Tree frogs are adorable, and there are over 800 species. Each one is unique, and they all live in diverse environments. Tree frogs are cold-blooded, which means their body temperature fluctuates depending on the climate outside. Some tree frogs thrive in warm, humid, and wet places, while others live in regions that experience harsh winters where temperatures drop below freezing.
So, how do tree frogs survive winter? Where do they go? Keep reading to find out!
Common Types of Tree Frogs
There are over 800 species of tree frogs, and each uses different survival techniques. Winter does not look the same everywhere you go. Listed below are five common types of tree frogs.
The Red-Eyed Tree Frog
When most people look up “tree frog,” they find a small, vibrant green frog with really red eyes. The red-eyed tree frog blends in with the leaves of trees it climbs for protection. It is native to Central and some parts of South America. Red-eyed tree frogs live about five years and grow up to 2.75 inches long. They use their red eyes and orange webbed feet to startle their predators, a technique called startle coloration. This gives these little frogs a chance to escape.
The American Green Tree Frog
American green tree frogs are also green but don’t have large red bulging eyes. They are native to the central and southeastern United States, including Florida, Texas, Delaware, and New Jersey. American green tree frogs hunt for insects like crickets, beetles, spiders, and mosquitos. They have diverse habitats and can live in large forests and swampy marshes. Some people keep them as pets because they are small and rarely require artificial lighting. Some of these frogs that live in northern states experience freezing temperatures.
The Barking Tree Frog
The barking tree frog is native to the southeastern U.S., from Florida to Louisiana. It also commonly resides in Delaware, with small colonies in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Maryland. Barking tree frogs are the largest native tree frogs in the U.S. They can grow up to 2.75 inches long. They have round toe pads and come in all different colors, like grey, green, and yellow, with markings. Unlike other tree frogs, barking tree frogs don’t have smooth or rough skin; instead, their skin feels leathery. As their name suggests, barking tree frogs have a loud barking call.
The Canyon Tree Frog
Canyon tree frogs live in warm places and are native to the rocky plateau areas of the southern United States. While they are primarily found in Texas, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, you can also find these nocturnal tree frogs in some Mexican states. Canyon tree frogs rely on their coloring to camouflage into the rocky and sandy terrain. They are brown, grey-green, or grey-brown with dark spots. Their skin looks a lot like the texture of granite and other rough rocks.
The Pine Woods Tree Frog
Pine woods tree frogs live in the southeastern United States. They are a small tree frog species, rarely reaching over 1 inch long. They also have large toe pads but little webbing and spend most of their lives high in trees. Pine woods tree frogs prefer climbing pine, oak, and cypress trees. They live in marshes and savannahs across states like Florida and Virginia. These frogs are nicknamed “the Morse code frog” for their staccato call. During cold weather, pine woods tree frogs hide under rotten logs or in moist crevices in trees, blending in.
Where Do Tree Frogs Go in the Winter?
You might notice a lack of tree frogs in your neighborhood around winter; this is because they leave and look for new shelters. However, tree frogs don’t migrate like bids. They don’t fly or “hop” south where the weather is warmer. Instead, most tree frogs hibernate. They slow down their metabolism and burrow under leaf litter, logs, or tree cavities.
Frogs also survive freezing temperatures by increasing their blood sugar levels which keeps their insides from freezing. Not all tree frogs freeze-tolerant. The most common ones are the gray tree frog, spring peeper, and chorus frog. They let their bodies freeze, and their hearts stop beating. In the spring, when the temperatures increase, these tree frogs thaw out and hop away.
What To Do if You Find a Tree Frog in Winter?
Tree frogs in winter hibernate and sometimes look dead. They slow down their breathing or stop it until the temperature rises, and they thaw. Knowing this, you mustn’t disturb a tree frog in winter. They likely don’t need your help. Actually, if the temperature fluctuates too much, it can kill the tree frog.
- Pet Tree Frog Guide: What You Need To Know
- Are Tree Frogs Poisonous or Dangerous?
- Colorful Frogs: The 12 Prettiest Frogs in the World
The photo featured at the top of this post is © davemhuntphotography/Shutterstock.com
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- Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Available here: https://srelherp.uga.edu/anurans/hylgra.htm
- Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Available here: https://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/frogs/pinewoodstreefrog.shtml