Frogs come in many colors, and in a time with so many fake social media images, it may be hard to know what is real and what is fake. Like seriously, do rainbow frogs exist?
As a general rule, frogs are different shades of 7 main colors including green, brown, grey, blue, yellow, red, and black. Poison frogs are the most colorful species, and toads are generally brown with warts.
Let’s dive in and see examples of different frog and toad species, their various colors in nature, and debunk some common frog color myths to help you tell what is real from what is fake.
Frogs Are Generally 7 Main Colors
Frogs are generally seven main colors including green, brown, grey, blue, yellow, red, and black. Frogs have hundreds of predators and color plays a key role in their defense mechanisms to help them camouflage and deter predators. Learn more about frog predators and defense mechanisms.
Some Frogs Are Mainly Green
Green is the color most people consider for frogs. Most Bullfrogs and Tree Frogs that prefer to live on leaves are mainly green. Frogs that live in grass, lilies, cat-tails, weeds, and other vegetation are generally shades of green. Being green like their environment allows frogs to hide among the bushes around them and avoid being seen by predators.
Tip: If you are out looking for frogs and want to spot one among vegetation, look for something shiny. Frogs may be green like what is around them, but their bodies are moist and have a glimmer to them. If the vegetation is not too dewy, it should be easy to spot a shiny frog in the grass.
Many Green Frogs are spotted or striped with other colors including shades of brown and red. For example, Northern Leopard Frogs can be mainly green but are generally spotted with brown and tan, and American Bullfrogs have a distinct yellow belly.
Some Frogs Are Mainly Brown
Toads and Tree Frogs that live on tree bark are mainly brown. Therefore, keep in mind that toads are not the only species of frogs that are brown. Some brown frogs like Spring Peeper live near ponds on the forest floor and climb only about 20 cm (8 in) into the trees. Being brown allows them to blend in with decaying leaves, tree bark, soil, pine needles, and mud.
Toads are generally brown with spots that are a range of colors from dark to light brown, tones of red including russet, and tones of yellow like mustard. Color is not the main distinction between frogs and toads but is more so that toads have warts and shorter legs. Therefore, not all toads are brown. For example, the Western Green Toad is mainly green.
Some Frogs Are Mainly Grey
Some frogs are mainly Grey like certain types of Tree Frogs and some frogs that live in the desert, like Desert Rain Frogs. Being the same color as their environment, these frogs can easily hide from predators by staying immobile on grey bark, by or burrowing in dry sand. Learn more about frogs’ numerous defense mechanisms in this article on our blog.
Poison Dart Frogs Are Primary Colors
Poison Dart Frogs are generally primary colors like blue, yellow, and red which indicate poison in frogs. Color is a key factor in deterring predators and enabling the longevity of the species.
Some Poison Dart Frogs Are Blue
Blue Poison Dart frogs are generally blue with black spots to deter predators from eating them since their poison is strong enough to paralyze or kill them. They have few predators and so they thrive during the day. Blue Poison Dart Frogs can be found in forests in Southern Suriname close to Northern Brazil.
Some Poison Dart Frogs Are Yellow
Yellow or Golden Poison Dart Frogs can be all yellow-gold, or black and yellow, and are a bright color to deter predators from eating them. They are very territorial and so some of their greatest threats are their own species. Yellow Poison Dart Frogs can be found in Northern parts of South America, more specifically in Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia
Some Poison Dart Frogs Are Red
Red Poison Dart frogs, also called Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs, are a bright color to deter predators from eating them since their poison is strong enough to paralyze or kill them. These frogs eat ants that support and sustain the poison in their bodies. Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs can be found in Central America including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Learn more about poisonous frogs in this complete guide on our blog.
Frog Color Myth Busting
You may have seen some photos of colorful frogs online and are wondering if they are real. Do pink, purple, or rainbow frogs really exist? Let’s find out.
Purple Frogs Do Not Exist
Purple Poison Dart Frogs do not exist. The image in search engines and on social media of Purple, or Purple and Black frogs are edited versions of photos of Poison Dart Frog.
Pink Frogs (Lipstick Frogs) Do Not Exist
Pseudodendrobate Americanus, otherwise known as Lipstick False Dart Frogs, or Pink Dart Frogs do not exist. The image in search engines and on social media of a Pink and Black frog is an edited version of a photo of a frog.
Are Rainbow Frogs Real?
Rainbow Frogs do not exist and are not real. Any images of a rainbow colored frogs that circulated on social media or that can be found in search engines are modified versions of photos of real frogs.
The things you can do with photo editing software like Photoshop are pretty crazy right? It is a good reminder to not believe everything you see online 😉
Why Are Frogs Different Colors?
Frogs are different colors based on their environment. Frogs are generally the color of where they live in order to camouflage and hide from predators. For example, Toads are brown like mud, Tree Frogs are green like leaves, and Desert Rain Frogs are grey like sand.
The color of frogs has evolved over time to adapt to their environment, even within the same species. For example, Leopard Frogs are generally green or brown with spots for camouflage depending on their environment. If their environment is more muddy and boggy, they will generally be brown. If their environment is more covered with vegetation, they will generally be more green (CTNF).
Frogs Eyes Can Be Many Colors
Frog Eyes are a wide variety of colors ranging from tones of gold, brown, red, and blue Uncommon colors are used to deter predators, like Red-Eyed Tree Frogs. Frogs with horizontal pupils are generally more active during the day, whereas frogs with vertical pupils are generally more active at night.
Frogs’ eyes do not change color at night although they may reflect light like most animals. However, frogs are capable of seeing color at night, and can mainly decipher tones of blue and green in their environment.
Learn more about what colors frogs can see in this article on our blog.
Common Frog Color Questions
Here are some common questions related to the colors of frogs.
What Color Are Frogs Feet? Frog’s feet are generally the same color as their body which may be brown, green, grey, blue, yellow, red, or black. Frog feet may be striped, spotted, or solid and so you may find a mix of colors depending on the species.
What Color Are Frogs Tongues? Frogs’ tongues are generally pink, very light red, and may even look like pink bubblegum. Frogs have long sticky tongues they use to roll up and eat their prey alive.
What Color Are Frogs Spots? Frogs spots are generally a darker shade of the frog’s body and can be shades of brown, green, grey, blue, yellow, red, or black. Frogs can have different color spots, stripes, or sections of their bodies.
How Many Colors of Frogs are There? There are generally 7 main colors of frogs including brown, green, grey, blue, yellow, red, and black. Frogs may also be multi-colored with added stripes or spots.
Why Are Frogs Colorful? Frogs are colorful for self-defense including camouflage and poisoning. Tree Frogs are extremely good at blending in with their environment thanks to their earth tones, and Poison Dart Frogs have few predators because of their bright primary colors indicating they are poisonous.
What Color Are Frog Bellies? Frog bellies can be a variety of colors but are generally a lighter shade than their body, and often tones of yellow or tan. Poison Dart Frog bellies are generally the same color as their main or spotted tone.
What Colors Are Frogs Attracted to? Frogs may be attracted to shades of blue and green since these are the primary colors they are able to distinctly see at night, but frogs are especially sensitive to movement and are constantly deciding if something is prey or a predator.
Learn more about what colors frogs can see in this article on our blog.
“Dendrobates leucomelas“. AmphibiaWeb.
Frost, Darrel R. “Oophaga pumilio (Schmidt, 1857)”. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. 2014