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Frogs In North Carolina 

There are 31 different species of frogs and toads in North Carolina. While most species tend to live near water sources such as swamps, marshes, lakes, and ponds some can also be found living amongst the leaves and debris on forest floors and even in man-made water sources such as backyard pools and artificial ponds.

The 31 different species in North Carolina live all across the state. Frogs and toads will live near a water source and most species are inactive in the winter.

To identify a species its location, coloring, features, and croak can help identify it. In this article, you’ll find useful facts and information about each species in North Carolina, for whenever next time you come across these slippery amphibians.

Frogs In North Carolina

1. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on a wet log just out of water at Nags Head Woods Preserve, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on a wet log just out of water at Nags Head Woods Preserve, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus (Rana catesbeiana)
  • Other Names: Bullfrog
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The American Bullfrog, commonly known as the Bullfrog, is native to the eastern U.S. but has been introduced all over the world due to its presence as a food source. The Bullfrog got its name from the sound the male makes during mating season which sounds like a bull bellowing.

These frogs are known to make their homes in permanent bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, swamps, and oftentimes pools and canals. Bullfrogs are typically active from April to October and hibernate during the cold season.

This species is the largest in North Carolina. Their color ranges from brown to brownish-green usually with dark spots around their backs. It has a large head with a wide mouth.

Males of this species have bright yellow throats while the females’ throats are white. Its front legs are short and stubby while its hind legs are long and powerful with webbed feet to help move quickly through the water.

Bullfrogs are carnivores and their diets range from small insects to snakes, fish, and other bullfrogs.

These frogs are nocturnal so you can find them hunting at night patiently waiting for small creatures to cross their path. When an unlucky critter does cross a bullfrog’s path the frog lunges at the prey and then uses its wide mouth to swallow it down.

2. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a leaf near Heintooga Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, USA
A Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) on a leaf near Heintooga Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, 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 a type of small chorus frog typically found in forests and semi-permanent wetlands such as marshes, small ponds, and sometimes swamps which are needed for these frogs’ eggs and tadpoles to survive. The males chirping is often the call that marks the start of spring.

Spring peepers are brown, tan, olive green, or gray with cream or white-colored bellies usually with an X-like mark on their back, though sometimes the marking isn’t visible, along with dark bands on their legs and a dark line in between their eyes.

Females are lighter in color while males are typically smaller with dark throats and vocal sacs that expand and deflate to make a chirping noise which it uses as a mating call.

This species diet consists of small insects such as beetles, ants, flies, and spiders.

They are nocturnal creatures so they emerge at night to hunt and remain hidden during the day. These frogs breed and lay their eggs in the water and spend the rest of their time in the forest where they hibernate during the cold seasons waiting for spring to come.

3. Green Frog

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on a wet road near Neuse River, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
A Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) on a wet road near Neuse River, Raleigh, North Carolina, 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

Green frogs are a mid-sized species of true frogs that can be found near freshwater ponds, lakes, swamps, streams, and brooks usually living in temporary bodies of water. They also like to colonize new small bodies of water such as pools and artificial ponds.

They are most often seen resting on the shore and when approached they quickly leap into the water and either swim to the bottom or float under the surface with their eyes poking above.

These frogs are typically green, brownish-green, yellowish-green, and olive in color being brighter in the front with small dark spots around the back similar to a bullfrog. With males having a bright yellow throat.

While these frogs are similar to bullfrogs, their distinct dorsolateral ridges that run down the sides of the back help set them apart.

Green frogs are usually active during the day but can also be active at night when temperatures are warm. These frogs typically breed in permanent bodies of water from April to August when it’s consistently warm.

Their diets consist of any small animal it can fit in its mouth from insects, fish, shrimp, snakes, and slugs to tadpoles and other frogs.

4. Gopher Frog

Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito) on some straw off Emerald Isle, North Carolina, USA
A Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito) on some straw off Emerald Isle, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates capito
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Gopher frogs are found in the coastal plains. They tend to hide in mammal and crayfish burrows since gopher tortoises are not found in North Carolina.

Adult gopher frogs use fishless semi-permanent and temporary ponds for breeding. This species breeds between mid-February to mid-April.

Adult gopher frogs are medium-sized frogs with tan, green, or gray skin with dark-colored spots covering their bodies. These frogs slightly resemble toads with their large heads and stout bodies.

Their skin has prominent warts with a reddish-brown fold along each side of its body. They have bright yellow or orange on the inside of their legs. Adult females are usually larger than adult males.

Gopher frogs are nocturnal and very secretive. They will leave their burrows at night to hunt for food which is usually insects such as worms, spiders, beetles, crickets, and sometimes other small frogs.

These frogs are at risk of being endangered.

5. Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (Lithobates kauffeldi) on leaf litter near Roanoke River, North Carolina, USA
An Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (Lithobates kauffeldi) on leaf litter near Roanoke River, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates kauffeldi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Atlantic Coast Leopard frog is a newly discovered species in North Carolina. These frogs are only found in the northeastern counties of the state where they are usually found living in different wetland habitats.

They tend to live in wetland areas like marshes, meadows, and slow-flowing water. These frogs like to live in or around open spaces containing clear shallow water and aquatic vegetation.

This species’ coloring can range from light olive-green to mint-gray with irregular dark spots covering its body and two yellow or tan stripes going from its snout down its back. Its coloring has been shown to change between day and night and with the seasons.

They can look similar to its cousin the southern leopard frog but can be distinguished by its more rounded snout, lack of a white spot on its external eardrum, and its mating call, which is a single distinct “chuck” sound rather than a repeated “ak-ak-ak”.

Leopard frogs eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth. This can range from beetles, ants, worms, and flies to smaller frogs, birds, and small snakes. Atlantic coast leopard frogs breed from late winter into early spring.

6. Southern Leopard Frog

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) roaming the green grass in Delco, North Carolina, USA
A Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) roaming the green grass in Delco, North Carolina, 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

Southern leopard frogs live in different types of shallow freshwater habitats. They can be found close to the water but tend to stay on land most of the time. They are mostly nocturnal but can be active during the day as well.

The southern leopard frog can be green or brown in color with a yellow-colored ridge along either side of its back along with dark spots on the back and legs. The males tend to have larger front limbs than the females.

Their diets consist mainly of small insects and invertebrates.

Breeding takes place in winter and early spring but heavy rainfall can also trigger breeding. When the female lays her eggs they are often attached to a stem or other object below the water’s surface.

7. Pine Woods Tree frog

Pine Woods Treefrog (Dryophytes femoralis) sitting on a leaf at Green Swamp Preserve, Supply, North Carolina, USA
A Pine Woods Treefrog (Dryophytes femoralis) sitting on a leaf at Green Swamp Preserve, Supply, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes femoralis
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

The Pine Woods tree frog is a very small species that like to inhabit pine forests, flatwoods, and cypress swamps in the coastal plains. They stay high up in the trees but sometimes descend to ground level.

During droughts or cold weather they like to hide under rotten logs or in moist holes near or in trees.

These frogs are usually reddish-brown, brown, gray, and occasionally a dull green. Their bodies are narrow and symmetrical.

They are similar in appearance to squirrel tree frogs but can be distinguished by the yellow, orange, or white dots on the rear of each thigh.

Pine Woods tree frogs eat insects such as ants, flies, beetles, crickets, and moths.

These frogs breed in temporary shallow pools like ditches, cypress ponds, or grassy pools. The males call between April and October especially at dusk close to the water.

8. Pine Barrens Tree frog

Pine Barrens Treefrog (Dryophytes andersonii) on a large leaf near Cumberland University, North Carolina, USA
A Pine Barrens Treefrog (Dryophytes andersonii) on a large leaf near Cumberland University, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Advanced
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes andersonii
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 o 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Pine Barrens tree frog is one of the smaller tree frogs. These frogs can be found in the sandhills of North Carolina. They are often found near shallow ponds with lots of vegetation and thick mossy-covered ground. Unlike most frogs, the Pine Barrens tree frog is much more tolerant of low pH levels.

They are able to lay their eggs in shallow acidic ponds.

Pine Barrens tree frogs are almost always green with large dark stripes running from the eye down its sides and have orange-gold spots on their inner legs. These frogs look very similar to the American green tree frog but can be distinguished by their large dark stripes on the side of their body.

These frogs mainly eat small insects and invertebrates such as flies, ants, and beetles. The Pine Barrens tree frog is at risk of being endangered.

9. Cope’s Gray Treefrog

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) holding onto a twig at Triad Park and Veterans Memorial, Guilford County, North Carolina, USA
A Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) holding onto a twig at Triad Park and Veterans Memorial, Guilford County, North Carolina, 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 frog is a species of tree frog that is almost indistinguishable from the gray tree frog. The only noticeable difference between the two is by its mating call. Cope’s call is fast-paced and higher-pitched than the gray treefrog.

This species of frog is also slightly smaller and more tolerant of dry conditions. They tend to live in woodland habitats but sometimes are found in open areas when traveling to a breeding pond.

These frogs are usually a gray to gray-green color looking a lot like tree bark. They have bright yellow or orange spots on the inside of their hind legs which are usually hidden until they leap.

Males’ throats are black or gray during breeding while females’ are much lighter.

The Cope’s gray tree frog eats insects such as moths, crickets, flies, grasshoppers, ants, and beetles.

They spend most of the year in the trees but can be found in plant life surrounding wetlands during the breeding season. These frogs tend to breed in fishless wetlands.

10. Squirrel Tree frog

Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella) on some lightly colored rocks at the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, Corolla, North Carolina, USA
A Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella) on some lightly-colored rocks at the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, Corolla, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla squirella
  • Other Names: Rain frogs
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Squirrel tree frogs are average-sized frogs that can be found in the coastal plains of North Carolina. They prefer to live in areas like marshes, swamps, and the edges of lakes and streams.

They can also sometimes be found in gardens, trees, vines, and underneath logs.

These frogs can be found in many different colors but are usually a shade of green ranging from light to dark. They can also commonly be found in shades of brown and yellow.

They can be spotted or plain and some have a bar in between their eyes or light stripes down their sides.

This species of frog eats small insects and is found hunting near outdoor lighting fixtures.

Their mating call sounds similar to a squirrel chattering, hence the name. They can also be heard chirping in the rain so they are sometimes referred to as rain frogs as well.

11. Barking Tree frog

Barking Treefrog (Dryophytes gratiosus) on gray stone floor somewhere near Laurel Hill, North Carolina, USA
A Barking Treefrog (Dryophytes gratiosus) on gray stone floor somewhere near Laurel Hill, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes gratiosus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 

The Barking tree frog is the largest tree frog species in North Carolina. They can be found in the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont. They like to stay high in the trees preferably in pine forests and dry Flatwoods, but can sometimes be found in burrows.

These frogs use fishless, heavily vegetated permanent and semi-permanent wetlands to breed.

Barking tree frogs have large bodies and small round heads. They are normally green with darker, almost uniform spots on their back, and a white line above their mouth that continues down either side of their body.

These frogs can be confused with the squirrel tree frog but can be distinguished by their size and more granular skin.

This species breeds from March to August but calling happens mostly during early summer. Their call is described as an explosive “donk” repeated every 1 to 2 seconds resembling a dog barking.

12. Gray Treefrog

Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) on a large leaf at Weston Bend State Park, Missouri, USA
A Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) on a large, fuzzy leaf at Weston Bend State Park, Missouri, 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

Gray tree frogs resemble squirrel treefrogs and pine woods treefrogs but are heavier and a bit larger than these species. Gray treefrogs can be mistaken for Cope’s gray treefrogs as they are almost indistinguishable, the only notable difference being its mating call.

They can be found in many different types of wooded areas but are frequently found in forests with lots of leaf litter and debris, swamps, and even in some backyards. Due to their offspring needing an aquatic habitat to mature they are normally found around areas that have small streams or standing water.

Gray tree frog’s color depends on its activity and environment and ranges from gray to green to brown. Their skin is textured and bumpy resembling tree bark with a white spot beneath each eye.

The surface of their legs has dark spots resembling bands and the underside of their legs has large bright orange or yellow spots on each leg which they use to ward off predators. The underbelly tends to be white or cream-colored with the males having a dark-colored throat.

An adult gray tree frog’s diet mainly consists of insects such as slugs, ants, snails, plant lice, mites, and spiders with the occasional small frog.

While mating usually starts in early spring it’s mainly dependent on the temperature and location of which these frogs live. These frogs are nocturnal so they can be found hiding under leaf debris, in rotten tree logs, and under roots during the day.

13. Green Tree frog

Green Treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) on a dark green, large leaf at Parham Park, Davidson, North Carolina, USA
A Green Treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) on a dark green, large leaf at Parham Park, Davidson, North Carolina, 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

Green tree frogs are arboreal like most other tree frogs so they spend most of their time living in the trees. During the breeding season, they can be found along the edge of swamps, weedy ponds, and lakes.

These frogs are nocturnal so during the day they like to hide under waterside vegetation and other moist covered areas.

At night they can be found up in the trees hunting for food leaping from branch to branch. Herpetologists have found that green tree frogs along with other types of tree frogs will make their home in PVC pipes that have been placed around wetlands.

The green tree frog is a medium-sized frog with long legs and sticky toe pads that help in climbing trees. They are usually light to dark green, sometimes olive or brown with a white or yellow stripe along each side of their body.

This stripe is not present in all green tree frogs. Most frogs have orange or gold flecks scattered on their backside.

This species of frog, like most other frogs, mainly eat insects such as flies, mosquitos, crickets, mites, and beetles.

It’s been shown that these frogs choose their prey not based on size but based on activity, with the most active being the most frequently eaten. These frogs have become common pets because of their small size and undemanding conditions needed to thrive.

14. Upland Chorus Frog

Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum) on some moist leaf litter at Abersham Park, Davidson, North Carolina, USA
A Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum) on some moist leaf litter at Abersham Park, Davidson, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris feriarum
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 5 years 
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Upland chorus frog is most commonly seen in central North Carolina. They are found in rivers, marshes, swamps, grassy ditches, ponds, temporary, and moist woodlands.

They are nocturnal so they are rarely seen. These frogs breed year-round but are most active from November to March when the weather is cold and rainy.

These frogs usually have Brown, red, or greenish-gray, rough skin. They have a dark undefined line going from snout to groin on either side of its body and three rows of dots or solid stripes down its back.

They tend to have a white or cream-colored stripe above their lip.

Upland chorus frogs have a diet consisting of small insects and invertebrates including spiders, ants, snails, and beetles.

The males’ call resembles the sound a comb makes when you run your finger down its bristles. Their call is a good way to distinguish them from the southern chorus frog.

15. Brimley’s Chorus Frog

Blimey's Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi) on greenery near Blounts Creek, North Carolina, USA
A Blimey’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi) on greenery near Blounts Creek, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris brimleyi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Brimley’s chorus frog can be found in prairies, pastures, meadows, lawns, marshes, swamps, ditches, and the edges of woodlands. They are usually seen in the Coastal Plain in North Carolina.

These frogs have also been spotted near artificial ponds, cattle tanks, and canals. They are usually found near water sources during the breeding season and further on land the rest of the time, often burrowing underground when inactive.

This species can range in color but is commonly found to be tan with 3 slightly darker brown stripes down its back. They have a black stripe that runs from the snout down either side to the base of the hind legs.

The hind legs often have dark brown or black horizontal stripes on them. Their bellies are typically a shade of yellow with small brown spots on the chest.

These frogs have a diet of small insects such as ants, flies, small beetles, and other small invertebrates. Their breeding season takes place depending on the temperature of the habitat but usually from February to early May.

The male calls from underneath vegetation usually partially submerged in the water. Their call is short and raspy and sounds similar to other chorus frogs.

16. Ornate Chorus Frog

Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata) in some gray and white ground near ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, USA
An Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata) in some gray and white bark-like ground near ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris ornata 
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Ornate Chorus frog lives in pine stands and pine savannas in the southern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. These frogs are found in woodlands, wetlands, bogs, swamps, and grassy areas.

They are most commonly found in Sandhills and pine Flatwoods. They breed in temporary bodies of water, preferably fishless, grassy wetlands.

This species is nocturnal and can usually be found on rainy winter nights. They are very secretive and seldom seen outside of the breeding season.

 Ornate chorus frogs can be found in many colors, usually red, bright green, gray, and light brown. They look similar to Brimley’s chorus frog but can be distinguished by their bright colors and the dark stripe down the body is most often broken up rather than one continuous stripe.

They often have dark stripes on their back and yellow spots on the inside of their legs.

These frogs have a diet consisting of small insects like spiders, ants, small beetles, mites, and flies.

This species calls from December to March. Females deposit their eggs onto aquatic vegetation in the shallow breeding ponds.

17. Mountain Chorus Frog

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) in moist rocks and leaves at Daniel Boone National Forest, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
A Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) in moist rocks and leaves at Daniel Boone National Forest, Knoxville, Tennessee, 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

Mountain chorus frogs in North Carolina are only found in the southwestern corner of the state where they have only been documented a few times.

These frogs can be found in wooded hillside streams, shallow ponds, ditches, and other shallow bodies of water. They are active both day and night but this species is very secretive so it is unlikely you will find any in the open.

These frogs can be shades of gray, olive green, and brown. They have a dorsal pattern similar to a reverse parenthesis. They are close in appearance to the Pine Woods tree frog.

The mountain chorus frog has a dark triangle between its eyes and a white line above its lips. Their call is rapid and nasally sounding similar to a squeaking wagon wheel.

This species of frog has a diet of insects that crawl on the ground such as ants, small beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and spiders if they are small enough.

Because they don’t climb very much, most of the hunting happens on the ground. Breeding happens in small shallow pools from February to May.

18. Southern Chorus Frog

Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita) on some dark-colored bark somehwere in Rockfish, North Carolina, USA
A Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita) on some dark-colored bark somehwere in Rockfish, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris nigrita
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.25 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Southern chorus frog makes its home in forested wetlands, meadows, roadside ditches, pine flatwoods, and pine savannas in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina.

Like other chorus frogs, their eggs are found attached to vegetation or other debris in shallow fishless water.

They like to stay in areas that have sandy soil they can burrow in and then make their way towards shallow water during the breeding season. This species is very secretive and males will even hide in holes or vegetation near the water when calling.

These frogs are commonly found in dark colors such as brown, gray, greenish-gray, and tan. They tend to have dark spots on their lower backs and hind legs with a dark, thick stripe running from their snout down either side to the base of the hind legs.

These frogs have slightly pointed snouts and light-colored bellies. There is almost always a white line above the lips.

Southern chorus frogs, like other chorus frogs, have a diet consisting of small insects and invertebrates such as ants, flies, beetles, and spiders.

Their breeding season takes place typically from January to early April. The males’ call sounds like a mechanical, ratchet-type noise.

19. Southern Cricket Frog

Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus) on a gray rock at Holly Shelter Game Land, Rocky Point, North Carolina, USA
A Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus) on a gray rock at Holly Shelter Game Land, Rocky Point, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner 
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Acris gryllus
  • Other Names: southeastern cricket frog
  • Adult Size: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $5 to $10

The Southern cricket frog can be found in almost any moist habitat but is most commonly found near ponds, lakes, and small streams.

They are a ground-dwelling species. Though they are members of the tree frog family they cannot climb very well so they won’t be found high up in trees.

Southern cricket frogs have rough wart-covered skin that can be shades of red, brown, green, gray, or black.

They all have a bright-colored stripe that starts at the back of both eyes, meets at the back of the head forming a triangle, and runs down the center of its back. They have long back limbs but no toe pads.

This species has a diet of insects but mainly mosquitos. Their breeding season goes from February to early November but the males continue to call year-round.

The males’ call resembles marbles clicking together, they use this call to attract females and ward off other males. This species is very aggressive and will attack other males to defend their territory, especially towards the end of the breeding season when females are more scarce.

20. Northern Cricket Frog

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a wet red leaf by TreeRunner Adventure Park Raleigh, Crest Mist Manor, North Carolina, USA
A Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a wet red leaf by TreeRunner Adventure Park Raleigh, Crest Mist Manor, 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

The Northern cricket frog is one of the three smallest vertebrates in North America. These frogs prefer to make their home near slow-moving permanent bodies of water.

They can be found in large groups along muddy banks of shallow streams and pools. They have been found to hibernate upland a ways away from the water. Their eggs can be found amongst vegetation on the water banks.

These frogs can be different shades of green, gray, and brown usually in irregular blotching patterns. The skin is textured and bumpy and the legs have dark bands on them.

There is usually a white line from the eye to the base of the foreleg. The northern cricket frog is similar to the southern cricket frog though the southern cricket frog has longer legs, less webbing on the back feet, and some having a longer, more pointed snout.

Northern cricket frogs are active during the day and most of the year except winter when the waters freeze.

They eat small insects like mosquitoes, flies, mites, and small beetles.

Their breeding season is between April and August and their call sounds like pebbles being clicked together.

21. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in wet sand near rocks by Eno River, Country Club Heights, Durham, North Carolina, USA
A Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) in wet sand near rocks by Eno River, Country Club Heights, Durham, North Carolina, 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 can be found throughout most of North Carolina except on the outer coastal plains. Adult pickerel frogs are most commonly found in the mountains along small streams but can also be found in forest fields and meadows.

These frogs prefer to breed in short-lived bodies of water such as woodland pools but will also use permanent ponds, pools, swamps, streams, rivers, and ditches.

These frogs can often be mistaken for the southern leopard frog but can be distinguished by their more square-like spots arranged in two parallel rows.

They have orange or yellow on the inside of the hind legs. Their color is almost always a brown, tan, or golden brown underneath their dark brown spots with a plain white underbelly.

This species can produce skin secretions that are toxic to many animals and can be a skin irritant to humans. They feed on insects such as ants, small beetles, water bugs, and plant lice. Their mating call is a low snore usually made underwater.

22. Carpenter Frog

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes) on a log near water with lilypads at Carvers Creek State Park, Sandhills Access, North Carolina, USA
A Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes) on a log near water with lilypads at Carvers Creek State Park, Sandhills Access, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates virgatipes
  • Other Names: sphagnum frog
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 to 6 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Carpenter frogs can be found in habitats like bogs, shrub bogs, beaver swamps, pine savanna ponds, Carolina bays, and roadside ditches.

They are often seen in murky, acidic waters with lots of sphagnum (a type of moss) and other aquatic vegetation. They are sometimes referred to as “sphagnum frogs”.

The carpenter frog is typically a shade of brown or greenish-brown with two yellow or orange stripes on either side of its back and two on its sides. Their bellies are usually white or light yellow.

They look slightly like smaller bullfrogs but can be distinguished by the four yellow stripes on their back and sides. They usually have small black or dark brown spots all over their back.

These frogs eat aquatic insects such as crayfish, spiders, and water striders. Carpenter frog’s breeding season takes place from late December to early May but can be heard calling through most of the summer.

Their call is a loud “pa-tank” that sounds similar to a carpenter hammer giving them their common name.

23. Little Grass Frog

Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis) on someones fingertips at Croatan National Forest, Craven County, North Carolina, USA
The tiny Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis) on someones fingertips at Croatan National Forest, Craven County, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate-Advanced
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 0.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Little Grass frog is the smallest in North America. They can be found near temporary ponds and other wetlands in the Coastal Plain.

They make their homes in moist, grassy environments. These frogs lay their eggs at the bottom of ponds or on aquatic vegetation in shallow waters.

This species is so small it can rest comfortably on your fingernail. The little grass frog is slender with long front and back legs and a pointed snout.

They can be red, tan, green, or pink with differing patterns. A thick dark stripe from its snout to the side of its body is the only common characteristic for these frogs.

This species’ breeding season lasts longer than most going from January to September. Their call can be heard year-round but not everyone is able to hear it because it’s so high-pitched.

Despite how small they are they can jump almost 2 feet into the air.

24. River Frog

River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri) in the sand near grass at Tate's Hell State Forest, Lanark Village, Franklin County, Florida, USA
A River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri) in the sand near grass at Tate’s Hell State Forest, Lanark Village, Franklin County, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates heckscheri
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The river frog is thought to be extinct in the State of North Carolina from habitat loss. They spend most of their time in the water and can be found in the Cape Fear river systems in the southeastern Coastal Plain in North Carolina.

Breeding often occurs in oxbow lakes, ponds, and swamps. This species likes to live around marshes, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

This species is rare in North Carolina. They are also the second-largest frog. River frogs can look similar to bullfrogs but you can tell them apart by their more pointed snouts.

They are normally brown, tan, or olive green with black or gray bellies. It can have irregular-sized spots on its back and dark bands on its hind legs. Its skin is usually rough, with warts.

River frogs eat different types of aquatic invertebrates and other small insects like spiders, grasshoppers, ants, and beetles. They can produce a skin secretion that can be toxic to their predators and because of this they are very bold and won’t try to escape instead they’ll play dead.

25. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on dry leaf litter near Bakersville, North Carolina, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) on dry leaf litter near Bakersville, North Carolina, 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

Wood frogs are found through most of the mountains and western Piedmont in North Carolina and are almost always on land. They like to make their home in moist woodlands.

They can sometimes be found along the road during rainy nights. They breed in temporary woodland pools during the winter.

They gather in large numbers for breeding frenzies usually only lasting a couple of days. They attach their eggs to large sticks or aquatic vegetation in large masses to help keep them from freezing.

These frogs are usually brown or gray can but they can sometimes be reddish or pinkish as well. They have no markings but can have small dots spread across their back with a dark brown line under each eye that goes down its snout. Females are larger and sometimes more colorful than males.

Wood frogs are known to eat insects such as spiders, worms, slugs, snails, flies, caterpillars, and beetles. When frightened these frogs flee and hide under leaf litter and other debris. Their call is a raspy noise that’s been compared to the sound ducks or chickens make.

26. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete off Oakwood Road, Yadkin County, North Carolina, USA
An American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) on concrete off Oakwood Road, Yadkin County, North Carolina, 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

The American toad is the largest toad species in North Carolina. They like to make their home in cool woodland areas with plenty of moisture and insects.

On land, they tend to burrow in moist soil and in winter use these to hibernate. They can also be found in gardens, meadows, and fields with a good amount of shade.

These toads spend most of their life on land but make their way to water sources such as ponds, marshes, swamps, and pools to breed. Males tend to stay around the water throughout the breeding season which usually lasts from February to early April.

American Toads are often brown, gray, olive red, or tan with a light stripe down the middle of its back. Their bellies are pale though the male’s throat appears dark especially during the breeding season.

They have dark spots with one or two large warts on their back which help distinguish them from the Fowler’s toad which has three more small warts around the larger ones.

Farmers and gardeners welcome toads because of their large appetite for insects.

Insecticides, water pollution, and increased highway and road construction have led to a decline in the American toad population. They seem drawn to open roads and bright lights when in search of food.

27. Eastern Narrow-mouth Toad

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) rummaging through sand near Cape Fear river, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA
An Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) rummaging through sand near Cape Fear river, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Scientific Name: Gastrophryne carolinensis
  • Other Names: Narrow-mouth toad
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 years
  • Average Price Range: $10

Eastern Narrowmouth toads can live in lots of different habitats as long as a good amount of shelter and moisture are present. They use temporary, preferably fishless, wetlands to breed.

They can be found in the Coastal plain and Piedmont. These toads are nocturnal and spend the day hidden underneath leaves, logs, and other debris found in moist areas.

Narrow-mouth toads are small round toads with small triangular heads and tiny mouths. They have short limbs and no webbing on their feet.

These toads also have a fold of skin across their head behind their eyes and lack a visible external eardrum. Narrow Mouthed toads are normally gray to reddish-brown with a light-colored stripe running down either side of their back.

Their main source of food is ants. They produce a skin secretion to help protect themselves from the ants. This secretion can be an irritant to a human’s eyes. These toads breed during heavy rain usually on warm nights between April and October.

28. Southern Toad

Southern Toad (Anaxyrus Terrestris) in sand on River Drive, North Topsail Beach, North Carolina, USA
A sandy Southern Toad (Anaxyrus Terrestris) in sand on River Drive, North Topsail Beach, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus Terrestris
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The southern toad can be found all through the Coastal Plain. These frogs stay on the ground for most of their lives and move towards shallow ponds, flooded meadows, and other temporary wetlands to breed. Heavy rain causes them to breed in large numbers.

They most often live in sandy soils where they like to burrow during the day. These frogs are most active at night.

Southern toads are mid-sized usually with red, brown, gray, olive-green, or black skin which is usually covered in warts. The males tend to be smaller than the females and have darker throats. They can easily be distinguished from other toads by the two large knobs on the back of its head.

These frogs will eat just about anything they can catch which includes spiders, ants, flies, snails, crickets, bees, and beetles. These frogs produce a skin secretion that can be toxic to their predators but will also inflate their lungs and spread out their legs to appear larger as a defense.

29. Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) in someone's hand near Holden Beach, North Carolina, USA
Nighttime flash photography of an Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii) in someone’s hand near Holden Beach, North Carolina, 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

Spadefoot toads prefer dry habitats with sandy soils but can be found in most habitats. They like to burrow and remain underground for most of their life.

They emerge in large numbers during heavy rainfall any time of the year and breed in temporary pools of water caused by the rain.

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is large with smooth moist skin and has small warts all over its body.

They vary in color ranging from yellow to dark brown or tan. This species has no bold spots but they do have a vertical line starting behind their eyes running down their dorsum forming an hourglass shape.

The males usually have a brighter yellow hourglass. These frogs have bright yellow eyes with elongated circular pupils, similar to cats. Their eyes can be used to distinguish them from other toads in the area.

Many people have had severe allergic reactions to the secretions of the toad. People have reported the spadefoot toad to smell like peanut butter when handled. The male mating call is a low-pitched “waah” repeated in intervals.

30. Fowler’s Toad 

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in the grass at Triad Park and Veterans Memorial, North Carolina, USA
A Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in the grass at Triad Park and Veterans Memorial, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus fowleri
  • Other Names: Bufo fowleri
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

Fowler’s toads are commonly found in forested habitats near temporary or permanent bodies of water. In North Carolina, they can generally be found in Piedmont and lower areas of the mountain.

These toads are nocturnal and are often most active on humid summer nights.

This species of toad is small and has dry, warty skin with short legs. They are usually brown or gray and sometimes green or reddish-brown with some yellow color mixed in.

There is usually a light stripe down the center of its body and at least three warts within the dark spots on its back which help distinguish it from the American toad.

 Adult fowler’s toads mainly eat insects like snails, worms, and crickets. Males make their mating call from shallow water. Their call sounds like a sheep bleating.

31. Oak Toad

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) in dry twigs and leaf litter somewhere near Newport, North Carolina, USA
An Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) in dry twigs and leaf litter somewhere near Newport, North Carolina, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Bufonidae 
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus quercicus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.75 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years 
  • Average Price Range: $10 

Oak toads are the smallest toad in North America and are in danger of being extinct. They live in oak forests and prairies.

Temporary water is preferred by the oak toad and areas with lots of natural hiding spots. Mating in shallow pools and ponds they lay their eggs underneath the water on blades of grass.

Only reading a max size of 1.75 inches they are gray to black in color. A light cream-colored dorsal runs down their back and some toads may have spots.

Oak toads survive off small insects like ants and beetles. Compared to other species this toad is harder to keep as a pet because of its eating habits. Being tiny, many predators prey on this species like larger frogs, raccoons, birds, and snakes.

Wrapping up

North Carolina has 31 different species of frogs and toads inhabiting the various water habitats.

Frogs can be active in the day but most prefer the night for cooler and wet climates. Bugs are a frog’s main source of food but larger species will also eat fish and other animals they can swallow.

Frogs and toads can inhabit residential areas and can even live in your backyard. It is important to control pollution and contamination of waters as they need it to breed.

Some species in North Carolina have had a population decline due to habitat loss and pollution.

The different frog species in North Carolina help keep a balanced and healthy ecosystem. It is always entertaining to watch and hear them in nature and some species can even make good pets.

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