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Frogs in New Hampshire

There are two (2) species of toads and eight (8) species of frogs in New Hampshire, out of the 5,000+ known species of anurans currently known in the world. This article provides enlightenment on the different anuran types in this state.

Frogs and toads have some common characteristics. Both animals are four-legged, with four digits on their forelimbs and five on their hindlimbs. These digits are webbed, and sometimes tubercles and toe pads can be found on them.

They have widely spaced eyes that give them an excellent sight to catch prey and evade predators. They lack ears but they have tympana (external eardrums). They are also very sensitive to vibrations.

They are solitary, preferring to live alone until the breeding season. They may live on land, in trees out underground, but most frogs and toads require a body of freshwater to breed in and fertilize eggs externally. Afterward, parental investment is little or absent.

Frogs and toads are ectothermic (cold-blooded). They mostly eat insects and their larvae, other non-insect arthropods, and smaller frogs. They are mostly eaten by birds, snakes, fish, turtles, raccoons, small mammals, and sometimes humans.

Different species show activity at various times of the day. Some are nocturnal (most active at night), some diurnal (most active in the daytime), some crepuscular (most active at dusk and dawn), and some a combination of any two.

As there are similarities, there are differences between frogs and toads. Toads have dry and warty skin, with shorter legs and stockier bodies. Frogs generally have smooth, moist skin, with slender bodies and longer legs for jumping.

To avoid predation, most anurans are colored in earth tones or to match vegetation. Thus, they blend well into their environments and are hardly seen by attackers.

Also, frogs employ their impressive jump power and escape with their long legs.

Toads on the other hand have poisonous secretions from warts on their skin that ward off predators. Some frogs secrete poisons as well.

In this article, you will find listed the ten (10) of these species and their peculiar characteristics. These include snout-vent length (SVL), longevity, geographical range, habitat, morphology, males’ advertisement calls, behavior, and additional adaptations against predation.

Table of Contents

  1. Frogs in New Hampshire
  2. Toads in New Hampshire
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in New Hampshire

1. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on large lilypads in Hancock, New Hampshire, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on large lilypads in Hancock, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus 
  • Other Names: Rana catesbeianus, Bullfrog, North American bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 9 to 15.2 cm (3.5 to 6 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years in the wild, up to 16 years in captivity

The bullfrog is native to eastern North America. It has however been introduced to parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. It is a largely aquatic species and so it is mostly found around water bodies.

Common habitats they occur in include swamps, ponds, marshes, ditches, rivers, and streams with abundant vegetation. They can also be found along the banks of streams but prefer still and shallow water.

Bullfrogs are very large in size, the largest species of true frogs in North America. Dorsal color could be in different shades from brown to green, with darker blotches on their backs. They have fully webbed hind legs and their undersides are white.

The sexes are distinguishable. Males’ tympana are much larger than their eyes, while females’ tympana are relatively the same size, or smaller than their eyes. Also, the male’s throat is yellow while the female’s throat is white during mating season.

These frogs are active both diurnal and nocturnal. They however prefer warm and humid weather, and they can be seen active in such conditions. Their call has been described as a low rumbling “jug-o-rum”.

Bullfrogs are predators of frogs, eating smaller frogs. They even eat frogs of the same species, endangering some other species of frogs.

They are hunted by humans for meat but face no threat of extinction. They taste bad and this saves them from predation.

2. Gray Treefrog

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on a wooden fence in nature in Walpole, New Hampshire, USA
A Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) on a wooden fence in nature in Walpole, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
  • Other Names: Dryophytes versicolor, eastern gray treefrog
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 cm (1.18 to 1.9 cm); record SVL 6 cm (2.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years

The gray treefrog lives high in trees, up to 20 meters above the ground. These frogs can be found in some parts of Canada and the USA. These include Quebec, Manitoba, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire.

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

The digits on their forelegs and hindlegs have sticky pads that help them climb trees. In the males, the ventral surface of the hindlegs is usually yellow or yellow-orange in color. This is a difference from females whose hindlegs’ ventral surfaces are usually olive-gray in color.

Beneath each eye, there is a white spot on this species. This spot is more of an olive color in the female frogs. Their bellies are white in color.

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

3. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) in grass in Concord, New Hampshire, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) in grass in Concord, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates clamitans 
  • Other Names: Rana clamitans, bronze frog, Northern green frog
  • Adult Size: 7.5 to 12.5 cm (2.95 to 4.92 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years in captivity

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

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

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

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

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

By mimicry, they are able to avoid predation. They resemble bad-tasting mink frogs that taste bad to their hunters. For this reason, they occur with mink frogs, confusing predators to stay away from them.

4. Mink Frog

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on light rocky surface in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, USA
A Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) on light rocky surface in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates septentrionalis
  • Other Names: Rana septentrionalis, north frog, scratch and sniff frog
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.6 cm (1.8 to3 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years in the wild

Mink frogs smell like minks, like rancid onions. They are a species of small frogs found in regions of Canada and the United States. They inhabit parts of other places like Wisconsin, Quebec, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, and Manitoba.

They are aquatic for the most part and so they enjoy living in permanent wetlands and on land in forested, damp areas. They like to live around ponds, lakes, or streams with abundant water lilies because they use water lilies as a sort of protection.

Mink frogs could be brown, olive, or green in color. Their skin is smooth, like most true frogs, and there are dark irregular blotches on it. They have poorly developed ridges on their backs, or an absence thereof.

Ventrally, their bellies are typically a whitish or yellowish color. All five digits of their hind legs are webbed together. They also have round spots or stripes on the upper part of their hind legs.

Sexes are told 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.

A mink frog’s call sounds like tapping a metal hammer on wood. It is a rapid series of three or more croaks. It can easily be confused with the call of the green frog but it is not as bouncy and twang-like as the green frog’s call.

They are nocturnal frogs that produce a very foul odor, likened to the smell of rotten onions, to make themselves less appealing to predators. When they are frightened or threatened, they squeak, jump into the water and swim away.

5. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on grass and leaves in New Hampshire, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on grass and leaves in New Hampshire, 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: up to 9 years in the wild

Northern leopard frogs are native to regions of Canada and the United States.

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

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

They tend to be green, greenish-brown, or yellow-green in color on their backs. They have smooth dorsal skin covered in large oval spots. Each spot is bordered by a halo of lighter pigment.

The underside of a northern leopard frog is usually white or cream. There are two distinct ridges on its back that run along each side. Males are mostly smaller than females, and these males possess large thumb pads and dual vocal sacs.

They migrate to ponds during spring to breed and then leave for grasslands or meadows in the summer. They are more nocturnal when breeding and more diurnal when foraging.

The call of northern leopard frogs is a guttural rattle that sounds like the engine of a motorboat. It is moderately loud and low in pitch, sounding much like a snore.

Frogs of this species evade predators by leaping quickly and blending into their vegetative environment. Some take advantage of their resemblance to toxic pickerel frogs, living around them to avoid being eaten.

6. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in mud in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, USA
A Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in mud in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Other Names: Rana palustris
  • Adult Size: 5.08 to 10.16 cm (2 to 4 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

The pickerel frog is native to North America. It likes to live in cool streams with trees, swamps, springs, grassy fields, prairies, and weed-covered locations. Unpolluted water sources are ideal for this frog.

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

The ventral coloration on pickerel frogs is usually white, bright yellow, or yellow-orange. Their bellies may also be mottled. The skin under their groins and hindlegs could be any shade from bright yellow to orange pigment.

Males are typically smaller than females and these males have short forearms and swollen thumbs. The frogs are generally medium-sized so they are easily eaten by larger frogs.

Pickerel frogs are nocturnal. Their call is low and snore-like. To protect themselves from predators, they secrete toxic fluids that are poisonous enough to kill small mammals and hurt humans.

7. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a large leaf in Strafford, New Hampshire, USA
A Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a large leaf in Strafford, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
  • Other Names: Peeper
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 3.5 cm (0.75 to 1.3 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 years in the wild, 4 years in captivity

Spring peepers occur in eastern states of the US and in parts of Canada like Manitoba. They live on trees in moist woodlands, fields, grassy lowlands, and ponds. During the winter when most anurans hibernate, they can be found in mud.

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

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

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

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

8. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) walking through wood chips in Marlborough, New Hampshire, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) walking through wood chips in Marlborough, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvaticus 
  • Other Names: Rana sylvatica, the frog with the robber’s mask 
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 8.2 cm (1.5 to 3.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild

Another type of frog in New Hampshire is the wood frog. It is commonly distributed across North America. You can find it in several locations in the US 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.

A wood frog has mask-like markings across its eyes, black patches from each tympanum to the base of each of its forelegs. There should also be a white outline across its upper lip.

These frogs come in diverse shades of gray, green, brown, tan, and rust. 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. Their call sounds much like the clucking of a chicken.

Frogs of this species produce poisons to irritate predators. When captured, a wood frog lets out a piercing cry to startle the predator and annoy this attacker enough to let the frog go.

Species of Toads in New Hampshire

9. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on a rock in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
An American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on a rock in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae 
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus 
  • Other Names: Bufo americanus, hop toad
  • Adult Size: 5 to 10 cm (1.97 to 4 in)
  • Lifespan: 1 to 10 years in the wild, up to 36 years in captivity

The American toad is the common species of toad in North America. There are three subspecies: the eastern American toad, the dwarf American toad, and the Hudson Bay toad.

The American toad is found in places like Chihuahua, Mexico; James Bay and Quebec, Canada; and California, Washington, Oregon, and Maine, USA. They are very rampant because they adapt to any habitat in which there is semi-permanent water for breeding, 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.

Their hindleg digits are fully webbed. American toads have several dark spots on their backs. Each spot has one or two warts on it. Males and females can easily be told apart.

Males have dark-colored throats that are black or brown. Females have white throats and lighter bodies. They are also bigger in size than the males.

American toads are nocturnal. Their call is a neat-sounding, high-pitched and long trill. It sounds much like a bird calling, and it could last for as long as thirty seconds.

Warts on their skin house several glands that produce a poisonous secretion to deter attackers. 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.

10. Fowler’s Toad

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on rocky terrain in Chinconteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia, USA
A Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) on rocky terrain in Chinconteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
  • Other Names: Bufo fowleri
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 9.5 cm (2 to 3.75 in)
  • Lifespan: 5 years

Fowler’s toads are found in the eastern region of the United States, along the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

They prefer to live in open spaces and wooded areas with open canopies. Hence, they are usually found living in savannas which have widely spaced trees, and on beaches.

They show characteristics similar to other anurans, like toothless jaws and amplified parotid glands. They are usually medium-sized toads with dark or black spots on their backs. Each dot could have anywhere between three to six warts on it.

Fowler’s toads are mostly tan, gray, brown, or greenish-gray in color. They have a white or light stripe running down their backs.

Their white bellies have a single gray spot on them. Typically, the male toads are darker in color and the females lighter.

Some sources claim this species of toads are completely nocturnal while others say that they are active only during the day, except in extreme heat or cold. Such conflicting information exists because frogs of this species are currently threatened and have not been studied extensively.

The call of Fowler’s toads sounds like the bleating of a sheep. They employ various methods to avoid or ward off predators. Aside from blending into their environments by cryptic coloration, they pretend to be dead by lying still if roughly handled by predators.

Another defensive mechanism of theirs is the poisonous liquid from warts on their skins. When attacked, they secrete this liquid to irritate and poison their predators.

FAQs

What kind of frogs live in New Hampshire?

Eight (8) kinds of frogs live in New Hampshire. These include bullfrogs, gray treefrogs, green frogs, mink frogs, northern leopard frogs, pickerel frogs, spring peepers, and wood frogs.

Are there any poisonous frogs in New Hampshire?

Yes, there are poisonous frogs in New Hampshire. They are the pickerel and wood frogs. The other six (6) species are not poisonous.

Does New Hampshire have tree frogs?

There are two species of tree frogs (frogs of the family Hylidae) in New Hampshire. These include gray treefrogs and spring peepers.

Conclusion

New Hampshire’s native anurans are of ten (10) species, eight (8) frog,s and two (2) toad species. These include abundant species like the American bullfrog and declining species like Fowler’s toads.

Frogs and toads are an essential part of our environment. They eat insects and other crop and household pests. At the same time, they feed other animals up the food chain.

Most frogs do not have poisonous secretions as toads do. They employ other adaptations to avoid and evade predators. However, some frog species secrete poisons as well.

Toads and poisonous are therefore not ideal as household pets. It is advisable to get frogs that are not dangerous as first pets, especially for children, as they are small, easy to care for, and cheap to maintain.

Most of the species listed above are commonly found in North America. Unless otherwise indicated, they are not listed as endangered or threatened in the areas in which they have been found.

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