How to Find Newts and Frogs

Two Parts:Looking in the Right Spots at the Right TimesApproaching the Frog or Newt

Newts and frogs can be great fun to observe in the wild. While keeping them as a pet isn't the best idea, observing them in the woods,or even in your own backyard, can be quite entertaining. To find frogs and newts, you'll need to do some prep for your search, so that you'll know when and where to look, and how to approach the animal once you've found it.

Part 1
Looking in the Right Spots at the Right Times

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    Do your research. While most frogs will be found near water, you’ll want to know what frogs are in your area, if there are any dangerous frogs (poison dart frogs, etc.) in the area, and what their habitat is. Research can also help you find useful tips for finding specific frogs by helping you identify their calls or markings. Many states have websites about their local species.[1]
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    Look for frogs or newts at night. Most species are nocturnal, so you may not find any in the day. Be careful of other dangerous species during that time. Snakes are often found in similar areas as frogs and newts, especially as many snakes, including the very venomous cottonmouth, will eat some amphibians as part of their diet. Never put your hands where you can't see them.[2]
    • It's a good idea to use a flashlight.[3][4] Using a red flashlight, or covering the flashlight with red plastic wrap or tissue paper will cause minimal disturbance for nocturnal animals.[5]
    • You can also use night vision goggles. Though night birding is often the most common use for specialty night-vision goggles, they can be useful in seeing frogs and newts as well.[6]
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    Look for frogs or newts near ponds or lakes. Most frogs and newts live near water.[7] When looking for newts it’s also useful to look under rocks and logs.[8][9] Any place where there are ponds or lakes, including forests and meadows may attract different species of frogs.[10]
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    Look for frogs or newts in the spring and summer. Many species hibernate in the winter. The best time to find them is in the spring or summer. If you live in a colder climate with a late spring or an early fall, summer’s the best bet.[11]
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    Go canoeing at night or in the evening. A canoe is quieter than a motor boat and will allow you to approach the frogs quietly.[12] Ponds, lakes and river deltas are all great places to look for frogs and newts. You will often find frogs and newts near the bank or among plant life along the shore.[13][14]
    • If you shine a light on frogs while canoeing, they will often sit completely still.[15]

Part 2
Approaching the Frog or Newt

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    Be quiet. If you are loud, you will likely scare the frog away. To make your search as quiet as possible, wear quiet shoes and clothes, walk softly, and refrain from talking while approaching the frog or newt. If there is a group, make sure not too many people try to approach the frogs at once.[16]
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    Approach slowly. Approaching the frog or newt slowly will help with the quiet, as well as keep the frog or newt from recognizing any visual cues that you’re approaching.[17] Frogs are able to recognize movement easily.[18] Newts have very good vision as well, and can even re-grow their eyes if they are damaged![19] Newts are quieter than frogs, and you may have to look under stones and logs to find them.[20]
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    Be patient. If you happen to scare the frog or newt away in your first approach, stay quiet and still. The frog will likely return, and there may be other frogs around. If you still hear other frogs, waiting will likely be productive for your search. For the newt, you may have to come back later and look.[21]
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    Wash your hands thoroughly after you handle a newt or frog. Some species of newt and frog are poisonous, and though it may be safe to touch them, if the toxins get into your bloodstream or in your mouth, it can be fatal.[22] Even if they are not toxic, they often carry salmonella. It can make adults sick, and can sometimes be fatal to children under five, older people, and people with weakened immune systems.[23]
    • You can use hand sanitizer or some other disinfectant.[24] If you handle a newt, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with water, so that you get all the toxins off.[25]
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    Don’t harm the newt or frog. It’s important to handle the frog or newt carefully, if you handle them, and then gently put them back on the ground. Several newts and frogs are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Be careful if you have a dog or cat around frogs or newts, as they might attempt to eat them, which can be harmful for both the pet and the frog or newt.[26]


  • Frogs can be found on the banks of a pond or stream.
  • Newts will stay very close to water, because they are mostly aquatic.
  • Ponds located in forests will give you more luck. Shadiness helps to keep frogs cool and well hidden.
  • Make sure your hands are cold and wet so that you don't overheat them when you handle them.


  • While it's fine to find frogs or newts in the wild for observation, it isn't a great idea to take them home as pets, as they are used to living in the wild. Your best bet is to find frogs or newts bred in captivity in a local pet store. Also, make sure the ones you buy in the store are captive-bred.[27] You also don't want to end up with an endangered species as a pet.[28]
  • Make sure to see if there are any poisonous frogs or newts in your area. There’s only one poisonous frog—the Pickerel—in the United States.[29] However, there are at least a dozen species of poisonous frogs in Australia![30]
  • While newts are typically safe to handle, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling. Don’t touch your eyes or mouth before washing your hands. If you have an open would on your hand, it would be best to avoid handling the newts altogether.[31]

Things You'll Need

  • A pond or stream
  • Flashlight (optional)

Sources and Citations


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Article Info

Categories: Amphibian