I hold a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a certificate in Master Herpetology and have learned about poisonous and non-poisonous frog species during my studies for school.
The vast majority of frog and toad species found in North America are not poisonous. The majority of those found in North American do secrete toxins on their skin are not fatal to humans.
The American Southeast is a biodiversity hotspot for frog species and is likely where many different species are seen.
In this article we will list non-poisonous frog and toad species.
We will focus on the most common pet frogs and species seen in North America.
We will talk about what makes a frog poisonous and some helpful ways to identify characteristics of poisonous versus non-poisonous species.
We will discuss if they are poisonous or fatal to humans or not.
If you would like to learn about poisonous species, check out this article!
American Bullfrogs are large, mostly aquatic frog species native to North America.
They can reach up to 9 inches long and are characteristically green or yellow-green in color.
As someone who lives in their range, I can pretty much guarantee any aquatic frog I see will be an American Bullfrog.
They have a large range in North America.
Extending from Canadian southern provinces, Ontario, Nova Scotia, through the United States, and into Mexico.
Their range does not extend to the west coast and stops after Kansas and Nebraska.
They have very large tympanic membranes behind their ears that helps distinguish them from other aquatic frog species.
The secretions are mild enough where they do not cause irritation to humans at all.
In fact, they can be harvested and used for consumption in the frog leg trade.
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African Bullfrogs originate in southern African countries and can grow to be even larger than American Bullfrogs.
They can reach lengths longer than 9 inches, up to the size of a small cat!
Not only is their size impressive, but they can live to be 45 years old, or older.
They are a green to greenish yellow body color mainly fossorial species.
They use spades on their feet to burrow themselves underground for ten months of the year.
They come out to breed after African rains flood the landscapes.
Also known as Pixie frogs, they are an aggressive species.
They fight for dominance, territory, and mates.
African Bullfrogs do not hesitate to eat another frog, or much of anything for that matter.
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The Moor Frog of Eastern Europe and Western Russia is a non-poisonous species that turns blue during mating season.
Let me clarify, only the males turn blue.
They do this to attract a mate and distinguish themselves from females during breeding season.
They are an adaptable species that lives in a variety of habitats throughout many European countries.
They are mainly aquatic, living and breeding in shallow, stagnant pools.
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The Pool Frog of Europe and Russia is a stocky, heavy bodied, frog that resides in forests with stagnant pools.
They prefer their home ranges to be heavily vegetated, including the pools.
They are typically green colored with dark spots throughout their bodies.
They tend to become more yellow during the breeding season.
After breeding, they can lay up to four thousand eggs.
Pool Frogs are commonly used in the European frog leg trade and harvested for consumption.
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Gopher Frogs occur in the Southeastern United States and frequent burrows dug by Gopher Tortoises.
Due to the decline in Gopher Tortoises caused by poor fire ecology management, Gopher Frog populations have been classified as vulnerable.
They utilize ponds in longleaf pine forests.
Gopher Frogs are dark colored with large spots and warts over their bodies.
They are named after their relationship with Gopher Tortoises, but also due to their fossorial nature.
Gopher Frogs obtain food by being ambush predators.
They sit at the entrances of the burrows and wait until prey items walk in front of them.
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Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The arboreal Red-Eyed Tree Frog lives in tropical rainforests of Central and South America.
They are not poisonous, though some believe them to be due to their bright colors and eyes.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs have bright red eyes and blue down their sides.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs have become popular pets around the world.
They are easy to care for as pets and provide a wonderful pop of color.
In the wild they are well camouflaged to their tree surroundings.
Learn More About Red-Eyed Tree Frogs on our Blog
Carpenter Frogs originate in the Southeastern United States.
They are an aquatic species that lives, eats, breeds, and overwinters in their home pools.
They overwinter in the mud on the bottom of their pools.
During the spring, they meet each other in their home swamps, bogs, or lakes to breed.
Males are territorial and will fight to defend their territory or females.
They have characteristic four bright lines that run down their backs and darkly mottled rear legs.
Tadpoles can stay in their larval stage for up to a year.
Males make a distinctive hammering-like call.
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The interesting Wood Frog has an extremely large range.
They can be found around the Arctic Circle, Alaska, and through northern North America.
Due to their range they are a freeze tolerant species.
Freeze tolerance refers to their ability to hibernate in extreme cold temperatures and survive until spring.
They frequent wooded areas and pools in those areas.
Wood Frogs can recognize family members as tadpoles and tend to congregate together.
They have a variety of colors, from red to green, brown, and gray.
Learn More About Carpenter Frogs on our Blog
I have worked with many a PacMan Frog from my time in an exotic pet store and visiting reptile shows.
They are extremely popular and hardy pets! Husbandry is fairly simple and easy.
PacMan Frogs large frogs originate in South America.
They have many different color morphs and are typically patterned and display several colors at once.
They are named after the video game character, Mr. PacMan.
PacMan Frogs mouths open just as wide to allow a variety of prey in.
They have hard bites, I certainly would not want to feel a bite from one of these guys!
Learn More About Carpenter Frogs on our Blog
List of Common North American Frogs
Listed below are common frog and toad species found in North America.
The majority of these species do not possess a toxin that is secreted on their skin.
|American Bullfrog||No||Northeast to Central Florida|
|Green Tree Frog||No||Southeastern United States|
|Pacific Tree Frog||No||Pacific Coast from California to Canada|
|Spring Peeper||No||Southeast Canada to southeastern United States|
|Gopher Frog||No||Southeast United States|
|Fowler’s Toad||Slightly||Eastern United States, Southeastern Canada|
|Spadefoot Toad||Yes||Eastern to Southeastern United States|
|Chorus Frog||No||Eastern United States|
|Western Toad||Yes||Pacific Coast to Midwest|
None of the poisonous species listed above have toxins that affect humans.
There are, of course, countless more frog and toad species in North America and around the world.
A large diversity of species will be found in the southeastern United States as the environments in that region favor amphibian species.
Some poisonous species in North America were introduced and are not native to the regions they are currently found.
List of Common Frogs From Around the World
Some frog species do possess poisonous qualities and secretions.
However, most frogs that are poisonous are less toxic than toad species.
Tropical locations possess higher biodiversities of reptile and amphibian species.
Below we list most commonly heard of frog species from around the world.
|White’s Tree Frog||No||Australia, Papua New Guinea|
|Red Eyed Tree Frog||No||Central America|
|Pacman Frog||No||South America|
|White Lipped Frog||No||Papua New Guinea|
|Poison Dart Frog||Yes||Central to South America|
The Pickerel frog is an example of the few frog species native to the United States that possesses poison.
The potency of the poison can be dependent on body size and species.
Some predators may not be affected by the poison and consume the frog with no harm.
This article was written by Melissa M. who holds a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and a Master Herpetologist certificate. The article was edited and published by Daniella, Master Herpetologist in the author profile below.
Conlon, J. M., Kolodziejek, J., & Nowotny, N. (2008, October 17). Antimicrobial peptides from the skins of North American Frogs. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005273608003118
Dickerson, M. C. (1969). The Frog Book. Dover Publications.