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Gray Treefrogs

Last Updated: 5/19/16

A gray treefrog (probably male) that my father found on the pool cover on 4/24/10.

Introduction
Breeding
My Gray Treefrogs
Photos and Videos of My Gray Treefrogs
Photos of Other People's Gray Treefrogs
Web Sites


Introduction

Hyla versicolor are Hyla chrysoscelis are two species of loud gray treefrogs. Adults grow to about 2.5 inches with females noticeably larger. Most that I find are under 2 inches long. Gray treefrogs are mostly gray but can vary quite a bit in coloration from almost green to gray to white to black even. They have little bumps on their skin and webbed feet. They can use their sucker feet to climb trees, walls, and most vertical surfaces.

I had always assumed that my gray treefrogs were Hyla versicolor until I went to this site on gray treefrogs and listened to the songs of that species and Hyla chrysoscelis or Cope's gray treefrog. The ones I have sound like Hyla chrysoscelis! I am confused as to what they really are!

Here is another page that tries to help people differentiate between Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis:
Two Gray Treefrogs.


Breeding

From late spring to late summer, the males come out of the trees to sing like crazy. They are very loud. When females show up (fewer of them than males), they lay small (1") circular jelly-like masses of eggs. Most eggs and tadpoles get eaten if there are fish, dragonfly larvae, and other predators around. Some change to frogs in a few months and head for the trees. Fish will eat gray treefrog eggs so the adult gray treefrogs normally try to lay their eggs in shallow, fishless waters. These could be vernal (temporary) ponds, small human-made ponds, pool covers, or even puddles.


My Gray Treefrogs

We have gray treefrogs that call from the trees from April in to the fall. In May, they come down from the trees to the pool cover to call and sometimes lay eggs. They avoid all my ponds from the 18 gallon liner pond with no animals in it to the 50 gallon tub pond with no fish to the largest 1800 gallon pond full of fish and other animals.

On 5/21/04, I removed 19 gray treefrog egg masses off of the pool cover and put them into my 50 gallon lotus tub pond. On 5/26/04, the fountain head fell off the tiny pump in there and pumped the pond dry! I doubt any tree frog tadpoles are in there. :-(

Every year, the gray treefrogs return to the pool but I only rarely find eggs on the pool cover.

On 5/22/12, I looked at the pool cover for gray treefrog eggs. I found no eggs but there were thousands of tadpoles! I had not seen tadpoles in there before. I tried to catch some tadpoles. Over two sessions, I got about 50 and put them in my new pond.

I initiated "Operation Tadpole Rescue" the morning of 5/27/12 and did another round the next morning. I set a plastic colander in a plastic litter bucket and ran the water waste from the pool cover through there. In that way, I rescued hundreds of gray treefrog tadpoles which went in the new 30 gallon pond. I also hand removed more egg masses, dozens of them. My parents want the pool cover off soon, and it still has probably 1000 tadpoles in there. My mother says, "You can't save them all" but I can try to save as many as I can! If it were up to me, I would not take the cover off until they left. Neither one of my parents has even gotten in the pool in years; they want it open for my 7-year-old niece. I have so many tadpoles in the new pond now that I am feeding them fish food, and I put in some more anacharis from the 153 gallon pond.

We took the pool cover off on 6/3/12. I had my brother pour the last of the yucky water through my sieve. I put the gunk with water and tadpoles in a bucket overnight. I had not counted on the raccoon getting in to it but he only dumped out some leaves and killed a few tadpoles. I used a net to get most of them off the surface and then ran the water though a net. I hand sifted the last of the slop. The tadpoles were all put in my 30 gallon pond out back which now has probably 1000 tadpoles in there! I would like to think that I saved about 80% of the tadpoles but I have a feeling that many will not survive their overcrowded conditions. I did put a few dozen in my 50 gallon tub pond as well.

On 5/11/13 and 5/12/13, I moved a dozen gray tree frog egg masses from the pool cover and put them in the 30 gallon liner pond. There were other eggs masses that were out of reach.


Photos and Videos of My Gray Treefrogs

Photos:

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

On 10/11/15, I saw this tiny gray treefrog, missing its left eye. He was sunning on my butterfly bench.
Gray tree frog - close up; also noted while processing the photo that there is a spot on the left leg that looks like some sort of viral cyst.
Gray tree frog - farther away with my finger for scale.

Here are gray treefrog tadpoles in my rock pond on 6/3/12. The green plant is duckweed. There are two sizes of tadpoles. If you look close, you might see a mosquito larvae or two.
Gray treefrog tadpoles
Gray treefrog tadpoles
Gray treefrog tadpoles

Here are photos from 5/26/12 of gray treefrog eggs that I collected from the pool cover. You can also see mosquito larvae or at least one on the right. Some of the tadpoles have hatched already (just a few).
Gray treefrog eggs
Gray treefrog eggs - close-up

Gray treefrog tadpoles in the pool cover on 5/22/12.

These photos are from 5/6/11 when, imagine my surprise, this female gray treefrog was sitting in the middle of the laundry room. She had been there long enough to become covered in cat hair. I took these photos before putting her outside.
Gray treefrog - right side
Gray treefrog - top view
Gray treefrog - left side; you can really see the cat hair on her
Gray treefrog - top view

On 4/24/10, my father found a gray treefrog on the pool cover which he was removing. It is probably a male as they had just started calling. I put him in a plant pot and took these photos.
Gray treefrog - top view.
Gray treefrog - hopping away, note the yellow under the back legs which is indicative of gray treefrogs.
Gray treefrog - top view.
Gray treefrog - my mother trying to hold him upside down to show the yellow on the legs. It is cute how he has his little hand on her finger, trying to grasp and get away. Do not worry. We did not hurt him, and I put him up on a tree right after the photos to go on his way.

There was a gray treefrog on the side of our pool on 6/14/08:
Gray treefrog
Gray treefrog - view looking down on his head

Gray treefrog on the bricks of our house on 9/3/07.

Here are two photos of a gray treefrog (female I think) that I found sitting by my pond on 10/2/05. Her back left leg was mostly gone (just blood and some bone). I do not know if she survived.
Gray treefrog - 10/2/05, clear photo.
Gray treefrog - 10/2/05, a bit blurry.

Here is a photo of a male gray treefrog wedged in our pool deck on 6/9/02.

Videos:

Videos are listed from newest to oldest.

I took these two videos on 5/7/09. It was dark outside so there is no picture but black. The gray treefrogs were calling as well as a single male American toad.

Gray Treefrogs and American Toad Calling - 4459 KB, mpg movie.
In this one, the toad is calling for the first four seconds, and the gray treefrogs are calling throughout.

Gray Treefrogs and American Toad Calling - 2148 KB, mpg movie.
In this one, the toad is calling for the first seven seconds, and the gray treefrogs are calling for two seconds at the end.

Gray Treefrogs - 2009 KB, mpg movie.
This video is from 7/4/07 but has no actual video, just sound (like with the video below) of the gray treefrogs calling near the pool.

Gray Treefrogs - 3274 KB, mpg movie.
I took a video on 6/26/06 of gray treefrogs calling on our pool cover. I do not know how to capture just sound so there is video but the screen is just black. It was dark outside so this video only has worth as an audio file to hear the frogs. They sounded much louder in person!


Photos of Other People's Gray Treefrogs

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

Cindy in Ohio sent these photos of "Popeye" the gray treefrog on 5/16/10. Popeye lost his right eye. The last photo is one of the gray treefrog babies from her pond.
Gray treefrog
Gray treefrog
Baby gray treefrog

On 8/10/08, Derek sent me this photo of a gray treefrog in Massachusetts. It has more green on it than the species that I have seen around here. Hi to Derek's six animal-loving kids!
Gray treefrog

On 6/22/08, Michelle sent these photos of a tree frog in Texas. Looking at the species of tree frogs in Texas, only a green variant of the Cope's gray treefrog seems like an option.
Gray treefrog
Gray treefrog - note the yellow under the back legs which is a trait of gray treefrogs

On 5/31/08, Molly sent these photos of a newly-morphed tree frog of unknown species. I am putting it on this page simply because gray treefrogs are common so this baby could be one.
Baby tree frog
Baby tree frog

On 12/13/07, Carl sent this photo of two gray treefrogs (I think). He found them in Pennsylvania and kept them as pets (which I do not advocate).
Two gray treefrogs

Joe sent this photo of a gray treefrog (I think) on 5/7/07:
Gray treefrog

Someone named Sam sent me four photos of little frogs, probably various tree frogs. I lost the e- mail and details but know I uploaded them on 1/31/07.
Some little frog - on the ground
Some little frog - in hand
Some little frog - in hand; I think this one is a gray treefrog
Some little frog - on a stick, same frog as last photo.

Jon sent this lovely photo of a young (newly adult) gray treefrog on 12/08/05:
Gray treefrog

Samantha sent these small photos of small tree frogs on 2/24/05. Some appear to be gray tree frogs but some may be some other kind of tree frogs.
Tree frog - on the ground
Tree frog - not sure which species this is
Tree frog - this one seems to be a gray treefrog
Tree frog - on a stick but cannot really see the frog
Tree frog - cannot really see the frog!
Tree frog - on a stick

Here are some photos of some tree frog eggs, tadpoles, and newly morped tree frogs that Linda sent to me on 7/7/04 and 7/27/04 (for the adults). She raised them in a kiddie pool. I do not know if they are gray treefrogs (the adults do not look exactly like the ones I had) but could be any kind really. The babies are definitely NOT bullfrogs or green frogs and yet, an expert insists the eggs belong to them. They sure look like my tree frog eggs and babies to me! This is just to let you know that the identification is not positive.:
Frog eggs
Close-up of frog eggs
Tadpoles
Tree frog
Tree frog
Tree frog and some tadpoles with legs


Web Sites

These links were last checked on 6/22/10.

To see a photo of the gray treefrog and hear a call, go to this frog site .

To see another photo, hear a call, and get info, go to the Toronto Zoo site.

The Herps of Texas web site has a photo, call, and information on the gray treefrog as well.

There is a photo and call at this site too.

You can hear and see a gray treefrog at Frogs & Toad of Virginia & Maryland - this is an archived version as the site is gone now.

These two sites also have photos, calls, and information on the gray treefrog:
The Frogs & Toads of Tennessee
The Frogs & Toads of Georgia (includes a photo of the tadpoles!)


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