Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Tree Frogs (Family Hylidae)

Barking Treefrog
Hyla gratiosa

Adult Barking Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Adult Barking Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith

Camoflauged adult Barking Tree Frog, photo courtesy of Corey WickliffeSize

  • 2 - 2⅝ inches
  • Record - 2 inches.
  • Appearance

  • Like other Hylid treefrogs, this species is a real chameleon, changing its coloration depending on temperature, substrate color, mood, etc., though it mostly appears some shade of green on its back. 
  • Diagnostic round “rings” on back, which also has a very granular surface.
  • Our largest treefrog, though much overlap in size with the Green Treefrog. 
  • Large adhesive toe pads.

  • Photo of  habitat for Barking Treefrog, courtesy of Maryland Land Incentive Program
    Photo of  Habitat for Barking Treefrog,
    courtesy of the Landowner Incentive Program

    Habitats

  • This is a species of Carolina (Delmarva) Bays, vernal pools and adjacent sandy-soiled woods. 
  • They spend a lot of time up high in the treetops, but are also burrowers, thus the need for sandy soils.
  • Calling Barking Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith
    Calling Barking Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith

    How To Find

  • Listen for its two calls:
    1. a “bark” like a dog usually repeated 8-10 times from high in the treetops, and
    2. an explosive bassy “dooonk” repeated every few seconds from the water on humid mid-summer nights.
  • June and July are the key breeding months in Maryland.
  • Status

    This is a state endangered species, which was first discovered in Maryland in 1982.  Currently known only from Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.  If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

    Maryland Distribution Map
    Maryland Distribution Map for Barking Treefrog

    Camoflauged adult Barking Tree Frog, photo courtesy of Corey Wickliffe

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    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.