Georgia, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of the USA, has a humid subtropical climate favorable to amphibians like frogs and toads. There are over 80 species of amphibians residing within the state which makes for very diverse fauna. If you want to find and identify frogs in Georgia, you are in the right place.
Georgia is home to 32 different species of frogs and the American Green Tree Frog is the state amphibian of Georgia. Other frogs found in Georgia include Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, Wood Frogs, American Bullfrogs, and Southern Leopard Frogs.
|Location In Georgia
|American Green Tree Frog
|Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
|Southern Leopard Frog
The climate and wetlands of Georgia are ideal habitats for frogs. As a result, a wide variety of frog species are found all over Georgia. Although all frogs have remarkable similarities, there are particular attributes that you can use to distinguish them.
I’ll be discussing the different frog species and their distinctive features. This will enable you to identify individual species quickly whenever you cross paths with one while exploring the beautiful wetlands of Georgia.
1. American Green TreeFrog (Hyla Cinerea)
The American Green Tree Frog is a medium-sized 2.5 inch-long lime green colored frog. Males are generally smaller than females. It has long limbs, sticky toe pads, and a white stripe down each side of its body. It lives mainly on vertical branches in trees, and its diet consists primarily of insects.
This amphibian possesses the ability to climb and cling to smooth surfaces such as windows and sliding glass doors. This frog is found throughout the southeast part and is mostly restricted to the coastal plain.
Georgians are very familiar with this frog. The Senate Bill 41, which was signed into law on 9th May 2005 by Gov. Sonny Perdue, designated the American Green Tree Frog as the official State amphibian of Georgia.
2. Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Cope’s Gray Treefrog is almost identical to Eastern Gray Tree Frog, yet the difference is their call and chromosome count. In addition, it can secrete toxic, irritating mucus. Cope’s Gray Treefrogs range in color from mottled gray to light green and can camouflage extremely well depending on the environment.
Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are generally located throughout Georgia and often begin breeding earlier in the Southern part of the state. It has black-marked bright orange to yellow patches on its hind legs. The bright yellow pattern is generally hidden when the frog has its legs tucked in, but exposed when the frog leaps.
The males have black or gray throats in the breeding season, while that of females is generally lighter. Like many frogs, the Cope’s Gray Treefrog is nocturnal and goes out to hunt for bugs and insects like ants, moths, and crickets once the sunsets (CTNF).
3. Wood Frog (Rama Sylvatica)
The Wood Frog is more terrestrial than other tree frog species. However, it is easy to identify, owing to the dark mask around its face which has given it the nickname “Robbers Mask.” Wood Frogs are around 3 inches in length with smooth brown, gray, or tan skin.
The Wood Frog has two folds of skin running from behind its eyes down along the sides of its back. In addition, it possesses a light stripe on the upper lip and unwebbed front feet with little pads on its toes for climbing.
Wood Frog tadpole feeds on plant matter while the adult feeds on small invertebrates like slugs, worms, and millipedes. Wood Frogs are easiest to find at night when they hop around like a spring looking for food.
4. American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
The American Bullfrog is the largest of all North American frogs. It can grow up to 9 inches and weigh up to 1.5 pounds. Even tadpoles can reach 6.75 inches in length. Females are slightly larger than males.
American Bullfrogs are generally easy to spot since they are so large compared to other frogs. They are green or gray-brown with brown spots and a yellow belly for males, and a cream-white belly for females. They have large round eardrums (tympanum) on both sides of their head.
American Bullfrogs are not invasive in Georgia but are in the Western States. The reason they are invasive in some places is that they are so large, their diet ranges from insects and fish to birds, mice, and snakes. They can eat much larger prey and take over local species.
Because of their size and invasive status in some places, this is one of the reasons why American Bullfrogs are a better choice for frog leg meat compared to other species. American Bullfrog legs are a delicacy in Georgia where they are generally served deep-fried or off the BBQ with spicy sauces like cajun, creole, or cayenne sauces.
5. Southern Leopard Frog (Rana Sphenocephalus)
The Southern Leopard Frog is a mid-sized frog of around 2 to 3.5 inches in length. It has a greenish-brown or light brown color with large dark green to brown spots on its back, sides, and legs. The upper jaw has a light yellow stripe.
This amphibian has webbed feet and a pair of light color ridges running down its back from eyes to the vent. It has a visible tympanum that may have a light spot in the center.
Though they are aquatic, Southern Leopard Frogs can stay on land for a good while. You can often find them very close to a body of freshwater on land during Spring and Summer evenings eating insects, crayfish, and small invertebrates.
6. River Frog (Rana heckscheri)
The River Frog is a large amphibian compared to other species you can find in Georgia ranging from 3-5 inches. A key distinguishing feature compared to American Bullfrogs and Pig Frogs is the white spot on its lower lips.
River Frogs are generally brown, light brown, green, dark green, or greenish-black. Its belly, lips, and lower jaw have light spots. Another way to distinguish them from male American Bullfrogs is the fact that their throats are not as yellow. As for tadpoles, they are very large with a black margin on their tail fin.
River frogs are commonly found in black water creeks and cypress swamps across the south of Georgia. They produce toxic skin secretions that can make predators sick. They feed on beetles, crayfish, fishes, small snakes, and small invertebrates.
7. Pig Frog (Rana grylio)
Although not as large as American Bullfrogs, Pig Frogs are also very large species, ranging from 3 to 6.5 inches. They are grayish-green or brown, with black mottling on the dorsal surface. In addition, they have extensively webbed toes, no dorsal folds, and a row of spots on the hind legs.
The frogs are aquatic; however, they move on land at night. Their eyes are elevated and very large. Pig Frogs feed on insects and crustaceans, but like their name indicates, they eat about anything that is moving and can fit into their mouths. Like American Bullfrogs, they will not hesitate to eat small birds, mice, and snakes.
They are also called Lagoon Frogs, or Southern Bullfrogs. Other than their feeding habits, another reason they are referred to as Pig Frogs is their call. They make a grunting pig-like sound during mating season and warm months.
8. Pickerel Frog (Rana Palustris)
Pickerel Frogs can be found in Northern parts of Georgia, generally in water since it is aquatic. This frog is medium-sized ranging from about 2 to 3.5 inches with two parallel rows of square spots in its back. Its dorsal folds extend towards its yellowish vent. They are often found in marshes and wetlands, they feed on insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.
9. Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
Carpenter Frogs are small frogs ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches that eat crayfish, insects, spiders, and invertebrates. It’s brownish and lacks ridges but has two yellowish stripes on its back. Its belly is yellowish with dark spots. The amphibian’s upper lip is marked with a yellow line. It has large eardrums and webbed feet.
Carpenter Frogs can generally be found in Eastern parts of Georgia along the Atlantic coast, but not at the beach or near saltwater. Although they are not adapted to live in saltwater, Carpenter Frogs have adapted to live in water with high acidity levels.
Most American frogs lay thousands of eggs once per mating season, yet the Carpenter Frog only lays about 600. Although it lays much fewer eggs than most species, Carpenter Frogs are not endangered.
10. Gopher Frog (Rana capito)
The Gopher Frog’s body is tan to gray with warty skin and irregular brown or black spots. It has a raised ridge that runs down each side of the body. The frog’s head is broad in comparison to the body. This amphibian grows to be 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Its diet consists mainly of beetles, crickets, worms, small frogs, and invertebrates.
More About Frogs in The USA
I love to go out looking for frogs and if you are in Georgia, by all means, head out and search for frogs! Georgia is a great place to capture photos of a diverse variety of frogs.
Learn more about where to find frogs in the USA in our guides below: