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.
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
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