20 Awesome Tree Frog Facts

Tree frogs are a fascinating type of frog with very different habits compared to aquatic frogs and toads. 

Not only do tree frogs generally live in trees, but they have also padded toes, are excellent at climbing, and can camouflage better than many other frog species.

Let’s dive into some awesome tree frog facts!

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  1. Tree frogs are known as Arboreal Frogs, or frogs that live in trees. There are two other major types of frogs including Aquatic Frogs, or frogs that live in water, and Terrestrial Frogs, or frogs that live on land, which are known as toads.
  1. There are over 800 unique tree frog species, and their classification as tree frogs has to do with their physical features. Tree frogs have padded toes and extraskeletal structures in their feet. The last bone in their toes (the terminal phalanx) is also claw-shaped.
  1. Some tree frogs, such as the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, can camouflage like a chameleon. But, tree frogs come in many different colors and shades depending on the species, habitat, and time of year. The most common tree frog colors in the United States are green, brown, and gray. 
  1. The White-Lipped Tree Frog is the largest tree frog in the world, at 4 to 5.5 inches in length, and can be found in Australia and Oceania, but the largest tree frog in the United States is the non-native Cuban tree frog, measuring 1.5 to 5 inches in length.
  1. The smallest Tree Frog species can be less than an inch long. Many tree frogs remain small, slender, and light-weight as adults since they stick to branches and bark, and leaves that need to hold their body weight. Many adult tree frog species can fit on the tip of an adult human’s finger. 
  1. Tree frogs live on every continent, excluding Antarctica. Although tree frogs are most diverse in color, shapes, and levels of poison in tropical environments, approximately 30 species live in the United States, while over 600 species of tree frogs live in South and Central America including a wide variety of Poison Dart Frogs.
  1. While many tree frogs thrive in trees and shrubs, some tree frogs do not spend all their time in trees. Spring Peeper for example spends most of their time at the base of trees near fish-free ponds, or on the moist ground under leaf litter.
  1. Tree frogs use their habitats as camouflage to shield themselves from predators. Some tree frogs like the Red-Eyed Tree Frog can camouflage to look exactly like a leaf, others like the Grey Tree Frog can look exactly like a branch. Camouflage is a self-defense mechanism to help tree frogs hide from predators.
  1. Tree froglets and adult frogs are carnivores and primarily feed on insects. Tree frogs feed on various bugs and insects, such as ants, flies, crickets, moths, beetles, and many other tiny live invertebrates. But, frog tadpoles are herbivores in the very first stages of their lives.
  1. Every frog species has a unique mating call, and tree frogs are no exception. All male tree frogs use their vocal sacs to make sounds unique to attract females of the same species during mating season. The infamous ‘ribbet’ call originates from the Pacific Tree Frog.
  1. Red-Eyed Tree Frogs may defend their territory by vigorously shaking the surrounding leaves, branches, and bum. Male Red-Eyed Tree Frogs try to look aggressive to other males by briskly shaking the vegetation in their territory to defend it. They may do a dance where they shake their butt in the process.
  1.  Australian Green Tree Frog can live up to 16 years old in nature, and up to 20 years in captivity. However, the lifespan of various tree frog species varies greatly. Some tree frogs can survive around 5 to 9 years in the wild, while others may only live 2 years or less. 
  1. Frogs breathe and drink through their skin, putting them at risk when there are strong environmental changes. Tree frogs are among the most at-risk groups of animals when it comes to the possibility of extinction due to pollution, climate change, and various diseases such as chytridiomycosis.
  1. Tree frogs have three eyelids. Tree frogs have bulging eyes with an upper, lower, and third additional eyelid called the nictitating membrane. This membrane helps them camouflage, hibernate, estivate and sleep.
  1. Many Tree Frogs in South America are poisonous. Poisonous substances are secreted from their skin due to the alkaloid ants they consume in their diet. Golden Poison Dart Frogs are the most poisonous frogs on Earth as one frog has enough poison to kill 10 humans or 20,000 mice.
  1. Frogs generally are not venomous since out of over 7,000 frog species, there currently are only 2 known venomous frogs: Bruno’s Casque-Headed Frog (Aparasphenodon Brunoi) and Greening’s Frog (Corythomantis Greeningi). Calculations suggest 1 g (0.03 oz) of A. Brunoi venom could kill 80 humans.
  1. Some tree frogs can seem to fly in the air. While they may not fly like a bird, some tree frogs, such as the Costa Rican Flying Tree Frog, have webbing between the toes and can jump and glide in the air from tree to tree.
  1. Some tree frogs use their unique colors and patterns to stun predators as an evasion tactic. Some tree frogs have bands or spots of bright colors such as red, blue, or yellow on certain body areas, including the legs, feet, and eyes. For example, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs may flash these colors at predators to startle them, creating a brief moment of opportunity for escape. 
  1. Some tree frog species, such as the White’s Tree Frog, have incredibly heightened senses. In some cases, they can hear the finest audible details and movements and even feel vibrations through the ground. This is very useful when living in the wild, as they can sense threats in the area before they get close.
  1. Some tree frog calls can be heard over half a mile from their location. For example, Spring Peeper can be heard almost two miles from where they are located during mating season (CTNF).

More About Tree Frogs

Tree frogs are fascinating creatures and if you would like to observe them in nature and learn more, we have all the resources you need here. Check them out:

Common Questions About Tree Frogs

Are tree frogs dangerous? The vast majority of tree frogs found in the United States, Canada, and Australia are harmless. If a Cope’s Gray Treefrog or Cuban Tree Frog secretions get into your sinuses they can cause irritation. The most poisonous frogs on Earth are found in South America.

Can you touch a tree frog? You can touch a tree frog but should avoid doing so. Frogs can carry diseases such as salmonella and do not like to be handled. Tree frogs drink and breathe through their skin and the dirt and lotions on your hands can cause irritation.

Can you keep a tree frog as a pet? Keeping a frog as a pet can be expensive, time-consuming, problematic for frogs, and requires a permit in some locations. It is best to naturally attract local tree frogs to your yard and to observe them as outdoor pets.

Where do tree frogs hide during the day? Tree frogs generally hide on branches, or under leaf litter during the day. Tree frogs are generally most active at night when their predators are less active and the bugs they eat come out.

Sources 

Tree Frogs, National Wildlife Federation