A majority of the 3,400 species of frogs and toads worldwide are found in the tropics. Although Michigan plays host to a handful of these species, they are an important part of the wildlife found in the state. Frogs are extremely vocal during breeding season, which makes them easy to locate. Like the bull frog, the largest of Michigan frogs at 3 to 8 inches, each species is quite identifiable.
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
The Blanchard's cricket frog is only about one inch in length, usually brown or gray with dark bands on its legs, very warty, and quite often has a dark triangle between the eyes. The cricket frog is found in the southern part of the state and the western Lower Peninsula. It lives in the muddy or marshy edges of lakes, bogs and slow-moving bodies of water.
Northern Spring Peeper
This species is distinguishable by the dark brown "X" on its back. They reach 1 to 1 1/2 inches at adulthood and are often found in the soft mud near ponds during the winter. The frog's name derives from the "tinkling bell" call it produces during mating season.
The mink frog is greenish or brownish. It looks a bit like the green frog, but rather than cross bands on its hind legs it has spots or blotches. Its belly is yellow and its upper lip is bright green. The mink frog is considered medium-sized at 2 to 3 inches in length. Its name comes from the mink-like, musky odor it emits when handled. It is found near permanent bodies of water.
The green frog is large, measuring from 2 1/2 to 4 inches in length. It has a fold of skin that runs from the eardrum down each side of the back. It sometimes has blotchy markings on its back and sides and its belly is white and often spotted with gray. In a male the throat is yellow, and in a female it is white. Its upper lip is green or yellow. The Green Frog is found near lakes, ponds, marshes and wooded swamps.
Gray Tree Frog
The color of the gray tree frog can actually change from gray to green or brown. It has large, sticky toe pads and the underside of its hind legs is yellow. This 1 1/2 to 2-inch long frog is found in swamps, woods and back yards. Because of the sticky toe pads, it is able to climb vertically or move horizontally.
Found in woodlands and wooded swamps, the wood frog is either tan or brown in color with a dark band running through the eyes and a white stripe across the upper lip. It grows to be 2 to 2 1/2 inches.
The 2 to 3-inch pickerel frog is squarish in shape. The inside of its hind legs is orange or bright yellow. It lives in pollution-free waters like clear ponds, bogs and streams.
Western Chorus Frog
The western chorus frog is small, measuring around 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. It is brownish in color with dark stripes on the back and a dark band that runs from its nose, through its eye, to the top of its front leg. It is generally only seen during breeding season in wet meadows, woodlands and marshes.
Northern Leopard Frog
The northern leopard frog is aptly named for the dark spots or bars that cover its legs and body. The body itself is green, brown or greenish-brown. It has a dark spot above each eye and on the snout. A white line stretches above the upper lip from its nose to shoulder. It is white underneath and grows to 2 to 3 1/2 inches in length. The Northern Leopard Frog is found at lake edges, wet meadows and grassy pond areas, although it may wander away from water sources after breeding season.
- Photo Credit frog image by Leonie Pratt from Fotolia.com
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