Amphibians

Reptiles

Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Description

Audio Audio This species looks similar to a young green treefrog. The dorsum is usually green with irregularly spaced dark spots. A yellowish white stripe runs dorsolateraly and the ventral areas are light gray. The underside of the legs may have some yellow coloration. Recently metamorphosed Squirrel treefrogs are usually green, but soon change to brown or tan, with numerous spots.

Habitats

Mixed pine-hardwood forest, bottomland hardwoods, brushy areas, wooded seeps and pine flatwoods. This species seems to do well in any area that is wooded with standing water nearby. Breeds in open flooded areas, weedy drainage ditches, marshy fishless ponds, and shallow woodland pools.

Habits and Life History

Breeds from April to July in Arkansas. The breeding call has been heard as late as September. Most breeding is associated with heavy rainfall and warm temperatures. Open, grassy temporary ponds or shallow pools are preferred breeding sites. The breeding call is a hoarse "quack" that sounds similar to a mallard duck. Males call while floating, sitting on the bank or clinging to emergent vegetation. Calling males may be difficult to locate, because they usually call from areas with thick vegetation. A non-breeding call is usually uttered from trees during humid weather or just before rain. This call sounds like the chatter of a squirrel, which is where the common name originated from. The "rain call" has been heard from April to August in Southern Arkansas. Tadpoles metamorphose in three to six weeks, and usually measure around 12mm (about 1/2 inch) snout-vent length. Squirrel treefrogs prefer to hide in low, thick vegetation.


Prey and Hunting Techniques

Squirrel treefrogs have been observed eating ants that come to the edge of ponds.


Temperament and Defense

The Squirell Treefrog is a very "hyper" species, as it seems to always be ready to jump away. They are shy as well, being quick to silence their calling when approached.


Conservation

This species needs forested areas to use as cover and for foraging. Selective cutting should be done instead of clear-cutting to protect wooded areas. The Squirell Treefrog prefers open areas with depressions, fishless ponds or ditches for breeding. Prescribed burning and mowing are practices that are both beneficial to this species.


State Distribution and Abundance


Gallery

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Contributors

Tobin Fulmer


Bibliography

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979 (1987). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd ed. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 743 pp.
  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed., Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 616 pp.
  • Trauth, S. E., H. W. Robison, and M. V. Plummer. 2004. Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville. 421 pp.

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Page last modified on May 01, 2016, at 07:49 PM