16 Types of Frogs in Utah

Types of Frogs in Utah
Photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Utah is home to many different species of amphibians, with some being more common than others. While all these types of frogs in Utah are fairly common, there are still several that you might not see very often.

Here’s an overview of some of the most common types of frogs in Utah and what makes them unique from one another!

As humans have moved into more and more territory around where these creatures live, there has been an increase in negative interactions between people and amphibians.

That said, it’s worth understanding what types of frogs you might be dealing with if you find yourself hiking or wandering on your property at night. Here is a breakdown:

1. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frogs prefer the water. However, these types of frogs in Utah can also be found on land during the breeding season.

They live for about 4-5 years and mate in mid-May or June. Their young are born from July to August, with an average of 20 eggs per female. 

These types of frogs in Utah eat insects and other small animals (typically) and grow to around 3-4 inches long.

The Northern Leopard Frog is one of three types of frogs that doesn’t require a pond to lay its eggs. Instead, it will dig a hole close to water sources where it lays its eggs and covers them up again; water isn’t required for tadpoles until they undergo metamorphosis into adult frogs.

2. American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog is native to North America. It is a large aquatic frog reaching 5–10 inches (130–250 mm) in length. Adults have coarse dark brown or grey skin with irregularly-shaped spots and fully webbed hind feet. 

These frogs in Utah have a large head, eyes set close together above their nose, and an unwebbed mid-dorsal ridge that may be continuous or broken into distinct knobs.

The belly is whitish to light yellow with dark speckling, extending onto the legs and back as irregular longitudinal streaks (on thighs). They usually prefer slow-moving waters such as ponds, lakes, reservoirs, marshes, and sloughs.

3. Boreal Chorus Frog

These tiny guys can be spotted for a few days during mating season, typically between June and August. Boreal chorus frogs have golden-brown skin, under which these types of frogs in Utah have dark blue/black marbling to protect them from UV rays.

Like many other types of frogs in Utah, they lay their eggs in shallow ponds or marshes. 

Female boreal chorus frog tadpoles grow to about three inches long before transforming into juveniles and hopping into nearby bodies of water.

Males do not undergo metamorphosis when changing into the juvenile stage and die shortly after their first molt, typically at around nine months old.

4. Columbia Spotted Frog

The Columbia spotted frog is a small, dark-colored frog with yellow and black spots on its back. It has long legs and large toe pads that help it climb rocks and stay out of water. This nocturnal species eats insects and spiders at night. 

The Columbia spotted frog requires permanent pools for breeding. These types of frogs in Utah can tolerate some habitat disturbance as long as there is good water quality, vegetation cover, and a source of natural food available nearby.

5. Canyon Tree Frog

This is, by far and away, my favorite type of frog. I love these guys and watching them. These types of frogs in Utah are crazy-colored (reds, oranges, yellows, greens) and easy to spot, which is awesome because you can’t miss them when you’re out hiking or strolling along a road. 

Try planting wildflowers to attract Canyon Tree Frogs to your backyard or garden. They like those! Also: check out our frog-sightings map to learn more about where they live around town.

6. Pacific Tree Frog

Found throughout Utah and many states beyond, Pacific Tree Frogs (Pseudacris regilla) prefer habitats that provide abundant cover.

Unfortunately, these tree-dwelling frogs spend much time hiding in trees and bushes, so finding them can be difficult. The Pacific Tree Frog is usually green with a white stripe running down its back. 

These types of frogs in Utah tend to be smaller than other tree-dwelling species, such as Northern Cricket Frogs. Males call during warm months between April and October.

As its name implies, they’re commonly heard at night during the breeding season, but if you want to see these little guys, check out a local pond or lake after dark!

7. Relict Leopard Frog

Relict Leopard Frogs occur throughout southern and central Utah. These small, brown, or greyish-colored frogs spend most of their time on land but return to water during mating season and to lay eggs. They feed mostly on insects and other invertebrates, preferring worms, spiders, and beetles. 

Despite their name, these frogs can be quite common in some areas; these types of frogs in Utah are very difficult to identify because they look almost identical to a frog called the ‘lesser’ leopard frog.

However, if you hear one call, it will be easy to tell them apart as leopard frogs produce a loud bark-like sound while lesser leopard frogs produce a short trill or peep-like sound.

8. Green Frog

Green frogs can be found throughout most of North America. These types of frogs in Utah live near both fresh and saltwater, but they avoid areas where water is permanently frozen. They are excellent swimmers, with large webbed hind feet that help them move quickly through the water. 

Adult green frogs grow to be about three inches long; however, their legs make them appear much larger than they are.

The name green comes from their dark green skin that fades to a yellowish color on their bellies and throat. Green frogs tend to live in open areas or along streams where there isn’t a lot of vegetation to hide behind. 

Green frogs can be found throughout most of North America. These types of frogs in Utah live near both fresh and saltwater, but they avoid areas where water is permanently frozen.

9. Woodhouse’s Toad

Woodhouse’s toad is one of four species of true toads found in Utah. These types of frogs in Utah have short legs, and their eyes protrude from their heads. These types of frogs in Utah can vary from light brown to olive green. 

Woodhouse’s toads also have a dark patch on top of their head, which can blend into tree bark very easily, which is why they are sometimes called tree toads.

These frogs in Utah feed at night and only come out when it rains, making them hard to spot. 

If you want to see Woodhouse’s frog, check around areas where there has been recent rain. You might be able to spot one during sunrise or sunset!

10. Red-Spotted Toad

The Red-Spotted Toad is a small toad that grows up to 3.5 inches in length. This species is native to North America and is a non-venomous amphibian that hides under rocks and logs during dry periods.

However, they will come out into open areas where they breed when it rains. 

It eats small insects, spiders, and worms. The Red-Spotted Toad lays their eggs in puddles that have not dried up yet for hatching after it rains.

These types of frogs in Utah hibernate underground until spring, when it starts raining again or when their habitat has been restored.

11. Great Basin Spadefoot

This small, very dark frog has a large spade-shaped patch on its hind foot and can sometimes be found by turning over rocks or wood.

Adults have dark eyes and granular skin. The Great Basin Spadefoot gets its name from a rounded, lobe-like structure on its hind legs that allow it to burrow into soft soil. 

These types of frogs in Utah are active through most of the year and become dormant during periods of high water.

Its burrows serve as shelter for other animals, including several species of salamanders, lizards, snakes, and mammals such as weasels, moles, kangaroo rats, shrews, and voles.

12. Arizona Toad

The Arizona toad is found throughout several valleys in Utah, including Salt Lake City and Parowan. This species averages 2.5 inches in length and has a large toad-like head but lacks bony ridges on its back.

It also has brown-colored spots on both sides of its body that may form a pair of stripes down its back, as well as faint black spotting on its hind legs. 

The Arizona toad breeds from May through July, during which male Arizona toads can be heard making their distinctive calls; one call for each frog that is present within about 10 meters (32 feet)of each other. After breeding, females lay eggs that hatch into tadpoles three weeks later.

13. Western Toad

The Western Toad is common and found throughout most of western North America. These types of frogs in Utah have green bodies with yellow and brown stripes, but populations tend to change color depending on their mood, temperature, and surroundings.

For example, in desert regions, they tend to be brighter than those living in cooler habitats. 

These frogs in Utah spend most of their time on land, but if they sense danger or dry weather, they will head back to the water.

There they’ll protect themselves by wedging themselves between rocks so that only their eyes peak above water level, and even then, it’s just a single eye at a time, so they don’t stick out.

14. New Mexico Spadefoot

The New Mexico spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) is a frog found only in northern and central Mexico and the southwestern and western United States. Although not officially described until 1887, it was discovered as early as 1872. 

However, its specific name, multiplicata, and common name, spadefoot, likely refers to its unique physical characteristics.

When disturbed or threatened, it uses a special spading organ to dig itself into the sand, where it can remain undetected for long periods until the danger has passed. 

It grows from 1-4 inches long, with males growing larger than females; members of its species also produce loud mating calls from late spring through fall.

15. Great Plains Toad

Commonly found throughout Wyoming and Colorado, one look at these frogs will tell you why they’re called toads.

These green and brown creatures have prominent eyes that make them appear to be staring at you. But, if threatened, they will puff themselves up to ward off a predator. 

These types of frogs in Utah can live for 20 years. But, because their skin secretes poison, use gloves when handling them so you don’t get sick.

16. Plains Spadefoot

The Plains spadefoot is a small frog found on loose soil, where they bury themselves when threatened. These types of frogs in Utah may also burrow into the loose leaf litter.

This is one of only two kinds of spadefoots (the other being. Couch’s spadefoot) that spend their adult life buried underground, living off anaerobic bacteria and fungi. 

The Plains spadefoot gets its name from a thin, fleshy bump on its hind feet used to help it dig. It looks similar to a flat-ended gardening tool called a spading fork or spading shovel, hence its name!

Conclusion

Utah’s most common types of frogs include Wood Frogs, Green Tree Frogs, Red-spotted Toads, and Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs.

Green Tree Frogs are more typical-looking tree frogs; they’re light green with round black spots on their back and sides. 

Their bellies range from yellowish to white, and they have three toes on each front foot, which is unusual for a tree frog. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog is probably Utah’s most well-known frog.

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