Numerous species of frogs live in Arizona, but some types are more common than others. When exploring the desert or hiking the mountains, keep your eyes peeled to spot these types of frogs in Arizona.
While Arizona is famous for being home to many cactus species, including prickly pear and saguaro, it’s also home to several species of frogs.
It boasts one of the world’s most diverse ranges of frog species. To help you take advantage of the beautiful local amphibian populations, here’s an overview of the most common types of frogs in Arizona and where to find them.
1. Barking Frog
The Barking Frog, so named because of the call it makes when threatened, is found in the central part of the state. They have an olive-green back with a light brown or yellow belly.
They spend most of their time near water. You can often hear these types of frogs in Arizona croaking at night during the mating season, which lasts from late spring until early summer.
The males call for females by making a barking sound that sounds like wah-wah. Unfortunately, this frog is endangered because it has disappeared from much of its original range due to habitat loss and pollution. Luckily, you can still find this type of frog near rivers and ponds in eastern Arizona’s Verde Valley.
2. Plains Leopard Frog
The Plains Leopard Frog is the largest in Arizona. It lives along rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and marshes. The color is brown or dark green with a yellow stripe down the back, and they grow up to 5 inches long.
You can see these frogs near Phoenix, Tucson, or Flagstaff. These types of frogs are not endangered, but they have been declining because of habitat loss. If you live near water, look for this type of frog on logs, rocks, or vegetation close to shorelines.
The plains leopard frog is also called a giant among frogs and usually has 4-5 bumps on its head. They make an unk sound that can be heard from far away.
As one of the most significant types of frogs in Arizona, they spend most of their time underwater, which means they lay eggs underwater too.
Their larvae hang out on aquatic plants before transforming into adults. Adults eat insects, tadpoles, small fish, and sometimes small salamanders.
When threatened by predators like raccoons, the plains leopard frog will jump into the air, making themselves hard to catch.
3. Canyon Tree Frog
The canyon tree frog is one of the most commonly found frogs in the Sonoran Desert. They are usually green or brown, with a dark stripe down their back.
These colors allow these little guys to blend into their environment, which is extremely important for survival.
These types of frogs in Arizona can be found by sitting quietly near a small puddle or pond, as they often come out during the evening hours (or when it rains) for food.
Males will make their presence known by calling to attract females who need to locate the males for reproduction purposes.
Canyon tree frogs can be difficult to spot due to how well they blend into their habitat, but if you listen closely, you may hear them call throughout the night. Sometimes you might even see one crossing a path on your hike.
As long as there is water nearby, some canyon tree frogs are nearby too! Although they live high in the canyon walls, they can easily be spotted around freshwater sources such as ponds and puddles.
4. Mountain Tree Frog
The Mountain Tree Frog is the state’s most abundant frog. It is found on the ground or in trees, but it avoids pools of water. The Mountain Tree Frog is a species that can be found in the foothills of Arizona.
It can be identified by its dark olive or brown back with green stripes and its light belly, which has yellow or red blotches.
The female mountain tree frog can grow up to five inches long, while the male grows up to four inches. These types of frogs in Arizona are more active at night and dawn, but they do emerge during the day if it’s wet outside.
5. The Northern Leopard Frog
This frog is typically brown with dark, irregular spots on its back. You can usually find the Northern Leopard Frog living near permanent water sources, such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams. However, this species also lives in moist woodland areas year-round.
The Northern Leopard Frog prefers habitats with shrubs or small trees, so it has a place to hide when it feels threatened by predators.
It will spend most of its time either at the bottom of these wet environments or floating just below the surface.
It does not climb into vegetation like types of frogs in Arizona but hunts for food by sitting and waiting for prey to come close enough for capture.
When hunting, this type is particularly interested in invertebrates that live in water, such as shrimp and crayfish.
6. Pacific Treefrog
The Pacific Treefrog is a giant, brown or green frog found throughout the southwestern United States.
These types of frogs in Arizona are the most recognizable species of tree frogs due to their bright coloration.
Males range from dark grey-brown with light green patches on the back, or olive-green with darker dots, while females can be brownish with darker markings.
Juveniles have a more even coloration. These treefrogs are typically found near water and can often be seen perched on vegetation near ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers.
The pacific treefrog is also known for its territorial vocalization, which sounds like ribbit repeated every 5 seconds.
Females call after they lay eggs, males call when they want to attract mates, and both sexes call during the mating season (March – September). They eat insects and other invertebrates, such as spiders.
7. Tarahumara Frog
The Tarahumara Frog, or Rana tarahumarae, is a frog found only in northern Mexico. These types of frogs in Arizona are large when fully grown (about four inches) but are still relatively rare.
The Tarahumara Frog gets its name from the people who live in the area where they are most abundant.
The Tarahumara Frog ranges from light brown to dark green with a black stripe down its back. It has a pointed snout with nostrils that extend almost halfway down its head, which allows it to breathe while buried under leaves or soil.
The Tarahumara Frog spends most of its life underground and emerges during the wet season at night. Males croak loudly to attract females, often filling up small streams and ponds with mating calls. Eggs are laid in large masses attached to vegetation near water.
Females attach clusters of eggs on submerged plants so that tadpoles can access air and water while they develop into adults.
Unlike other types of frogs, the Tarahumara Frog does not use vocal cords for mating calls, so their croaks can be heard over long distances.
8. Western Chorus Frog
Whether camping, hiking, or exploring Arizona’s national parks, it is common to see what you think is a tree frog.
Western Chorus frogs make their home all over the Lake Mead National Recreation area and many other places throughout Arizona.
While they might look like tree frogs, they are amphibians and not a type of tree frog. These types of frogs in Arizona also have some interesting behaviors that make them very special.
For example, the western chorus frogs stay together in groups called leks which means male frogs gather to call for females during mating season.
In addition, a Western Chorus frog typically has two types of vocalizations: a long advertisement call and a short trill.
It also makes the sound by rubbing its back on the surface of water or by making scraping sounds with its hands against rough surfaces. So if you hear what sounds like chirping from water or the ground, you may be able to find one close by!
9. Plains Leopard Frog
The Plains Leopard Frog (Rana Blair) is a type of frog found in the Sonoran Desert. They are also the Llano leopard frog or the Great Plains Leopard Frog. These frogs have thick, short legs and dark spots on their sides.
They are often found near water and will make a chirping sound to warn potential predators from coming too close.
The eggs of these frogs hatch into tadpoles that grow limbs and lose their tails, becoming adult frogs after around two months. Adult plains leopard frogs have green backs with brown or black stripes and cream-colored bellies.
Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as crickets, beetles, ants, and grasshoppers. However, they will eat smaller frogs if they are hungry enough.
The plains leopard frog has very few natural predators, but they may become prey for coyotes, bobcats, badgers, and raccoons when they come close to shorelines where they live.
If threatened by humans, this type of frog may jump out of the water in an attempt to escape, and they cannot stay submerged for more than thirty seconds before needing air again.
10. Chiricahua Leopard Frog
The Chiricahua Leopard Frog is one of the state’s most diverse types of frogs. This amphibian is also known as a Desert Leopard Frog because they live near water sources such as springs and streams.
The Chiricahua Leopard Frog is a smaller, green frog with two dark stripes on its back that look like leopard spots, hence the name.
They are territorial and will defend their territory from other frogs, even if it means fighting to the death. They may also be aggressive towards humans if approached too closely.
It’s essential never to handle this type of frog because you could get them sick or irritate them enough for them to bite.
If you happen upon a Chiricahua Leopard Frog, admire them from afar! In addition to the Chiricahua Leopard Frog, there are eight different types of frogs in Arizona.
11. Relict Leopard
Relict Leopard Frogs are a federally endangered species. They live in the desert, and they only come out at night. So they would burrow into the ground to avoid being seen. Relict Leopard Frogs can grow up to 5 inches.
We must protect this creature because it has adapted so well to living in Arizona’s dry climate by burying itself underground for water storage.
Unfortunately, we also need to protect these creatures because their habitat is slowly disappearing with more and more homes being built all over the place, which leads to less green space for them.
Not only does the number of homes being built affect the frog population, but our farming practices do as well.
The chemicals used on crops tend to drain into streams where these frogs might be living and have been known to cause deformities in tadpoles born there. That is why we should try our best to find ways to reduce our use of these harmful chemicals if possible.
12. Boreal Chorus Frog
The Boreal Chorus Frog is one type of frog that lives in Arizona. Boreal Chorus Frogs are a type of leopard frog, often with dark spots or stripes on their backs. They live near ponds and other bodies of water with vegetation nearby.
These types of frogs in Arizona hibernate during the winter, as it can be hard to find food when they are not active.
When they wake up from hibernation, they can eat about anything- insects, small rodents, worms, and amphibians.
Male boreal chorus frogs have an exciting way of attracting mates: they produce a loud, distinctive call by rubbing the thumb pads against the underside of their thighs!
Arizona is home to over different most significant types of frogs in Arizona, each with its unique features.
The Western Toad is the only frog native to Arizona and can be found living near water sources like lakes or streams. They have a light brown or yellowish skin color with dark blotches.
This type of frog has parotoid glands that produce a toxic liquid that can irritate the skin if touched, and they are the most significant type of frog in Arizona.
The Chiricahua Leopard Frog is one of the smallest species in Arizona and is on the endangered list. They get their name from the large, leopard-like spots on their back and legs.
They are mainly green or brown with red spots, and males will croak at night during mating season. So the next time you go outside at night, think about how many different types of frogs may be out there waiting for you!