Frog Facts

Male green frog in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Notice the Tympanic membrane size of this male green frog (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

My first encounter with frogs was of the animated version, with a favorite cartoon character Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse and the diabolical mastermind, cigar smoking Chauncy Flatface Frog. Thankfully, frogs don’t really smoke cigars or try to blow up cats, instead most provide great benefits to our garden by keeping the insect population down.

Initially, I planned to write a small ditty about frogs, but after finding so many fascinating froggy facts, I just had to share! For example, did you know that the way to tell a male green or bull frog from a female is by the size of the disc (tympanic membrane) behind the eye?  The male’s disc is larger than the eye and the female’s disc is same size or smaller than the eye. Another distinction is that the male’s throat is yellow and the female’s is white.  Now I know that the frog in my picture is a male green frog!

Connecticut boasts ten species of native frogs and toads. Here’s a categorized snippet of info on each:

Buffonidae (True Toads):

American Toad (Bufo americanus): A 3-4″ brown toad, lives in leaves or mulchy soil, eats invertibrates, insects and earthworms.
Fowlers Toad (Bufo fowleri)A2-3″ brownish-gray toad, lives in sandy soil by a water source, eats invertibrates, insects, earthworms.

Grey Tree Frog lounging on patio furniture in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Grey Tree Frog lounging on patio furniture (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Hylidae (Tree Frogs):

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor): A 2″ grayish frog with black markings, prefers a moist forest habitat, eats invertibrates and insects.
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer): The smallest CT frog at 1.5″ reddish brown, prefers marshy woodland, eats small insects.

Ranidae (True Frogs):

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana):  The largest CT frog at 8”, dark green, takes up to 3 years for metamorphosis, lives in ponds, streams and rivers, eats virtually anything small enough to consume, including insects, smaller frogs, small mammals and snakes.

Green frogs floating on lily pads in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Green frogs floating on lily pads (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Green Frog (Rana clamitans):  A 3-4” green frog, metamorphosis takes over a year, lives in ponds, streams and lakes, eats a variety of insects, crayfish, earthworms and smaller frogs.

Northern Leopard (Frog Rana pipiens): A 2-3” silver green frog with brown spots, lives in wet grasslands, eats insects and other invertebrates.  Leopard frogs are on the decline in CT and are considered a species of concern.

Pickerel Frog(Rana palustris): A 3” greenish-gray frog with brown spots a bit larger than the Leopard’s, favors shallow water in an open canopy, eats invertebrates.

Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica):  A 2-3” tan to rusty orange frog, prefers moist woodlands, eats small invertebrates.

Pelobatidae (Spadefoots):

Male Green Frog in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Male green frog basking on water’s edge (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrroki): A curious looking 2-2.5” brownish grey toad with white mottling, uses its hind feet to dig in sand, likes sandy well drained soil, eats various invertebrates. The Eastern spadefoot has declined to a point close to extinction.

O.K.  Just what are these frog delicacies called invertebrates?  Simply put, invertebrates are animals without a backbone, such as worms, insects and arachnids.

For more info and to hear some of the frog sounds try these web sites: and toads.html


  1. I’ve never seen a Grey tree frog! I also had no idea that some frog species were endangered….

    • I happened to spot the grey tree frog when I visited a garden a few weeks ago. It was just hanging out on the arm of a patio chair! I’ve seen toads in my yard, but never when I have a camera in hand. However, the green frogs are everywhere! I love to watch them basking on lily pads in local ponds.
      Yes, it’s sad that some of our frogs are endangered, but it makes sense when you consider all the construction and pollution that is ruining their habitats. But we can help by leaving natural areas in our yards and by our ponds and streams!

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