***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. ***
Due to the large number of native frogs and toads within Texas I have decided it to be easiest to split it into 3 sections: Frogs, Treefrogs and Toads. This is part 3 so here are the native treefrogs to Texas.
Cajun Chorus Frog (Pseudacris fouquettei)
The Cajun chorus frog can reach sizes of up to 1-1/2″. 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 in or near swamps and ponds from the Piney Woods through the eastern Post Oak Savannah to the central prairies of Texas.
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.
Canyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor)
The Canyon tree frog measures an average of 1-1/2″ in length. They are nocturnal and are most commonly found on the ground or in between large rocks, but may also be seen on low branches of small bushes in arid to semi-arid areas near permanent creeks in the rocky canyons in the Big Bend area of Texas.
The canyon tree frog will breed in pools alongside of the streams primarily in spring, but have been known to breed after heavy summer rains as well. This frogs call sounds like a machine gun, engine turning or a woodpecker drumming. It is a loud, nasal, rapidly stuttering ah-ah-ah. This usually lasts 1-2 seconds.
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
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 across the eastern half of the state of Texas.
Cope’s gray tree frogs breed from March – July depending on the temperature. 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.
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
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 across the eastern half of Texas, similar to the Cope’s gray treefrog.
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 March-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 Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)
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 Texas, they are restricted to the eastern third of the state, including central and south Texas. Unfortunately, it has been introduced to Big Bend National Park as well.
On average, a female will lay 400 eggs. Breeding takes place March- October. 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.
Mexican Treefrog (Smilsca baudinii)
The Mexican treefrog is a large treefrog (up to 2-3/4″) with smooth green, gray, yellow or dark brown coloring. They typically have a light spot under eyes and near armpits and a dark line from their snout to their shoulder. During the day, it will typically be found under loose tree bark or in damp soil in sub-humid regions near streams. Within Texas, it can be found in the extreme southern tip of the state in Cameron and Hidalgo counties. It is considered a threatened species by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department so it is fully protected by the state.
The Mexican treefrog will breed all year after substantial rainfall. The males call is a bunch of quick honks. Listen to its call below.
Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
The northern 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. They may be found near permanent water sources like slow moving streams, margins of lakes and ponds or around marshy areas. It can be found throughout most of the state, except the western panhandle and extreme western Trans-Pecos.
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.
Spotted Chorus Frog (Pseudacris clarkii)
The spotted chorus frog is a small nocturnal treefrog which is typically grey or olive green in color with green mottling pattern that can reach up to 1.25″ in length. They are typically found in grasslands and prairies. In Texas, they are found in a wide band from north to south, excluding the far east and far west of the state.
The spotted chorus frog will breed all year round, but coincides it with rain and will peak in April or May. Their call is a loud, medium pitched rapid whank whank whank sound. Listen to their call below:
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
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 the woodland areas near temporary swamps and marshes. It is restricted to the eastern quarter of Texas.
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 in Novemeber. 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)
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 Texas, they are found in the southeastern portion of the state from Louisiana to Corpus Christi.
The squirrel treefrog breeds from March to October, but the call can be heard as later 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)
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 the eastern half of the state of Texas.
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.
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