Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day Visitor: Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

May 30th, 2015.  At our house, several frogs – Upland Chorus frogs (Pseudacris feriarum), Green frogs (Lithobates clamitans), Eastern Narrowmouth toads (Gastrophryne carolinensis), and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) - are either resident in water containers, or gather to breed (and make a lot of noise) in the Spring or Summer. Occasionally, we’ll even hear a Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) close by. 

It’s some distance from our place to a pond, marsh, or swamp with floating vegetation and cattails that Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) like so it was surprising to find one near the house. But there it was, just minding its own business, not bothering anyone. ‘Over-daying,’ in this case, on a small sapling by the front path. Too good a chance to pass up.

It was quite calm and let me bend the sapling over to get some sunlight on it. It even let me stroke it gently; it just adjusted its…

front legs a little to get a sure grip on the trunk. In doing so it exposed its toes with their toe pads, characteristic of treefrogs. 

Note: I posted these images as if the frog was sitting on a horizontal surface. The frog was ‘sitting’ vertically on the sapling trunk. It’s interesting to contemplate the physics of this frog sitting on a vertical surface with its legs *under* it. Quite an accomplishment! 

It takes some work to find Green Treefrogs in their natural habitat. They are nocturnal. The best time to find them is at night during the breeding season when the males are calling. Then you can track them down by following the call. Their call is a nasal ‘Quank, quank, quank’ that they may repeat up to 75 times/minute. These frogs tend to ‘walk’ or climb rather than jump. 

Our ‘day visitor’ was just that. It stayed until dark but was gone the next morning. 

Interesting facts: 
- The Green Treefrog gets the name ‘cinerea’ from the small yellow spots on its back. 
- The Green Treefrog is the State Amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana.
- Green Treefrogs can change color from green to brown in response to temperature and light conditions.
If you are interested in learning to identify frogs in Georgia by their calls, you can purchase a copy of the ‘'Calls of the Wild' Georgia Frogs CD’  - produced by the Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Section of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources - here


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