Species Profile: Hyla cinerea- Green Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla cinerea
Common Name(s): Green Tree Frog, Tree Frog
The green tree frog is a medium sized frog with long limbs and digits that have sticky toe pads. Their sizes range from 1.25-2.25 inches long. Besides being green, they have a white, yellow, or sometimes iridescent stripe along each side of their body. Males are smaller than females and have wrinkled throats, which indicates a vocal pouch.
Hyla cinerea is found throughout the southeast but is generally confined to the Coastal Plain.
The green tree frogs are insectivorous, usually eating flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. These frogs prey on insects that are highly active or happen to be close enough to be caught by the frog’s tongue. Preferring to live in open forested areas with plentiful water near floating vegetation, grasses, and cattails, they are never at a loss for food, but they are subject to more predation than other frogs. They are prey to snakes, birds, and other frogs. Green tree frogs are one of the few species of tree frogs that lays their eggs in waters that have large predatory fish. Green tree frog tadpoles have few mechanisms of defense against large fish, so they are easily caught.
While green tree frogs are usually solitary, they come together during breeding season. Temperature, day length, and precipitation affect the timing of green tree frog breeding, but it usually occurs after a rain event. After mating, females lay up to 400 eggs. The ability for females to produce eggs is related to her size. The larger the female, the more eggs she produces.
Due to their small size and undemanding habitat requirements, these make great pets. Unlike many amphibians, they do not require artificial heating. One thing they do require is a large terrarium. Since they like to climb trees, the terrarium needs to be tall rather than wide. Plenty of branches and other objects need to be placed in the terrarium for the frogs to climb. Another important feature would be substrate that will maintain the humidity in the container, such as commercially shredded bark or coconut husk, and a shallow water dish. Green tree frogs have been found to live up to 6 years in captivity.
Here in Bella Vista, green tree frogs are found in most of the forested areas, but you might find them in or near your pool. If you cannot see them, you might hear the male green tree frog make a duck like “reeenk, reeenk, reeenk” during the spring or summer before a rain event or during breeding season.