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What is a Green Tree Frog?

By K. Willis
Updated May 17, 2024
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The green tree frog, Hyla cinerea, is a small, slender New World amphibian commonly known as the American green tree frog. It is found extensively throughout the United States, particularly in coastal regions, and is the official state amphibian of Louisiana. This type of frog is commonly kept as a pet.

The natural habitat of the green tree frog includes marshes, swamps, wet grasslands and vegetation surrounding bodies of water. This type of frog prefers overgrown areas, especially those with an abundance of aquatic vegetation. It is also commonly found in trees and bushes around ponds and lakes.

The green tree frog feeds on insects and small invertebrates. This frog can be seen performing amazing aerial displays as it leaps from its hiding place to capture a passing insect. The green tree frog is a frequent nighttime visitor to windowsills in urban and suburban areas as it hunts for prey. It also is a common visitor to bathroom facilities at camping grounds and elsewhere because it is attracted to insects near light sources.

The creature is primarily nocturnal and is most active after sunset. It can be found during the day, resting and motionless, on the underside of leaves or in heavily sheltered damp areas. The coloring of this species provides excellent camouflage, hiding its presence from both potential prey and predators, especially during sunlit hours when the frog is inactive.

This type of frog varies slightly in color but is generally a bright, vibrant green with a single, paler stripe down each side of the body; some have a conspicuous golden yellow spot on their back. The belly of the green tree frog is pale green or cream. Like many types of tree frog, this species has proportionately long toes with large, sticky pads that allow the creature to grip plants.

In the northern portion of its range, the breeding season is from April to September. In southern areas it is from March to October. Vast numbers of male frogs gather in groups during breeding season and call repeatedly to attract the interest of a female. The call of the green tree frog is loud and distinctive, sometimes described as resembling a cowbell. The female lays her eggs in shallow water filled with a dense covering of aquatic vegetation to offer protection against predation. The eggs are then fertilized by the male. Egg clutches can consist of up to 400 eggs. Fertilized eggs take approximately one week to hatch into tadpoles, and the tadpoles develop into mature frogs in another eight weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Green Tree Frog?

A Green Tree Frog is a small amphibian known for its vibrant green color and smooth skin. It belongs to the Hylidae family, which is widespread in various parts of the world, including North America and Australia. These frogs are often found in marshes, streams, and ponds, where they can be heard calling during mating season.

What do Green Tree Frogs eat?

Green Tree Frogs are insectivores, primarily feeding on a diet of insects and other small invertebrates. Their typical menu includes flies, mosquitoes, and moths. They use their sticky tongues to snatch prey from the air or foliage, playing a crucial role in controlling insect populations in their habitats.

How do Green Tree Frogs reproduce?

Green Tree Frogs reproduce through a process called amplexus, where the male clasps the female to fertilize her eggs externally. According to research, they lay eggs in water, which then hatch into tadpoles. These tadpoles undergo metamorphosis, eventually developing into adult frogs. This cycle is vital for their survival and the health of their ecosystems.

Are Green Tree Frogs endangered?

Many Green Tree Frog species are not currently endangered and have stable populations. However, habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change pose significant threats to their survival. Conservation efforts are essential to protect these amphibians, as they are important indicators of environmental health.

How long do Green Tree Frogs live?

In the wild, Green Tree Frogs typically live for about 6 years, but in captivity, with proper care, they can live up to 16 years. Their lifespan is influenced by factors such as predation, disease, and environmental conditions. Providing a safe and healthy environment is key to ensuring their longevity.

Can Green Tree Frogs change color?

Yes, Green Tree Frogs can change color, though not as dramatically as some other species. They can adjust their shade of green to better blend in with their surroundings, which is a defense mechanism against predators. This ability to camouflage helps them avoid detection and increases their chances of survival.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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