7 Green Tree Frog Facts

If you live in the Southeastern US, you have likely come across Green Tree Frogs. These charming green amphibians are found strewn across the Southeastern part of the United States from Texas to Virginia to Florida and can be found in plenty of backyards.

Green Tree Frogs are fascinating creatures that are often found in backyards across the South Eastern US. Green Tree Frogs have a distinguishable honk that can be heard up to 75 times per minute, they can lay up to 2,000 eggs per mating season, and can live 6 to 8 years in captivity. 

Green Tree Frogs are interesting creatures you won’t be disappointed to learn about. Here are some of the top facts about the Georgia and Louisiana state amphibian you will want to know.

1. Green Tree Frogs Are Not Always Green

Despite the name, Green Tree Frogs are not always green. Some populations of Green Tree Frogs have stripes of various colors, including yellow or white. Other populations have yellow or golden dots on their backs. Some have no stripes or dots, holding true to their vibrant green shade.

The color of these frogs depends not only on the time of year but also on climate, their environment, the temperature, and their use of camouflage.

  • When a Green Tree Frog is active and warm, it will have a vibrant lime green hue.
  • When resting and cool, the frog may have a brown or olive green tint.
  • They generally adapt to the color of their environment.

2. Green Tree Frogs Have a Distinguishable Honk

Green Tree Frogs do not sound like other frogs, and anyone living in the Southern part of the United States could attest to this. 

Green Tree Frogs make a unique and distinguishable honking noise up to 75 times per minute. This mating call sometimes resembles the sound of a bell, which is why these frogs are often referred to as Bell Frogs or Cowbell Frogs.

Male Green Tree Frogs use their loud, nasally honk for two purposes:

  • During the breeding season, to attract female Green Tree Frogs
  • To warn rival males that they are in their territory

These interesting sounds are most commonly heard in the evening and night when Green Tree Frogs are most active.

3. Green Tree Frogs Are Highly Adaptable

It’s no secret that amphibians have been in decline due to deforestation, urbanization, disease, and climate change. However, the Green Tree Frog seems to have a low risk for extinction since they are adaptable. This type of frog only needs a few key elements to survive:

  • Trees: Green Tree Frogs spend the majority of their lives in trees, so having somewhere to perch is important to their survival.
  • Water: Male and female Green Tree Frogs mate and hatch their spawn in and around water areas, including ponds, and lakes. They especially love areas with floating plants such as lily pads. So they generally are located in places with trees and a body of freshwater.
  • Rain: Rain has a direct impact on mating, as Green Tree Frogs tend to mate after a period of rain. There is even a known Green Tree Frog rain call that differs from the other two distinguishable calls.
  • Food: Green Tree Frogs need food to survive and generally eat bugs.

The Green Tree Frog is known as an arboreal, or tree-dwelling, frog. That is why these frogs can be seen strewn across the Southern part of the United States but can be found as inland as Missouri and some parts of Illinois. They can generally be found in open canopy areas.

4. Female Green Tree Frogs Are Larger Than the Males

Female Green Tree Frogs are generally larger than males. This sexual dysmorphism is practical for mating by amplexus since the female must carry the male while she releases her eggs up to 400 eggs at a time.

It is practical that females are larger than males since they have to carry males on their backs during mating. Green Tree Frogs may mate once or multiple times per mating season. Frogs reproduce sexually by amplexus through external fertilization, meaning the male is on top of the female and fertilizes the eggs as she releases them into water. 

Green Tree Frogs generally reproduce when it is rainy and wet. Rainwater replenishes dried ponds, lakes, or bogs, providing more space for them to lay their eggs and for their tadpoles to thrive.

5. Green Tree Frogs Can Act as Natural Pest Control

If you’re lucky enough to have Green Tree Frogs roaming in your backyard, you likely are not dealing with many pesky insects. That’s because Green Tree Frogs are insectivores and their diet consists of:

  • Crickets
  • Moths
  • Flies
  • Earthworms
  • Waxworms
  • Mosquitoes

Green Tree Frogs prey on many insects that are attracted to light. That is why they are commonly found hanging on windows or walls close to light sources. If you have a pet Green Tree Frog, you should not feed it with wild-caught insects. Wild-caught insects can carry diseases and parasites that can hurt captive frogs.

6. Green Tree Frogs Have Many Predators

Like many frog species, Green Tree Frogs have many predators to look out for, no matter which stage of the frog lifecycle they are in. As an adult, Green Tree Frogs are preyed on mostly by birds and snakes. However, while roaming around in the water, they are also susceptible to larger fish and frogs. 

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Unfortunately for the Green Tree Frog, they are one of the rare amphibians that breed in water habitats containing predatory fish. Therefore, tadpoles are at a higher risk of being preyed on by fish of all sizes. They are also eaten by aquatic insects, for example, waterbugs (CTNF).

7. Green Tree Frogs Live Up to 8 Years in Captivity

Compared to other frog species, the Green Tree Frog has a fairly impressive lifespan. They typically live anywhere from 6 to 8 years in captivity. This is one of the reasons why they are a popular pet frog species. But before you head to the pet store, keep in mind that having a pet frog is not for everyone. 

More About Green Tree Frogs

There are many interesting facts to learn about the Green Tree Frog, from the intricate bellows that can sound off as many as 75 times per minute to their impressive adaptability. What will be discovered next?

Common Questions About Green Tree Frogs

Can you touch a green tree frog? You should not touch Green Tree Frogs since all frogs breathe and drink through their skin and the oils, lotions, and dirt on our hands can hinder this process. If you must touch a Green Tree Frog wear clean, new gloves.

Are green tree frogs good pets? Green Tree Frogs are common pets and can be good for those who know how to care for them and do not mind having a fairly inactive pet. However, having a pet Green Tree Frog is not for everyone as they require live food, a lot of maintenance, and a specific environment.

Are green tree frogs dangerous? Green Tree Frogs are not dangerous or poisonous to humans and can be extremely helpful in backyard settings for pest control. Green Tree Frogs are insectivores and eat cricket, moths, flies, earthworms, mosquitoes, waxworms, and other pests that can be annoying and hinder garden growth. 

What do green tree frog eat? Green Tree Frogs are carnivores and insectivores and eat cricket, moths, flies, earthworms, mosquitoes, waxworms, ants, and other insects and small pests.

How much does a green tree frog cost? As a general rule, Green Tree Frogs cost about $10 in pet stores. However, once you add up costs for soil, a terrarium, plants, some accessories, and heat lights they can cost $70 to $330 upfront and can have ongoing yearly costs of $360 to $520 per year.

What do tree frogs need to survive? Green Tree Frogs need an adequate environment, shelter, water, and food to survive. They require trees for shelter, a freshwater source to breed, and insects to eat.

Sources

Aresco, M. 1996. Geographic Variation in the Morphology and Lateral Stripe of the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in the Southeastern United States. American Midland Naturalist, 135/2: 293-298.

Freed, A. 1980. Prey Selection and Feeding Behavior of the Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea). Ecology, 61/3: 461-465.

Gunzburger, M. 2005. Reprodcutive Ecology of the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in Northwester Florida. American Midland Naturalist, 155: 321-328.

Horn, S., J. Hanula, M. Ulyshen. 2004. Abundance of Green Tree Frogs and Insects in Artificial Canopy Gaps in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest. American Midland Naturalist, 153: 321-326.

About The Author
Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.