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The Gray Tree Frog makes quite an interesting study for tree frog enthusiasts, especially because of the fact that they have almost look-alike cousins. Gray tree frogs mostly inhabit eastern United States as well as certain parts of southeastern Canada. European tree frog enthusiasts chose to name these small aboreal frogs as Gray Tree Frogs.
This species is also known by other names including Eastern Gray Tree frog, Common Gray Tree Frog or Tetraploid Gray Tree frog.
The gray tree frog is generally a small-sized frog that camouflages itself by changing its skin color from gray to green. These frogs tend somewhat sexually dimorphic. The female is larger in size as compared to the male. One can distinguish between the males and females by the color of their throat; the female has a throat and it does not croak. The male usually has a black/gray throat and it produces croaking sounds.
The young frogs however, are light green in color and usually attain the gray shade on reaching adulthood.
Color: The color of this frog can vary from gray to green in accordance to their ability of camouflaging themselves. It has been found that this color change depends on the substrate they happen to be sitting on. The substrate is generally a surface on which an organism grows or is attached. The rough skin of the gray tree frog has a marbling pattern
However, it is important to remember that dead gray tree frogs or the ones spotted in unnatural surroundings are gray in color.
The gray tree frog have a bright yellow/orange patches on their hind legs, that is distinctly visible when these creatures jump.
Size: In size, the gray tree frog is roughly about 3.8 – 5.1 centimeters. The female is slightly bigger than the male.
Toe pads: These frogs have well developed toe pads that enable them to climb trees.
Habitat and Range
These arboreal frogs inhabit forested areas and shrubs near water.
Gray tree frogs are abundantly found in most regions of the eastern half of U.S. Their range also extends to the far west to central Texas. In Canada, this species can be found in the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario with a small population ranging in New Brunswick.
Its diet mainly consists of a variety of small insects and invertebrates. As such, one can feed crickets, moths, flies, silkworms etc to the frog in captivity.
The call of the male gray tree frog has a resonating trill. Females are mostly silent; they do not call.
The breeding season begins from spring to summer and may last for a period of 2 to 3 months. In Texas, the breeding season spans from March to the end of May.
During the breeding season, the males can be spotted in trees or shrubs that are usually in proximity to pools of water. The females rarely visit the breeding pond except to lay eggs. Female gray tree frogs mostly prefer to lay eggs on temporary water bodies like forest ponds, swamps and even roadside ditches. The eggs are deposited on the water surface and are usually attached to underwater vegetation.
The female frogs can lay up to 2000 eggs in packets of 10 to 40. Eggs hatch in barely 4 days depending on the temperature. The tadpoles can reach metamorphosis in a period of less than 2 months.
Gray tree frogs are nocturnal in the sense that they are active only at night.
It is equally rare for these creatures to leave their usual spots high up at the tree tops. They come down to the ground only during the breeding season.
Typical to their solitary nature, male frogs seldom have large choruses. However, high competition of their vocals or croaks is known to occur during the breeding period.
Gray tree frogs can change their skin color from gray to green as a camouflage mechanism that enables them to blend with the tree bark. This is a major adaptation that they use to hide from their predators.
One very interesting adaptation of this frog is the bright yellow markings on the inner side of its thighs. These markings are exposed only when the frog jumps, thereby startling the predator and making time for the frog to escape.
This frog also has large toe pads that enable it to climb trees and stick to the surface of the tree.
During winters, gray tree frogs hibernate in leaf litter or near tree roots. It is absolutely astonishing how these frogs can withstand temperatures as low as –8°C. Their body produces chemicals known as cryoprotectants that minimize the obvious damage caused to the cells as a result of formation of ice crystals. Moreover they also produce additional glucose that helps them to survive even when most of the organs of its body tend to freeze.
The gray tree frogs make interestingly easy pets that are not only undemanding and hardy, but also breed easily. This frog has been quite popular and in demand with European tree frog researchers.
Let us take a look at some of the basic requirements that are essential for your pets.
Habitat: Keeping in mind, the fact that these frogs are quite manageable in size, they can be kept in glass aquarium tanks of a minimum of 15 gallons. We must not forget that these creatures tend to be pretty active and move around a lot. As such a fairly large space is necessary for your tiny pet friends. It is also very important to create an environment that is somewhat similar to the natural environment in the forest to which these frogs are accustomed. One can replicate such an environment in captivity by placing several sticks and plants in the tank for the frog to climb. It is also recommended to use a substrate of coconut fiber, peat moss or potting soil along the bottom surface of the tank.
Diet: You can feed your new pets small insects like crickets, fruit flies and silkworms.
There is a special way of providing water to these frogs; it has to be misted on a daily basis. Doing so, allows the gray tree frog to absorb water through its skin. It also suffices the frog’s habitat with adequate humidity.
Humidity: In the wild, Gray tree frogs are habituated to living in moist areas. Humidity is an essential part of their environment. As such, it is recommended to subject the tank to daily misting whereby a necessary humidity level of 60 percent is maintained.
Temperature and Lighting: Gray tree frogs are can jolly well tolerate room temperature. However, it cannot withstand temperatures above 80 degree Fahrenheit. Owing to their special ability of thriving in extreme low temperatures, supplemental heating is unnecessary in the tank. Same cannot be said about supplemental UV lighting that is necessary for the plants in the tank to grow.
Word of Advice: Please note that the terrarium should not be placed in proximity of the television or any such electronics that produce loud noise. Doing so is important in order to provide a quiet ambience to the frogs.
It is also recommended to keep the terrarium away from direct sunlight or sun-lit windows.
We must not forget that removing the gray tree frogs from the wild can hamper their population. Such acts have already been declared illegal in many states of the US.
It has a life span of approximately 8 years in captivity.
- This frog can survive in extremely low temperatures; even one as low as -8 Degree Celsius.
- The Gray Tree frog is also known as North American Tree Frog.
- The Gray Tree Frog and Cope’s Gray Tree frog are almost indistinguishable in appearance! The only trait that helps one to differentiate between the two is their call; the call of Cope’s Gray frog being shorter and faster.
The gray tree frog is not an endangered species.
Here are some really good pictures of the Gray Tree Frog.