Discover Maryland's Herps

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

Tree Frogs (Family Hylidae)

Gray Treefrog
Hyla versicolor

Cope's Gray Treefrog
Hyla chrysoscelis

Adult Gray Treefrog, photo courtesy of John White
Adult Gray Treefrog, photo courtesy of John White

Adult Cope's Gray Treefrog, photo courtesy of Corey Wickliffe
Adult Cope's Gray Treefrog, photo courtesy of Corey Wickliffe

Size

  • 1 - 2 inches
  • Record - 2⅜ inches 
  • Appearance

  • These two species look exactly alike.  The only ways to separate them are by chromosome count and by their call.
  • Their coloration is normally grey or green, but is highly variable as they can change color depending on temperature, activities, mood and environment.
  • Most individuals have a light spot beneath the eye.
  • As a true treefrog, has large toe pads. This is the only treefrog with the inner thigh colored golden yellow with black mottling. The Pickerel frog also has yellow inner thighs but lacks the toe pads.
  • Photo of Habitat for Gray Tree Frogs courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Photo of Habitat for Gray Tree Frogs
    courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

    Habitats

  • Usually observed on tree or shrub trunk or branches that grow in or immediately adjacent to shallow water bodies: permanent, semi-permanent or seasonal wetlands. 
  • Require a combination of forest and wetland. 
  • How to Find

  • Listen for their nighttime calls from May through July, a hollow wooden trill, which is slow and more musical in H. versicolor and faster and more harsh sounding in H. chrysoscelis, though calling speed is affected by temperature. 
  • They may also call during the day.
  • Hyla chrysoscelis is the more common species on the Coastal Plain, while H. versicolor is more common in the rest of Maryland. 
  • Maryland Distribution Maps
    Maryland Distribution Map for Gray Treefrog

    Maryland Distribution Map for Cope's Gray Treefrog

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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"

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    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.