Frogs and Toads
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
DESCRIPTION: Small (approx.. 1 in. length), warty-skinned. Member of tree frog family. Usually brown or gray with darker banding on legs; often have dark triangular mark between eyes
HABITAT: Southern and western Lower Peninsula; inhabit open, muddy or marshy edges of permanent ponds, lakes, bogs, floodplain ponds, and slow-moving streams and rivers; numbers have declined drastically in recent years
BREEDING: Usually emerge from hibernation late March to early April; breed from mid-May to mid-July. During breeding season, males give a distinctive, metallic clicking call (similar to sound when two pebbles are tapped together.) Female lays eggs individually or in small clusters, which transform into tadpoles late summer.
NOTES: Once abundant in Southern Michigan, but many populations in Michigan and Great Lakes basin declined dramatically or disappeared during late 1970s and early 1980s. Possible reasons include: habitat loss from development and vegetation succession, pesticides or other chemical contaminants, and competition with other frog species. Currently listed as a species of special concern in Michigan.
HABITAT: Permanent waters; lakes, ponds, river backwaters. Needs warm waters with abundant plant growth.
BREEDING: June-July, in ponds and lake edges. Large floating egg masses may contain 5000 to 10,000 eggs. Tadpoles need 2 to 3 summers before becoming frogs.
VOICE: A deep, low, rumbling croak, often written as "jug o rum!"
RANGE AND STATUS: statewide, but numbers have been reduced locally due to over-harvesting for "frog legs." Now rare over much of state.
Eastern American Toad
DESCRIPTION: Common "hop toad" of gardens and yards. Brownish skin is very warty. Short, but large and muscular hind legs allow it to move more easily through woodlands and backyards. Throat and belly white speckled with black. Large - 2 to 4 inches long.
HABITAT: Woodlands, shady backyards. Needs a cool daytime shelter, loose soils, and an insect food source (Great for gardens!)
BREEDING: April-May, in woodland ponds or other shallow waters. Eggs laid in long strings. Blackish tadpoles transform into toadlets in June or July.
VOICE: A prolonged trill.
RANGE AND STATUS: Common statewide.
NOTES: Skin secretions are distasteful to predators, but do not cause warts in humans. A beneficial species in gardens, eats many insect pests - a modest-sized toad will eat about 3200 insects in a season. Will frequent night lights.
DESCRIPTION: Like American Toad, but throat and belly is usually plain colored and has more warts (3 or more) in each dark spot on the back. 2 to 31/2 inches long.
HABITAT: Woodlands, often with sandy soil, such as Lake Michigan dune woodlands.
BREEDING: May-June, in ponds. Eggs in long strings. Tadpoles transform in mid to late summer. Tiny toadlets almost identical to American Toad.
VOICE: A short, bleating cry, like a lamb, but quite unlike the American Toad's trill.
Gray Tree Frog
DESCRIPTION: Tree frogs have large, sticky toe pads. Color can change gray, green, or brown, according to environment or activity. Underside of hind legs yellow. 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. (The two species, Eastern and Cope's, are very similar in appearance and habits).
HABITAT: Woods, swamps, backyards. Able to climb vertically, or move horizontally, with specially adapted toe pads.
BREEDING: May, in woodland ponds. Males call from low vegetation, near or over water. Eggs in small cluster. Transformation of tadpoles by mid to late summer.
VOICE: A short musical trill. Often heard before and after breeding season on warm nights. Trills of the two species sound different.
RANGE AND STATUS: Common statewide. Relative distribution of the two "sibling" species is poorly known.
DESCRIPTION: A large green, brown, or olive frog, 2 1/2 to 4 inches long. Some have blotchy markings on the back and/or sides. Has a fold of skin from eardrum down each side of back; the similar appearing, but larger, Bullfrog lacks these folds. Undersides are white, sometimes dappled with gray. Throat is yellow in the male, white in the female. Upper lip area is green or yellow.
HABITAT: Permanent ponds, lakes, marshes, wooded swamps, banks of streams. Eats insects, smaller frogs, and other small prey.
BREEDING: May-July, in permanent waters. Floating egg masses may hold over 4000 eggs. Tadpoles often take two seasons to transform into frogs.
VOICE: An emphatic "clung," like picking a banjo string. Short and loud.
DESCRIPTION: A blotchy, spotted, greenish or brownish frog. Similar to Green Frog, but has spots or blotches instead of cross bands on the hind legs. Bright green upper lip and creamy to yellowish belly. Produces a musky, mink like odor when handled. Medium - 2 to 3 inches long.
HABITAT: Bogs, ponds, and lake edges. Remains close to permanent water.
BREEDING: June-July. Eggs laid on vegetation in deep water. Tadpoles may require more than one summer to become frogs.
VOICE: Likened to distant hammering; "Kuk, kuk, kuk, kuk, kuk."
Northern Leopard Frog
DESCRIPTION: The familiar "meadow frog" with dark round spots on a background of green, greenish brown or brown. Legs may have dark spots or bars. A dark spot is seen above each eye and on the snout. A white line stretches from the nose to the shoulder, above the upper lip. Entirely white underneath. Medium - 2 to 3 1/2 inches long.
HABITAT: Wet meadows, grassy pond and lake edges. May wander well away from water after breeding season.
BREEDING: April-early May, in permanent ponds, marshes, and bogs. Egg masses may hold as many 6000 eggs. Tadpoles transform into frogs by mid summer.
VOICE: A low croaking snore.
DESCRIPTION: Similar to Leopard Frog, however both spots on back and legs of Pickerel Frog are more square in shape, and insides of hind legs are bright yellow or orange. 2 to 3 inches long.
HABITAT: Pollution-free waters: grassy edged streams, bogs, clear ponds. Prefers cooler waters than Leopard Frog.
BREEDING: April-May, in ponds and slow backwaters. Globular egg masses may contain 2000 eggs. Tadpoles transform into frogs in late summer.
VOICE: A soft, short snore-like croak.
Western Chorus Frog
DESCRIPTION: A tiny brownish frog with dark stripes on back and a dark band that runs from the nose to top of front leg, through the eye. 1 to 1 1/2 inches long.
HABITAT: Wet meadows, marshes, woodlands. Rarely seen after breeding season.
BREEDING: March-May. In temporary ponds and floodings. Eggs in small masses. Tadpoles transform into frogs in 2 to 3 months.
VOICE: A raspy, rising trill "cree ee k" similar to the noise made by strumming the small teeth of a pocket comb.
RANGE AND STATUS: Common throughout Lower Peninsula, but rare in the Upper Peninsula.
DESCRIPTION: A brown or tan frog with a dark band ("robber's mask") through the eye and a white stripe on the upper lip. Small to medium - 2 to 21/2 inches long.
HABITAT: Woodlands, wooded swamps.
BREEDING: March-April, in woodland ponds and swamps often before ice is completely melted from pond. Egg masses are globular; many females may deposit in one area, often in deepest part of pond. Tadpoles will transform about 2 months later.
VOICE: A duck like "quack," some describe it as "a lot of chuckling."