Louisiana Frogs and Toads

***This post is a part of my series where this year I will be highlighting all of the different states native frogs and toads.  Check out this page to see all of the United State’s native frogs broken down by state. ***

Here are the frogs and Toads that can be found in Louisiana:

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

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The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in North America. They can grow up to 8″ in length and weigh up to 1.5 pounds.  The bullfrog is unique as it can be found in freshwater ponds, lakes and marshes throughout Canada, United States and as far south as Mexico and Cuba.  They are typically green or gray-brown with brown spots. The American Bullfrog can be found statewide. They are currently found in many low elevation areas and live in lakes, ponds generally in the water or on the shoreline.

The bullfrog breeds from March to August. It has a very deep call which resembles the mooing of a cow.  Watch the video below to hear!  Both genders of the bullfrog croak.  Their calls may be heard day or night. 

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

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The American toad is mainly nocturnal and is most active when the weather is warm and humid. During the winter, the toad will burrow deep into the ground below the frost line.  As the frost line gets deeper, the toads will burrow deeper beneath the ground. They can be found throughout the northern panhandle within Louisiana.

Most American toads don’t survive more than a year in the wild, however some have lived to 10 years old. Captive raised, they have reached 36 years old. The toad has a high musical trill which can last upwards of 30 seconds.  American toad is highly terrestrial and can only be found in the water for a short period while breeding and laying eggs.  Below is a video that shows the American Toad calling.

Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

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The Barking treefrog can reach 3″ in length.  It is known for its bright green color with dark brown spots.  It occurs in the northern panhandle of Louisiana.

Their call is a loud ‘Tonk’ sound which from the distance the chorus can sound like barking dogs.  Breeding lasts March- August and it is a polygamous species; with the female choosing the male based on his call.  The barking treefrog can be found high within the treetops, but also burrowing within sand when temperatures get hot.  Listen to their call below.

Bird Voiced Tree Frog (Hyla avivoca)

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The Bird-Voiced treefrog is highly variable and can change colors, however it is typically shades of gray and green with yellow-green inside its legs. They have a distinctive white/ yellowish spot under their eye. They can be found in and around swamps and swampy lakes. In Louisiana, they can be found west and south of Lake Pontchartrain as well as other scattered areas in central and north Louisiana.

They breed from April-June using branches hung over water. Their call is very bird-like, hence the name, with 2-5 whistles per second. Listen to it below:

Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi)

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The Blanchard’s Cricket frog measures an average of 1.5″ in length with the females being slightly larger.  These frogs can jump a surprisingly long way (5-6′) for their small size.  They can range a combination of black, yellow orange or red on a base of brown or green.  The Blanchard’s Cricket frog can be found in throughout Louisiana west of the Mississippi river.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas.

This frog was named for its breeding call which sounds very much like a chirp or trill of a cricket repeated for about 20 beats or like 2 pebbles clicked together.  Listen to its call below.

Cajun Chorus Frog (Pseudacris fouquettei)

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The Cajun chorus frog can reach sizes of up to 1-1/4″. They have 3 broad dark stripes down their back and a white stripe along its upper lip. The frog is named in honor or M. J. “Jack” Fouquette of ASU – he was an expert in frog vocalizations. The cajun chorus frog can be found throughout Louisiana except for a small portion of northeastern and southern counties; typically found in open wetlands, flooded fields, etc.

The cajun chorus frog sounds like fingers running over a comb and can be heard February – April.  Females lay 500-1,500 eggs in groups of 5-300. Tadpoles will become frogs within 6-8 weeks. In the winter, these frogs burrow into the ground and like wood frogs, they generate a type of antifreeze glycol to protect their organs. Listen to the call below.

Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

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The Cope’s gray treefrog is smaller and smoother skinned than the gray treefrog.  The gray treefrog and Cope’s gray treefrog can be difficult to tell apart during breeding while they are both mottled.  However, most of the time the Cope’s gray treefrog has a solid lime green colored back.  These frogs can be found statewide within Louisiana except for a couple scattered counties.

Cope’s gray tree frogs breed from March – August and can be heard calling between March and October. Another way the Cope’s gray treefrog can be distinguished from the gray treefrog is by its call. The Cope’s gray treefrog’s call is short and raspy.  Listen to the video below to hear.

Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus)

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This frog has a large and stubby body with a distinct humped back while it rests.  It is covered in many irregular shaped spots and its belly is solid white.  It gets its name from its diet which consists of nocturnal beetles, small amphibians and reptiles and crawfish.  The crawfish frog can be found in low lying areas including meadows, prairies, brush fields and crawfish holes.  In Louisiana, it is very rare and scattered across the state. It is rarely seen as it burrows underground. It is currently listed as Near Threatned by the IUCN red list and are close to meeting vulnerable species.

The crawfish frog breed from late February through April.  The males will gather in a fishless pond and call.  The females can lay up to 7000 eggs group in large 5-6″ clumps.  The pond must maintain through mid-June while all of the froglets transform.  The crawfish frog has a loud and deep call which reminds me of a hog.  Listen to them below:

Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

The Cuban Treefrog is considered an invasive tree frog within the state of Louisiana. It will take over birdhouses, power boxes and native frog habitats. It also secretes a mucus that burns eyes and can cause allergy like reactions in humans and pets. If seen – email description, location and photos to Brad ‘Bones’ Glorioso at gloriosob429@gmail.com.

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The Cuban treefrog are the largest treefrog in North America, with females reaching up to 5 inches in length. They are highly variable in color, but can range from grey or white to brown, olive tan or bronze. They do have the ability to change color rapidly. These can be differentiated from native treefrogs based on size – largest native treefrog is 3″- or by the fused skin on the skull of the Cuban treefrog. They will live in both urban and suburban areas and have invaded natural habitats and forests as well. These frogs will eat other smaller native frogs and out compete the rest of the native frogs for food.

The call sounds like a raspy snarl or snore at varied pitch lasting 1/3 of a second repeated. It reminds me of the sound of a squeaky door. These calls will be heard at night and while raining during the day.

Dusky Gopher Frog (Lithobates sevosus)

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This frog has a large and stubby body with a distinct humped back while it rests.  It is covered in many irregular shaped spots on its back and a mottled belly. The gopher frog can be found in wooded areas where it spends the daylight hours in burrows of other animals.  In Louisiana, the Dusky Gopher frog is considered an endangered species and extirpated from Louisiana – no recent sightings within the last 20 years.

The gopher frog is an explosive breeder and all healthy adults breed at once. Females will lay egg masses of up to 7,000 eggs. The gopher frog has a very low snoring sound call which lasts for a few seconds. Listen to them below:

Eastern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

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The Eastern Cricket frog measures an average of 1″ in length with the females being slightly larger.  These frogs can jump a surprisingly long way (5-6′) for their small size.  They can range a combination of black, yellow orange or red on a base of brown or green.  This frog can be found east of the Mississippi river within Louisiana.  They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas.

This frog was named for its breeding call which sounds very much like a chirp or trill of a cricket repeated for about 20 beats or like 2 pebbles clicked together.  Listen to its call below.

Eastern narrow mouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)**

**Although it bears the name of “toad” it is actually considered to be a frog.

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This frog is typically 1″ in length, with females being slightly larger.  One defining characteristic of this frog is the fold of skin on the back of the frogs head.  The eastern narrow mouth toad is grey or brown in color with smooth thick skin.  It can be found in grassy areas on rocky slopes and in rock filled canyons.  They will hide under rocks and can sometimes be found with tarantulas.  As shown in the photo below, they can be found across the state of Louisiana.

The male eastern narrow mouth toad’s belly will create a substance that will stick the mating pair together.  The female will lay up to 850 eggs on the surface of the water.  They will take 2 days to hatch and will be toadlets within a quick 30-60 days.  It’s call sounds similar to a bleating sheep with a baaaaa.  Several calling frogs together sound like bees or a bunch of toy airplanes.  I was very surprised by the pitch of their call.  Have a listen below:

Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

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The Eastern Spadefoot has smoother and more moist skin than most toads and is speckled with very tiny warts.  This species typically had a light brown to yellow brown color mottled with dark brown.  The back of the eastern spadefoot may be dark brown with exception of a couple light yellow stripes.  The lines are usually more visible in males.  The Eastern Spadefoot has a vertical pupil in the eye similar to a cat.  They can be found in the sandy soil along the floodplains of streams and rivers.  The Eastern Spadefoot prefers dry habitats with sandy soil, but will breed in flooded fields or ditches in warm rainy weather.  These are rare within Louisiana.

These spadefoots spend almost all of their time buried under ground, with the exception of breeding time.  During breeding time, the spadefoots emerge from their burrows and the male will let out a short explosive “wank” call which sounds like a call of a crow.  Something odd about these guys is that some people believe that the Eastern spadefoot smells like peanut butter.

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

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The Fowler’s toad is usually brown, grey, olive green and rust red in color with darkened warty spots.  As these toads become adults, a pale stripe will form down its back.  The belly is usually white-ish with one dark spot.  These toads are found throughout Louisiana except for St. Bernard Parish.

This toad has a long, loud, high pitched W-A-A-A-H-H-H call.  Listen to it in the video below!    It is said that they can be mistaken for a herd of sheep calling in the night.  The Fowler’s toad will make a series of quick, short hops as the American toad will make a few larger hops.  The Fowler’s toad will amplexus in June& July.  The female can release 7,000 -10,000 fertilized eggs which will hatch 2-7 days later.

https://youtu.be/ezHxi2DEHOE

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

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The grey treefrog may range in color from bright green to brown to grey (as shown above).  During the day, they may be found sleeping on tree branches or leaves.  Their toes have a sticky pad which allows them to easily climb vertically up windows, siding, trees; etc.  They may be found scattered in the central portion of Louisiana.

Female grey tree frogs may lay 1,000-3,000 eggs in clusters of 20-90.  Tadpoles can be distinguished by their reddish-orange tails.  Male grey treefrogs have a short melodic trill that lasts only a second.  They will generally call on warm and humid evenings between April & July.  Gray treefrogs overwinter below ground and produce a substance in their blood that functions similar to antifreeze.  Below is a video of the Gray treefrog calling.

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

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The green frog is typically greenish-brown with dark mottling on its head, chest and under its legs.  The throat color ranges to yellow for a male to white for the females.  The green frog is similar to the bullfrog, however the bullfrog is larger and lacks the skin fold behind the eye to mid torso.   The Green Frog is seen nearly statewide.

These frogs can produce as many as 6 different calls – however the most distinctive sound is a throaty boink that sounds like a loose banjo string being plucked.  Listen to the video below to hear!

Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

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The green treefrog is slender frog that ranges from bright green to dull green with a white stripe down its side.  These frogs can reach 2.5″ and can be easily frightened.  They are typically found within marshes, swamps, small ponds and streams, but can also be found within brackish water sources.  Within the state of Louisiana, they can be found statewide except for a few scattered counties.

On average, a female will lay 400 eggs.  Breeding takes place April – August.  It has been noted that the green treefrog will choose its prey not based on size, but based on activity level.  With the most active being eaten first.  The male’s call is a single note repeated over and over sounding like a “queenk”.  Listen to their call below.

Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

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The greenhouse frog is considered an introduced species to the state of Louisiana. It typically comes in by potted plants and landscape materials. It can reach 1.25″ in length and are olive brown in color. They can either have 2 broad stripes longitudinally down the back or they can be mottled- both varieties have red eyes.

The greenhouse frog is unique as its eggs are enclosed in a thick membrane and laid singly in a concealed damp location. They then pass through the tadpole stage while in the egg and emerge as fully developed frogs about 2 weeks later. The males call sounds like an insect chirp or tiny sneakers squeaking on a gym floor. Listen to their call below:

Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

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The gulf coast toad is the largest toad native to the southeastern United States – reaching up to 5″, but are typically closer to 3″. They will have a uniform brown body with a white stripe along each side of the body and down the middle of its back. They are typically found in warm and moist habitats. They are considered salt tolerant as they can be found in the middle of coastal brackish marshes. In Louisiana, they can be found in the southern half of Louisiana along with 2 northern counties.

The Gulf Coast toad females have been known to lay up to 5,000 eggs! The males call is a low-pitched trill lasting 2-6 seconds. It can be heard early to mid-spring.

Hurter’s Spadefoot (Scaphiopus hurterii)

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The Hurter’s spadefoot is typically a greenish color, however the color does vary. There are 2 light dorsal lines on its moist skin and a bump behind his eyes. This species prefers sandy soil in a wooded area. It will typically be burrowed underground. It’s range is scattered within the north eastern corner of Louisiana. They are pretty rare within Louisiana.

Breeding will take place in temporary pools that form during heavy rain. The Hurter’s spadefoot’s call is a loud grunt. Take a listen to it below:

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

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The Oak Toad is the smallest toad in North America – reaching 1.75″ in length. They are so small that they were originally classified as half-grown southern toads. They are typically black or brown in color with a white, cream or yellow stripe on the back. They have 4-5 pairs of dark colored blotches on the back as well. The bumps on their back tend to have a red, orange or brown color which gives it a rough texture. Their stomach is grayish white. They can be found in grassy areas or areas with sandy soil or freshwater wetlands. In Louisiana, they are found in the northern counties of the panhandle.

The oak toad has a chirping call which can be heard from April – October. The females will lay 300-500 eggs in a strand attached to grass. The call can be heard below:

Ornate chorus frog (Pseudacris ornata)

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The Ornate Chorus frog is considered extirpated from Louisiana – no sightings within 20 years. These frogs are small reaching up to 1.5″. Their color can range from gray, green and a reddish brown color. They wear a black mask-like stripe across their eyes and may have a yellow coloring in their groin area. They can be found in grassy areas, woodlands and wetlands.

The ornate chorus frog is nocturnal and can be heard from November to march. Females can lay up to 1000 eggs in shallow water. The call of the males is a sharp metallic tink repeated often. Have a listen to it below:

Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)

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The Pickerel frog looks very similar to the Northern Leopard frog; however the pickerel frog has 2 parallel rows of squareish spots down its back.  They are often found near beaver ponds with dense vegetation.  The pickerel frog may be found scattered in the northern half of Louisiana.

Female pickerel frogs lay between 700-2,900 eggs in a globular mass attached to a submerged stick or stem.  The tadpoles will transform into frogs around mid-July based on water temperature.  As a defense the skin of the pickerel frog produces a toxic substance which makes them unappealing to most predators.  Listen to the video below to hear their call.  It sounds similar to a low and slow snore.

Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

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The pig frog is a large frog that can reach up to 6″ long.  It’s body can range from greenish to brown to black with large irregular spots.  The belly is white to cream.  One distinguishing feature is the back of the thighs are boldly marked with light stripes or spots.  The American bullfrog is similar in appearance however the back of its thighs have small abundant light spots.  The pig frog can be found scattered throughout southern Louisiana.

Breeding occurs in  April to August in quiet ponds, canals and prairies.  The female lays eggs in a large surface film over vegetation.  The male’s call sounds like a pig grunt.  Listen to them below:

Pine woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)

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The Pinewoods treefrog is around 1.5″ in length and can range from brown-gray to red-brown to gray-green color with dark mottlings on its back and small orange or yellowish spots on the rear of its thigh. They can be found high in trees but also at ground level in rotten logs or crevices in trees. It can be found in the eastern panhandle of Louisiana.

The males are nicknamed the “Morse-code frog” as their call consists of sporadic chattering. It can be heard from April – October. Listen to its call below:

Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides)

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The Rio Grande Chirping Frog is considered an introduced species within the state of Louisiana – via plants and landscape materials. These tiny (up to .9″) have brown, gray or yellow-green coloring with dark spots. They can be found in moist and shaded palm groves, thickets, ditches and lawns. Within Louisiana, their range is scattered.

Both males and females produce chirp like calls. Listen to their call below:

Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

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The Southern Cricket frog measures an average of 1″ in length with the females being slightly larger.  These frogs can jump a surprisingly long way (5-6′) for their small size.  They can range a combination of black, yellow orange or red on a base of brown or green, but all have a bright stripe of color running from the tip of their snout down their back, broken with a triangle pattern between the eyes. They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas. They can be found on the northern panhandle within Louisiana.

This frog was named for its breeding call which sounds very much like a chirp or trill of a cricket repeated for about 20 beats or like 2 pebbles clicked together.  Listen to its call below.

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephala)

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The Southern Leopard frog has 2-3 unevenly spaced rows of irregular oval shaped dots on its back.  The southern leopard frog has been found statewide within Louisiana.  It needs 3 different habitats to match its lifestyle – permanent water for overwintering, floodplains & marshes for breeding & meadows and fields for foraging.

These frogs are opportunistic feeders, meaning that they will eat anything that fits in their mouth including beetles, ants, smaller frogs – including their own species, birds and even garter snakes.  It’s call is like a low and rumbling snore and grunt sound.  It has also been known to scream loudly when grasped or frightened by a predator.  Listen below to their call.

Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

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The southern toad is typically 3″ in length and is more often brown, but can be black, grey or red. It lives in areas with sandy soils and spends its days in its burrow.

Breeding occurs in spring when males migrate from their upland habitats to the swamps, ditches and pools to breed. Each female may lay up to 4,000 eggs which will take up to 55 days to morph into juvenile frogs. Listen to the males call below:

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

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The  spring peeper measures from 3/4″ to 1-1/4″.  It can be distinguished by it’s dark colored “X”across its back.  This frog is common throughout most of Louisiana; in woods next to vegetated swamps and marshes. 

It’s chorus of a shrill high pitched call can be heard from up to a 1/2 mile away!  Listen to its call in the video below.  The peeper is one of the earliest frog species to breed in the area beginning as early as late February during warm spells.  Similar to the American toad, these frogs spend most of its time on land and only are in the water to breed and lay eggs.  Like most tree frogs, the spring peeper is nocturnal and loves to hunt ants, spiders and other small insects during the evening.

Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

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The squirrel treefrog is usually green, but can be brown or tan with numerous spots. A yellowish cream stripe runs along their side. The underside of their legs may have yellow. They can be found in flooded areas, fishless ponds and shallow pools. Within the state of Louisiana, they can only be found in the northeastern portion and southern half of the state.

The squirrel treefrog breeds from April to July, but the call can be heard as late as September as it is associated with heavy rainfall and warm temperatures. The breeding call is a hoarse quack which sounds similar to a mallard duck. Listen to it below:

Strecker’s Chorus Frog (Pseudacris streckeri)

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The Strecker’s chorus frog can reach 1.5″. They range in color from light grey, brown, green and have long blotches and typically has a dark strip from their eye to their shoulder. The belly is typically white with yellow or orange around their groin. They can be found in extreme northeastern portion of Louisiana.

Their call sounds like a single note repeated. Sounds like a bell like whistle.

Thanks for reading! Check out all of the United State’s native frogs and toads here.

frogs-found-in11

More Information:

Amphibians & Reptiles of Louisiana website by Brad Glorioso

Amphibians & Reptiles of Louisiana: An Identification and Reference Guide

Frogs and Toads of the Southeast

Photo Credits:

Cover photo used by the creative commons license.  Text was added.  See Original photo by Jan Kronsell here.

  1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons license.  Photo taken by Brian Gratwicke.  Original Photo Here.
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5 thoughts on “Louisiana Frogs and Toads

  1. Great website, love the frog call recordings! Small editorial comments: Louisiana has “parishes” instead of “counties.” Also use “its” instead of “it’s” for possessive.

  2. Great site. I had a friend retired from the Marine Corp in 1962, he passed away three years ago at the age of 91. He was a modern day version of a Tom Sawyer growing up in the swamps of Louisiana near Shell Village. He would describe the size, I guess of the American Bull Frog, like they were the size of a small cat. Dusty was a young man probably at the age of 10 he and a hired hand named “Sixer” would jump on one of those manual pumped cart on the train tracks cover a lot of miles to get into those swamps. Remember, “Sixer” was a massive African American man who had trouble walking through a door way. Sure enough, I just looked at one on the web that in deed was the size of a small cat measured in at an astounding 11 pounds. I wonder the bigger a bull frog gets does it interfere with the taste? I am from Maine and the bigger a lobster got, the less tasty it was.

  3. I love this. Was just sitting in my back yard north of New Orleans and played some of the frog sounds at the top and frogs started answering from the woods. So funny! I was trying to see if this little fellow sitting on my flower stand would answer. He didn’t, but it woke him up. HA! I think he is a gray tree frog, but not sure. Kind of speckled and has some green at times. Thanks for posting these.

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