Description: Gray Treefrogs are the fairly large treefrogs
(1.25 - 2 in; 3.2 - 5.1 cm) with large toe pads and granular skin.
They are heavier-bodied than Pine Woods or Squirrel Treefrogs,
with which they can be confused. They vary in color from mottled
gray to light green but their color can change depending on
environment and activity. There is usually a light spot beneath
eye and the inner thigh is bright yellow or orange
Range and Habitat: Gray Treefrogs are found throughout
the Southeast except for peninsular Florida including nearly all
of SC and GA. This is the most common treefrog species in the
Piedmont and Mountain regions of our area. They are found in a
variety of wooded habitats but are most common in mature deciduous
forest. Gray Treefrogs generally breed in fishless wetlands.
Habits: Gray Treefrogs spend much of the year high in
trees and are most often encountered during the breeding season,
when they call from vegetation surrounding wetlands. Breeding
lasts from March to August, but calling is most intense in the
early summer. Gray Treefrogs generally spend the day hiding in
tree holes or other secluded areas and emerge at night to feed
on insects and small invertebrates.
Call: Call is a musical trill.
Interesting Facts: Hyla chrysoscelis is morphologically
indistinguishable from H. versicolor and two species are
also sympatric throughout much of their ranges. Once thought to
be single species, recent genetic work revealed H. chrysoscelis
to be diploid and H. versicolor to be tetraploid. Two species
are best distinguished by call; H. chrysoscelis has a faster
trill than H. versicolor.
Safety Tip: This species of frog produces a toxic skin
secretion that can cause extreme discomfort to the eyes, lips,
mucus lining of the nose, or open cuts and abrasions. Careful
hand washing is advised for anyone after handling gray treefrogs.
Conservation Status: Gray Treefrogs are common and not
protected in our region.
Account Author: Jonathan Slone, University of Georgia
- edited by J.D. Willson