Friday, September 4, 2015

Identify American Toad and Northern Leopard Frog

My suburban Indiana backyard is feeling much more exotic this summer compared to last year. In this post I'll show some photos I took of a common toad in my backyard and a new frog I saw today for the first time. I like to try to identify plants as precisely as I can, and so I'll do the same with these backyard garden guests.

identify frog with brown spots
Northern Leopard Frog - Rana pipiens

My housing development was completely stripped down to bare clay when the houses were built all around the same time. That means wildlife is coming back bit by bit from basically a blank slate. We had a super rainy June/July, and now a rather dry August/September.

American Toad (Eastern American Toad Anaxyrus americanus)

American Toad, very similar to a Fowler's Toad except this only has 1-2 warts per dark spot whereas the Fowler's Toad will have 3+ small warts in each dark spot. Check out this description by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and also Wikipedia. I still can't tell. The Fowler's Toad has a white chest/belly and this one appears to have a blotchy chest.

eastern american toad in gardensmall toad

american toad chestjuvenille american toad

juvenille american toad


Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

As the name suggests, this frog has a gorgeous leopard print of dark brown spots with a lighter edges. Compared to the toad, this frog has a narrower head and no parotoid glands. The Northern Leopard Frog has a very striking pair of dorsolateral folds running down its back like bright ridges or white stripes.

leopard frog chestspotted frog

southern or northern leopard frogsouthern or northern leopard frog

I wasn't sure if maybe this was the Southern Leopard Frog because it's lacking a snout spot. Indiana is on the border where I'm thinking it could be both. My friend Mike told me it's Northern Leopard Frog and he's like SUPER into herpetology so I'll take his word for it. Hi Mike!! :) He just told me he was distracted when he looked at the pic on his phone, and it could be the Southern Leopard Frog because of the lack of nose spot.

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