9 Amphibians That You Can Find in New York

Even though it gets cold in New York, lots of incredible amphibians, including frogs and salamanders, still live there.

May 13, 2024By Molly Weinfurter
amphibians that live in new york

New York gets cold in the winter, but many amphibians still live there, despite their sensitive skin. These amphibians retreat deep underground or underwater to survive harsh winter months. Thus, these New York amphibians, which include frogs and salamanders, are impressive creatures that deserve recognition.

1. Eastern Spadefoot

eastern spadefoot toad
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eastern spadefoots are small toads measuring 1.6 to 3.1 inches long. Their skin is typically smoother than the skin of other toads. Like many amphibians, these toads can release toxins that could irritate human skin and scare off predators.

These toads breed quickly with eggs hatching as soon as 24 to 72 hours after they’re laid. Then, the tadpoles go through metamorphosis in less than a month. Despite reproducing so easily, these toads are rarely seen because they use their specially shaped feet to help them burrow underground.

2. Jefferson Salamander

jefferson salamander in the wild
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jefferson salamanders have gray, brown, or black bodies, often with light-colored speckles on their sides. They’re nocturnal creatures that regularly hide under logs and leaves. However, they tend to be more active on warm, rainy nights. These salamanders were named after Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.

Like other salamanders, Jefferson salamanders have incredible regeneration abilities. If they lose limbs, tails, or even organs, they can regenerate them. They can even regenerate the same body part several times!

3. Pickerel Frog

pickerel frog on plant
Image credit: Pixabay

Pickerel frogs earned their name for being used as bait for fish like pickerels. However, these frogs are poisonous to most animals if eaten. They release toxic secretions from their skin, which can be irritating to human skin and deadly to some predators. Snakes that commonly eat frogs avoid pickerel frogs for that reason.

As tadpoles, pickerel frogs only eat plants, such as algae and plant matter. Yet, once they grow up, they mostly eat other animals. They typically eat invertebrates like insects and spiders.

4. Eastern Tiger Salamander

eastern tiger salamander on leaf
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tiger salamanders are one of the most common salamander species kept as pets. They are a species of mole salamander, which means they have round, stocky bodies that make it easier for them to burrow.

Like many other salamander species, tiger salamanders have aquatic larvae that appear similar to axolotls. In rare cases, tiger salamander larvae may never go through metamorphosis due to an inhospitable environment on land. They may live their whole lives in their larval stage unless the environment around them improves.

5. Fowler’s Toad

fowlers toad on path
Image credit: Pixabay

Fowler’s toads look like your typical toad with brown, bumpy skin. While they can’t swim well like frogs, toads are actually a type of frog. This toad species spends most of its time on land but hangs out near bodies of water to stay moist.

When it’s time to breed, Fowler’s toads enter shallow water and lay clutches of up to 20,000 eggs. Once they hatch, they stay tadpoles for only about two months before going through metamorphosis.

6. Blue-Spotted Salamander

blue spotted salamander close up
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

These salamanders have dark skin with light blue speckles on their sides. They look like spotted salamanders, which have large yellow spots instead of blue spots. Like blue-spotted salamanders, spotted salamanders are also native to New York.

Blue-spotted salamanders are nocturnal, so they spend most of their time underground. They may burrow in dirt or hide under logs and leaf litter. Hiding under objects also helps them stay moist without needing to go into water.

7. American Bullfrog

american bullfrog submerged
Image credit: Unsplash

American bullfrogs are massive compared to other New York frogs. Bullfrogs are the largest kind of frog in the United States. They can grow to over eight inches long and weigh over two pounds. They typically jump about three feet at a time, but they’re capable of jumping as far as six feet.

Only male bullfrogs croak, and it sounds like a low-pitched bellow. Their croaks are used to attract mates or claim territory, so they’re most commonly heard in the spring or summer. They make their unique calls by breathing in, closing their nostrils, and then forcing air back out.

8. Common Mudpuppy

common mudpuppy underwater
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Common mudpuppies are aquatic salamanders like axolotls. They live in lakes, rivers, and ponds, using their frilly red gills to breathe underwater. If the body of water they’re in doesn’t have enough oxygen, they will grow larger gills to adapt.

These amphibians typically grow 8 to 19 inches long, making them larger than the average salamander. They’re primarily nocturnal, and their bodies blend in with the rocks and mud at the bottom of the river. They make a grunting sound that’s dog-like, which is how they got their unique name.

9. Hellbender

hellbender hiding
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

A hellbender is one of the most bizarre animal species in New York. They’re the third largest amphibian species in the world, growing 12 to 29 inches long and weighing about five pounds. The only amphibians bigger than them and the Chinese giant salamanders and Japanese giant salamanders.

These massive salamanders are fully aquatic and blend in perfectly with the rocks and substrate at the bottom of rivers. They rarely need to come up to the surface, and instead of using their lungs to breathe, they take in oxygen through the loose flaps on the skin on their sides.

Amphibians Can Make Good Pets

newt in aquarium
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Amphibians are unique animals that can live in all areas of the world, even in cold places like New York. The above species are just a few examples of cold-blooded creatures that survive in cold climates, but there are tons more out there. But do these animals make good pets?

If you’re looking for a pet that’s more of a decoration than an interactive companion, you may enjoy having a toad, frog, or salamander as a pet. Keep in mind that many of the animals on this list are protected under wildlife conservation acts. So, be sure to do your research before bringing one home!

Molly Weinfurter
By Molly Weinfurter

Molly has over 5 years of experience writing about animals for various websites. She has two pets of her own: a small dog (Mabel) and an axolotl (Wooper). She’s extremely passionate about helping animals in need, so she regularly volunteers with animal organizations by fostering pets, helping at adoption events, and educating about puppy mills.