Tree Frogs

Months of unusually wet weather have favored our frog populations. A deafening chorus of slow trills engulfed and entertained me in early June as I fished a favorite trout stream in twilight. They were Gray Treefrogs, breeding males, more abundant and vocal in forested wetlands this year than I can ever remember. Pond edges are now lined with bullfrogs and immature wood frogs are underfoot, even in moist, shaded lawn habitats.

This story centers on the Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) because it’s not well known, is rarely seen, and has the chameleon-like ability to camouflage itself, changing color to match its substrate.

A friend milks his cows on two shifts, the second shift in the dark of the night. The old, neglected milk house (benign neglect of course) is surrounded by weedy shrubs and covered in creeper vines. A small, broken window bridges the exterior jungle with the humid, cave-like environs within. A small stream and wetland habitats are within a stone’s throw of the barn. Textbook frog habitat!

One night a flip of the milk house calendar from July to August exposed a tiny, dark-colored treefrog clinging to August. A Gray Treefrog in typical, drab colors had been exposed!

Days later, I got the call I was hoping for: a green treefrog had been captured in the milk house for me to identify and photograph. It was actually a Gray Treefrog in green camouflage – something I had never seen. Before returning the tiny frog (less than 3 cm long) to the milk house thicket, we placed it on an old wooden silo for portraits. In just a few minutes its feet and lower legs were silo gray! This fascinating little frog is a ninja survivor of the highest order!

GrayTreefrog2Aug17#1344E5c8x10

GrayTreefrog2Aug17#1353E9c5x7

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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11 thoughts on “Tree Frogs

  1. I adore Gray tree frogs! I’ve only ever seen captive bred ones in the pet trade but reaaally want to travel to some places where I can see all these types of frogs in the wild! Frogs have really grown on me lately. They’re gorgeous!

  2. Great captures Nick! We have these little guys on our island in droves. They love to stick to our windows on rainy nights! Good or bad news they prefer our neighbor’s homes!

    • Very cool. Can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be sitting outside in late evening at the height of the breeding season when the males are trying to out-do one another! A friend with a frog-infested pond said he has to use earplugs when relaxing by the pond in the spring. 🙂

  3. Excellent captures! I photographed one when I lived in South Jersey and watched it change from green to gray, to match the log it was sitting on … amazing! They used to latch onto the outside of my windows at night with their little suction-cup hands.

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