Frogs and Toads of South Carolina 

Bufonidae - True Toads

This family is composed of the true toads. Four species are found in South Carolina and all belong to the genus Anaxyrus. They are more terrestrial than most other frogs in our region and have shorter limbs and rough, warty skin. They all look very similar and they are best distinguished from one another by their range or by looking closely at subtle traits with the toad in hand. 

American Toad
(Anaxyrus americanus)

SC Distribution:

Fowler’s Toad
(Anaxyrus fowleri)

SC Distribution:

Southern Toad
(Anaxyrus terrestris)

Like other closely related members of this genus, the Southern Toad has rough, warty skin and is generally brownish in coloration, with a wide variation patterning. Dorsal spots may appear on the back and will contain 1 or 2 warts. The prominent knobs on the cranial ridges are the best means for differentiating this species from similar species that may overlap in its range.

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, isolated populations above the fall line. 

Oak Toad
(Anaxyrus quercicus)

SC Distribution:

Scaphiopodidae - American Spadefoot Toads

Eastern Spadefoot
(Scaphiopus holbrookii)

SC Distribution: 

Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Frogs

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
(Gastrophryne carolinensis)

This small, but rotund frog has a pointed snout and a fold of skin just at the base of the head. They are variable in color, but generally brown, gray, tan or reddish, with a mottled underside. They rarely get over 1.5 inches in length, and have shorten limbs relative to their body.

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills, Piedmont, Blue Ridge

Hylidae - Tree Frogs

Eastern Cricket Frog
(Acris crepitans)

SC Distribution: 

Southern Cricket Frog
(Acris gryllus)

This small frog has warty skin and reaches a little over an inch in length. Their body is generally brown or tan with a pale underside. The center of their back is decorated with a distinguishable ‘Y’ that starts at the base of each eye, connecting just behind the head, creating a dark triangle pointing backwards inside the fork of the ‘Y’. The pattern can brown, green, or reddish in color and will match the color between the eyes and snout.

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills

Pine Barrens Treefrog
(Hyla andersonii)

The Pine Barrens Treefrog is perhaps the most decorated treefrog in our region. In South Carolina it is restricted to the northern Sandhills region. It is a medium sized treefrog with adults reaching sizes close to 2 inches. The frog is smooth and green from above and has dark, lavender stripes extending from the nostril, through the eye and tympanum creating a bold face mask. Concealed on the interior portions of each leg are vibrant yellow-orange spots.

SC Distribution: Sandhills
In South Carolina this frog is only found in Chesterfield, Kershaw, Marlboro and Richland Counties

Bird-voiced Treefrog
(Hyla avivoca)

This medium to large treefrog is either all gray, gray with patches of green, or has an entirely light-green dorsum. All individuals have a yellowish or pale greenish patch beneath the eye, and pale green spots on the inside of the thighs. They have bumpy skin and like other members of the genus, these frogs have large toe pads and elongated limbs.

SC Distribution: Coastal Plains, Sandhills
In South Carolina, this frog is only found along the Savannah River in the southeastern portion of the state

Cope’s Gray Treefrog
(Hyla chrysoscelis)

This large treefrog has a mottled gray dorsum, bumpy skin, large toe pads, and elongated limbs. The most distinguishing feature of this treefrog are the vibrant yellow or orange flash colors and spotting on the inside of the hind legs. They typically have a light spot beneath the eye and a pale underside. Some individuals may exhibit a pale greenish coloation on the dorsum.

SC Distribution: Statewide

Green Treefrog
(Hyla cinerea)

This medium to large treefrog is typically green in coloration with a bold white stripe running from the upper lip down the length of the body, terminating at the groin. The green dorsal coloration may extend past the white line on its sides and fade to a pale or grayish belly.  On occasion, these treefrogs appear entirely brown, but still have a noticable white line on their sides. Many individuals decorated with varying numbers of bright yellow spots on their dorsum.

SC Distribution: Statewide

Pine Woods Treefrog
(Hyla femoralis)

This small treefrog is brown, tan, reddish or green in coloration with a pale underside. They may have faint mottling on their back or can be uniform in color. They have well defined yellow or orange spots on the inside of their hind legs – this trait is only visible when the leg is extended, but is necessary in confidently identifying this frog. 

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills

Barking Treefrog
(Hyla gratiosa)

SC Distribution: 

Squirrel Treefrog
(Hyla squirella)

This medium sized treefrog is highly variable in coloration. Dorsally it can be green, gray, tan, brown, or any combination of these colors with faint blotches on its back. The underside is pale and occasionally yellow-orange flash colors may be present on the inside of the limbs, but these areas lack any distinct spotting seen on other treefrogs. Some individuals have a whiteish or yellowish upper lip that continues to a faded line along the sides of the body.

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills, Piedmont

Brimley’s Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris brimleyi)

The Brimley’s Chorus Frog is a small, tan/light brown frog. They have two dark brown stripes on either side of the body extending from the snout, through the eye, to the groin. They also typically have a three fainter, dark brown stripes on the back that are unbroken.

SC Distribution: Coastal Plains

Spring Peeper
(Pseudacris crucifer)

This small chorus frog is tan or brown with a slightly darker X on its back stamped on its back. Adults range in size from about 1 to 1.5 inches and females tend to be larger than males. Females are also often lighter in color, while males have a dark chin. All individuals have yellowish flash colors on the inside of their thighs and large toepads for climbing.

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills, Piedmont, Blue Ridge

Upland Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris feriarum)

SC Distribution: 

Southern Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris nigrita)

The Southern Chorus Frog is a small, light-brown frog with dark, dorsal blotches and bumpy skin. The blotches may appear in a line on the back and sides, but are usually unconnected. The snout of this frog is pointed and a dark line connects the nostil and the eye – contrasting with they pale white upperlip. 

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains, Sandhills

Ornate Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris ornata)

SC Distribution: 

Little Grass Frog
(Pseudacris ocularis)

SC Distribution: 

Ranidae - True Frogs

Gopher Frog
(Lithobates capito)

SC Distribution: 

American Bullfrog
(Lithobates catesbeianus)

SC Distribution: 

Green Frog
(Lithobates clamitans)

SC Distribution: 

Pig Frog
(Lithobates grylio)

SC Distribution: 

River Frog
(Lithobates heckscheri)

SC Distribution: 

Pickerel Frog
(Lithobates palustris)

SC Distribution: 

Southern Leopard Frog
(Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Rounded, dark spots pattern a brown or tan body, and there is often splotches of green between the spots. A dorsal lateral fold (or ridge) extends from behind the eyes to the groin of the hind legs.

SC Distribution: Statewide 

Wood Frog
(Lithobates silvaticus)

SC Distribution: 

Carpenter Frog
(Lithobates virgatipes)

SC Distribution: 

Eleutherodactylidae - Rain Frogs

Greenhouse Frog
(Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

The Greenhouse Frog is a very small frog, rarely achieving total lengths over an inch. They are typically mottled brown in color and may have two light stripes extending down the back. This is nonnative species in the state of South Carolina. Unlike all of our native frogs, this frog does not have a tadpole stage. They entirely terrestrial and found in moist forested areas or home gardens. 

SC Distribution: Coastal Zone, Coastal Plains