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The gray tree frog is a nocturnal amphibian that typically grows up to two inches (about five cm.) long. Shifty creatures able to camouflage themselves, the frogs often make their homes in trees to avoid being dinner for birds, snakes, and mammals. The gray tree frog often makes its habitat in wooded areas, typically near rivers and creeks.
Varying in color from green, gray, or brown in appearance, the tree frog has spots on its back, warts on its white underside, and yellow or orange thighs. In just a matter of seconds, the frog is able to alter its color to match the color of tree bark. To help with climbing trees and other surfaces, the creature possesses sticky toe pads that act like suction cups.
Geographically, gray tree frogs encompass a large area, depending on habitat and availability of food. The amphibians are located in the eastern portion of the United States and are found as far west as eastern Texas. The creatures also can be found in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick.
During the day, the gray tree frog spends its time sleeping in trees and shrubs. At night, the creature comes out to look for food. Using its camouflage ability, the frog will hunt for insects, such as ants, flies, beetles, and grasshoppers. The gray tree frog’s diet also includes snails and even other frogs. Acrobatic in nature, the frog typically hops from branch to branch to capture its prey.
In the winter, the frogs hibernate underneath logs, leaves, or rocks on the ground in forests. During hibernation, the frogs enter a trance-like state where their body freezes and heartbeat and respiration actually are suspended. Frogs are able to survive the winter thanks in part to the compound glycerol that stores body fat. When the temperatures rise, the frogs emerge from hibernation and return back to their habitat in the trees.
The frogs breed from April to August. During mating season, males will reside in sites suitable for breeding, such as tress and bushes that are located near water, and will assertively defend its breeding area. Males will lure females with a mating call.
Females will lay eggs along the water’s surface on vegetation that prevents the eggs from drifting away. A female may lay as many as 2,000 eggs, typically in sets of 10 to 40. In less than a week, tadpoles will hatch. In about two months, the tadpoles develop into frogs.