🐸 This Site is For Sale: Learn More

American Green Tree Frogs

American green tree frogs are a common species of frog with a natural habitat stretching across much of the central and southeastern United States. They are small in size and bright green in color and are often found in backyards or areas near swamps or freshwater sources. 

Green tree frogs make a bell-like sound that can be repeated up to 75 times in a single minute. Their distinctive call is what gives them their nicknames “bell frog” and “cowbell frog.”

Common NameGreen Tree Frog (American)
Other NameBell Frog, Cowbell Frog
Scientific NameHyla Cinerea / Dryophytes Cinereus
LocationsSoutheast and Coastal Plain of the United States
CharacteristicsColoring ranging from olive green to lime green, with a white or pale stripe running from their jaws down the sides of their bodies
ColorGreen
OriginNorth America
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
FamilyHylidae
GenusDryophytes
SpeciesD. Cinereus
PoisonousNo
Max Length2.5 in
Lifespan6 years

American Green Tree Frogs are commonly found in residential areas and landscapes with lots of trees and freshwater. If you step outside in the evening or night during the spring and summer, you might be able to hear them in your backyard!

Many people think these tree frogs are loudest during rainy or damp weather. They are also especially loud during their breeding season, which runs from April to October in hot climates and from April to September in more temperate climates. 

Tips for Spotting a Green Tree Frog

Because they are so common, if the timing is right it should be fairly easy to find a green tree frog near you. 

  • Go outside on a warm evening in the spring or summer, preferably after a rainfall.
  • Listen first. If you can hear the frogs’ distinctive calls, that means they are nearby.
  • Look in heavily wooded areas or trees near water. If you have a backyard pond, you may wish to check around this too!
  • Shine a flashlight on the trunks and low branches of the trees where the calls are loudest. Look for a small green frog.
  • Keep quiet, as these frogs can be easily frightened and might hide from you.

With a little hunting, you should be able to find many of these fascinating little creatures.

Interesting Green Tree Frog Facts

  • Green tree frogs can change their shade of green depending on whether they are calling or resting.
  • Females lay approximately 400 eggs in a breeding season.
  • These frogs most commonly eat moths, flies, and crickets.
  • It takes about a week for eggs to hatch into tadpoles.
  • Female green tree frogs are usually larger than males.
  • Green tree frogs are the state frogs of Georgia and Louisiana.
  • Green tree frogs can live for up to 6 years.
  • These frogs love habitats near water with floating vegetation.
  • Male frogs call during the breeding season to attract mates.
  • Tadpoles hatch and turn into frogs after 2 months.
  • Green tree frogs can be found across the Atlantic coastal states, the Gulf states, eastern Texas, and parts of Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
  • When male tree frogs call, their throat pouch inflates, resembling a bubble.
  • Green tree frogs are nocturnal and spend most of their day sleeping.

More About Green Tree Frogs

These intriguing little frogs are good for the environment and fun to listen to. Whether they are in your backyard or a forested area, make sure that you give these creatures the space they need to be happy and healthy in their natural habitats. 

Questions Related to Green Tree Frogs

Can you touch a Green Tree Frog? Green tree frogs have extremely porous skin. If you touch them, residues on your hand or skin may cause them harm or even poison them. For this reason, it is usually best to leave them be.

Are Green Tree Frogs dangerous? Green tree frogs are not venomous, but their skin can still secrete a substance that may irritate your skin or even salmonella infections. If you touch a green tree frog, wash your hands immediately, and keep your pets from trying to eat these frogs.

What should I do if my pet eats a green tree frog? If your dog or cat eats a green tree frog, immediately rinse out its mouth with water and wipe its gums. If it starts behaving strangely or showing signs of illness, call your vet, as your pet may be affected by the substance that green tree frogs secrete on their skin. 

Can you keep a Green Tree Frog as a pet? Green tree frogs are a popular pet because of their bright green coloring and distinctive call. If you do wish to keep one as a pet, purchase it from a reputable pet store and make sure it has an environment where it can be happy and safe.

How can you tell if a green tree frog is male or female? On average, female green tree frogs are larger than males. Additionally, females are not able to croak. If you notice a frog that is calling with an inflated throat pouch, it is almost certainly a male tree frog. 

Why do green tree frogs call? Most of the time, male green tree frogs call to attract mates. However, they can also make calls to advertise their location to other frogs. 

Why are green tree frogs loud after it rains? There is no certain answer to why male green tree frogs are exceptionally loud after a rainfall. However, researchers think that it might be because rain creates ideal breeding conditions and water for tadpoles and eggs, which makes the males more eager to attract a mate.

What are green tree frogs’ predators? Green tree frogs are most often preyed on by snakes, birds, large fish, and lizards. Their green coloring allows them to blend in well with forested surroundings, but they still may fall victim to predators. 

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.