Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) up close

Hyla versicolor, grey tree frog

Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor

Last night as I head back in from performing right-before-bed cutworm reconnaissance, there on the porch is what looks like a wad of leaves. Bend down to pick it up and no – it’s a little black and white toad. Bend down farther. It doesn’t move. Touch it gently. Completely still. Did I God forbid step on it when I was going out?

Nope, it’s just cold. The next time my warm hand hovers near it manages a sluggish hop.

By morning it has moved to the drainpipe and I have looked it up. Even though it’s notably bumpy and almost 2 inches long, it isn’t a toad. It’s a very large – as these things go – Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor, and it’s black and white because it’s sitting on the weathered cedar boards of the porch.

hyla versicolor grey tree frog grey form

I rotated the other picture so you could see him/her more clearly. Here’s the actual orientation. The porch is the same color as the wall on the left.

grey treefrog, green form, hyla versicolor

Gray Treefrog caught last summer on a hollyhock leaf; they don’t call ‘em versicolor for nothin’.

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16 Comments »

  • Lorna Sass Said,

    Wow, that creature looks so ancient. (The giant tortoises on Galapagos come to mind. Thanks for introducing him (her?) to me. Lovely post.

  • Emily Said,

    Wow, how cool. I had no idea frogs like that one lived in the Hudson Valley! I’d love to see one show up on my own doorstep someday. ;)

    Hope you do get to see one – or more! – Emily, and you very well might; they’re common all over the Northeast. But I have to confess that the one on the porch was on the porch in Maine.

  • I had no idea frogs came in black and white–fascinating!

  • Ron Reed Said,

    Guess What? My wife Peggy took a picture of a gray tree frog just a couple of days ago here in Johnston Iowa. (Northern edge of Des Moines, Iowa.

  • Jerry Said,

    Just saw one in Painesville, OH!!! Never seen one before. Very big for a tree frog.

    Hi Jerry, Thanks for the report. Ohio!!

  • judith fain Said,

    a very small, maybe 1.5 inch frog was on the door to my shed. I pushed it off so I could turn the handle. could almost say a “ghost frog” since it was almost completely light gray w/o any black I am in NC. Never have seen one before.

    Thanks for telling about the sighting, Judith. Wish I were enough of a frog expert to discuss these little guys in some kind of detail, but I AM heartened to hear about them showing up in unexpected places! I don’t think they’re “endangered,” except insofar as all frogs are very vulnerable to the assorted insults people have visited on the environment, but the more the merrier all the same. If your spring is being (suddenly) as wet as ours, that could be bringing them out.

  • Joseph E.Baschnagel Said,

    I found one on my porch, in Western NY

    Excellent! (‘Tis the season, or at least the start of it.)

  • Lori Jablon Said,

    One of these guys is outside right now sitting on my lawnchair arm…..SO cool!!! (In Maine)

  • pat poillucci Said,

    I have one on my railing of my pool, then it went for a swim and now he is on the outside of my screen porch, I have named this one Fred and boy does it make a lot of noise but I love it……………

    Neato! Hope he sticks around for a while…

    • sandi copley Said,

      this pretty little fellow looks as though he changes color according to the various places he winds up in.dose anyone know if these tree frogs change color????

      Hi Sandi

      You have it right. They change color – like chameleons – as a protective measure. Not sure how many colors they’re capable of, however. Doubt they could deal with a pink lawn-flamingo, for instance.

  • pat poillucci Said,

    I have three of them croaking in harmony!

  • Rho Said,

    I just got shots of one on my front porch chair! Green chair but it’s gray! South Solon, OH

    • Rho Said,

      Oops…blue chair! Ha! Got more shots with a ruler…2 inches!

      hi Rho,

      Thanks for the reports – guess that answers the question about colors they don’t come equipped to cope with!

  • Sharon B. Said,

    We live in Bergen County, New Jersey. Yesterday, while cleaning and straightening out my outside sitting area, I noticed under the pillows a grey clump that I thought was a dead mouse, or leaves. I scooped it up not realizing it was a live frog and put it down on the carpet. When I returned about a half hour later, it was climbing and was half way up the other chair next to the original spot. We then moved it to the edge of our fish pond around 90 feet away. This morning, it was right back under the pillow on the original chair. I believe it’s a she and she’s with child(s) baby froggies. She goes from grey and black in color obut green to camaflogue with the pillow. It also seems she chewed two holes in the pillow.

    Hi Sharon,

    What an amazing story; a gravid frog that’s for some reason deeply attracted to your porch pillows! Doesn’t seem like a congenial environment for frog eggs; and I must say I’ve never heard of cloth eating. Get a picture of THAT and your fortune is made.

    I guess the only scary part is that weird frog behavior – and weird frog anatomy – are our endocrinal canaries in the coal mine. Do please keep us up to date on further developments

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