13 Illinois Toads and Frogs

Here in the Midwest, you may not be able to see the flowers blooming yet, but you can hear the local residence waking from their long, winter slumber.

Vernal pools have started to form from the melted snow and early spring rainfall that the ground can’t uptake because of the frost line or excessive saturation. These vernal pools (also called ephemeral, temporary, or seasonal ponds) are where many frogs, salamanders and newts call home. These pools provide protection from predators that live in permanent bodies of water including fish, invertebrate predators, and even other amphibians, such as American Bullfrogs and Northern Green Frogs. If tadpoles interest you, here is an identification guide.

Frogs & toads are pretty cool creatures that can survive winters by hibernating and by having antifreeze run through their veins! Terrestrial frogs normally hibernate on land. American toads (Bufo americanus) and other frogs that are good diggers burrow deep into the soil, safely below the frost line. Aquatic frogs such as the American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) and the leopard frog (Rana pipiens) typically hibernate underwater.  Some frogs, such as the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) and the spring peeper (Hyla crucifer), are not skilled at digging and seek out deep cracks and crevices in logs or rocks, or just dig down as far as they can in the leaf litter.

Amazing proteins in their blood, called nucleating proteins, cause the water in their blood to freeze first. This ice sucks most of the water out of the frog’s cells dehydrating them. Then the frog’s liver starts making large amounts of glucose (a type of sugar) which fills into the cells and plumps them up. The concentrated sugar solution helps avoid additional water from being pulled out of the frog’s cells, which can cause death.

Right now, the majority of calls I hear are from the Western Chorus Frog. I think they sound like the noise made by running your finger over the teeth of a comb. Frogs and toads make many different calls that all sound alike, however mating calls are specific, which are what you will hear in the soundtracks. This is the easiest way to ID frogs, as seeing them at night might nearly be impossible.

Frogs of Illinois:

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Western_chorus_frog.jpg/961px-Western_chorus_frog.jpg

Western Chorus Frog – Pseudacris triseriata 

 

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Rana_sylvatica_6021.jpeg

Wood Frog – Lithobates sylvaticus

 

https://i1.wp.com/farm3.staticflickr.com/2307/2943469933_e305c0e755_o.jpg

American Toad – Anaxyrus americanus

 

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/American_Bullfrog_Rana_catesbeiana_Front_838px.jpg

Bullfrog – Lithobates catesbeianus

Bullfrog SOS Call

 

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Hyla_chrysoscelisPCCA20040509-1704B.jpg

Copes Grey Tree Frog – Hyla chrysoscelis

 

https://i1.wp.com/farm5.staticflickr.com/4068/4302678994_68bafb28b1_o.jpg

Cricket Frog – Acris crepitans

 

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Hyla_versicolor.jpg

Eastern Grey Tree Frog – Hyla versicolor

 

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Bufo_woodhousii.jpg

Fowlers Toad – Anaxyrus fowleri syn. Bufo fowleri

 

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Northern_Green_Frog_-_Tewksbury,_NJ.jpg

Green Frog – Lithobates clamitans

Green Frog SOS Call

 

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Rana_pipiens.jpg

Northern Leopard Frog – Lithobates pipiens

 

https://i2.wp.com/farm2.staticflickr.com/1154/1217820485_83f8c0d0c8_z.jpg

Pickeral Frog – Rana palustris

 

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Rana_pipiens.jpg

Plains Leopard Frog – Lithobates blairi

 

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Spring_Peeper_I.jpg/1280px-Spring_Peeper_I.jpg

Spring Peeper – Pseudacris crucifer

This one has to be my favorite. It’s just so cute!!

Credit: IL D N R for the Frog Calls!

61 thoughts on “13 Illinois Toads and Frogs

  1. I absolutely love frogs. Frogs are like thermometers. When we were kids mum would take our temperature to see if we were sick. “No, you don’t have a temperature, you can go to school.”
    If the frogs are OK then the environment is OK.
    I’ll send you a site, when I find it, of Victorian frogs and you hit the right button and it plays its call. My favourite is the “pobble bonk” Thats the sound it makes. Wake up. Its nearly 6 o’clock.

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      • Ha! Those Bonk frogs do have a funny call! I would assume that you have many more cool frogs down by you in a warmer climate. We only have 13 here in Illinois and most are in the farthest, southern tip of the state. I only see/hear about 5 different types by my house.

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    • Yes, frogs ARE wonderful indicators of an area’s natural health. Frogs can’t take much pollution, so if there are frogs around the environment is in harmony =-)
      Can’t wait to hear the pobble bonk frog! My favorite ones here are the Spring Peepers… Peep, peep peep!
      6 O’clock? I’ve been up for 2 hours already!! HaHa!!

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  2. Gotta love this post, I’ll have to figure out how to reblog it. I think the frogs I posted for my project 365 were Western Chorus frogs. They’re SO loud and yet so small. Funny thing about that pond though is that the previous owners of the property (lived there probably 40 years at least) used to dump all their garbage on the land by the pond, makes no sense, I know. There’s old bottles – plastic & glass – tires, toys & small bicycles, farm equipment, appliances, rugs, pieces of carpet and so much more. It’s tragic. However every year those frogs never fail to breed and sing in those waters, which have inevitably been polluted with a lot of garbage. The pond is in succession so one half of it is covered in shrubs. It’s almost hard to believe they’ve survived in all of that.

    I’ve always loved frogs, had a White’s Tree Frog for a pet once, but grew up wading in muck to catch them with my siblings. I’ve not seen or heard all of these but for sure Chorus Frog, Eastern Grey Tree Frog, Bullfrog (they’re fascinating), Leopard frog, and maybe a few others. Oh yes of course both the toads, always heard if you pop their wart you’ll get one. Now I understand those bumps will ooze a liquid that will discourage dogs and other animals from eating them.

    Perfect post for this time, I’m hearing more and more frogs every day.

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    • Thanks!
      I was a volunteer frog monitor the first 2 years I moved out to the borderlands of Illinois. Sadly, I only found American Toads, Bullfrogs, Western Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers. It’s a hard job, as we would be going out at night, then try to go to our ‘paying job’ during the day. I had to pass doing it after a bit. I do think frogs are very cute, my hubby and I have many frog statues, photos and even stuffed plushy frogs. I have many ‘toad homes’ around. Any clay pot that breaks & is mostly intact gets flipped over & buried a bit. I find toads in them all the time.

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  3. I live just outside of Chicago in the south suburbs. We have a pond behind our home that my kids and I visit almost daily in the summer. We love seeing the bullfrogs and heaing their call. We also have had a lot of toads in our backyard, mostly after heavy rains. We are fascinated by both frogs & toads!

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  5. Thank you for sharing that beautiful sound “journey”. They all sound very different to the frogs I love listening to at night. I looked all over the net for frog sounds of my area to give you an idea, but it looks like I have to do my own recording next time I am in the bush again.
    I even looked into a cd by an Australian band called “River Tribe” that released an album in 1999 called “Journey” that I have and used to be audible on You Tube. The first song “Morning Prayer” is one of my favorites, which starts off with local frog sounds, but the band has recently removed the old album and replaced it with their latest, that has no frog sounds at all. It is still available for lending if you sign up with an Australian on line library, but I am sure that is far too much trouble for just listening to some frog sounds!
    This is the best site I have found with just information, no sounds 😦
    http://frogs.org.au/frogs/of/Victoria/

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  6. Love toad and frogs. My sister and myself used to catch tadpoles when we were young and put them in a large container at home to watch them slowing grow their little arms and legs and turn into these beautiful creatures. I miss that.

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    • Oh! You have just brought me back to age 7 when we would do that. It sure was fun, wasn’t it? ! Another fun thing was to feed toads lightning bugs and watch the toads glow. Yes, I never wanted to come inside as a child. 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Wow, I’m a little out of sync with the seasons here…But I love this post!!! I love frogs and toads. I love that you put the calls together with the photos. I kept thinking I had a favorite, but then I heard a different one and THAT was my new favorite, and so on…as a child I used to catch lots of toads in our vegetable garden in southern Michigan, great big fat Bufos, and they always peed on me, and I didn’t care. Then when I visited Costa Rica I was warned not to pick up the Bufos because they emitted a poisonous slime, and the local dogs either figured it out or died. Natural selection in action. Then the prettiest frogs were all poison too. I’ll take nice American amphibians that make music and just pee on you!

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    • Ha ha! Yup, what Midwestern kid has not been peed on by a fat toad? !? I couldn’t imagine the craziness of poison frogs (etc) in other areas. I’ve lived in Florida, and have seen a few creepy things, but generally, it was tame there. Glad you liked the calls… the spring peeper has to be my fav. Peep peep peep peeper!

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        • HaHa! I’m sorry, you were banished to pending land in my comments =-O
          I love frog noise. At the Cave in Rock campground, it was so noisy from frogs, insects and other night creatures, we could hardly hear each other over the campfire. It was magical. No skeeters either. Yes, NO mosquitos. I always wondered what a balanced ecosystem would feel like. Heeeeaven.

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  9. Toodies and froogies! Loved to catch ’em both, especially baby toodies and jumbo Leopards–what a slimy, muscular challenge THAT was. Now that I’m in Oregon, I see far fewer of the former than the latter but I love the tree frog symphonies.

    Unless the bastard is right under your open bedroom window at night and refuses to be scared away. Where’s a snake when you need one?

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    • I bet you got to enjoy a night long serenade from your frog prince 🐸 That would make for a looong evening!
      I get to see many American toads in my yard, but have to go to water to see/hear the rest.
      Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your Sunday 😀

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  11. Very cool! I am so glad I stumbled on your page today! I will definitely be following along. I feature all things frog related on my blog and am currently working my way through all 50 states native frogs and toads. I have already completed Illinois though 🙂

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