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Herps of SC/GA

Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

species photo
buttonHear call
range map: SC and GArange map: eastern US

Description: Squirrel treefrogs are average sized treefrogs. Their size ranges from 1-1.5 in (2.2-4.1 cm). These treefrogs can be found in a variety of colors, in fact, each individual frog can assume a variety of different colors (comparable to a chameleon). Their background colors range from green to yellowish to brown. They can either be spotted or plain, some have bars between their eyes and some have light broken stripes down their sides. Often, the only way to identify this frog is through process of elimination: Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) have a white stripe down their sides, Barking Treefrogs (Hyla gratiosa) are larger with more granular skin, Gray (Hyla chrysoscelis/versicolor) and Pine-woods Treefrogs (Hyla femoralis) have bright yellow coloration or spots on their inner thighs.

Range and Habitat: Squirrel Treefrogs are found throughout the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, including Coastal Plain regions of South Carolina and Georgia. They prefer areas with moisture that provide both food and shelter including marshes, swamps and the edges of lakes and streams. They can be found in gardens, trees, vines, bushes, shrubs, vines, woods, in and around rotten wood and under logs.

Habits: Squirrel Treefrogs have external fertilization and lay about 1,000 eggs in shallow pools, generally during summer storms. The average duration of this treefrog's tadpole stage is 45 days. This is a nocturnal animal, but it can be seen foraging for insects during the day, if it is raining. Squirrel Treefrogs are often seen around porch lights where they feed on insects that are attracted to the light.

Call: Squirrel Treefrogs are often called "rain frogs" as they are often heard calling during and after rain showers. At this particular time, their call sounds like a squirrel chattering and hence they received their name. Their breeding call is said to sound more like that of a nasal duck and can be heard from March to October, as this is when they breed.

Conservation Status: Squirrel Treefrogs are common in our region and are not protected.

Pertinent References:
Baber, Matthew J. and Kimberly J. Babbitt. 2004. Influence of Habitat Complexity on Predator-Prey Interactions between the Fish (Gambusia holbrooki) and Tadpoles of Hyla squirella and Gastrophryne carolinensis. Copeia: 2004:173-177.

Beck, C. W. 1997. Effect of changes in resource level on age and size at metamorphosis in Hyla squirella. Oecologia 112:187-192.

Account Author: Brittany Bloom, University of Georgia - edited by J.D. Willson

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A squirrel treefrog captured from the Crackerneck on the Savannah River Site displays the bright yellow on the back of the legs that is present in some individuals; squirrel treefrogs can vary greatly in color within populations. – photo by Mike Gibbons

Frogs and Toads of SC and GA
Reptiles and Amphibians of SC and GA
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