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Frogs in Vermont

Vermont is a state in the northeastern part of the United States.

It is known for its natural landscapes. It is made up mostly of forests but also includes wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and cliffs.

Vermont’s variety of habitats makes it home to twelve (12) anuran species. There are two (2) species of toads and ten (10) species of frogs in Vermont.

This article provides some useful information on the species of toads and frogs in Vermont. This can be used to identify these animals when they are seen or heard calling.

However, there are some general traits in frogs and toads. They live both in water and on land and they lack tails. They have widely spaced eyes for clear vision across a wide range.

They do not have internal ears so they have tympana (external ears) and prominent paratoid glands. In toads, these paratoid glands and warts on their skin produce poisons to deter attackers.

As another antipredator mechanism, their dorsal skin is colored to match their surroundings, making them blend in. This helps them avoid the attention of predators, mostly the ones living on land.

Their ventral skin is usually white or some pale color in order to avoid the attention of some aquatic predators. This is called cryptic adaptation to the environment, involving coloration. Some frogs can change their dorsal color too.

Frogs and toads have four webbed feet, with four digits on their forelegs and five on their hindlegs. Toads however have generally shorter legs than frogs, and they walk or crawl. Frogs have longer legs for hopping and jumping.

Also, toads have dry, rough, and warty skin with stockier bodies. The skin of frogs is usually moist and smooth, with their bodies more slender than the bodies of toads.

Both animals are insectivores, although some larger species like the bullfrog are large and opportunistic enough to eat smaller frogs and even conspecifics (other frogs of the same species).

Their common predators include fish, larger anurans, larger amphibians and reptiles, birds, raccoons, river otters, and sometimes humans. To avoid or escape their predators, most frogs rely on adaptive coloration and other techniques. A few are however poisonous.

Information peculiar to each species that can be found in this article includes their biological families, scientific names, other common names, snout-vent length (SVL), longevity, geographic range, habitats, physical traits, behaviors, mating or advertisement calls, and additional anti-predator mechanisms.

Table of Contents

  1. Frogs in Vermont
  2. Toads in Vermont
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in Vermont

1. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on wet leaves and rocks on Monkton Ridge, Vermont, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) on wet leaves and rocks on Monkton Ridge, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Other Names: Rana catesbeiana, 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 American bullfrog species is native to eastern North America.

It is invasive species in some areas, however, and has been introduced to other continents. It is a largely aquatic species that can be found around still and shallow bodies of water.

Frogs of this species like to live in swamps, ponds, marshes, ditches, rivers, and streams with abundant vegetation. They can be found along the banks of streams as well.

Bullfrogs are the largest species of true frogs (frogs of the family Ranidae) existing in North America. Their dorsal color could be any different shade from brown to green, with darker colored blotches on the backs. Their hindlegs are fully webbed and their bellies are white.

Males and females are distinguishable. In males, the external ear is much larger than the eye, while the eye and external ear are relatively the same size in females. The males’ throats are also yellow during the mating season while the females’ throats are white.

These frogs are both diurnal and nocturnal, active both day and night but most active when the weather is warm and humid. The time of day does not matter; if it is warm and rainy, bullfrogs are likely to be seen active.

Their call is described as a low rumbling “jug-o-rum”. They eat smaller frogs, even those of the same species, endangering some species of frogs.

Humans hunt them for meat but they were still abundant. To avoid predation, they have a foul taste.

2. Boreal Chorus Frog

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) being held be someone in Boulder, Colorado, USA
A Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) being held be someone in Boulder, Colorado, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris maculata
  • Other Names: Pseudacris triseriata maculata 
  • Adult Size: 3 to 3.8 cm (1.18 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 3 years, record longevity of 6 years

The boreal chorus frog likes to live in open spaces and in forests with an open canopy. As long as there is enough vegetation for cover and food in the form of insects present, frogs of this species are comfortable.

Habitats they can be found in include grasslands, streams in marshy areas, roadside ditches, splash pools, beaver ponds, swamps, shallow lakes, flooded fields, and other freshwater sources without fish.

These frogs are small in size and they have smooth, moist skin. On their backs, they are colored in any shade from a greenish gray to brown. They usually have three stripes on their backs in a darker pigment than their dorsal color, and they may be broken.

From each eye to the groin, these frogs possess a dark stripe. A dark triangular pattern may also be seen on the head of some boreal chorus frogs, between their eyes. A white stripe is seen across their upper lip.

Their bellies are usually white, yellowish, or cream, and there may be dark mottling on the chest and throat. They have long toes with small toe pads for climbing. Their feet are webbed and their snouts are pointed.

The call of a boreal chorus frog is a loud chirp-like sound likened to the sound of drawing a finger down a comb’s teeth. It is a short sound that may be repeated 30-70 times per minute.

The frog is diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular. It shows more daytime activity in cooler months and more activity at dusk, night, and dawn in the hotter parts of the year.

In the breeding season, it is active both day and night.

3. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in twigs and leaves in Winnfield, Louisiana, USA
A Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) in twigs and leaves in Winnfield, Louisiana, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis
  • Other Names: Southern gray tree frog
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 6 cm (1.26 to 3.26 in)
  • Lifespan: 2.5 to 7 years in captivity

Cope’s gray treefrogs are native to North America, inhabiting Ontario, Canada, and USA states like Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Vermont.

They can be found around both temporary and permanent water bodies. Habitats they can be found around include swamps, ponds, lakes, and mixed or deciduous forests.

There is no sexual dimorphism between the males and females. The frogs have a white mark underneath each eye. Their bodies are quite rough and warty, although smoother than the bodies of most toads.

They have toe pads that are biologically adapted for climbing. Their backs have different colors, and coloring is affected by such environmental factors as substrate, humidity, and season.

They are most commonly colored gray with black blotches on their backs. There are also Cope’s gray tree frogs that are green and brown in color.

They are nocturnal, using the cover of the night as a technique to avoid being seen by predators. Some larger frogs have been known to eat these frogs.

Their call is a fast high-pitched trill that sounds like a flute.

4. Gray Tree Frog

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) clinging onto mossy bark in Westminster, Vermont, USA
A Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) clinging onto mossy bark in Westminster, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
  • Other Names: Dryophytes versicolor, eastern gray tree frog
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 cm (1.1.8 to 1.9 in), record length 6 cm (2.25 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years

The gray tree frog is endemic to the eastern part of the USA and the southeastern region of Canada.

They live both on trees and on the ground. They are commonly found in small areas full of trees, in trees up to 20 meters above the ground.

They are similar in appearance and voice to Cope’s gray treefrogs. Males and females of this species show no physical differences.

The dorsal skin of a gray tree frog is rough and warty, rougher than the average frog but smoother than the average toad. They possess large, advanced, and sticky toe pads for climbing.

Dorsal color is usually gray, but some individuals have been noticed in brown, green, and ivory. Black blotches are also noticed on their skin. Environmental factors like humidity and season may change the color of their backs.

Ventral coloration is white. Black speckles can be found on their underside towards the groin area. Beneath each eye of the gray tree frog, there is usually a white mark.

Frogs of this species are both nocturnal and crepuscular, active mostly at dawn and dusk. Their call sounds like the call of a Cope’s gray tree frog, only that the gray tree frog’s flute-like trill is shorter in duration.

To avoid predation, they live high in trees and change color to blend in with their surroundings. Their nocturnality and crepuscular activity also make them less noticed by potential attackers.

5. Green Frog

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

You can find green frogs in Maine, Hawaii, Tennessee, Washington, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and a lot of other states in the United States.

They usually live in or around bodies of freshwater including ponds, lakes, marshes, and other slow-moving freshwater sources.

Females of this species are larger on average than males. They are found in various colors dorsally, including dark brown, brown, bronze, olive, green and bluish. There are even some individuals of two colors.

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

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

They show activity both day and night. The call of these frogs is a twang. It resembles the sound a banjo string makes when plucked.

Green frogs are sometimes hunted by humans as a source of frog legs. They evade their predators by mimicry, taking advantage of the resemblance that they bear to bad-tasting mink frogs.

6. Mink Frog

Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) submerged in water in Essex County, Vermont, USA
A Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) submerged in water in Essex County, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates septentrionalis
  • Other Names: Rana septentrionalis, north frog
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.6 cm (1.8 to 3 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 6 years in the wild

The mink frog is a species of small frog found in regions of Canada and the United States. They inhabit parts of Wisconsin, Quebec, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Manitoba, and Vermont.

They are primarily aquatic and so they like to live in permanent wetlands. They also live on land in forested and damp areas. They often occur around ponds, lakes, or streams with water lilies because they use water lilies as a sort of protection.

Mink frogs could be brown, olive, or green in color. They possess smooth skin with dark irregular blotches.   They may not have ridges on their backs, but when present, they are poorly developed.

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

Differences between the sexes are in tympanum size and throat coloration. Males have large external ears and bright yellow throats. Females have smaller tympana and white or pale yellow throats.

Mink frogs are nocturnal. They produce a foul odor to avoid predation. This odor smells like minks, like rancid onions, hence their name.

Their call sounds like that of the green frog. However, it does not have the bouncy quality of the green frog’s twang. It sounds more like a hammer tapping on wood, a series of three or more rapid croaks.

7. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) coming out of the leafy water in Newport, Vermont, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) coming out of the leafy water in Newport, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens, grass frog, meadow frog
  • Adult Size: 5 to 11.5 cm (1.97 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years in the wild

The northern leopard frog is the state amphibian of Minnesota and Vermont and is common in these states. It is native to regions of Canada and the United States.

Frogs of this species like to live around permanent, slow-moving water with aquatic vegetation. Habitats they live around include marshlands, brushlands, and forests. They prefer living in habitats with open spaces to living in forests and woodlands.

The color of their dorsal skin is usually green, greenish-brown, or yellow-green. Their smooth skin is covered in large oval spots, each bordered by a halo of lighter pigment. This leopard-like pattern is why they are called leopard frogs.

Their underbelly is usually white or cream in color. There are two distinct ridges on the back of the northern leopard frog, running along each side. Males are smaller on average, and they have large thumb pads and dual vocal sacs.

They migrate to ponds during spring to breed and then leave to grasslands or meadows, far from the water, in the summer. They are more active at night when breeding and more active during the day when foraging. They prey on smaller frogs.

The call of a northern leopard frog is a short snoring sound. It avoids its predators by leaping quickly and blending with the vegetation around it.

Some take advantage of their likeness to pickerel frogs, living around them to avoid being eaten.

8. Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) walking through rocks and grass in Vernon, Vermont, USA
A Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) walking through rocks and grass in Vernon, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates palustris
  • Other Names: Rana palustris
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 4 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 4 years in the wild

This frog species is native to North America. States in the US where this species can be found in include Oklahoma, South Carolina, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Vermont.

Individuals can be found living in cool streams with trees, swamps, springs, grassy fields, prairies, and weed-covered locations. They love to live near bodies of water that contain unpolluted water.

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

Pickerel frogs are usually white, bright yellow, or yellow-orange underneath, on their bellies and chests. Their bellies may also be mottled. The skin under their groins and hindlegs is any shade from bright yellow to orange.

Males are typically smaller than females and these males have short forearms and swollen thumbs. Pickerel frogs are nocturnal. Their call is low and snore-like.

They are average-sized frogs that larger frogs easily eat. To protect themselves from predators, they secrete toxic fluids that are poisonous enough to kill small mammals and even hurt humans.

9. Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) sitting on a leaf among flowers at Missisqoui National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont, USA
A Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) sitting on a leaf among flowers at Missisqoui National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer
  • Other Names: Hyla crucifer, peeper
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 3.5 cm (0.75 to 1.3 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 4 years in captivity

The spring peeper occurs in several states in the eastern and southeastern regions of the US. They also occur in parts of Canada like Manitoba.

It lives on trees in moist forests and other areas with trees, fields, grassy lowlands, and ponds. It could also be found buried in mud during the hotter periods of the year like in the summer. This is called aestivation.

The spring peeper’s dorsal skin is typically gray, tan, olive-brown, or brown in color. Ventrally, it is white in color. There is an often irregular brown mark on its X-shaped back. Males and females show no conspicuous physical differences.

Dark bands can be noticed on the legs of this frog. Its feet are moderately webbed and possess adhesive toe pads for climbing. Although this frog lives mostly in trees, it is often seen on the ground among leaves.

Spring peepers are a nocturnal species. When not breeding, they are hard to see around. Their calls are chirp-like, high, and in whistles. This call signals the beginning of spring, hence the name of the species.

To avoid being attacked, these frogs are cryptically colored to blend in with their environment. They also aestivate as a way to avoid predators.

They jump away from predators with their long legs when threatened.

10. Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvatica) under the shade of a leaf in dirt in Vermont, USA
A Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvatica) under the shade of a leaf in dirt in Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates sylvatica
  • 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

This species is frog is commonly distributed across North America. It spends most of its time on the ground or around trees.

A wood frog can be identified by the mask-like markings across its eyes. Also present is a black patch from each eardrum to the base of each foreleg. A white outline can be noticed across its upper lip.

Its dorsal coloration could be any shade of gray, green, brown, tan, or rust. It has a lateral mid-dorsal fold, usually bright yellow-brown in color. Ventrally, the frog is white.

Female wood frogs are more brightly colored dorsally than males. Males are smaller in size, with the ventral part of their legs colorful. On the other hand, female wood frogs are bigger. Their white bellies fade to a yellow-orange pallor towards the legs.

Frogs of this species are diurnal, actively foraging during the day. Their calls sound like the quacking of a duck or the squawking of a chicken.

They are cryptically adapted to their surroundings, blending with the forest floor to evade predators. They also produce poisons to irritate them.

When captured, a wood frog lets out a piercing cry to startle and annoy its attacker.

Species of Toads in Vermont

11. American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) creeping through grass in Jericho, Vermont, USA
An American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) creeping through grass in Jericho, Vermont, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
  • Other Names: Bufo americana, hop toad 
  • Adult Size: 5 to 10 cm (1.97 to 4 in), record SVL of 11.1 cm (4.4 in)
  • Lifespan: 1 to 10 years in the wild, up to 36 years in captivity

There are three subspecies of the American: the eastern American toad, the dwarf American toad, and the Hudson Bay toad.

Individuals of this species occur largely across North America. Some of these places include Chihuahua, Mexico; James Bay and Quebec, Canada; and California, Washington, Oregon, and Vermont, USA.

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

They have short legs, stout bodies, and thick, warty skin, characteristic of most toads. Warts on the skin could be red or yellow, but the general dorsum is usually colored brown, olive, or gray.

Skin color can change because of stress, temperature, or humidity. American toads’ hindleg digits are fully webbed. They have several dark spots on their backs and each spot has one or two warts on it.

Male and female American toads can easily be told apart. Males have dark-colored throats that usually are black or brown. Females have white throats and lighter-colored bodies. They are also bigger than the males.

These toads hide under rocks, stones, twigs, and other such things in the daytime. They are nocturnal, showing most activity when the weather is warm and humid. Their call is a long and high-pitched “bu-r-r-r-r-r”, usually 6-30 seconds long.

Like other toads, the American toad has toxins produced from its skin. In case of attack or capture by a predator immune to their toxin, the toads blow up their skin with air to make them hard to slow or urinate on themselves in order to be less appealing to eat.

12. Fowler’s Toad

Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in a rocky surface in Powhatan County, Vermont, USA
A Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) in a rocky surface in Powhatan County, Vermont, 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: typically 5 years

Fowler’s toads like to live in habitats with open canopy and space, like savannas which have widely spaced trees.

They can be found in grasslands and prairies. They also like to live on beaches.

They are medium-sized. Their dorsal color is usually tan, gray, brown, or greenish gray. They have dark or black spots on their backs, with each black spot having three to six warts on it.

A white or light-colored stripe runs through the middle of their backs. Their bellies are lightly colored, mostly in white, cream, or yellowish-white, and they have a single gray spot. Males are generally darker in color and the females lighter.

Fowler’s toads are primarily nocturnal but they show some daytime activity as well. They are inactive in extreme heat or cold. Their call is a short nasal sound, like a baby crying or a sheep bleating, lasting for 2-5 seconds.

This species of toads are considered to be at risk. This is due to the activities of off-road vehicles that cause habitat destruction and loss, the use of chemicals in agriculture, and predation.

If roughly handled by predators, they pretend to be dead by lying still. When attacked, they secrete poison from warts on their skin to irritate and poison such predators.

FAQ

What kind of frogs live in Vermont?

Ten (10) kinds of frogs live in Vermont. They include the American bullfrog, the boreal chorus frog, Cope’s gray tree frog, the gray tree frog, the green frog, the mink frog, the northern leopard frog, the pickerel frog, the spring peeper, and the wood frog.

Does Vermont have poisonous frogs?

Yes, there are poisonous frogs in Vermont. The two (2) species of poisonous frogs that can be found in Vermont are the pickerel frog and the wood frog.

Does Vermont have frogs?

Yes. Vermont is home to ten (10) various species of frogs and two (2) species of toads.

What type of toads lives in Vermont?

The two (2) types of toads that live in Vermont are the American toad and Fowler’s toads.

What is Vermont’s state amphibian?

The state amphibian of Vermont is the northern leopard frog.

Conclusion

The US state of Vermont is home to ten (10) various species of frogs and two (2) species of toads. These anurans include widely spread and abundant species like the American bullfrog and some facing the threat of extinction like Fowler’s toads.

Vermont’s natural landscapes are made more magical at night by the sound of the calls and voices of the various anurans. The animals are also important to the environment as they eat insects and serve as food to other bigger species of animals.

Frogs and toads are heard calling mostly in the breeding season. This is when males and females meet at water bodies (called breeding pools) for external fertilization.

The breeding season is usually from spring to fall although the timeline varies across species.

They are however not heard or seen for some time in the course of the year. This is in the hibernation period, and it usually occurs in the winter.

When in hibernation frogs and toads stay in an inactive state so they do not have to move around looking for food and warmth.

Hibernation is a coping mechanism for the winter, and aestivation is a coping mechanism for the summer. Some frogs and toads will bury themselves underground in extreme heat to avoid desiccation (drying up).

Frogs make good first pets as long as they are not poisonous. They are small, affordable to purchase, and easy to take care of. Some of the various species also live long.

Most toads are however poisonous and so do not make great household pets.

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