In Massachusetts, 10 species of frogs and toads make the state their home. These species can be grouped within four different taxonomic families: true frogs (Ranidae), tree frogs (Hylidae), true toads (Bufonidae) and spadefoot toads (Pelobatidae). These frogs and toads thrive in various environments and can be found in a range of locations across the state.
True Frog Species
Five species of true frogs can be found in Massachusetts: wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus), pickerel frogs (L. palustris), leopard frogs (L. pipiens), green frogs (L. clamitans melanotus) and American bullfrogs (L. catesbieanus). Green frogs are extremely common across the state and can be found in marshes, ponds, side-channels and river backwaters. American bullfrogs are the largest of all frogs in Massachusetts and are known for their loud, distinctive calls. As their name suggests, wood frogs are most often found in waters within woodlands and forests.
Two types of tree frog live in Massachusetts: spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and gray tree frogs (Hyla versicolor). While the high, whistling calls of spring peepers are common across the states, they're heard much more often than they're seen. These frogs measure just 3/4 of an inch to 1 1/2 inches long and are found near lakes, ponds and vernal pools. Gray treefrogs almost never come down from the treetops. They tend to live in trees surrounding wet meadows, swamps and marshes.
True Toad Species
Two true toad species reside within Massachusetts. American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) are commonly found in gardens all across the state, as well as near ponds and vernal pools. While Fowler’s toads (Anaxyrus fowleri) look quite similar to American toads, they're much less common. Although they're not often found inland, they're relatively populous in coastal areas, where they live in brackish pools, in addition to freshwater ponds, marshes and vernal pools.
Spadefoot Toad Species
Just one species of spadefoot toad lives in Massachusetts: the eastern spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii). Listed as threatened within the state, it's the rarest of all toads and frogs in Massachusetts. It's most often found on Cape Cod, but also resides in a few other eastern parts of the state. It measures roughly 1 1/2 to 3 inches long and has smooth and moist skin that ranges from tan to dark brown in color.