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|The Frogs & Toads of Tennessee|
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Below are listed all 21 species of frogs and toads in Tennessee. Alongside each species is a brief description of the call and peak calling periods. By looking at the description of a frog or toad's call and when it calls, you may be able to narrow your search to just a few species. Click on the species name to open it's web page (which includes sound) or click on "Call" to play just the sound file. Keep in mind that you could still hear a frog or toad outside of the main calling period and that verbal descriptions of sounds vary with the ear of the listener. Also keep in mind that many frogs like the Bullfrog can be seen year round. These notes refer only to the calling periods. Reproduction of these recordings by any means is prohibited without prior consent by LEAPS.
Anaxyrus americanus - American Toad
Call is a long high musical trill on one pitch. Calling usually begins in February and peaks in March. We have heard them call through July, particularly at higher elevations.
Anaxyrus fowleri - Fowler's Toad
Call is a raspy "Waaaaa" that sounds a little like a baby crying. Calling usually begins in April and peaks in May. We have heard them call through July.
Acris crepitans - Eastern Cricket Frog
Call sounds like two small pebbles being tapped together. The tapping starts out slowly, accelerates in tempo and then slows. We have heard them March through July, but calling usually starts in April and peaks in May.
Acris gryllus - Southern Cricket Frog
Call sounds like two small pebbles being tapped together. The tapping sounds are a little harsher than the Eastern Cricket Frog and the tempo stays the same throughout the call. We have heard them mid-April through August. This frog occurs mainly in the southwest corner of Tennessee.
Hyla avivoca - Bird-voiced Treefrog
Call is a series of high whistles, a little like someone whistling for their dog. It also resembles in pitch and tempo (but not in timbre) the call of a pileated woodpecker. Calling usually begins in mid-April and continues through early August, with a peak May through July.
Hyla chrysoscelis - Cope's Gray Treefrog
Call is a short raspy trill on one pitch. Call is similar to Hyla versicolor but the pulse rate is faster (34-69 pulses/sec). The call on this page averages 56 pulses/sec. We have heard them call from late March through October. Calling peaks May through July. This call is quite common in the summer in a wide variety of habitats. They also make a short aggressive barking call which some people confuse with the Barking Treefrog.
Hyla cinerea - Green Treefrog
Call is a short nasal "quonk." Also sounds a little like an old-time squeeze bulb bicycle horn. We have heard them call May through August, with a peak calling period in June and July. Mainly a resident of the Coastal Plain of west Tennessee.
Hyla gratiosa - Barking Treefrog
Call is a short hollow-sounding "bark" similar to the sound of a beagle on the trail of a rabbit. Also makes a raspy tree call at dusk before descending to the water. We have heard them from June through August.
Hyla versicolor - Gray Treefrog
Call is a short high trill, a little more musical than the Cope's Gray Treefrog, and slower. Trill pulse rate for the versicolor is said to vary from 17-35 pulses/second. In this recording, a slow trill versicolor -type call (21 pulses/sec) alternates with a fast trill chrysoscelis (53 pulses/sec.) We have heard them call from May though July. The few records we have are from west Tennessee.
Pseudacris brachyphona - Mountain Chorus Frog
Call is short, raspy and rises in pitch. This call is similar to the Upland Chorus Frog but is faster and shorter. We have heard them calling from February through August, with the peak of calling from late February into March.
Pseudacris crucifer - Spring Peeper
Call is a short, high exuberant "Peeeep" which rises slightly at the end. We have heard them call from January through November, with a peak during March and April. Can be heard year-round in higher elevations.
Pseudacris feriarum - Upland Chorus Frog
Call is short, raspy and rises in pitch. This call sounds like someone dragging their thumbnail over the teeth of a comb. Our earliest breeding frog. We have heard full breeding choruses starting in November and continuing through the winter into spring and summer. Isolated individuals call from the trees during the fall.
Gastrophryne carolinensis - Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
Call is a high drawn-out, insect-like "beeeeeeeeeeee". Many liken it to the bleating of a newborn lamb. We have heard them call from April through October. Breeding choruses usually follow heavy rains, especially late summer rains of 2" or more.
Scaphiopus holbrookii - Eastern Spadefoot
Call is a dyspeptic, downward-slurred "errrrrgh," resembling the call of a young crow. We have heard them call from June through August, usually after heavy rains of 2" or more.
Lithobates areolatus - Crawfish Frog
Call is a deep snoring "Waaaaa" with tremendous carrying power. We have heard them in February and March. This is a frog of the west Tennessee Coastal Plain.
Lithobates capito - Gopher Frog
Call is a deep drawn-out snore or growl. Often calls from beneath the water. We have not heard them in Tennessee, but have heard them calling in Georgia in January. This frog has only been found near Tullahoma, Tennessee and is only known from two records. This call was recorded in Georgia and includes in the background an Ornate Chorus Frog, a frog which has not yet been recorded in Tennessee. It has a ringing sound like someone tapping two pieces of hardened steel together.
Lithobates catesbeianus - American Bullfrog
Call is a loud deep "jug-o-rum." We have heard them call from March through August. Typically a warm weather breeder.
Lithobates clamitans - Green Frog
Call sounds like a banjo string being plucked. A short, explosive "glunk." We have heard them call from March through September.
Lithobates palustris - Pickerel Frog
Call is a drawn-out, descending snore, "yeeeeeoooow." We have heard them from late March through April, with a peak in early April.
Lithobates sphenocephalus - Southern Leopard Frog
Call is a series of clucks interspersed with groans that sound like a hand rubbed over a balloon. We have heard them call from January through the fall, with peak calling in February and March. Some breeding choruses can be heard in September and October when the temperatures start to fall.
Lithobates sylvaticus - Wood Frog
Call is a series of clucks similar to the Southern Leopard Frog, but more random in delivery and with little carrying power. The wind bent the grass over as we recorded this chorus on a blustery night in January. We have heard them call through February. One of our earliest breeders.
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