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Frogs and Toads:  Order Anura

There are three major groups of frogs in Alabama: toads (and toad-like frogs), tree frogs, and the larger true frogs (like bull frogs).  Look at each category to see which one your frog belongs to.  Then, chose the frog that looks most like yours in that category.  Click on the name of the frog to go to the species description page.


TOADS and Toad-like Frogs

rounded body and short hind legs.


These three do not have large parotoid glands behind the eyes.  A parotoid gland is a rounded, swollen area behind the eye. (seen best in picture of Fowler's toad below)
Eastern Narrowmouth Toad Short, pointed snout with small fold of skin behind head. Eastern Spadefoot Toad There is one sharp-edged black spade on each hind foot for burrowing; pupils are vertically elliptical (like a cat); skin is smooth.
These three have raised parotoid glands behind the eyes.
Fowler's Toad There are three or more warts in each dark patch on the skin. Oak Toad This is the smallest toad.  It only reaches 35mm from the tip of the snout to the end of the spine.  It usually has no distinct dark patches on the back.
American Toad There are only 1 or 2 large warts in each darker patch on the skin. Southern Toad Warts are often spine tipped or pointy.  There are crests between the eyes that extend backward and end in distinct knoblike bumps.



They have rounded toe-pads for climbing trees.



Cricket frogs are small, warty, and have distinct light and dark stripes along the back of the thigh.  Toe pads are small and difficult to see.
Southern Cricket Frog Dark stripe on the back of the thigh with a straight border.  Webbing on hind foot at base of toes only. This is what the dark stripe with a jagged outline looks like on a Northern Cricket Frog.  It will be straight on a Southern Cricket Frog.
Northern Cricket Frog Dark stripe on back of thigh has jagged edges. Webbing on hind foot extends nearly to tip of toes.  
These are the true treefrogs with large-rounded toe pads.
Barking Treefrog Usually lots of spots and body varies in color from light to dark green or brown. Skin noticeably bumpy. Green Treefrog Yellow to green with a bold light stripe on the sides.  The stripe extends nearly to the base of the hind leg and ends abruptly. Skin is smooth.
Squirrel Treefrog Often a dark spot between the eyes.  Highly variable in color (green or gray) and may be difficult to identify.  May have light stripe on each side, but they will not end abruptly. Cope's Gray Treefrog Grayish (occasionally greenish) in color with orange on the back of the thighs and a white mark under each eye.
Pine Barrens Treefrog Dark wide stripe on the sides that is bordered by a white stripe.  There are orange spots on the inner thighs. Pine Woods Treefrog A row of yellow or orange spots on the back of the thigh.  Color is bark-like (blotches of brown, gray or green).
Bird-voiced Treefrog Similar to the gray treefrog, but the back of the thighs are washed with greenish or yellowish white.  There is also a white mark under each eye.  
The following Chorus frogs have very small toepads.
Spring Peepers A dark mark on the back in the shape of an X and triangular dark blotch between eyes. Southern Chorus Frog No triangular dark blotch between eyes. Three wide dark stripes on the back (may be broken into splotches) and a white upper lip.
Mountain Chorus Frog Triangular dark blotch between eyes, white upper lip, and usually  with two dark stripes down back. Upland Chorus Frog Three dark stripes down the back and a dark triangular mark between the eyes.
Ornate Chorus Frog Black mask running through eyes and creating bold dark spots on the sides; small yellow spots on the inner thighs. Little Grass Frog Very tiny frog with a dark line through the eyes and on the sides.  Usually a dark stripe down the middle of the back.



These are the "true frogs".  They have webbing between the toes, usually smooth skin, a narrow waist, and long legs.  First, look for a dorso-lateral fold on your frog.  This is the fold or ridge of skin that runs on each side from the head down the length of the back.  In some frogs, it will be a solid line.  In others, it may only run part way down the back or be broken.


Frogs with a complete dorso-lateral fold:
Southern Leopard frog Green and/or brown with dark round spots. Usually with a yellow spot on the eardrum (round disc behind the eye). Pickerel Frog Two rows of paired squarish dark spots down the back;  yellow or orange on the inner parts of the thighs.
Gopher Frog Stubby and warty; many irregular dark markings on a greenish to brownish body.  No white spots on lips. Bronze Frog Bronze to brown in color; white belly with dark worm-like markings; dorsolateral ridge incomplete (ends at mid-body).
Wood Frog Dark mask through eyes (robber's mask); brown to pink body.  
Frogs with no dorso-lateral fold:
Pig Frog Webbing on fourth toe extends well beyond the joint of the terminal toe segment (nearly to tip of toe).  Bull frog Webbing on fourth toe extends only to joint of the terminal toe segment; color is variable from olive to dark brown with dark spots; belly is light with web-like markings.
River Frog Greenish to black frog; white spots on lips; belly is dark with light spots.