by James L. Cummins
green tree frog is a common species of tree frog belonging to the family Hylidae. It is native to central and southeast United States, and their geographic range runs from the eastern shore of Maryland to southeast Florida, with populations as far west as
central Texas and as far north as Delaware and southern New Jersey.
As indicated by their name, they are mostly a bright green color with a lighter
white or cream-colored strip from the side of the head down to the flanks. However, the coloring can change depending on lighting or temperature making them appear anywhere from a bright, yellowish olive to a dark green, almost brown color. These frogs are
small and have extremely porous skin.
The green tree frog is nocturnal, and the males are especially active and vocal at night. If you consider keeping
one of these adorable creatures as a pet–with its big eyes and perpetually smiling mouth–it is best to keep it separate from sleeping quarters.
tree frog has the same temperature requirements as humans, thriving at temperatures between 70° and 75°F, with humidity levels around 50 to 60% during daytime hours. It is no wonder they are so perfectly suited for southern areas.
Green tree frogs feed primarily off insects. Fruit flies, moths, worms, house flies, mosquitoes, and other insects are devoured by these frogs, but crickets are their preferred meal. It seems
the more active their meals appear, the more attracted the frogs are to that food source.
As the name suggests, the tree frog is tree-dwelling, but
they also must have a clean water source, especially in breeding season. Therefore, this species is commonly found near lakes, ponds, marshes, streams, and other wetlands. They particularly prefer habitats with floating plants such as lily pads, duckweed,
grasses, or cattails.
Breeding for this frog is highly influenced by day length, temperature, and precipitation. While the reasoning of this is not
completely understood, it is well-documented that the frogs generally breed following rainfall. Also, males call more frequently as temperatures rise and daylight hours increase.
Most American green tree frog females breed once a year, but some have multiple clutches in a single mating season. Once a female frog has accepted a male’s breeding call and he has fertilized her eggs, she deposits her
clutch in shallow water among aquatic plants. Clutch sizes usually average between 700 and 800, although there have been numbers as high as 2,100. The fertilized eggs will hatch after a week, and the tadpoles will complete their metamorphosis into frogs within
Although many frogs and other amphibians are in decline worldwide, the American green tree frog seems to be an exception. While they do face
some threats, they are listed as “least concern” by International Union for Conservation of Nature, which notes its population as large, stable, and widespread.