Wildlife Journal Junior!
New Hampshire PBS

Home       |       Wild Files       |       N.H. Animals       |       Animals A-Z       |       Watch Online

Cope's Gray Treefrog - Hyla chrysoscelis



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Amphibia
 Order: Anura
 Family: Hylidae
 Genus: Hyla
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern



Cope's Gray TreefrogCope's gray treefrog is 1¼-2 inches in length. It can range in color from a mottled gray to brown, to green, depending on its environment. It tends to become darker when it is cold or dark. Its coloring helps it blend in with tree bark!  It has light colored spots under its eyes and bright yellow-orange on the underside of its thighs. Like the gray treefrog, it can change its color in seconds. It has large, sticky toe pads that help it cling to tree bark and other surfaces. Cope's gray treefrog and the gray treefrog look exactly alike! You can tell them apart by their calls. The gray treefrog's call has a slower trill that is more musical than the Cope's treefrog call. The gray treefrog is also a little larger than the Cope's gray treefrog and it has bumpier skin. Scientists can tell the difference between the two species because the gray treefrog has twice as many chromosomes as Cope's gray treefrogs.


MapCope's gray treefrog is found from Manitoba east to Maine and south to northern Florida and central Texas. Cope's gray treefrog is found in New Hampshire.


Cope's gray treefrog lives in woodlands, grasslands, prairies, meadows, fields, and swamps. It is rarely seen on the ground. It is usually found perched on a tree or shrub.


Cope's gray treefrog finds its food in the trees and shrubs. It eats moths, tree crickets, ants, flies, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Life Cycle

Breeding season runs from April to July. Males gather in vegetation in and near breeding ponds and call out to the females. When the male attracts a female, he comes down from his perch to mate. The female lays as many as 2,000 eggs in groups of 10-40 eggs. The eggs are attached to vegetation in the water. The tadpoles hatch in four or five days and change into froglets in about two months.


Cope's gray treefrog is nocturnal. It spends the day resting in trees and shrubs. At night it crawls among the branches and leaves looking for food. It usually only comes out of the trees and bushes during the breeding season and in the winter. It hibernates under leaves, bark, or rocks on the forest floor.

Cope's gray treefrog freezes in the winter! It produces large amounts of glycerol. The glycerol is changed to glucose and then it is circulated through the frog's cells. The glucose acts like a kind of antifreeze and prevents ice crystals from forming in the frog's cells. If ice crystals formed in the cells, they would rip the cells apart and kill the frog. The rest of the water and blood in the frog's body then freezes, and its heartbeat and breathing stop! When the temperature warms up, the treefrog "thaws out" and returns to the trees!

  Audio Credit: USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center