Michigan is one of the states with a reduced number of frogs and toads in the United States. The state’s cold winters are also one of the impediments for a larger number of frogs and toads.
As a result, some of the most resilient types of frogs in Michigan can survive freezing temperatures and the freezing of their internal organs.
These types of toads and frogs are known for their capacity to survive multiple Michigan winters, mostly by hiding in the ground or various rock formations.
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Are There Poisonous Frogs and Toads in Michigan?
Reduced biodiversity with a low number of species means Michigan doesn’t have too many types of predatory frogs and toads.
Frogs in this state can even be highly violated to changes in weather or water cleanliness.
Some species such as Pickerel Frogs may even disappear due to disturbed environments.
Many species of frogs in Michigan have either a threatened or an endangered status in the state.
Frogs in Michigan
Michigan is home to all of the following frog species.
1. Green Frog
Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) are among the most common species of frogs in Michigan.
A distinct call makes for easier identification. These frogs call with gunk, gunk, gunk, and noises near bodies of water.
Most Green Frogs in Michigan live around pounds of the state. They prefer permanent bodies of water to temporary water accumulation.
This species has a dark green body and a light green head. Different green nuances are identified on the head of this species.
Green Frogs are also aggressive and territorial, apart from being numerous.
High aggression levels between males are noted in the species.
A territorial species, the male Green Frog maintains a territory and doesn’t allow for trespassing males in their area.
Males first present in a territory can be distinguished by those who made it to the area later by posture.
It’s believed territorial male Green Frogs sit more upright with inflated lungs compared to other males.
This position is used for calling and it can be maintained throughout the day.
These frogs eat different types of small insects, small fish, slugs, and even other types of small frogs.
The mating period of the species lasts a few days. Female Green Frogs take at least 2 days to select a suitable male to mate with based on physical traits and the depth of the call.
2. Wood Frog
Apart from having a base brown color, Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) differentiate themselves from Green Frogs by their call.
Wood Frogs have a break-characterized ca-aaach, ca-aaach call.
These frogs are mostly brown but they can also be tan, gray, and green.
Unlike other frogs in Michigan, Wood Frogs tolerate cold temperatures better. They are widespread across Canada as well.
The species secretes a large amount of urea across its body to protect itself against freezing temperatures.
Swamps and wet areas around woodlands are the main habitats of the frog in the state.
It spends the summer in the lowlands migrating upland in the winter.
This species has stable populations across the state. It poses risks of fragmentation of its populations due to urbanization.
The common nature of these frogs and their busy habitat also makes them prey for larger predatory species.
Many snakes eat Wood Frogs. Multiple species of garter snakes are the most common predators of wood frogs.
Herons and raccoons also eat Wood frogs and other types of frogs.
These frogs have an important role in the ecosystem as they help control insects around water sources while also being seen as food for other species.
3. Northern Leopard Frog
Northern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens) are some of the largest frog species in the state.
While many are smaller, these frogs can reach a size of 4 inches.
Green, dark green, and green-brown coloring are specific to the Northern Leopard Frog. Its name comes from the dark brown spots across its back.
This species is known for its snor, snor sounding call that resembles actual snoring.
The species is found along woodlands and marshes in the summer.
It also moves to different grounds as the temperature starts to drop. Unlike Wood Frogs, Northern Leopard Frogs move to grassy areas.
Similarly to Wood Frogs, Northern Leopard Frogs can also survive and overwinter at high altitudes.
This species can live at altitudes of up to 9.000 feet.
Frogs of this genus don’t have many means to defend themselves. They don’t have a bad taste and their skin doesn’t create poisonous secretions.
These frogs are agile, on the other hand. They use speed to escape to high vegetation.
4. Spring Peeper
Spring Peppers (Pseudacris crucifer) are some of the smallest types of frogs in the state. They grow to a size between 0.9 and 1.5 inches as adults.
It has a widespread status around the state and across North America where it shows stable populations.
This species has tan, brown, green, or olive green colors with or without a cross-like marking on the back.
The call of the frog resembles chirping with chiiirp, chiiirp frequent high-pitched sounds.
Females hear these calls and select males based on the frequency and tonality of the call.
Adult frogs have known insectivores, only feeding on insects given they have a reduced size.
Juveniles have a diet similar to tadpoles which includes algae.
This species might be small and agile but is a poor climber. It prefers to hide and look for prey in low vegetation around water sources.
In the best conditions, these frogs can survive up to 3 years.
5. American Bullfrog
This dark green frog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is one of the largest in Michigan.
Its size often makes this frog a target for other predators. Birds such as herons and predatory otters eat this frog.
Males calling in choruses is a form of establishing social dominance in their ecosystem and a form of attracting females.
The size of the species also allows the frog to have the deepest call of all frogs in Michigan.
American Bullfrogs have a call similar to bull bellowing.
These frogs also have one of the longest mating seasons of all species in Michigan.
Males have longer mating seasons and multiple partners per season.
They can remain sexually active for up to 3 months. High male-to-male aggression is specific to this species since females only mate briefly.
Males are distinguished from females with their larger bodies and yellow ventral coloring.
6. Gray Treefrog
Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) come in different colors. Green and gray nuances are the most common for the species.
These frogs take on the color of their environment.
Most frogs of the species are arboreal. They either take on the color of the trees they spend their time on or of the grounds around the trees.
Woodlands and suburban areas next to woodlands are common areas where the frog can be seen.
Arboreal Gray Treefrogs are resilient and can survive up to a few years as they can handle even freezing of their internal organs.
Gray Treefrogs have a sharp trill, trill call, and a complex mating ritual.
Male Gray Treefrogs show high levels of aggression towards other males of the species.
These frogs live solitary lives and they are seen in groups whenever they call females.
Call frequency and intensity change as females approach males so that they are directed to the initiator.
Female Gray Treefrogs initiate mating by touching the male with the most impressive call.
The call of the male Gray Treefrog primarily acts as a magnet for females. However, this species is believed to use calls in male-to-male aggression.
Male Gray Treefrogs can call frequently and deeply when they enter conflicts with other males.
This can be heard under lower or deeper calls. The frequency of the call may not vary in male-to-male confrontations.
This also leads to a reduced instance of choruses in male Gray Treefrogs compared to the males of other species.
7. Western Chorus Frog
A small frog with stripes on its back is the Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata). This is a species that may grow to 1.6 inches.
Coming in different colors just as most species in Michigan, the Western Chorus Frog mainly stands out with its calling sound.
This is a frequent repetitive trill, trill, trill sound, often compared to running a fingernail on a comb.
Small differences between males and females make for easier identification.
Males have a yellow vocal sac that inflates as they call. This sac looks darker when not inflated and it resembles loose skin which females don’t have.
Various moist habitats are ideal for the species.
Western Chorus Frogs, named after male calling gatherings, is a species adapted to low and high-elevation living.
The species can even survive altitudes of up to 12.000 feet.
Like a few other Michigan frogs, the Western Chorus Frog is also good at surviving in cold weather.
Freezing temperature is something the species can deal with. Like the Gray Treefrog, Western Chorus Frogs can survive temperatures as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperature also impacts the speed at which the eggs hatch and the time a tadpole takes to become an adult.
It takes around 2 weeks for eggs to hatch, a period which can be longer in cold weather.
Cold temperatures and the absence of sufficient algae can also delay tadpole growth rates.
8. Pickerel Frog
Square-shaped blotches distinguish the Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris) from other species in the state.
Dark brown blotches separated by yellow or light brown sections help the species stand out.
While the coloring of the Pickerel Frog is similar in Northern and Southern climates, the frogs in Michigan are attached to large cold bodies of water.
Unlike other species found in water with plenty of vegetation, Pickerel Frogs prefer clear water and are often found around streams, as a result.
Rock formations and areas such as caves which are naturally cool also attract these frogs, at least for a certain part of the year.
Pickerel Frogs eat many types of spiders, insects, and bugs such as grasshoppers.
The species is stable but it shows low tolerance for polluted areas and crops with pesticide use.
The simple presence of Pickerel Frogs in an area signals the area doesn’t suffer from excessive pollution.
9. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
Still common in the state, Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs (Acris blanchardi) have a threatened status in Michigan and a few other nearby states.
The exact cause for the diminishing numbers of frogs isn’t known today.
This is a species believed to require a natural habitat without human interaction. Urban development and even farming can change the microbiome of the species.
As with Pickerel Frogs, some theories say only unspoiled land and water are suitable for this species.
These frogs are identified by a dark brown color and a warty-covered dorsal section.
They use the skin to absorb moisture and can be sensitive to everything that touches them, including human hands.
Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs have a clicking call. It resembles the sound of clicking keys. The click, click, click call is specific to the mating season which lasts until July.
The best time to spot these frogs is in the summer when they sit in shallow water during or after the mating season.
They often take the color of the environment and may show brown or red mid-dorsal stripes.
10. Cope’s Gray Treefrog
Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) are a gray to white species with specific orange coloring on the inner part of the hind legs.
A preference for woodlands is specific to this species, especially for woodlands next to ponds which are ideal breeding grounds.
These are some of the loudest types of frogs in the state.
A highly-pitched call that resembles traaank, traaank, traaank noise is specific to this species.
Some of the larger frogs of this family can call with a measured noise level of 90 decibels.
While this call is the loudest, females always pick it up over other slightly lower decibel calls which are considered to come from smaller male frogs.
This species is sometimes found next to homes, attracted to light at night.
They continue calling while in the garden or on the lawn if in the mating season which lasts to mid-summer.
The period after the mating season is a period that the frog uses to eat as much as it can before entering its overwintering period.
Various types of moths and insects are all part of its diet.
Snails are rare prey for these frogs and other types of similarly-sized frogs across Michigan.
11. Mink Frog
Mink Frogs (Lithobates septentrionalis) are some of the green and black species of the state with an uncertain population.
This is a species with diminishing numbers all across North America.
Mink Frogs get their name from their off-putting smell. They have been reported to smell like minks.
The habitat of the species impacts this smell. Mink Frogs live in water with plenty of vegetation.
Ponds with water lilies are believed to be naturally attracting these types of frogs.
This is also the area where the female lays the eggs after mating.
Mink Frog eggs are always found on vegetation next to water lilies or vegetation in shallow clear water, in general.
The female of the species can lay up to a few thousand eggs at a time.
A clean habitat for the eggs and the emerging tadpoles is crucial as they remain here for a long time.
Clean water without predators is the home of tadpoles for at least a year
It takes 1-2 years for the newly-emerged tadpoles to become adult frogs ready to mate.
A knock-knock call is specific to the males of this species whenever ready to mate.
The sound of this call resembles the sound of a hammer hitting wood or the sound of knocking on a door.
12. Boreal Chorus Frog
Boreal Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris maculata) are another species of threatened frogs in the state.
Urbanization, the loss of habitat, the introduction of new species, and dry weather are among the reasons for lower frog numbers in this species.
Boreal Chorus Frogs have a light brown or dark green color. Dark brown or black interrupted stripes are seen on its back on occasion.
These are interrupted stripes mostly seen on the brighter frogs of the species.
Mating calls of the species are heard from April, sometimes even sooner.
A reeenk, reeenk, reeenk call is specific to this species.
The call is rather linear and similar, unlike in other types of frogs.
While research tries to bridge female mate selection with the tonality of the call, this cannot be the case with Boreal Chorus Frogs as these frogs rarely vary in decibels or tonality when calling.
The species is ready to mate as soon as the weather gets warmer. These types of frogs lay thousands of eggs which have considerably different hatching and survival rates.
However, unlike other species of frogs in Michigan, female Boreal Chorus Frogs lay hundreds of eggs and not thousands of eggs at once.
Toads in Michigan
The following species of toads may be seen in the summertime across the state.
1. American Toad
American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) thrive in areas with semi-permanent bodies of water. These toads are seen in their Eastern American Toad subspecies across the state.
High color variation is specific to these toads. Females are known to have even wider color variation with or without blotches on the dorsal side.
Eastern American Toads are often consumed with Fowler’s Toads, another common species across the state.
You can differentiate American Toads from Fowler’s Toads by the way they hop and by the long sessions of chirp calls of the species.
American Toads are very slow, barely hoping and moving around only when needed.
Fowler’s Toads are more athletic and can combine multiple hops to easily get away.
These toads can live in different habitats across the state and they aren’t highly bothered by human activity in disturbed areas as some frogs in the state.
Rocky areas with plenty of moisture, ideally next to woodlands are preferred by the species.
Hiding is one of the main activities of the nocturnal toad which means it might not be easily spotted outside of its mating period.
In woodlands, American toads hide under rocks, logs, or leaf litter.
Insects are the main type of food these toads consume. They might gather around light sources at night, areas known to attract numerous flies.
2. Fowler’s Toad
Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri) grow to a size of almost 4 inches. These large toads also come in different colors and may be wrongly associated with American Toads.
Unlike American Toads, Fowler’s Toads have a green, gray, or brown body with 3 dorsal warts. They can also hop 10 – 15 times as opposed to the slow nature of The American Toad.
Another method of differentiating Fowler’s Toads from American Toads is by the call of the species.
Flower’s Toads have a distinct low sheep bleat-like call.
These toads take longer to become sexually mature compared to frogs in the state.
It can take up to 3 years for Fowler’s toads to become sexually mature. In rare cases, they can become sexually mature in 1 year.
The calls of the species may be heard in humid habitats in warm spring or early summertime weather.
They can mate in temporary bodies of water, around streams and ponds, and even in ditches.
These toads are mainly nocturnal and they prefer to call and mate later after sunset.
Female Fowler’s Toads lay a very large number of eggs after mating. Females can lay a few times more eggs than other female frogs and toads.
The female Fowler’s Toad can lay up to 25.000 eggs.
Invertebrates on the ground as well as insects are the common food for this large toad.
Fowler’s Toads survive up to around 5 years in areas with low pollution and plenty of food.