Natural History Information
- This is a medium-sized frog that can reach up to 6 cm (2.5 inches) in length. Their bodies are usually colored green with shades ranging from bright yellowish-olive to lime-green. The darkness of the color can change depending on lighting or temperature. There may also be some small patches of gold or white, and there may be a white, pale yellow, or cream-colored line running from the jaw or upper lip to the groin. The abdomen is pale yellow to white.
- They have smooth skin and large toe pads. Males have wrinkled throats (indicating the presence of a vocal pouch) and are slightly smaller than females.
- Mating takes place from mid-April until mid-August. Males will use their distinctive calls to attracts mates. Weather conditions influence breeding, which often takes place in rain. Females will lay up to 400 eggs in shallow water. The eggs will attach to the roots of aquatic plants. Embryos will hatch within a week, and the tadpoles transform into frogs 55 to 63 days after hatching.
Range and Habitat
- American green tree frogs are native to the southeastern United States, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Texas, and areas extending along the Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois. They may possibly inhabit northeastern Mexico. They are also known to inhabit Vancouver Island in British Colombia, Canada.
- Preferred habitat is usually near lakes, farm ponds, floodplain sloughs, cattail marshes, or bald cypress swamps.
- Longevity is undocumented for this species. Some sources report 2 to 5 years, while others report 6 to 10.
- Life Cycle Natural History Relevant Information
- Temperature, Humidity, Light Cycles
- Social Housing/Colony Management
- Other General Housing Requirements or Management information
- Life Cycle Relevant Information
- In the wild, American green tree frogs will eat whatever they can catch and swallow. Usually, their diet consists of crickets, moths, flies, and many types of worms. In drastic conditions, they have been known to cannibalize.
- Diet under human care
- They are fed crickets.
- Behavioral Relevant Information
- Environmental Enrichment
- Behavioral Enrichment
- Other Enrichment Resources
- Behaviors Trained
- Reinforcers used & schedule of reinforcement
- Threats and Conservation Status
- This species is not threatened.
- Interesting Natural History Information
- American green tree frogs are nocturnal, known to congregate in large numbers, and agile climbers.
- Did you know…
- The call of the green tree frog has been described as a series of “quonks” or as a “queenk-queenk-queenk” with a nasal inflection. Green tree frogs can be heard chorusing from early February until late summer in Florida (reproduction begins later in the spring in more northern parts of their range.) They call most frequently on warm, humid, overcast nights.
- Kermit the Frog was modeled after the American green tree frog.
- Green tree frogs can go up to 2.5 days without eating.
Handling & Presentation Tips
- Amphibians must be handled with care and not too frequently. Always use gloves when handling, either vinyl or latex gloves rinsed thoroughly with aged or RO water to prevent chemicals found the the powder used in latex gloves from getting absorbed through the frogs skin.
- Philadelphia Zoo staff have found that some frogs get very stressed with handling and will present frogs in a display tank rather than taking them in hand for program use. Handling also increases the chances that an animal will injury itself fleeing.
Public Contact and Interaction Guidelines
- Look for specialty/exotic rescues such as: The Bunny Hutch, an exotic animal rescue run by zoo keepers.
- Check out sample animal policies, handling sheets, and fact sheets on our Example Policies & Guidelines page
- View past issues of Program Animal SAG Newsletters
Contributors and Citations
- The Philadelphia Zoo