Ontario is home to many different frog species despite the harsh Winter weather. The vast majority of the frogs that can be found in Ontario are located in South and Eastern parts of the province, yet many can also be found province-wide.
You can generally find 13 different frog species across Ontario including terrestrial, arboreal, and aquatic frogs. Frogs that live in Ontario include Wood Frogs, Leopard Frogs, Pickerel Frogs, Mink Frogs, and American Bullfrogs.
Here are ten different types of frogs you can find in Ontario, Canada:
|Frog Species||Ontario Location||Habitat|
|Striped Chorus Frog||Provincewide||Arboreal|
|Boreal Chorus Frog||Provincewide||Aquatic|
|Green Frog||Central, South||Aquatic|
|Gray Tree Frog||South||Arboreal|
|Northern Cricket Frog||Peele Island||Arboreal|
Although most frog species are located in Southern-Ontario, you can still find many frogs in Northern-Ontario including Wood Frogs and Spring Peeper. I love to go out and find frogs and in Ontario. I have even included a few of the pictures I took of frogs in Southern Ontario in this article. I hope my tips can help you find and identify different frog species across the province.
1. Wood Frog
Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) have brown, tan, or reddish skin, with a lighter line down the side of their face. They have dark blotches on their chests near each front leg and have light mottled undersides. Wood Frogs are generally smooth and wet with a dark spot next to their eye. Some may have green or yellow undersides.
Wood Frogs only grow to 2 – 2.8 inches and they are commonly found in moist natural environments such as forests with small creeks or ponds. These frogs live in the tundra to the north, in grasslands in the west, and can be found in moist woodlands throughout Ontario.
Wood Frogs can be identified by a series of sharp and almost duck-like mating calls. I found it is easier to spot them at night on damp evenings on forest trails. These frogs have a fascinating way of hibernating in the winter, freezing up to 60% of their body.
2. Gray Tree Frog
Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla versicolor) have rough gray, green, or brown skin, and they appear identical to Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs. These frogs have orange inner thighs, dark blotches over their backs, and bright outlined circles under their eyes.
The mating call of Gray Tree Frogs is a short and flute-like trill, distinguishing it from similar species. They are medium-sized, growing to 2.3 inches. These frogs have large toe pads for climbing, and live in trees or shrubs near permanent aquatic environments and are most common in Southern Ontario. Although, they prefer mature or second-growth woodlands and may inhabit orchards.
3. Leopard Frog
Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens) are brown or green with large and light-edged spots across the skin. They have prominent, light-toned dorsolateral ridges and pale undersides.
These frogs grow are generally medium-sized growing up to 4.3 inches. They inhabit various natural habitats including woodlands, tundras, and prairies. They can be found province-wide. I found the one in the picture above on land right next to Rice Lake in Southern Ontario.
4. Green Frog
Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) are medium-sized frogs, growing up to 4 inches, with distinct tympanums and prominent dorsolateral ridges. They are green, bronze, or brown, topped with irregular spotted patterns.
They live near shallow water bodies, including brooks, ponds, swamps, springs, and lake edges. Their mating call is deep and twangy, similar to the sound of a loose banjo string. They can be found throughout Central and Southern Ontario in small bodies of water that may have fish in them.
5. Northern Cricket Frog
Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans), otherwise known as Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs, have rough gray, red, green-brown, yellow, or black skin. They have relatively short legs and a distinct dark triangle or ‘V’ marking between their eyes.
These frogs can only be found on Pelee Island, Ontario, limited to the warmest areas of the Carolinian Zone. They live in abandoned quarries, natural marshes, warm forests, and deep drainage ditches.
These frogs grow to 1.5 inches and have a mating call resembling rasping or clicking. Northern Cricket Frogs are currently endangered, as the species is threatened by habitat loss and the negative effects of pesticide usage.
6. Spring Peeper
Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are green, gray, brown, or tan, and they have white or cream bellies. They have smooth skin and large toe pads for climbing and have a distinct ‘X’ marking on their backs.
Enjoyed this video? 🙂 Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!
These frogs thrive in moist areas and inhabit brushy or cutover woodlands near ponds and marshes that have no large fish in them. They have a distinctly loud, repetitive, and high-pitched mating call. Spring Peepers have large toe pads for climbing and grow to 1.1 inches.
I go out looking for Spring Peeper in the video above and I can tell you one thing, they are easy to hear but are not easy to find! I was standing next to one for a long time before I actually saw it. They are tiny but can be heard up to 1km from their location. It’s easiest to find them in early Spring when they start calling after sunset.
7. Pickerel Frog
Pickerel Frogs (Lithobates palustris) have smooth tan skin, topped with yellow dorsolateral ridges and a bright yellow underside. They have parallel rows of square-like spots down their backs, and grow to 3.5 inches.
These frogs thrive in ponds and streams with stable temperatures, but they may forage meadows or fields in Southern Ontario. Their mating call can be compared to the lowing of a cow, and cannot be heard from a far distance. Pickerel Frogs are toxic, as they secrete poisonous substances that cause skin irritation or fatalities in some animals.
8. American Bullfrog
American Bullfrogs are the largest frogs found in North America. They have a very prominent tympanum, a prominent dorsal folds, and males have bright yellow underbellies. They are hard to miss with their loud, deep, bull-like bellow.
American Bullfrogs can be found in Southern Ontario in very calm areas of rivers and lakes. These large frogs can eat large prey including mice, small birds, small mammals, and other frogs.
9. Western Chorus Frog
Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata), otherwise known as Western Striped Chorus Frogs, are green, gray, or brown. They have dark eye stripes and a white line along their upper lips. They grow to 1.5 inches, have smooth skin, and are avid climbers.
They have three dark stripes along their backs, and the middle line is typically solid but may be broken in some cases. This frog prefers forest openings near woodland ponds. They are currently threatened due to habitat loss and are protected under SARA.
10. Boreal Chorus Frog
Boreal Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris maculata) are small frogs, growing to 1.5 inches. They have smooth green, gray, or brown skin, and their visual markings are almost identical to that of the Western Chorus Frog.
However, the dark lines on their backs are broken, appearing as dashed or dotted lines. Their breeding call is much slower and longer than the Western Chorus Frog. These frogs thrive in forest openings near woodland ponds in Central Ontario, and tundras in colder areas.
11. Mink Frog
Mink Frogs (Lithobates septentrionalis) are olive or brown and have dark mottling on their legs and sides. They have yellowish bellies and have prominent dorsolateral ridges. Mink Frogs occupy large, cool, and permanent water bodies that are densely vegetated.
These frogs have large tympanums and slightly upturned eyes, and they gained their name due to their distinctly musky odor. Their call consists of rapid croaks in sequences of three, resembling a hammer tapping on wood.
More About Frogs in Canada
Ontario is home to a blend of native species, while some iconic frog species have been introduced to the area over time. A few of Ontario’s frog species are classified as endangered or threatened but are thankfully protected by federal laws in the region.