Common Amphibians of the Rocky Mountains

Amphibians live all over the world. Most live in warm, moist habitats near ponds and streams, but some live in grasslands or deserts. There are nearly 4,000 kinds of amphibians in the world, with about 15 in the Rocky Mountains.

Amphibians are a special animal that live part of its life on land and part in the water. Most undergo a metamorphosis from water breathing larva to air breathing adults.

Origin of Word – Amphibian

The word itself tells you about the unique life that these animals live.  It comes from the Greek words of amphi (both) and bios (life) to create the word amphibios (meaning living both on land and in water).

The following are a few of the more common amphibians of the Rocky Mountains:

amphibians northern leopard frog

Leopard Frog

Leopard Frog

Size: 3 – 5 inches

Lifespan: 2 – 4 years

Description: Green with dark green spots, or light brown with dark brown spots.

Habitat: Wetlands, along rivers and in meadows.

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Long Toed Salamander

Long Toed Salamander

Size: 3-5 inches

Lifespan: 6-10 years

Description: top of body yellow, sides blackish with white spots.

Habitat: wet evergreen forests or alpine meadows.

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Tiger Salamander

Tiger Salamander

Size: 7 – 14 inches.

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years

Description: Color varies, can be yellowish-olive with black spots or gray/brown with black spots

Habitat: They live in burrows up to 2 feet underground near ponds, lakes, or slow moving streams.

Notes:  These are the largest land dwelling salamander in the world.  They generally feed at night.

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Western Toad

Western or Boreal Toad

Size: 4 inches

Lifespan: 9-11 years

Description: Grayish green or dark brown. Black warts with red dots.

Habitat: In and near fresh water, such as forests, meadows, and grasslands.

Notes: They do not jump instead they walk or make small hops.