Amphibians

The Gray Treefrog

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Our resident Gray Treefrog has moved back into our half height shed at the back of the cottage again this year. They are nocturnal and I think I woke it up! Apparently they are sometimes seen on walls or windows of buildings where a light attracts insects. I wonder if that is the appeal of our shed. It seems to collect all kinds of insects. It has lots of cracks for tiny insects to crawl through, which isn’t a problem because it is really only intended to keep the weather off the generator, a spade and a spare tank of propane. They are only 4 cm – 6 cm long, so I guess it has no trouble fitting through the cracks to get inside.

Gray Treefrogs eat insects; spiders, mites, moths, tree crickets, ants, flies and beetles. They can be quite acrobatic and will often jump from branch to branch to catch its prey. It is certainly welcome to hang out and keep the spiders under control in the shed!

Breeding season runs from April to August and they only tend to come down from the trees to breed or look for food. I guess that is why we only seem to see it for a short period.

When I discovered our little frog, I was concerned at the position it chose to sit, so I picked it up to move it. It has very sticky feet. Its toe pads are like Velcro and cling to things, including my hand. It seemed to like my hand and kept turning around to stay on it rather than relocate.

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Finally it jumped onto the lid support of the lid of the shed.

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We stood for some time, eyeing each other up. It seemed not to be bothered by my presence at all. I read that in captivity, they can become quite tame and learn to associate their owners with food.

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Eventually it jumped up to find a crack to settle into. Not a safe place if we close the lid, but I made sure everyone knew to watch out for the little frog.  We don’t want it to get squished!

It was interesting to see the bright yellow/orange under its thighs. They are really quite colourful little frogs for something with the name “Gray”. Their Latin name, Hyla Versicolor, indicates that they have the chameleon-like ability to change their colour and can be green, grey or light brown. They are bright green right after metamorphosis and stay that way for some time before taking on their adult coloration, so I wonder if this is actually a young one – given that it was so green against a grey background. If so, does that mean that it is a different frog to the one we had last year? They change colour from gra y to green depending on activities and environment, so maybe there was another factor making it bright green and it was our friend from last year returning. They have a lifespan of 7-9 years, so hopefully it will come back and visit again next year.

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