Canada is home to many different frog species despite the harsh Winter climate. The vast majority of the frogs that can be found in Canada are located in South-Eastern provinces including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. However, you can find many frog species in British Columbia, and even a few frogs as far as the North West Territories.
There are 25 known frog species that inhabit Canada including American Bullfrogs, Northern Pacific Tree Frogs, and Green Frogs. Most frog species living in Canada are located in the South-Eastern Provinces, yet the Wood Frog lives all over Canada including in the Territories.
Here are different types of frogs you can find across Canada:
|Northern Leopard Frog
|Gray Tree Frog
|Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
|Northern Cricket Frog
|Western Chorus Frog
|Northern Pacific Tree Frog
|Oregon Spotted Frog
|Northern Red-Legged Frog
|Boreal Chorus Frog
I am lucky to be located in Eastern Canada which provides me access to finding many of these frog species in the wild. But you can find frogs in most parts of Canada, even in the North West Territories!
I am going to cover a few frog species you can find in Canada including what they look like, their preferred habitats, and where to find them (CTNF).
1. American Bullfrog
American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are the largest frogs in Canada and can grow up to 20cm in length. They are green, olive, or brown, and their back may be distinctively mottled or lack patterning altogether. These frogs mostly prefer aquatic areas.
The name ‘Bullfrog’ is derived from the male’s sound during the breeding season, which is similar to a bull bellowing. They breed during June and July and lay eggs in shallow water with abundant aquatic vegetation.
The American Bullfrog is one voracious and skilled hunter that ambushes its predators. They usually feed on insects, small mice, snakes, fish, amphibians, and mammals. Humans also prey on American Bullfrogs for their leg meat.
Although they were originally from Eastern Canada (Ontario to Nova Scotia), they were also introduced to British Columbia. Since its introduction, American Bullfrogs have spread along the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, potentially posing risks for native frog species. However, they are more common in South-Eastern regions of Canada, mostly in wetlands.
I often find these frogs on the waterline of calm river banks and in marshes.
2. Wood Frog
Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) live all over Canada including above the Arctic Circle in the Yukon region, thriving in forests that extend along river valleys. Wood Frogs inhabit Canada from coast to coast, but are more rare in arid locations.
They grow to around 2 – 3 inches (8 cm) with females that are larger than males. Wood Frogs flaunt a brown, tan, or rust skin color, with a pale yellow or green color stomach. They have dark eye masks on their faces which makes them easy to distinguish from other frogs. These frogs can shift their skin tone from lighter to darker.
These frogs have a fascinating way to survive the harsh Winters by freezing up to 60% of their bodies. Breeding generally occurs right after hibernation during a one or two-week period in April or May in shallow pools of water, generally with no fish. Wood Frog feeds on a wide variety of insects and other small invertebrates.
3. Spring Peeper Frog
Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) have smooth skin, in shades of brown, green, gray, or tan, and have white or cream undersides with a distinct X marking on their back. This frog species inhabits forested areas in the eastern part of Canada. They are one of the first frogs to come out of hibernation with Wood Frogs.
Spring Peeper thrive in moist areas near aquatic spaces such as woodland ponds and choose to mate in water without fish. Mating season is from March to early June. Spring Peeper can be very hard to find in nature, even if they can be very loud once the sun sets.
I set out to find Spring Peeper but it can be very difficult since they are so small and blend in so well with their environment. It is easiest to find them right after sunset by looking for something shiny among the vegetation.
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They got their name from the “Peep” chirping call they make that marks the beginning of Spring.
4. Northern Pacific Tree Frog
Pacific Tree Frogs (Pseudacris regilla), otherwise known as Pacific Chorus Frogs, have green, gray, brown, or tan skin with dark stripes down each eye. They are small and lean, growing up to 5 cm (2 in), and have large sticky pads on their feet for climbing. Some have a dark Y or V-shaped between the eyes and the stripes on the back and leg.
These frogs can have rough or smooth skin and thrive in moist environments such as forests, mountains, and steppes. One of the most fascinating features of this species is its ability to camouflage by changing color according to temperature fluctuations.
The Northern Pacific Tree Frog resides around the West Coast of Canada in a wide variety of climates and vegetation. Their breeding occurs during early Spring and just like the Wood Frog, the females are usually larger than males. They also lay eggs in clusters attached to submerged vegetation.
5. Northern Leopard Frog
The Northern Leopard Frog is found extensively in the Eastern parts of Canada. These frogs can be fairly large at about 11cm (4.3 in) in length. The color of this species is generally green and brown with dark oval spots covering its body, giving the name “Leopard” Frog. They also generally have a light-colored underside.
The Northern Leopard Frog breed in a short period of spring between March and late June. Although they are not officially endangered, the population of Northern Leopard Frogs is declining in some places due to their use for consumption and in classrooms for dissection.
6. Northern Cricket Frog
Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans), otherwise known as Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs, are green-brown, gray, red, yellow, or black. Within Canada, they can only be found on Pelee Island, Ontario where they thrive in quarries, marshes, and warm forests.
These frogs grow to approximately 1.5 inches in length, have a distinct ‘V’ mark between their eyes, and have rough or wart-covered skin. They are currently endangered, as the species is threatened by habitat loss and pesticide issues.
7. Mink Frog
The Mink Frog is named for the scent it possesses, which is similar to mink smell. They are medium-sized frogs that can grow up to 8 cm in length with an olive or brown color and mottling on their back, hind leg, and sides.
Mink Frogs are common in aquatic areas with abundant vegetation such as marshes. They breed from June to August and are commonly found in Eastern Canada including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI.
9. Green Frogs
Green Frogs are common in Eastern Canada and are sometimes mistaken for Mink Frogs or American Bullfrog. Green Frogs are generally smaller than American Bullfrogs and have less spotting compared to Mink Frogs.
Compared to Bullfrog, the Green Frog has a single note sounding like on the pluck of a guitar, unlike the deep bellowing sound the bullfrog makes.
Green Frogs are olive, green, or brown, with some dark spots on the body. I often find these frogs in aquatic areas such as calm ponds. This species requires a permanent body of water to inhabit, and their breeding takes place from June to August.
10. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) have rough skin, occurring in gray, green, or brown shades. They have orange skin along their inner thighs, dark blotches along the back, and outlined circles under the eyes.
They grow to around 2.3 inches, have large toe pads for climbing, and thrive in trees or shrubs near aquatic environments. These frogs prefer older forests and can change their colors. They can be mistaken for Gray Tree Frogs but can be differentiated by their high-pitched and fast mating call.
11. Gray Tree Frog
Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla versicolor), otherwise known as Tetraploid Gray Tree Frogs, have rough skin in shades of brown, gray, or green. They have bright orange inner thighs and can camouflage based on their surroundings.
Gray Tree Frogs are common in Southern Manitoba, Southern Ontario, Southern of Quebec, and parts of Nova Scotia. They can generally be found in trees located close to a small, permanent body of freshwater like a forest pond.
Like Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs, these frogs have dark blotches on the back and outlined circles under the eyes. They also prefer older forests, living in trees and shrubs near aquatic areas. However, they have a short and flute-like mating call.
12. Oregon Spotted Frog
Oregon Spotted Frog is named for the black spots covering its body, smooth skin, and small bumps. Their body color is usually brown or, occasionally, olive green on the back and white or cream with reddish pigments on the under legs and abdomen. They can be fairly large growing up to 10cm in length.
Oregon Spotted Frogs are commonly found in South-Western parts of British Columbia and common in aquatic habitats, wetlands, and forest areas. They breed from March to June. But remember, don’t go looking for frogs near the sea, they do not tolerate saltwater.
13. Northern Red-Legged Frog
The Northern Red-Legged Frog is known for its red-colored feet and relatively long legs that give them a lengthy jump. They are reddish-brown or brown with small black specks all over their bodies. The skin underside of the leg is semi-translucent, allowing the bones and muscles to be almost visible.
The Northern Red-legged Frogs can be found on the West Coast of Canada in British Columbia in forestland, grassland, or freshwater stream-side locations. They breed from late November to early April.
14. Tailed Frog
Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus truei) live near mountainous streams in southern British Columbia, Canada. Unlike most frogs, this species has adapted to thrive in fast-flowing water, further supporting their continued survival.
These frogs are brown, but their most notable feature is the presence of a ‘tail’. These ‘tails’ are flaunted by males and are extensions of the cloaca, which is used for internal fertilization during mating seasons. This is very rare since the vast majority of frogs mate by external fertilization.
15. Western Chorus Frog
Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata), otherwise known as Western Striped Chorus Frogs, are gray, brown, or green. They have distinct dark eye stripes and a white line aligned with their top lip.
They have three dark stripes along their backs, and the middle line is solid. These frogs thrive in woodland ponds and forest openings, although they avoid ponds with fish. They grow to around 1.5 inches, have smooth skin, and are avid climbers.
Contrary to their name, this frog is found in the East of Canada in parts of Ontario and Quebec. The species is currently threatened due to habitat loss, specifically within the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region, and is federally protected under SARA (CTNF).
16. Boreal Chorus Frog
Boreal Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris maculata) are gray, brown, or green, and they have a wide distribution range throughout Central Canada including Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and parts of British Columbia all the way up into the North West Territories.
Boreal Chorus Frogs have similar markings to the Western Chorus Frog, but the middle line along the back is broken. This species can be confused with the Western Chorus Frog, but it can be identified by its shorter hind legs. They grow to around 1.5 inches and are skilled climbers, and their mating call is longer and slower than the Western Chorus Frog.
More About Frogs in Canada
Canada houses a wide range of fascinating frog species a few of which are classified as endangered or threatened. Learn more about frogs in Canada on our blog: