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Pictures and Encounters With Louisiana Tree Frogs

Yvonne enjoys photographing and studying the many mammals, reptiles and amphibians that dwell in her backyard habitat in Louisiana.

A green tree frog in early spring

A green tree frog in early spring

Tree Frogs in Louisiana

Tree frogs and the other small frogs that live in south Louisiana are wonderful little creatures. They sing us to sleep each night with their chirps and trills.
There are several species that live in our yard and/or out in the woods. I've been able to get some pretty good pictures of a few of these small, native frogs, including the green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) and the gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis).
The green tree frog, which is the most striking of the two treefrogs that live around the house, is the Louisiana state amphibian. It has a bright green back and cream-colored underside.
The gray tree frog is an interesting little creature. It is not brightly colored like the green tree frog. Its back is usually light gray with dark bumps, although they can have gray-green backs. Some might say that the gray tree frog is so ugly that it is cute. Both species have adapted to living around human dwellings and seem to be as happy in a birdhouse as a bush.
They often mate and lay their eggs in the rain barrels and other open, water-filled containers, as well as along the edges of our pond and in the wetlands.
We hope you enjoy this pictorial visit into the lives of two of our favorite tree frogs.

Green tree frog uses amaryllis stalks to hide.

Green tree frog uses amaryllis stalks to hide.

Green tree frog using the pipe on a birdhouse for a den.

Green tree frog using the pipe on a birdhouse for a den.

Sleeping on the branch of a Giant Turk's Cap.

Sleeping on the branch of a Giant Turk's Cap.

Green Tree Frog - Hyla cinerea

This little beauty is often found sleeping in our rain garden among the green stalks of the Amaryllis or clinging to one of the green stems of a hibiscus.

A black racer snake often patrols this area. One day we were sitting on the front porch, and we heard frantic screeching near the old iron pot water feature. The noise was coming from a green tree frog that was in the mouth of a black racer. My husband tried to catch the black racer, but the snake dropped the frog and took off in a flash. The treefrog quickly hopped away to safety.

Green tree frogs eat insects. They take advantage of the fact that the outside lights attract flying insects and choose to live nearby. There are a couple in the area around each of our motion sensor outdoor lights. I was very happy to see one of these little frogs on a tomato bush in the container garden by the kitchen door. Tree frogs are a great natural pest control agent for the garden.

When green tree frogs are not distressed, their calls sound like short, loud quenks.

Gray Treefrog - Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis

Though not as brightly colored as their cousin, the green tree frog, the two types of gray tree frogs (common and cope's) are still rather handsome. They range from light gray to dark green, and the bright orange-gold coloration on the hidden parts of the hind legs is quite attractive. This coloration is thought to startle predators so that the frogs can make their escape.

The two species of gray tree frogs, Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis, are difficult to tell apart. Their calls are different, but visual identification is impossible. Both species live in Louisiana, but only the Cope's inhabits the part of southeastern Louisiana where we live.

Gray tree frogs are often found in and around man-made structures such as bird houses and outbuildings. Several times, a gray tree frog has set up housekeeping in one of our bird houses near water in early spring. Recently, I was able to capture this pair on the door of the wooden outbuilding. They are truly masters of camouflage.

Later, some tiny tadpoles appeared in one of the rain barrels. We discovered that we have to keep a piece of bamboo in all of the open rain barrels. If we don't, the gray tree frogs will sometimes drown. Apparently, if the water level is more than 3-4 inches below the rim, they can't get out after mating, and they expire.

From March through July, we hear their musical trills each night and when it rains. The cope's call is harsher and faster than that of the common gray tree frog. Listen to the call of the gray tree frogs.

Male gray tree frog calling from a rain barrel.

Male gray tree frog calling from a rain barrel.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do we put green tree frogs by water?

Answer: Adult green tree frogs live in trees and shrubs near water. They must have a water source to raise young. This is where they lay eggs which hatch into tadpoles and eventually develop into tiny replicas of their parents.

Question: Are there any black frogs that live in Louisiana?

Answer: The bullfrog is dark green and may look black in dim light. Check out the book Frogs and Toads of the Southeast (Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book Ser.) by Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons.

© 2011 Yvonne L. B.

Please leave a comment before you hop off.

Yvonne L. B. (author) from South Louisiana on June 02, 2018:


Some of the adults we have here in Covington, LA are 2 to 2 1/2 inches. The new babies can be as smaller than a dime.

Benjamin Robinson senior on June 01, 2018:

I have what looks like a large green tree frog at my house in Walker Louisiana. The Frog is about to 2 2 and 1/2 in Long. I haven't seen one this big before I'm used to the smaller green tree frogs. I was worried about it being a Cuban. But it doesn't seem to be one from what I can see in the pictures thank you for the site.

NotTooTall from The Land of Pleasant Living on July 14, 2011:

Hi naturegirl7,

Great frog Hub. My property borders on a marsh, and early May the frogs there are just about deafening! I guess they have mated-up by now, because they only croak starting at sunset. I never ventured in to identify what species are living there. Perhaps now I shall.

Thanks for this inspiring Hub.


Yvonne L. B. (author) from South Louisiana on July 13, 2011:


LOL!, I know what you mean, we have baby cricket frogs in our garden and they could easily get tossed with the salad.

Thanks for the comment.

Yvonne L. B. (author) from South Louisiana on July 13, 2011:


Oh yes, I was trying to rescue the frog and my husband wanted to play with the snake. At least I got my wish. ;)

In many parts of the world, amphibians are disappearing. Sorry about the ones in your creek.

Thanks for the comments.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on July 13, 2011:

We have the tiny ones that like to hid in my lettuce. It's a good thing. I suppose they eat the bugs. I try not to get them in the salad.

Great photos and hub.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on July 13, 2011:

The pictures of the frogs around your house are amazing! It must have been crazy to see one in the mouth of a snake and be able to save it! Score one for the Tree Frog! I use to hear frogs all of the time when I was a kid, now I never hear them. We even live by a creek, so you'd think that they would be around - so sad.

Eric Prado from Denton, Texas on July 13, 2011:

Great hub. I love frogs. I voted up.