Finding a tree frog is not as easy as looking up at the trees. I go looking for frogs very often and always easily find toads and aquatic frogs, but it can be more difficult to locate where tree frogs live. They are generally smaller than aquatic frogs and toads, and surprisingly, do not always live in trees.
Tree frogs generally live on, in, or near trees close to freshwater bodies. Most tree frogs can be found laying on vertical branches, under leaf litter, on leaves, or at the base of trees. They are active at night and easier to spot after sunset.
There are several types of tree frogs, including Grey Tree Frogs, Chorus Frogs, Spring Peeper, and Poison Dart Frogs to mention a few. In this article, I will take you through some places where tree frogs live. This information can help you spot and observe them in the wild, or help you naturally attract them to your yard.
Tree Frogs Live in Trees Near Freshwater
Tree frogs thrive in areas with a steady supply of slow-moving, calm freshwater with no fish and trees surrounding the water source. Ideal places for tree frogs to live are in trees near a pond, bog, or marsh.
Like many frog species, tree frogs love to inhabit areas near freshwater. Water is essential for the growth, development and reproduction, and as such, they generally look for comfortable areas near water, preferably with no fish.
In comparison, tree frogs do not live in water like aquatic frogs. Most North American frogs nonetheless require access to a stable body of water to thrive. Many tree frogs that live in South America also chose locations close to freshwater, may that be permanent or temporary pools.
It will be challenging to find frogs near a fast-moving water body like a river or a stream. This is because tree frogs require slow-moving, practically still water to lay their eggs. Small ponds surrounded by trees offer a very conducive environment for frogs to live since the trees cut the wind keeping the water calm.
Tree Frogs Live at The Base of Trees
Some tree frogs can be found on the ground among leaf litter. Wood Frogs generally dwell on the forest floor, and Northern Spring Peeper are generally seen at the foot of trees during mating season at around 4 to 8 inches in height, calling mates at night from March to June.
Despite many tree frogs being able to climb thanks to their small size and padded toes, some tree frogs prefer to dwell at the bases of trees, especially during mating season. This makes it much easier for their mates to find them.
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Just imagine if the male Spring Peeper in the video above was calling from the top of a tree. The mate it attracts would have to climb all the way up the tree to find it, and then come all the way back down to reproduce in the pond. That would be illogical, so the males generally call at the base of trees all Spring.
These tiny frogs may be difficult to find despite how loud they are. You can hear Spring Peeper up to 1km away from their location! You may be standing right beside one and not see it – I can tell you this has happened to me so many times! It’s helpful to look for something moist and shiny at the base of trees if you want to spot these critters (CTNF).
Tree Frogs Live on Leaves
During the day, some tree frogs prefer to remain hidden by clinging to leaves. This is especially true for tiny, light-colored tree frogs such as Glass Frogs and Red-Eyed Tree Frogs that camouflage to match the color of the leaves and generally rest during the day.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs and Glass Frogs like to perch and sleep on branches and leaves to enjoy the humidity and dampness of the area. These frogs lay their eggs on leaves in trees which is fairly rare for most frogs. The eggs then drop into water below once they become tadpoles.
Some frogs, such as Gray Tree Frogs prefer to rest on horizontal branches in trees just above water. The branches are moist and help it remain cool and hydrated. Grey Tree Frogs can generally be found closer to the base of trees during the mating season, but head to the top of the trees the rest of the year.
Tree Frogs Live Under Leaf Litter
Many tree frogs spend the day beneath leaf litter composed of dead leaves and debris at the base of trees. During the day, some tree frogs generally seek refuge beneath leaf litter to stay hydrated, cool, and hide from predators.
Tree frogs, like many other frogs, try to avoid direct sunlight. They will thus resort to looking for shady places to keep their skin moist. Tree frogs may resort to living under leaf litter as it offers them the ideal environment that is humid and moist.
Looking for tree frogs under leaf litter is, however, not recommended. This is because, during the process, you will be destroying their habitat. You can also harm them when you use force to dig through the litter. So leave them alone if you do not spot them during the day and prefer to search for them at night when they naturally come out of hiding.
Tree Frogs also hibernate under leaf litter. They can freeze their bodies 40% to 65% to successfully survive the Winter. It’s utmost important to leave these frogs alone in their natural habitat while they are hibernating since disturbing them can be detrimental to their survival.
Tree Frogs Live Near Tall Vegetation
Tall vegetation near swamps, ponds and bogs are perfect for the tree frogs since they provide shelter, food and access to water. The vegetation also reduces the water flow and thus offers a conducive environment for the frogs to lay their eggs.
Tall vegetation can offer an excellent habitat to tree frogs. The tall grasses that grow in swamps offer an ideal habitat for the tree frogs to live since they can climb them and call with close access to water.
Frogs can also avoid direct sunlight, and thus the wet and long vegetation provides shade from sunlight, as well as shelter and humidity. Highly vegetative environment that tree frogs love customarily has fewer fish. This reduces the number of predators and thus encourages the frog population to grow and develop.
Easy Ways to Find Where Tree Frogs Live
During the mating season, frogs tend to be louder and easier to find. Male tree frogs chirp to attract females, generally from March to June in North America. They do this by filling up their vocal sacs with air, and while exhaling to make their unique call.
My favorite way to find tree frogs is to wait until nightfall. Many tree frogs are active right at sunset until 3 am in North America so it is easiest to find them at that time, especially during mating season. Some tree frogs are so loud from March to June, they can be heard up to 1km from their location.
Learn more about tree frogs and finding them on our blog:
- 8 Tips to Find Tree Frogs
- What Is The Best Habitat For a Frog?
- Can Tree Frogs Swim?
- 15 Types of Tree Frogs
- 20 Awesome Tree Frog Facts
Common Questions About Where Tree Frogs Live
Where do tree frogs live during the day? Tree frogs can generally be found in or at the base of trees under leaf litter during the day. Many tree frog species spend most of their time sitting on branches in trees or on leaves during the day. Others do not climb and spend their time at the base of trees under leaf litter.
Where do tree frogs make their home? Ideal places for tree frogs to live and make their home are in trees near a pond, bog, or marsh. Tree frogs thrive in areas with a steady supply of slow-moving, calm freshwater with no fish and trees surrounding the water source.
Where do tree frogs hide at night? Tree frogs do not hide at night since this is when they are most active. During mating season, male tree frogs can generally be found at the base of trees at night, actively calling females to attract them to their location to reproduce. Outside of mating season, tree frogs search for food at night.
Where is the best place to find tree frogs? The best place to find tree frogs is on, in, or near trees close to freshwater bodies. Most tree frogs can be found laying on vertical branches, under leaf litter, on leaves, or at the base of trees. They are active at night and easier to spot after sunset.