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Gray Tree Frogs

Gray Tree Frogs are generally 1.5 to 2 inches and can be found in forested areas of the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada. They are very small with a lumpy texture and can camouflage extremely well from gray to brown or green depending on their environment.

Common NameGray Tree Frog
Other NamesN/A
Scientific NameDryophytes versicolor
LocationsEastern Canada & USA
CharacteristicsGrey, Lumpy texture
Legs feature dark bandish patterns
ColorCamouflages from gray to brown or green
OriginEastern North America
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
SpeciesD. versicolor
Max Length2 inches
Max Weight0.25 oz
Lifespan7-9 years

Gray Tree Frogs are among the incredible tree frog species that are able to freeze at temperatures as low as -8°C while hibernating during Winter. The species tends to inhabit forested areas with trees and water.

Early April marks the beginning of the breeding season when males begin calling from trees and shrubs nearby small bodies of calm, fresh water. The exact timing of their breeding is dependent on their location and temperature.

Tips on How to Spot Gray Tree Frogs

Generally, Gray Tree Frogs can be found in trees close to a body of water in forests, agricultural fields, swamps, and backyards. Gray Tree Frogs are nocturnal and actively eat at night.

Grey tree frogs can be found in the Eastern United States in as far as central Texas to Oklahoma. They are also found in Southeastern Canada in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

Here are a few tips to help you catch a glimpse of Gray Tree Frogs in the wild:

  • Gray Tree Frogs will be close to the water’s edge at night during mating season
  • They are generally high up in the trees during the day outside of mating season
  • They can generally be found on horizontal branches in trees during the day
  • Look down the branches of trees near water for something wet, shiny and lumpy
  • They camouflage extremely well but are generally moist so look for something wet
  • The best time to find them is on a dry day since they are harder to spot after rain
  • Individual Gray Tree Frogs may call during the day, chorus calls are common at night
  • They have bright yellow patches on their legs or face which can give away their location
  • Gray Tree Frogs are often found in high perches in trees but come down during mating season

Interesting Gray Tree Frog Facts

  • Gray Tree Frogs tadpoles have wide tails that often turn red when they sense predators
  • Camouflage not only protects Gray Tree Frogs from predators, but also from dehydration
  • Gray Tree Frogs generally have white bellies, but male’s turn black when they are calling
  • Male Gray Tree Frogs may engage in 30-90 second fights with other males in their territory
  • Gray Tree Frogs have bright yellow or orange areas on their legs
  • Gray Tree Frogs tadpoles have rounded bodies, whereas most frog tadpoles are long
  • They may call during the day if they hear loud noises like thunder
  • Gray Tree Frogs have pulse rate between 16 and 34 beats per second
  • Females lay 1,000 to 2,000 eggs that take 45-65 days to become froglets

Common Questions About Gray Tree Frogs

Are Gray Tree Frogs Poisonous to Dogs? Generally, Gray Tree Frogs are not poisonous to dogs, however they can carry bacteria or viral diseases. If your dog licks, chews or ingests a Gray Tree Frog immediately wipe out their mouth with a rag, wash out their mouth with a hose with their head down and call your veterinarian.

Can You Keep a Gray Tree Frog as a Pet? It is not recommended to keep Gray tree frogs indoors. It is possible to attract Gray tree frogs to your yard as pets if you have a frog pond that is adapted for this purpose, and it can be a great way to enjoy them in your garden.

Do Gray Tree Frogs Make Noise? Gray Tree Frogs generally make noise at night and on rainy days. Gray Tree Frogs make a trill sounding call at night near the water’s edge during breeding season, and on warm rainy days outside of breeding season.

What Do Gray Tree Frogs like to Eat? Adult Gray Tree Frogs feed on small insects including ants, flies, spiders and mosquitoes. In addition, they also feed other smaller tree frogs and their larvae, snails, slugs, and plant lice. Tadpoles feed on algae and other organic materials in water.

How Long Do Gray Tree Frogs Live? Grey Tree Frogs can live for seven to nine years depending on the presence of food, water, shelter and predators. Their habitat is also important in their longevity which can be shortened due to forest fires, pollution, deforestation or human activity.


Jack R. Layne, Jrl, Richard E. Lee, Jr2, Adaptations of frogs to survive freezing , Department of Biology, Slippery Rock University, Department of Zoology, Miami University, Vol. 5: 53-59, 1995

Carl Gerhardt; John A. Doherty (1988). “Acoustic communication in the gray treefrog, ‘Hyla versicolor’: evolutionary and neurobiological implications”. J. Comp. Physiol. A162 (2): 261–278. doi:10.1007/BF00606090. S2CID 35561883.

Excerpt from: “Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of New Jersey” https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/species/no_gray_treefrog.pdf, 2002