in their population due to their reliance on water. Pollution and contamination easily affect them.

Insects like spiders, snails, beetle slugs are what they feed on. They are active in the late hours of the night, but also occasionally during the day. 

6. Northern Cricket Frog

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) caught in someone's hands near Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Grissom, North Carolina, USA
A Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) caught in someone’s hands near Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Grissom, North Carolina, 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

Northern Cricket Frogs are a small species belonging to the tree frog family, even though they spend less time in trees than other members of their family. They are also considered to be one of the smallest vertebrates in North America.

They prefer to live on the edges of slow-moving permanent water. It is common to find multiple of these frogs on the edges of muddy banks.

May to June is when they are most active and mating. They will hide near vegetation and produce a call sounding similar to pebbles clicking. 

The Northern Cricket Frog’s color varies and can range from green, grey, to brown. They have dark blotches on their back and dark bands between their legs.

They are very similar to the Southern Cricket Frog but have shorter legs and less webbing on their toes. Their body allows them to jump, but not climb well. 

Active most of the year, they will become inactive when the water freezes. Insects like mosquitoes make up a majority of their diet.

Large birds, other frogs, snakes, and a wide variety of predators will prey on this species since they are so small. 

7. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) swimming through aquatic vegetation at Whitewater State Park, Minnesota, USA
The poisonous Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) swimming through some aquatic vegetation at Whitewater State Park, Minnesota, 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 small range in Minnesota, only located in the southeastern corner of the state. They are one of the only frogs in the state able to protect themselves by producing poison from their skin.

They live in rivers, streams, and cool waters near forests. In winter, they burrow underground waiting for spring to come. 

Pickerel frogs are medium-sized with slender bodies. They have pale bodies with light tan spots covering their back.

They look similar to the leopard frog species and have a similar mating call. Their belly is light-colored and their legs are yellow. 

Ants, spiders, beetles, and other insects make up a majority of these frogs’ diets. They can often be seen hunting in grassy areas near water.

When in danger, they will try to jump into the water to escape.

While poison is secreted from their skin but some species of frogs and snakes are still able to consume them. 

8. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) sitting near a river by Reno Horse Campgrounds, Minnesota, USA
An American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) fresh out of water sitting on some wet sand near a river by Reno Horse Campgrounds, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana catesbeiana
  • Other Names: Bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in Minnesota and North America.

In many areas in the United States, they are considered an invasive species due to their dominance and ability to overtake other species’ territory.

They live in permanent bodies of water like lakes, ponds, and creeks.

Breeding occurs in May to late July and during this period they can be quite aggressive. 

Bullfrogs have green and brown coloring, sometimes gray. They are larger than any other frog with huge legs and stout bodies.

Their stomachs are white with blotches covering their undersides. Males are smaller than females and have yellow throats.

Bullfrogs will eat anything they find and are constantly eating. Fish, crayfish, other frogs, snakes, and insects are some of the things they eat. If given the opportunity, they will even eat members of the same species. 

Their call sounds like a low and grumbly bull, which is where they get their name.

9. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on cobblestone found near Minnetrista, Minnesota, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on some wet cobblestone found near Minnetrista, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans 
  • Other Names: Northern Green Frog
  • Adult Size: 2.25 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Green Frogs can be found in the marshes, streams, ponds, and other water habitats of Minnesota. These frogs are found in most of the state and are a common species in the eastern United States.

They are active from April to June and will mate during the spring. When mating their call sounds similar to the pick of a banjo string.

With smooth skin and brown greenish coloration, they are the second-largest frogs in Minnesota. Their belly is white and their throats a dark.

Dark spots and ridges run down their back and have a green marking on the side of their face.

With these characteristics, they camouflage well into the mud.

Because of their large size, they can consume a wide amount of prey like insects, crayfish, small snakes, and other frogs. Sitting still in the water, waiting for something to come by is a common way they hunt. 

To escape predators, they will jump into the water.

10. Gray Tree Frog

Gray Tree Frog (Dryophytes versicolor) caught in someone's fingers near Johnson Lake, Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA
A Gray Tree Frog (Dryophytes versicolor) caught in someone’s fingers near Johnson Lake, Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes versicolor
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The Gray Tree Frog is common in Minnesota and can be found in most parts of the state.

They inhabit shallow wetlands near forested areas. They have sticky toe pads, which help them climb which is why you can mostly find them high in trees at night to hunt.

During the breeding season, they will stay near water but also might also venture into forest habitats. In winter, they stay on ground level and freeze under leaf litter, logs, and other natural debris. 

The Gray Tree Frog is usually gray but can be a range of colors like green or tan. Their shade will change to better camouflage into their environments.

They are almost indistinguishable to Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs in appearance but can be identified by their call, which is slower.

At night, they can often be seen hunting near a light source to search for insects.

They are common in Minnesota with a healthy population but their nocturnal lifestyle makes them harder to find. During the day they find a dark and cool place to sleep. 

11. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in green grass near Mueller Farm Park, Eagan, Minnesota, USA
The stunning Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in green grass near Mueller Farm Park, Eagan, Minnesota, 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

Northern Leopard frogs are native to Minnesota and are found all across the states.

Since they need a moist habitat to thrive, they can often be found in marshes, moist meadows, and wetlands.

Breeding occurs in late April and their call can be heard near the edge of the water. During summer, they may travel a couple of miles away from water.

Northern Leopard Frogs are named after the leopard-like pattern painted across their back. Two or three rows of dark spots cover their green back.

In Minnesota, two leopard frog mutations occur, the Burnsi Leopard Frog, which has no spots, and the Kandiyohi frog which has small dots between each spot.

Ants, beetles, flies, worms, and smaller frogs are what make up the majority of their diet. They have small mouths and are opportunistic feeders, sometimes eating birds, snakes, and even their own species.

Fish, raccoons, skunks, and snakes are what will eat them if they’re not careful.

Disease, pollution, and the destruction of their habitat have caused this species’ steady decline in Minnesota.

12. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on light concrete at Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center, Minnesota, USA
A small Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on light concrete at Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer 
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.25 inch
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The Spring Peeper is a small, nocturnal chorus frog species with a large range in Minnesota. They can mostly be found living in the Northeastern half of the state.

At the beginning of spring, this is the first frog to be heard, and depending on the number of frogs calling they can be heard from as far as two miles away.

Marshes, swamps, and other temporary water sources are where they live near to be able to reproduce. 

Spring Peepers are small and are tan or brown. They have a dark X marking on their back. Males have dark throats and are slightly smaller than females.

Males call the most and the sound is similar to a young chicken. Vocal sacs inflate and deflate when they call, and they can mostly be heard at dawn.

They are nocturnal hunters that feed on small insects.

Birds, fish, large mammals, and reptiles are their main predators. Since they are most active at night, that is when they try their best to avoid predators by camouflaging into the ground.

13. Western Chorus Frog

Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) in dirt with greens and rocks near Oakwood Park, Malden, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
A Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) in dirt with greens and rocks near Oakwood Park, Malden, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris triseriata
  • Other Names: striped chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Western Chorus Frogs are a small, smooth-skinned species found in Minnesota. They can be found all throughout Minnesota and have a healthy population.

They inhabit a variety of habitats with fresh water nearby. Marshes, meadows, swamps, temporary pools, mountains, and prairies are places they can choose to make a home.

Regardless of where they choose to settle, they will remain near a water source for breeding, but prefer temporary water to avoid predators from eating their eggs and young.

Chorus Frogs can be greenish-grey, reddish, olive, or brown. Dark stripes run down their back but may be absent in some species.

Their bellies are white and they have a dark stripe running across their lip. Some frogs will have a dark triangular spot that can help identify the species.

Males are larger than females and have large vocal sacks for calling. Mating calls can be heard at night in warm weather, but they also venture out to hunt.

The Western Chorus Frog is nocturnal and secretive in nature, making them rarer to come across.

Insects like small flies, mosquitos, ants, beetles, moths, and other kinds are what they eat.

They hide in thick vegetation and water to avoid predators like large birds, snakes, and other carnivorous creatures.

14. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) in moist ground at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Rochert, Minnesota, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on moist ground at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Rochert, Minnesota, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus
  • Other Names: Rana sylvaticus
  • Adult Size: 1.38 to 2.75  inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $30

Wood Frogs can be found in northern Minnesota, east-central, and southeastern areas within the state.

They live in heavily forested areas and woods, sometimes being found far away from a water source. They travel to wetlands, streams, bogs, and other temporary water sources in the forest to breed.

Wood Frogs are an extremely cold-resistant species. When winter comes, they freeze on the floor under leaf litter until spring.

Small and brown, they are around 2 inches and able to fit in the palm of your hand. They are typically reddish-brown to black and have a dark mask pattern over their eyes.

Their mating call sounds like a harsh racket sound.

Wood Frogs have a long sticky tongue used to catch insects like spiders, slugs, and ants.

They often are preyed on by snakes, larger frogs, and carnivorous mammals like foxes.

As tadpoles, they are susceptible to a variety of aquatic predators like salamanders and frogs. 

Wrapping Up

Minnesota has 14 different species of frogs living within the state. Identifying one species from the next can be difficult.

How they look, their location, call and when they are active is useful in finding out what species is which. Frogs usually live near water and some can be found in residential areas.

Most frogs are harmless but picking one up can irritate your and the frog’s skin.

If looking to get a companion some of the species on this list will make a good pet, like the Green Frog. Looking at how a species behaves in captivity and its needs are essential in finding the right pet.

With the vast amount of water within the state, Minnesota is perfect for frogs to live and amphibian lovers to enjoy them. Knowing where to look can help you in your next adventure in the wild and help you find many species.

Hopefully, this list will be helpful in identifying, locating, and learning about the species near you. 

Leave us a comment or any questions you might have about the frogs of Minnesota down in the comment section below!

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