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Frogs and Toads at home in Oregon

Twelve native species of frogs and toads live in Oregon. Many of them are highlighted in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as species in need of help—that is, they have low or declining populations. There is also one known invasive frog species, the American bullfrog.

Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae)

Cascades frogs have gold eyes and long hind legs. They live in moist mountain meadows and damp bogs and forests. Home is usually a shallow pond, marsh or small stream. Studies indicate that populations are increasingly small, and some populations may be adversely affected by pollution and increasing sunlight levels.

Fun fact: The Cascade’s scientific name is Rana cascadae—rana is Latin for frog and cascadae refers to the frog’s traditional homeland, the Cascade Mountains.

Lives: East and West Cascades

cascades frog

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei)

Coastal tailed frogs live in fast running streams and can sometimes be found on damp banks or under rocks. They like cold water and their coloring often matches the color of local rock. Populations may be declining due to some forest management practices and other activities along streams which alter habitat. This species is found from near sea level to high-mountain streams.

Fun fact: This frog doesn’t croak. In fact, it has no voice.

Lives: Coast Range Klamath Mountains and West Cascades

coastal tailed frog
Photo by Brome McCreary

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

Columbia spotted frogs love the water. They make their homes in or near lakes, ponds, marshes and slow streams. They can be brown, tan or green and are dotted with irregularly-shaped black spots. This species is being challenged by loss and degradation of wetlands and predation by non-native bullfrogs.

Fun fact: Columbia spotted frogs like to wander. They will sometimes migrate seasonally and use different water bodies for breeding, summer feeding and overwintering.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

columbia spotted frog

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii)

This species lives in streams and rivers with off-channel habitat in pools or streams. In summer, they are likely to be hidden under rocks, but wet days can find them wandering out of the water. Adult frogs are gray or brown with yellow underbellies and thighs. Their color helps camouflage them, making them hard to see among the rocks.

Fun fact: The closest you may come to a yellow-legged frog is its splash. They will sun on rocks but are quick to take a dive when sensing a predator.

Lives: Western Oregon

yellow legged frog

Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)

Red-legged frogs like cool damp forests and wetlands. Adults have red underlegs, hence their name. Their decline in the northwest is due, in part, to habitat loss and invasive bullfrogs.

Fun fact: It’s unlikely you’ll ever hear a red-legged frog call. They call underwater.

Lives: Western Oregon

red legged frog

Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla)

The Pacific treefrog is the most common frog in Oregon; it is the only frog found in all eight ecoregions. In dry areas, it is found in places high in moisture—marshes, meadows, woodlands and brush. Pacific treefrogs are a fabulous example of what the Oregon Conservation Strategy hopes to accomplish for all our common native species—that is, keep them common.

Fun fact: Pacific treefrogs are often heard on movie soundtracks. You may hear them sing in the spring!

Lives: Throughout Oregon

pacific tree frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

The northern leopard frog is disappearing from the Oregon landscape due to disease, possible environmental stresses and introduced fish. This striking-looking frog has a background color of green or light brown scattered with large rounded brown spots bordered in yellow. They live in wetlands, especially in fishless waters.

Fun fact: They like to forage for food afoot—often far from water in fields and prairies.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

Northern Leopard Frog

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

Oregon spotted frogs like to keep their feet wet. They live in wetlands near ponds, lakes and slow srteams. They eat beetles, flies, spiders and other insects. They are patient predators, remaining motionless, until they see something that looks tasty. The frog then lunges and captures the prey with a sticky tongue. Due to habitat loss this species has disappeared from much of its former range in the western part of the state.

Fun fact: The species scientific name, pretiosa, means precious in Latin.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

oregon spotted frog

Western Toad (Bufo boreas)

The western toad is well camouflaged in earth tones to help it stay safe from predators. A large toad with bumpy skin, it lives mainly on land in a range of habitats from mountain meadows to desert flats. Today the species is threatened by loss of wetlands, habitat degradation and other environmental changes.

Fun fact: Western toads have skin secretions that taste bad and help to deter other animals from eating them.

Lives: Throughout Oregon

Western Toad

Woodhouse’s Toad (Bufo woodhouseii)

The Woodhouse’s toad appears in only a few areas along the Columbia River, specifically river valleys in sagebrush or grassland areas. They are light grey to brown generally marked with contrasting spots. They have bumps on their skin which contain poison glands to discourage predators. These toads catch insects by night; their call is a loud, long whistle.

Fun fact: This toad survives hot summer days by burying itself in the ground with its powerful hind legs.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

woodhouses toad

Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus)

Rocky Mountain tailed frogs are found in the water or close by it. Oregon natives, they like the cold water. They are primarily nocturnal, and prefer to live in fast-flowing streams in forests. In the summer, they hide in under rocks in streams.

Fun fact:  These frogs don’t have any tongues or vocal sacs, so they don’t call at all.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

rocky mountain

Great Basin Spadefoot (Scaphiopus intermontanus)

Even though Great Basin spadefoot toads live in dry grasslands and woodlands near ponds, they love the rain and damp weather. They forage for earthworms and insects at night. Gray or olive green, they have very large, golden yellow eyes set on the sides of the head. They dig burrows to hibernate for the winter.

Fun fact: They are named for the small, black "spade" on the first toe of each hind foot, which allows them to dig into the ground for shelter.

Lives: Eastern Oregon

great basin spadefoot

 

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