Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

True Frogs (Family Ranidae)

Wood Frog
Lithobates sylvaticus

Adult Wood Frog, photo courtesy of John White
Adult Wood Frog, photo courtesy of John White


  • 1⅜ - 2 inches 
  • Record - 3 inches
  • Appearance

  • Our only frog with a dark “robber’s” mask extending through the eye downward to the upper lip.
  • Body color is typically tan but highly variable, from pinkish tan to brown to almost black.

    Photo of  habitat for Wood Frog courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Photo of  Habitat for Wood Frog courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


  • May be found anywhere in moist deciduous and mixed woods, even far from wetlands. 
  • Breeding ponds are typically vernal pools or semi-permanent shallow water bodies without fish, both surrounded by or on the edge of woodlands, the wetland having some open canopy.
  • How to Find

  • Listen for its distinctive call on rainy or humid nights in February and March, which has been likened to the hoarse quacking of ducks.
  • Usually in large choruses.
  • Look for a raft of large gelatinous softball-sized egg masses floating on the surface, as egg laying is typically concentrated in one area of the wetland.
  • Each embryo is a separate bulge in the exterior surface of the egg mass, giving them a rough appearance.
  • Egg masses may also be attached to sticks or other vegetation just below the surface.
  • Maryland Distribution Map

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.