Photo Credit: Paul Buttenhoff
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hyla squirrella
STATUS: Common in Coastal Plain, less common and local in Ridge and Valley and extreme southern Piedmont. Lowest Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTION: The squirrel treefrog (Hyla squirrella) is a fairly small frog that is less than two inches in length. The color varies from light green to gray or brown with a white line along the upper jaw. The dorsum (back) of the frog has yellowish colored flecks and the toe pads are large.
DISTRIBUTION: The range of H. squirrella extends from Texas to Virginia. In Alabama, the squirrel treefrog is found primarily in the Coastal Plain and its range extends northeast into the Ridge and Valley region as far north as Etowah County.
HABITAT: The squirrel treefrog is often seen on highways during and following heavy rains on warm nights. It is very active vocally with the approach of rain by calling from a perch on a tree or shrub and often referred to as the “rain frog”. H. squirrella use a broad range of major habitat types. They include areas around buildings, gardens, weed or brush tangles, bottomland hardwoods, riparian zones, and many other upland woodland associations.
FEEDING HABITS: Food items consist of small insects and other invertebrates which are often caught near porch/patio lights at night.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: In Alabama, breeding usually occurs from mid-April to mid-August following rains. H. squirrella breeds in flooded roadside ditches, flatwoods ponds, and small semi-permanent stock-watering ponds. The call of the squirrel treefrog has been described as a raspy “quack” at a rate of about 100 times per minute. Eggs are often attached to aquatic vegetation at the water’s edge. Its’ small size and ability to change color aids in avoiding visual predators.
“Squirrel Treefrog”, Online Field Guides. eNature.com. http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?shapeID=1056&curGroupID=7&lgfromWhere=&curPageNum=32
Mount, R.. 1975. The Reptiles & Amphibians of Alabama. Auburn Printing Co., Auburn, AL. 347 pp.
AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2012. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. http://amphibiaweb.org/.
AUTHOR: Steve Barnett, Certified Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries