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Home » Amphibians & Reptiles » Gray Tree Frog

Gray Tree Frog

Scientific name: Hyla versicolor

Why is the gray tree frog green, you may ask ? This small nocturnal frog has adapted the ability to change color! It might appear gray to match the bark of a tree or perhaps green to blend in with a leaf. Their variable coloration from nearly black to white gave it the Latin name “versicolor”. When they are young, like the frog in the photo, they tend to be green. This camouflage helps them to avoid predators and to hunt prey without being spotted.

The tree frog is small, only growing to two inches. Its skin is more warty-looking than smooth. Sticky toe pads allow it to cling to trees and foliage.  They will rarely leave trees other than to breed or hibernate.

Young Grey Tree Frog
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Diet

The tree frog will eat insects that live in trees. They might jump from branch to branch in search of insects such as crickets, ants, flies, grasshoppers, beetles, moths, mosquitoes and caterpillars.

Habitat

As its name suggests, it lives in the trees of deciduous forests. The tree frog likes a moist environment close to wetlands, ponds, ditches and so on. They will usually only leave their arboreal abode to breed or hibernate.

Life Cycle

They are about two years old when they reach sexual maturity. In late spring, the mating season begins. As with other frogs and toads in our area, the males call to attract females to mate. Once the female selects her mate, they breed and she lays her fertilized eggs in shallow water, preferably without fish. Sometimes the female has been known to lay her eggs in a swimming pool or a tire rut, as well as the more tried and true vernal pool. The vernal pool is a valuable habitat as it evaporates as the weather warms and therefore does not support fish and other potential predators. In four to five days the tadpoles hatch and in about two months they will develop into small frogs (froglets).

 

Fun Facts

In winter the frog will hibernate under leaves or bark on the forest floor. Like some other amphibians, it will “freeze”. In spring when it warms, its heartbeat will restart. There is a special biochemical reaction with glucose that occurs which keeps the frogs’ cells from being damaged by ice crystals.

More on Reptiles and Amphibians in Lewisboro