Frogs & Toads

Ranidae (True Frogs)

Wood Frog

Rana sylvatica

Being that the Blackwater Watershed receives some of the coldest temperatures in West Virginia, you might not expect to see too many frogs around. These temperatures are no match, however, for the wood frog! Wood frogs have the extraordinary ability to survive freezing! Their skin contains "cryoprotectants", basically a natural antifreeze. Due to this, these are the only frogs that can be found north of the Arctic Circle. They can easily be identified by their raccoon-masked face and brown to red color. This species is much more terrestrial (land-dwelling) than its close relatives such as the bullfrog and green frog. They are very widespread, with a range extending from Georgia to north of the Arctic Circle, west to Alaska!

Lithobates sylvaticus

Bufonidae (True Toads)

American Toad

Anaxyrus americanus

Come across a toad in the Blackwater Watershed and this is probably the one. American toads occupy much drier habitats than tree frogs or true frogs (yes toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads!). They eat just about anything they can fit in their mouth (mostly invertebrates). Being a generalist, these toads can occupy a number of different habitats and sustain themselves on a variety of food items, allowing them to span across a wide range. They can be found from Canada to Texas and just about everywhere to the East!

Anaxyrus americanus


Redmer, M., & Trauth, S. E. (n.d.). Rana sylvatica. AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from

Green, D. M. (n.d.). Anaxyrus americanus. AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from