I had a special visitor come to my door the other night. I found her peeking in through the glass as if she wanted to come in. I quickly made a makeshift terrarium from an empty mason jar by threading the ring over scrap piece cotton cloth. I caught some insects to put in with her along with a twig and some distilled water. The terrarium was for her safety. Hopping frogs look like fun toys for dogs and as a fun loving doggy I was concerned that Scout may not understand that the tree frog was a guest.
I took the little tree frog into my office and left her there to get comfortable. One of the ways that I can tell it’s a female frog is because she didn’t sing. Generally speaking female frogs are quiet. The don’t sing among other things.
First thing the next morning I found the little tree frog clinging to a leaf on the twig. I could tell that she’d had breakfast because the insects were gone.
I took her outside to set her free and when I opened the jar she hopped out onto the tip of my pinky finger.
The little Gray Tree Frog On My Pinky Finger looking me in the eye.
The she turned to look me in the eye and thanked me for the night’s lodging. I was a little shocked. Kermit was the only frog that I’ve ever heard talk. The shock must have shown on my face because she smiled a froggy smile and winked. “There’s a lot about tree frogs that you probably don’t know.” She said. I simply nodded because I was still in shock. She continued without being prompted. And here’s what she taught me.
You’ve probably been told that it’s not easy being green. However, it’s no problem at all for a gray tree frog. In fact they can change color like a chameleon. Unlike thier cousins in the Amazon they don’t have the bright colors but they do have a range of gray, brown, green and black. The little tree frog on my pinky finger was such a light gray when I found her that she was almost white.
The secret to their Spider-Man like climbing ability is the large suction cup like pads on their feet. If you look closely at the tree frog’s feet you’ll notice that the toes are not webbed. That’s so that they can grip on the twigs like a monkey.
There are actually two species of Gray Tree Frog in Appalachia. They are identical in every way except in genetics and songs. The Gray Tree Frog has 48 chromosomes and the other species, Cope’s Gray Tree Frog has 24 chromosomes. This means that they can’t really hybridize and that even if they did that the offspring wouldn’t survive.
The other way to tell the difference is by the call. I could give you the pulse per second and frequency etc but there’s no substitute for hearing the difference yourself. So, I found a YouTube video that gives a great sound byte.
Once the shock of a talking tree frog wore off I asked the little frog how she learned to talk. She replied, “you left me next to your laptop all night and I got bored so I used your internet. You can learn how to do anything on Google. ”
With that said she took one graceful leap into the Alder tree in my yard and that’s where she lives today.
*I am not a herpetologist and so I am not positive about the sex of the tree frog.
The little tree frog now living in my Alder tree.
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