April is National Frog Month and here at CEC we think frogs and toads are pretty cool little critters especially when you think that they have been around for 200 million years and there are more than 6,000 species worldwide.

Obviously they are survivors and have developed an amazing array of adaptations.  They occur in almost all regions of the planet including alpine areas, the Arctic and even deserts. Antarctica is the only continent on earth where there are no frogs or toads. Here in the Okanagan where it is very dry and hot (>30 degrees Celsius for several months) we wonder how water-dependent frogs survive when water sources dry up and how they can make a living in other hostile environments.  The amazing diversity in frogs has led us to investigate and share our findings of the interesting and bizarre, both at home here in British Columbia (BC) and around the planet.

QUIZ! Think you know some stuff about frogs? See if you can answer these questions before checking the answers.

Can frogs drown? ANSWER  Show More

What do you call a group of frogs or toads? ANSWER  Show More

Do frogs shed their skins? ANSWER  Show More

What is the smallest frog on the planet? ANSWER  Show More

What is the largest frog on the planet? ANSWER  Show More

Do all frogs croak? ANSWER  Show More

How many eggs do they lay and where? ANSWER Show More

What is the difference between frogs and toads? ANSWER  Show More

Do they have eyelids? ANSWER  Show More

How long do they live? ANSWER  Show More

How do they survive the winter? ANSWER  Show More

Are frogs poisonous? ANSWER  Show More

How far can they jump? ANSWER Show More

What do they eat? ANSWER  Show More

Do frogs drink water? ANSWER  Show More

How long can they hold their breath underwater? ANSWER  Show More

Do frogs sleep? ANSWER  Show More

What are the main threats to frogs? ANSWER  Show More

How can we all help? ANSWER  Show More


In British Columbia there are 13 species of frogs, including 2 introduced species.  

Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog  (Lithobates pipiens)


  • BC Populations are Red Listed (At Risk) and listed as Endangered (COSEWIC and SARA).  Eastern Canadian populations are considered Not at Risk.
  • Once common but now restricted to the Creston area.
  • Burrows into the mud at the bottom of ponds to overwinter.





Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)


  • BC Populations are Red Listed (At Risk) and listed as Endangered (COSEWIC and SARA).
  • Eyes are positioned upward so when you look down it is looking up at you.
  • More aquatic than other frogs and therefore more susceptible to fragmentation.




tailed frog merge

Pacific Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) and tadpole rasping mouth parts.

  • Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus) is BC Red Listed (At Risk) and listed as Threatened (COSEWIC), and Endangered (SARA)
  • Pacific Tailed Frog (A. truei) is BC Blue Listed (considered vulnerable to human actions) and a species of Special Concern (COSEWIC and SARA).
  • Tadpoles may take up to four years to become adults.
  • Tadpoles scrape algae from submerged rocks with specialized rasping mouthparts.
  • Adults can’t extend their tongues so must pounce on prey.
  • May live up 15-20 years making them among the longest living frogs in the world.
  • Do not have eardrums and do not call. 


spadefoot merge2

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)

  • BC Blue Listed (species considered vulnerable to human actions), Threatened (COSEWIC and SARA).
  • Adapted for desert conditions, the eggs hatch in two days to a week.
  • May live up to 10 years.
  • Can lose almost half (48%) of their body moisture without ill effect.
  • Can enter a torpor during summer dry periods or hibernate for up to seven or eight months of the year.
  • Can quickly dig itself into the soil when threatened. 


Western Toad

Western (Boreal) Toad  (Anaxyrus boreas)


    • BC Blue List (considered vulnerable to human actions) and a species of Special Concern (COSEWIC and SARA).
  • Tadpoles can be seen in very large (hundreds to thousands) dense schools along shorelines.
  • Toadlets are miniature (as small as 6 mm) adults.
  • Hibernates below frost line up to 1.3 m underground.  



Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)

Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora)


  • BC Blue List (considered vulnerable to human actions) and a species of Special Concern (COSEWIC and SARA).
  • Males call to females from up to 1 m underwater.
  • Aurora literally means “the dawn”, referring to the pinkish colour on the underside of the hind legs.
  • Very fast, using long low hops to escape predators, even people.  


wood frog_23b

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)


  • Only amphibian that occurs north of the Arctic Circle.
  • Freeze solid in winter, thaw and hop away in spring.
  • May occur up to elevations of 3,050 m. 




Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

  • Have no vocal sacs so calls carry only 15-30 meters.
  • Burrows into the mud at the bottom of ponds to overwinter.
  • Tadpoles may develop into adults in a month in southern populations and may overwinter as tadpoles in northern populations.
  • Females may not breed until their 6th year.
  • Can live up to 10 years or more. 



Pacific Chorus (Tree) Frog  (Pseudacris regilla)

Pacific Chorus (Tree) Frog  (Pseudacris regilla)

  •  Adults spend much of their time climbing around on vegetation.
  • Adults can change colour in response to temperature/humidity.
  • Calls often used in movies for a tropical background.
  • Can throw their voices making them difficult to find by calls.  



Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)



  • Smallest frog in BC.
  • Hibernate in relatively dry sites and can endure temperatures to a few degrees below zero due to high blood sugars preventing ice crystals from forming.  




American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana)

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana)


  • Introduced into BC and grown for frog legs.
  • Adults are very large and can weigh 1.6 lbs.
  • Will eat anything it can fit into its mouth including birds and unfortunately other native frog species.
  • Hibernate at the bottom of their breeding ponds.




Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)



  • Introduced into BC, likely for the pet trade.
  • Burrows into the mud at the bottom of ponds to overwinter.






Some Useful Links  

The BC frogwatch website lists all of the species, provides an interactive map for each region and includes sound clips of their calls.  AmphibiaWeb is a great tool to discover listed amphibians (and frogs) worldwide.  For a list of what can be found in other provinces check out the Canadian Biodiversity website or the NatureWatch website. CEC’s Resource page has some identification keys.


Can we help YOU with identifying a frog or toad you encountered?

Send us your frog photo, question or frog story!


Photo Credits: In addition to our photos and those publicly available, CEC extends a special thanks to our friends who contributed to this photo collection. 

  • Northern Leopard Frog “Northern Leopard Frog” by Original uploader was BuBZ at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Oregon Spotted Frog. “USFWS Oregon Spotted Frog Photo“. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 
  • Pacific Tailed Frog. Jim Trask.
  • Great Basin Spadefoot Toad.  Jim Trask.
  • Western (Boreal) Toad (header and thumbnail photos).  Jim Trask.
  • Northern Red-Legged Frog.  Jim Trask.
  • Wood Frog.  Jim Trask.
  • Columbia Spotted Frog.  Jim Trask.
  • Pacific Chorus (Tree) Frog.  Jim Trask.
  • Boreal Chorus Frog. Jim Roberts.
  • American Bullfrog. “North-American-bullfrog1” by Carl D. Howe – Carl D. Howe, Stow, MA USA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Green Frog. “Male Green Frog” – Hunterdon County, NJ” by Contrabaroness – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.