Toads and frogs often conjure up thoughts of wet places--misty swamps and enchanted nights when mysterious calls rise from the water's edge. Although wetlands are crucial to their life cycle, these amphibians don't live exclusively in water. They often emerge from their aquatic homes to become land dwellers. Some hardy toads and frogs even spend their entire winter in the leaf litter of a forest floor or in a deep burrow below the frost line of an open grassland.
Toads and frogs are collectively known as anurans--tailless amphibians. The 14 species of toads and frogs found in Minnesota are grouped into three families: toads, treefrogs, and true frogs. All species within each family share similar features, but each individual species has its own unique breeding call, survival strategy, and environmental niche.
Over thousands of years, Minnesota's toads and frogs have adapted to survive a wide range of conditions. By learning more about these amphibians, their habitats, and their survival methods, Minnesotans can better appreciate why we need to conserve the wetlands, grasslands, and forests where these fascinating animals live. Their presence is an indication that we are doing a good job of preserving wetland habitat and water quality. Conversely, when toads and frogs disappear, it could mean the ecosystems that sustain them are ailing.