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 Illinois

  FROGS AND TOADS   

HOW WILL I KNOW?


Adult frogs and toads have the following traits:
*no tail
*no neck
*long rear legs adapted for jumping
*no scales, feathers or fur
*4 legs

WHERE WILL I FIND THEM?


Frogs and toads live in wet place or are active when there is plenty of moisture in the air, like at night or after a rain. Some frogs are even found in trees! Toads can survive farther away from water than frogs. Breeding frogs and toads gather around ponds and other water bodies at night.



WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THEM?


Frogs use their skin and lungs to breathe. Mucous glands in their skin help to keep it moist and slick. This aids in breathing and escaping from predators. Because toads have drier skin, they do not use it as much for breathing.

Toads have many poison glands in their skin. When a predator starts to eat a toad, the poison oozes into the predator’s mouth. Often the toad is dropped because the poison tasted nasty.

Frogs and toads return to water to lay their eggs. The eggs are covered with a jellylike substance. The eggs hatch to larvae (tadpoles) that breathe with gills. As they develop, the larvae grow legs and lose the gills. When fully developed they may leave the water.

Frogs and toads are carnivores. They are also a good food source for many predators. Most frogs and toads can change colors to some degree.

NORTHERN CRICKET FROG

Acris crepitans
(A-chris CREP-I-tans)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

statewide in Illinois but uncommon in the northern one-third of the state

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

This small frog (0.63-1.5 inches) has a tiny pad on the tip of each toe. The feet are webbed. A light line extends from each eye to the shoulder, and many light bars are on the nose. A dark triangle is between the eyes. The frog may be gray, brown, black, olive or tan.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

The cricket frog lives in aquatic and terrestrial habitats but not in trees. It is fairly tolerant of cold and may be seen in the winter months if the weather is not too severe. It eats arthropods, particularly insects.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

Breeding occurs from late April through summer. The male’s call is a metallic "glick, glick, glick." Up to 200 eggs are laid in filmy packets on the water’s surface. The tadpole has a black-tipped tail.

Read & Color


Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.







BULLFROG

Rana catesbeiana
(RAN-uh KATES-bee-ah-nuh)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

statewide in Illinois

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

This large (3.5-6 inches) frog is easy to identify. It has no dorsolateral folds, but does have short tympanic folds. Webbing on the feet extends to the toe tips. The frog may be olive, green or brown with dots or blotches. The tympanum is larger than the eye.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

The bullfrog may be found in lakes, ponds, rivers or creeks. An adult is solitary and wary during the day but easier to approach at night. A bullfrog eats almost anything that it can catch and swallow although crustaceans and insects make up the bulk of the diet.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

The "jug-o-rum" and "br-wum" calls of the male announce the breeding season from late April through August. Each female may lay several thousand eggs. Hatching occurs in less than a week. Tadpoles metamorphose in their second year. Tadpoles may reach over six inches in length.

Read & Color

Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.










 

AMERICAN TOAD

Bufo americanas
(BOO-foe uh-mare-i-CANE-us)

IS IT NEAR MY HOUSE?

all but the southeastern portion of Illinois

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

This large toad (2-3.5 inches) has long parotoid glands. Its belly is spotted. Dark spots on the back include more than one wart in about half the individuals.

WHAT ARE ITS HABITS?

Gardens, lawns, woods and fields are all habitats for this animal. The American toad hides in soil or shrubbery during the day. It is active at night, feeding on insects and worms.

WHAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION?

The breeding season peaks in mid-April. The male calls with a high, musical trill. Each female may lay several thousand eggs in long strings. These strings may extend for several feet along the bottom of a pond or ditch. Hatching occurs one week later with metamophosis in early June.

Read & Color

Now that you have learned more about this amphibian, color or paint it as it would look in the wild. Add some of its habitat, too.










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