Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

Photos by Amanda Hurst, unless otherwise noted

Description: Barking Treefrogs are the largest treefrogs in our region, averaging over 2 in (4.4 cm) in length. They are heavier-bodied and have more granular skin than green or squirrel Treefrogs, with which they can be confused. They are often bright green in coloration and usually have dark, round spots on their back and a white line on lip that continues down each side.

Range and Habitat: Barking tree frogs are found throughout the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, including all of southern and eastern South Carolina and Georgia. They are found in a variety of wooded habitats but require fishless wetlands to breed. The largest breeding populations occur around shallow, heavily vegetated wetlands such as Carolina Bays.

Habits: Barking Treefrogs spend much of the year high in trees and are most often seen during the breeding season, when they congregate at wetlands. Breeding lasts from March to August, but calling is most intense in the early summer. Unlike most treefrogs in our region, males generally call from the water, often resembling tennis balls as the float, inflated, on the surface of wetlands.

Call: Call is an explosive “Donk” or “Tonk” repeated every 1-2 seconds. From a distance a chorus of these frogs resembles the sound of barking dogs.

Conservation Status: Barking Treefrogs are generally less common than other species, such as squirrel and green treefrogs, but they are not protected in our region.

Account Author: Jennifer O’Connor, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson, Lauren Maynor