Frog Call Expert

Graduation Requirements
Science Biological
Equipment/Materials Needed
Earplugs for your electronic device

toad
Description
Frogs are generally not seen but heard. In order to identify frogs and toads, you need to become familiar with their calls.

Badge Completion Requirements

Know Your Frog Calls

Many times the only way to identify frogs are by their calls. Below is a list of common frog calls

  • Frogs don’t need to drink water as they absorb it through their skin.
  • A frog’s call is unique to its species, and some frog calls can be heard up to a mile away.
  • Some frogs can jump over 20 times their own body length; that is like a human jumping 30m.
  • Due to their permeable skin, typically biphastic life (aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults), and mid-position in the food web frogs and other amphibians are excellent biological indicators of the wider health of ecosystems.

Whenever you handle frogs or toads be careful to avoid contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth, and wash your hands thoroughly immediately afterward.

Bullfrog's Life Cycle

chart

Your goal is to identify 10 common frogs by the call.

American Bullfrog

Rana catesbeianus

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America weighing up to 1½ pounds. This frog can catch and swallow small birds, snakes, and other frogs. It can be an invasive species in a pond and devastate the local frog population. It will be located in ponds, lakesides, and slow-moving streams with lots of room. They will seek vegetation to hide in when frightened. The call is produced from a pair of vocal sacs under the chin and can be heard for a ¼ mile or more.

Pickerel Frog

Rana palustris

This frog is your friend. It is very sensitive to the quality of the water, so if you have them around, you probably have clean water. The spots on the back of this frog tend to be rectangular as opposed to the Southern Leopard Frog which has more polygonal shapes. Also, notice the two dorsolateral folds along its back.

The skin of a pickerel frog can emit a toxic secretion for protection. This toxin can be deadly to other frogs and few snakes will eat pickerel frogs. 

Interesting Fact: Frogs eyes on the sides of their heads can see forwards and backward. Toads eyes face more forward.

Leopard Frogs

Rana pipiens

 

This beautiful frog with green highlights and irregular black spots is a joy to find and hear. Notice the two white dorsolateral ridges along its back and the white spot in the center of its tympanum (eardrum). He is similar to the Pickerel Frog but slightly larger and with fewer spots that are more random.

These frogs start breeding early in the season and occasionally have a second session in the fall. The males have two vocal sacs located behind their tympanums. The females lay a couple of thousand eggs in masses that are attached to underwater vegetation. Tadpoles emerge in a couple of weeks and will be changed into adults by summer.

Interesting Fact: Frogs and toads have a backbone, but no ribs! If there were ribs, they would all be broken on the first landing.

Prompts

Please review the videos until you can identify the frogs by sound

With parents, permission, and approval of mentor visit a local wetland area after dark and identify as many frogs as possible.

Record your findings

Participate in the State Amphibian count

 

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your skills at frog calls. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Know your Frog Calls (Part 2)

Additional frog calls...........

 

Wood frog Lithobates sylvaticus

Notice the robbers mask on this “Lone Ranger” frog. This little guy likes the cold and survives in the Arctic by producing a kind of antifreeze glycol to keep him from freezing in the winter. He then completely shuts down to hibernate until the spring. When the weather warms, he thaws out, quietly calls for a mate and continues his wood frog life again.

Interesting Fact: Spring Peepers also produce the antifreeze to help them through winter.

They start calling in February with two vocal sacs as soon as the snow melts. The call is very quiet and can be difficult to hear, but fortunately, there aren’t many other frogs calling at the same time.  

Spring Peepers 

Pseudacris crucifer

Notice the “X” on his back, hence his name crucifer which means cross. You can also see that he has a single vocal sac. These frogs climb trees and have well-developed toe pads.

 

Green Frog 

Lithobates clamitans

To remember the call of the green frog picture Kermit sitting on the ground plunking his banjo.

.Despite its name, this frog is often brownish with brown to black spots. It usually has a light green upper lip and dorsolateral folds along its back (two parallel fold lines – see picture). Those folds distinguish these frogs from bullfrogs that don’t have the folds. The eardrums (tympanums) of the males are larger than their eyes, while in the female they are about the same size as their eyes. Is the frog pictured a male or a female?

 

Prompts

Please review the videos until you can identify the frogs by sound

With parents, permission, and approval of mentor visit a local wetland area after dark and identify as many frogs as possible.

Record your findings

Participate in the State Amphibian count

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of frog calls. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Know your Frog Calls (Part 3)

Additional frog calls

 

Woodhouse Toad 

Anaxyrus woodhousii  

The Woodhouse's Toad is a large toad. Its parotoid glands are narrow and spread apart by more than one (parotoid) length. Cranial crests run lengthwise from the front of the eyes to back edge of the eyes, then turn sharply towards the side of the toad and extend to the outside edges of the eyes. It is olive green dorsally, with dark splotches and a pale stripe down the center of the back. The warts are dark and small and the blotches typically contain two or more warts. The underside is cream to white colored and unmarked, while the throat is slightly darker in color. Males that have called have throats that are much darker than the rest of the belly.

 

 

Great Plains Toad 

Anaxyrus cognatus

The Great Plains Toad has a V-shaped cranial crest between their eyes. ... The Fowler's Toad has largest, dark spots on its back that have 3 or more warts in them. Red-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) The Red-SpottedToad is found in the western half of the state.

 

BLANCHARD'S CRICKET FROG 
Acris blanchardi 

Resembles two small rocks being hit together. Variable in color. They may have a gray to a dark brown background with a tan, red, brown, or green blotches or stripe down the back. A dark triangle is usually found between the eyes, and the dorsal skin is warty while the ventral skin is unspotted and smooth.

Prompts

Please review the videos until you can identify the frogs by sound

With parents, permission, and approval of mentor visit a local wetland area after dark and identify as many frogs as possible.

Record your findings

Participate in the State Amphibian count

 

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your skills at frog calls. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Know your Frog Calls (Part 4)

Additional frog calls

SPOTTED CHORUS FROG 
Pseudacris clarkii

Spotted Chorus Frogs are grey to olive green in color, with black-edged green to dark green irregularly spaced blotches on their backs. They often have a triangle-shaped green blotch on top of the head between their eyes. The belly is light-colored and unspotted, but the throats of chorusing males are darkened.

Adults normally 19-28 mm (¾ to 1-1/8 inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: male (KU 4515) from Rush County with a total length of 31 mm (1¼ inches) collected by Theodore E. White on 12 August 1927; maximum length throughout range: 1¼ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998). 

 

PLAINS SPADEFOOT 
Spea bombifron

Length in Kansas up to 2.5 inches. They have a pattern or irregular (sometimes striped) greenish to brown blotches on their head, back, and limbs against a light gray to tan background. The back may be covered with small red to yellow tipped warts. Their bellies are white and unspotted. The pupils appear vertically slit in bright light and there is a hard bump or ‘boss’ between the eyes on the top of their head.
Adults normally 38-50 mm (1½-2 inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: male (KU 20012) from Barber County with SVL of 64 mm (2½ inches) collected by Claude W. Hibbard on 29 August 1935; this is the maximum length throughout the range 

 

WESTERN NARROW-MOUTHED TOAD 
Gastrophryne olivacea 

Length in Kansas up to 1.6 inches. A flat-bodied squat frog, with a sharply pointed snout and fold of skin across the back of its head and behind its eyes. They are often uniformly gray, tan, or olive on top, with occasional small black spots on the back or legs. The bellies are lighter colored and typically unspotted. The toes are not webbed.

 

Prompts

Please review the videos until you can identify the frogs by sound

With parents, permission, and approval of mentor visit a local wetland area after dark and identify as many frogs as possible.

Record your findings

Participate in the State Amphibian count

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your skills at frog calls. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

The overall goal is to identify 10 of the 12 identified frogs/toads by sound!!!!!!