Frogs, Toads & Salamanders

Local Streams

Washington is home to 27 species of amphibians, including 14 salamanders (all native) and 11 native and two non-native species of frogs. Of the 25 native species of amphibians, two frog species are listed as endangered and six are listed for candidacy for state endangered species.

Frogs, Toads and Salamanders at Home and Abroad

Washington is home to 27 species of amphibians, including 14 salamanders (all native) and 11 native and two non-native species of frogs. Of the 25 native species of amphibians, two frog species are listed as endangered and six are listed for candidacy for state endangered species. Sadly, this decline in amphibians is not limited to the Pacific Northwest. Worldwide, amphibians are disappearing from streams, swamps, ponds and forests that used to teem with life.

There are 5,743 different species of amphibians reported in the wild. Since 1980, no one has seen 122 of these species and scientists now recognize that 1,856 species are threatened with extinction. In addition, 1,300 species are so rarely seen that they may be disappearing. Scientists attribute this worldwide decline to habitat loss, changing climates, disease outbreaks, invasive species and poisoning by pesticides and fertilizers. Some even liken the extinction of amphibians to the catastrophic extinction of the dinosaurs.

You can help!

You can take action to help ensure the survival of amphibians. You can assist in invasive plant removal and habitat restoration projects, conserve water at home and school, use biodegradable soaps and detergents, use recycled products, practice natural lawn care, carpool, walk and bike as much as you can, buy local organic and pesticide-free foods and keep learning more about the natural world we all live in.

If you come across an amphibian

If you come across a frog, toad, salamander or newt in the outdoors, there are a few simple things you can do to make it an enjoyable experience for both you and the critter you found. Please don’t pick it up or touch it. Watch it quietly. You can tell more about an animal from watching it in its natural habitat than you can from struggling to control an unhappy captive one.

If you need to capture it, follow these tips:

  1. Clean hands or use a small container. Make sure you clean your hands off first of any lotions, chemicals or other foreign substances that could be absorbed through the amphibian’s skin and harm it. Most amphibians breathe and take in moisture though their skin as well as their lungs. Some have no lungs and only rely on their skin for respiration. (Remember it’s best not to wash your hands in the water the amphibian is living in; use some from your water bottle.)
  2. Keep your hands cool and moist, and handle the animal only as long as you need to identify it. Ideally, keep the animal only a few inches from the ground just in case it escapes your hand/container and falls to the ground.
  3. When you are ready to release the critter, make sure the habitat is returned to the state you found it in, and release the animal next to the rock or log you found it under. Remember, put the rock down first, then the amphibian!

Courtesy of Teal Waterstrat, WDFW