Natural Area Preservation

Gray Treefrog

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Hyla versicolor or Hyla chrysoscelis

Identifying Features

  • 1.5 to 2 inches long; has large, sticky toe pads.
  • Ability to change color from grey to green to brown; amount of time needed to change color is influenced by temperature and humidity.
  • Common throughout most of our area.
  • Deciduous forests, farm wood lots, swamps: almost anywhere that suitable breeding ponds are adjacent to trees or shrubs. Herbicide and pesticide applications to trees and shrubs near wetlands can be harmful.
  • Mucus produced on toe pads enhances surface tension and allows frogs to climb smooth surfaces.
  • In winter they hibernate on land, under logs, leaf litter, and in hollow trees. Can tolerate sub-freezing temperatures by producing large amounts of glycerol in blood and body tissues, which prevents ice from forming in the body cells.


  • Low, melodic trill, similar to the call of a red-bellied woodpecker.


  • Temporary ponds, swamps, flooding and shallow edges of permanent lakes are used for breeding.
  • May emerge from dormancy early in spring, although rarely call until late April or early May.  Breeding extends into late June or early July.
  • “Satellite males” often take over prime calling sites when another male leaves the site.
  • Females deposit 1000-2000 eggs, divided into loose clusters of 10-40 eggs, which are usually attached to plants or other objects near the water’s surface.


  • Eggs hatch in 3-7 days depending on water temperature.
  • Tadpoles transform into frogs in 6-8 weeks.
  • Sexual maturity is reached after their second winter.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Forests.

​​​​Natural Area Preservation
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Remy Long​
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Hand
  Stewardship Specialist
Michael Hahn
  Stewardship Specialist