Yes my brilliant readers! THAT was a Gray Treefrog! Many of you guessed it correctly… I was surprised because the bumps threw us off until we did a bit more research. We were sure he was a toad.
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The Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) is able to change colors very quickly and adjusts to the color of his surroundings based on the weather or to camouflage himself. He can range from gray to green, black or even white.
One of the telltale signs of this beautiful creature is the orange/yellow underside of his legs. This was the marker that helped us identify him after doing some further research.
Our little frog was super fast and was able to climb up the side of a very deep Tupperware no problem! This is because treefrogs have toes that produce a sticky substance that allows their toe pads to act as suction cups as they climb vertical surfaces (like trees!).
These frogs are usually no larger than 2 inches long. Ours was very close to 2 inches so it was mature and possibly a female. The female does not croak and her throat is usually white while the male does croak and has a black or darker throat. They usually live between 7 to 9 years out in the wild.
This type of frog is known in the Eastern part of the United States. While it is not an endangered species yet, the population of this species is dwindling in Connecticut due to development, climate change, pollution and other reasons. It made us feel good to know that our backyard is a safe haven for these special frogs.
They look for deep forests with natural water sources to thrive. They are also nocturnal (we found ours during the day though!). They hardly ever come down from treetops unless they are breeding… and this is that time of year so we assume that is what our little frog was up to. And now that we’ve heard their sound, we know what that loud noise is we’ve been hearing out back these last few weeks all night long!
Listen for yourself!
The most amazing thing we learned about this frog is that “It actually freezes in the winter! The green treefrog produces large amounts of glycerol. The glycerol is changed to glucose and then it is circulated through the frog’s cells. The glucose acts like kind of antifreeze and prevents ice crystals from forming in the cells. If ice crystals formed in the cells, they would rip the cells apart and kill the frog. The rest of the water and blood in the frogs body then freezes and its heartbeat and breathing stop! When the temperature warms up, the treefrog “thaws out” and returns to the trees!” (Source: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/graytreefrog.htm)
Thank you all for participating in this fun contest. I hope it was a great way for you to learn more with your children about these wonderful frogs!