Gray Tree Frog

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Other common names: Gray Treefrog; North American Tree Frog

Scientific name: Hyla versicolor

The basics:
This sizeable, beautiful treefrog has been largely overlooked by keepers, and is rarely bred in captivity. The Gray Tree Frog, however, makes a most personable and fascinating pet, and is now beginning to get the recognition it deserves.

The huge range extends from southern Ontario, Canada to Minnesota, USA, and south to northern Florida and Louisiana. Southern populations are most likely the nearly identical Cope’s Gray Treefrog (H. chrysoscelis) but the area of range overlap is not clear.

The Gray Tree Frog is found in moist woodlands, swamps, suburban yards and city parks.

Appearance / health:
The Gray Tree Frog is stout in build, with an average length of 6 cm (2.4 inches). The body color ranges from pale to dark or greenish-gray, and is marked with dark blotches. The skin is granular, and there is a red or orange colored area on the inner thighs.

Well-cared-for pets may live to 7+ years of age. Nutritional deficiencies and digestive tract blockages that result from feeding overly large or difficult-to-digest insects, are the most commonly encountered health problems.

Behavior / temperament:
Gray Tree Frogs are nocturnal, but will readily awaken to feed by day.

As is true for all amphibians, they should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

Gray Tree Frogs do well in groups if provided enough space and cover. A 20 gallon high-style tank makes a good home for 2-4 adults. Sphagnum or carpet moss may be used as the substrate, and the terrarium should be stocked with cork bark rolls, branches, plants and vines.

Gray Treefrogs fare best when kept at 65-75 F, but can tolerate warmer temperatures. They do not require Ultra-Violet B light, but anecdotal evidence indicates that low levels of UVB, along with UVA, may be of some benefit.

The terrarium should be misted daily and supplied with a water bowl, which should be changed daily. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

A highly-varied diet is essential. Provide your pet with small roaches, sow bugs, crickets, earthworms, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies, silkworms, and other commercially available insects. Gray Treefrogs are best fed small insects, the size of a ¼ to ½ inch cricket, despite their willingness to tackle larger prey. Mealworms should be avoided.

Most meals should be coated with powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3, with a vitamin mineral supplement being provided 2-3x weekly.

Breeding may be stimulated by normal fluctuations in room temperature, or a cooling off period of 4-6 weeks at 55 F. A commercial rain chamber, or increased misting, is useful in stimulating breeding behavior.

Males may be distinguished by their black throat pouches. Gravid females produce 400-2,000+ eggs, which typically hatch within 4-8 days. The tadpoles may be reared on fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled dandelion. Metamorphosis is achieved in 40-60 days.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


perfect pets, Friendly Frogs, fun time, beginners frog


homebuilt terrarium, safe environment, overall care.These frog, gallon aquarium, plants


dechlorinated water, hardwood tree branches, small potted starter, java moss, different bromiliads

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