Amphibians in Kansas

Kansas has a surprising number of amphibians. Whether you search on the plains or in the mouths of southeastern caves, the amphibian diversity of Kansas may surprise you.


All About Amphibians

Frogs and Toads

If you spot a critter with no tail and hind legs adapted for jumping, you've got a frog or toads. Toads typically have warty skin and can travel much further from water than frogs. All toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads.

Toads lay their eggs in long chains, and frogs lay their eggs in a cluster.

Good news! This is a myth. (But please don't kiss toads; they're poisonous.)

Kissing a frog will not turn it into a prince, though it might appreciate it.

The problem is that some frogs, like treefrogs, produce toxins that can burn your eyes and tongue. So don't rub your eyes, don't lick your fingers, and kiss at your own risk.

PS: Toads, which are covered in warty little bumps, also produce poisons from glands behind their eyes which can be unpleasant to get in your eyes and mouth.

Narrow-mouthed Toad. This toad eats parasitic mites to help the tarantula, and in turn, the tarantula offers the toad protection. It's not uncommon to find a narrow-mouthed toad hanging out under a rock with a tarantula.

The American Bullfrog! They have tasty legs, but you'll need a fishing license to catch and eat one.


These long-tailed amphibians look like a lizard without scales. All newts are salamanders, but not all salamanders are newts. Many of these animals are threatened or endangered and are found in only a few areas in Kansas.

Larval salamanders look a lot like tadpoles, but they have soft external gills.

Salamanders can become reproductively mature without transforming into their adult state. These permanently juvenile salamanders are called "neotenic." The axolotl is one example of a neotenic salamander--if it was prompted to go through metamorphosis, it would look a lot like a Tiger Salamander. Populations of entirely neotenic native salamanders have been discovered in Kansas.

Even our common salamanders are difficult to spot in the wild because of their reclusive, nocturnal, and/or burrowing habits. If you want to see a wild salamander, your best bet is driving at night after a rain in the summer. If you're lucky, you'll spot a salamander cruising across the road.


A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards

Kansas Amphibians

  • Frogs & Toads: Anura

    Family Bufonidae
    American Toad
    Great Plains Toad
    Chihuahuan Green Toad
    Fowler's Toad
    Red-spotted Toad
    Woodhouse's Toad

    Family Hylidae
    Blanchard's Cricket Frog
    Gray Treefrog complex
    Spotted Chorus Frog
    Spring Peeper
    Boreal Chorus Frog
    Strecker's Chorus Frog

    Family Microhylidae
    Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
    Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad

    Family Ranidae
    Crawfish Frog
    Plains Leopard Frog
    American Bullfrog
    Green Frog
    Pickerel Frog
    Southern Leopard Frog

    Family Scaphiopodidae
    Plains Spadefoot

  • Salamanders: Caudata

    Family Ambystomatidae
    Western (Barred) Tiger Salamander
    Smallmouth Salamander
    Eastern Tiger Salamander

    Family Cryptobranchidae

    Family Plethodontidae
    Long-tailed Salamander
    Cave Salamander
    Western Grotto Salamander

    Family Proteidae

    Family Salamandridae
    Eastern Newt