American green tree frog, popularly known as green tree frog, is a New World tree frog species. It is often called rain frog as they call the loudest during moist and damp weather suggesting rainy weather. They are popular as pets in some parts in and around its native region. The green tree frog is Louisiana and Georgia’s state amphibian.
Species: H. cinerea
The scientific name for the American green tree frog is Hyla cinerea.
This species is abundant in its native habitat. It is listed in the ‘Least Concern’ category of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Adult green tree frogs are 3 to 6 centimeters in length. American Green Tree Frog size is larger for the females than the males. They have smooth skin; and the color is generally bright green, sometimes with a shade of lime green or olive green. However, the color may alter depending on activity and temperature.
Their skin color tends to be brighter when calling, and it turns a little dull when it is resting. Some individuals have a whitish, or cream colored stripe on the sides of their body, starting from the jaw to all the down to the groin. The stripe on one side, in one individual, can be a little shorter compared to its other side. Their dorsum carries little golden patches. The central region is cream or white. They have large, sticky toe pads which help them to cling on to a surface. The vocal pouch, in males, is wrinkled.
Hyla cinerea inhabits the southeastern and central United States. Its geographical range includes Eastern Shore of Maryland, stretching towards southeast Florida, to central Texas towards west, and southern New Jersey and Delaware in the north.
Green tree frogs are commonly found in streams, marshes, ponds and lakes, and wet prairies, They mostly prefer to inhabit places with floating vegetation and cattails.
They can often be seen in shrubs and trees around waterbodies. During day-time, they sleep in little shady places, or under tree leaves. At night-time, they can be seen searching for insects, especially those attracted by lights. A study on Hyla cinerea, in an artificial forest setting, suggested that the abundance of this species is associated with the openness of the forest shade. The study suggested that more than 85% specimens preferred areas that have thick ground vegetation with no forest shade. Researchers see this as a behavioural method for finding prey.
American Green Tree Frog sound is somewhat like a cowbell from a long distance. However, from close proximity, it is quite like a “quank-quank” tone. This species communicates with various types of calls. Males have a distinct mating call, while both sexes use specific alarm call to warn others of a potential threat.
The lifespan of green tree frog, in the wild, are not known. However, it is believed that they live for 2-4 years. Captive specimens can live up to 6 years with proper care.
Most green tree frog population breed once a year, but some pairs tend to have more than one clutches in a mating season depending on participation, temperature as well as day length. They start breeding following rainfall. It has been noted that males’ mating call start as day length and temperature goes up. Some studies suggest that the length of one breeding season corresponds with latitude.
Male green tree frogs are known to be polygynous, normally attempting to find and mate with more than one female. During breeding season, they gather near water-bodies in hundreds, sometimes in thousands. Each female lay about 400 eggs on average in shallow water. Males, then, fertilize the eggs. The American Green Tree Frog lifecycle is rather short and quick. Eggs hatch in 4 – 14 days. Tadpoles turn into frog in about two months time.
American Green Tree Frog food primarily consists of insects. They primarily feed on mosquitoes, flies, crickets as well as other small insects. A study on their feeding habits showed that they pick prey depending on their activity level.
It showed that almost 90% victims of this frog species were active when they were approached and preyed upon, while the rest being those that were in close proximity, or leisurely walking to be easily snatched by the frog.
Here are the things that you must know when you are looking to have an American green tree frog as a pet. The American green tree frog care regimen will certainly help you out.
You should arrange for a water tank with a minimum capacity of 10 gallon. Keep a mesh wire over the top so that they cannot escape. Since these frogs are arboreal, they often spend a lot of time on the trees and so the tank’s height is more important than its floor space. Materials that you can use for the substrate include cypress mulch, smooth gravel and soil with vermiculite or peat. Get some artificial plants and branches where the frogs can climb. You may use philodendrons and sturdy ferns as well. All wooden components used in the tank should be free of chemicals and pesticides. Treat the wood for removing bugs and harmful bacteria. Cork bark and driftwood also make great options for tank furnishings. These frogs do not need any kind of special heating arrangements.
Insects like crickets, moths, fruit flies and houseflies make up the diet of American green tree frogs. They tend to eat more in the summer and spring than during the winter. The smaller frogs should be fed daily and bigger frogs in every alternate day. These frogs should be fed dechlorinated water.
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