Four Amphibians, Plus One Reptile, to Look Out For

Text—Juliette Leblanc Illustrations—Zaine Vaun

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Since the land you’re on is rich in wetlands and aquatic environments, we couldn’t not include a section devoted to amphibians—plus one reptilian friend. Amphibians have an especially close relationship to their habitat: not only do they lay their eggs there, but their scaleless skin must remain moist so they can breathe.

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Grey Treefrog

Also known as the eastern grey treefrog, Hyla versicolor never reaches more than 6 cm long and is one of the most common and widely distributed treefrogs. Its rough skin can turn from green to grey to brown, and it sports darker patches on its back and legs. Their call is a short, flute-like trill that you might also hear from the treetops.

Habitat: Wooded areas, especially trees and shrubs near lakes and ponds. The grey treefrog prefers mature forests.

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American Toad

The only toad in most of Eastern Canada, the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) can be as long as 11 cm. Its warty skin ranges from brownish to olive-coloured, with patches and visible skin glands. It can be identified by the pale dorsal line along its back and the two bumps behind its head, which are parotoid glands. Its monotonous trill can last up to 30 seconds.

Habitat: Diverse terrestrial environments, ranging from gardens to densely wooded areas, including along the edges of rivers and ponds.

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Bullfrog

The bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is the largest frog in North America; it can measure as long as 18 cm. It ranges in colour from olive green to dark brown, with darker patches on its back. Its call is deep, rough, and croaky.

Habitat: Lakes, ponds, or river bays. They rarely venture onto dry land.

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Northern Leopard Frog

Commonly referred to in Canada as simply a “leopard frog,” the Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) sports spots not unlike those of a leopard. The male’s call does not travel very far and sounds a little like a soft snore.

Habitat: Forests and parks. The Northern leopard frog can travel a significant distance from the nearest body of water.

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Common Garter Snake

The common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) has dark brown skin with three yellow or red stripes on its back and sides. Average length varies from 50 cm to 120 cm.

Habitat: Almost everywhere in North America, except in areas with extremely cold or dry climates.

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