Photo of a green tree frog.

Tree Frogs of Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide

Tree frogs are a fascinating and diverse group of amphibians that inhabit various regions across the globe. In Georgia, there are several tree frog species that grace the state’s lush forests, wetlands, and swamps, each with its unique characteristics and adaptations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various tree frog species found in Georgia, their appearance, behavior, preferred habitat, and the critical role they play in their ecosystems.

Georgia’s Tree Frog Species

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

The Green Tree Frog is one of the most recognizable tree frog species in Georgia due to its bright green coloration, which may vary from yellowish-green to bright lime green. It has a smooth skin texture and a white or cream-colored stripe running along its side from its jaw to its hind legs. Adult Green Tree Frogs measure approximately 1.25 to 2.5 inches in length.


Green Tree Frogs prefer habitats near freshwater sources, such as swamps, marshes, ponds, and slow-moving streams. They are commonly found resting on vegetation, tree branches, or even window sills close to light sources that attract insects.

Behavior and Diet

These nocturnal amphibians are active during warm and humid nights, feeding on a variety of insects, including crickets, moths, and flies. Green Tree Frogs are known for their distinctive call, which sounds like a repetitive, nasal “quonk-quonk” or “honk-honk.”

Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) and Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

The Gray Tree Frog and Cope’s Gray Tree Frog are two closely related species that are difficult to distinguish from one another by appearance alone. Both species are medium-sized, measuring 1.25 to 2 inches in length, with gray or greenish-gray coloration and mottled dark patches on their skin. Their most distinctive feature is their large, rounded toe pads that enable them to cling to various surfaces.


Gray and Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs inhabit a wide range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and suburban areas. They can often be found on trees, shrubs, or man-made structures near water sources.

Behavior and Diet

These nocturnal frogs are opportunistic feeders, consuming insects such as beetles, ants, and spiders. The primary difference between the two species is their call; Gray Tree Frogs have a slower, melodic trill, while Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs have a faster, higher-pitched trill.

Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella)

The Squirrel Tree Frog is a small species, measuring approximately 0.75 to 1.5 inches in length. It has a highly variable coloration, ranging from green, brown, or gray, often with dark blotches or spots. Squirrel Tree Frogs can change color in response to environmental conditions, temperature, and stress.


Squirrel Tree Frogs inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, marshes, and even residential areas. They are commonly found near water sources or hiding in tree holes, leaf litter, or under debris.

Behavior and Diet

These frogs are nocturnal and emerge at night to feed on insects, such as ants, mosquitoes, and small beetles. Their call is a short, raspy “ra-a-ack,” similar to a squirrel’s chatter, which is how they got their name.

Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosa)

The Barking Tree Frog is Georgia’s largest tree frog species, measuring 2 to 2.7 inches in length. It has a stocky build and thick, warty skin, with coloration ranging from green to gray or brown. These frogs often have a distinct, dark-edged light stripe running along their sides.


Barking Tree Frogs prefer habitats with abundant vegetation, such as pine forests, wetlands, and swamps. They are often found in trees, shrubs, and grasses near water sources, where they breed and lay their eggs.

Behavior and Diet

These nocturnal frogs are primarily insectivorous, consuming a wide range of insects, including crickets, beetles, and moths. The Barking Tree Frog’s call is a deep, resonant “wrauk” or “wrauk-wrauk,” resembling a dog’s bark, which is how it earned its name.

Bird-voiced Tree Frog (Hyla avivoca)

The Bird-voiced Tree Frog is a medium-sized species, measuring 1.4 to 2 inches in length. It has a gray, brown, or greenish coloration with dark, irregular spots or markings. Its skin texture is relatively smooth, and its legs are slender and long.


Bird-voiced Tree Frogs are primarily found in wooded areas near water sources, such as swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams. They prefer habitats with abundant vegetation and tree cover, where they can easily hide and forage for food.

Behavior and Diet

These nocturnal frogs are insectivores, feeding on a wide range of insects, including moths, beetles, and flies. Their call is a high-pitched, bird-like trill, which is how they got their name. The Bird-voiced Tree Frog’s breeding season typically occurs during heavy rainfall in late spring and early summer.

The Role of Tree Frogs in Georgia’s Ecosystems

Tree frogs play a crucial role in Georgia’s ecosystems as both predators and prey. They help control insect populations, including pests like mosquitoes, which can transmit diseases to humans and other animals. In turn, tree frogs serve as an essential food source for various predators, such as birds, snakes, and mammals.

In addition to their ecological significance, tree frogs also serve as important bioindicators of environmental health. Because they have permeable skin and rely on both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, they are sensitive to changes in their environment. A decline in tree frog populations may signal environmental stressors, such as pollution, habitat loss, or climate change, which can have broader implications for ecosystem health.

Conservation and Protection

Georgia’s tree frogs face numerous threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, climate change, and the spread of diseases like chytridiomycosis. To ensure the survival of these captivating species, it is essential to support conservation efforts, such as habitat protection and restoration, monitoring and research initiatives, and public education and outreach programs.

Final Thoughts

The tree frogs of Georgia are a diverse and fascinating group of amphibians that contribute to the state’s rich biodiversity. By understanding and appreciating these incredible creatures, we can help conserve their habitats and ensure their continued presence in Georgia’s ecosystems for generations to come. With their unique adaptations, vibrant colors, and captivating calls, tree frogs will undoubtedly remain a source of wonder and inspiration for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike.

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