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Is It a Bird? Is It Part of a Tree? No, It's a Gray Tree Frog

You don’t have to travel to Costa Rica to see a tree frog. Right here in our own back yards we have gray tree frogs.

An eastern gray tree frog. (Photo by Bob Bryerton)

As their name suggests, tree frogs have special adaptations to climb. They have round, sticky discs on the tips of their toes to help them climb trees or sometimes stick to a glass window! This frog is nocturnal, so get a flashlight and wait for the sun to go down before exploring outside.

Masters of Camouflage

Gray tree frogs are great at camouflage and are only 1 inch to 2 inches long, so seeing them might be a challenge. Their skin has a blotchy gray, brown and green pattern that blends right into the tree bark. Their skin can even change color depending on the frog’s surroundings and temperature.

Not a Bird Call

All hope isn’t lost if you can’t find a gray tree frog, because you can still hear them. Most frogs call in the middle of ponds and wetlands, but tree frogs call from the comfort of nearby trees or shrubs. Sometimes they get confused for birds.

Males will be calling loud and proud when looking for a mate. Females are looking for the frog that can make the most calls that are the longest and the loudest. Check out this video to hear the gray tree frogs in action.

Fun Facts

To warn predators to stay away, the gray tree frog flashes the bright yellow underside of its legs.

There are two types of gray tree frogs. The Cope’s gray tree frog and eastern gray tree frog can only be told apart by their call.

A female gray tree frog can lay between 1,000 and 4,000 eggs.

These frogs hibernate under logs and leaf litter or in tree cavities. Gray tree frogs can also survive freezing temperatures by producing a special antifreeze chemical in their bodies.

Tasty meals of spiders, snails and slugs make this frog happy. They are known to even eat other tree frogs!


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