What Are Tree Frogs

The most distinguishing characteristic of the Tree Frog is the tiny suction cups on the tip of each toe. Learn about the tree frog!

Tree frogs are very interesting creatures that can be found throughout the world. The most distinguishing characteristic of this frog is the tiny suction cups on the tip of each toe. In the family of tree frogs there are hundreds of species with over thirty genera. While most prefer to make their homes in trees there are two known species, chorus frogs and cricket frogs, that have evolved to a ground living life-style. These somewhat small frogs tend to have a rather contorted appearance that is caused by the fusion of the skin on the head to their skulls. One of the amazing facts about the tree frog is the wide variety of habitats they are often found in. These small creatures are known to be very developed in the manner used to raise their young with some even building nests and other species carrying the young with them on their backs.

One of the best known tree frogs is the European tree frog. This cute little green creature has very large eyes that give it a child like appearance of total innocence and tiny hand-like appendages that appear to grasp everything they touch. Because of its precious appearance, this has become one of the more popular of the tree frogs to keep in captivity. In their natural habitat these small frogs can be found in many bushy ponds that are rich with cattails and reeds. When the sun rises they will climb onto the reeds that are in the water, just sitting there with their leg's spread and eyes demurely closed absorbing the warmth. Their entire day is spent relaxing in the sun and catching any prey that comes too close to their perch. Amazingly, the European tree frog has the perfect defense against predators. If one come too close to their habitat you might notice that the entire area appears to be completely deserted by this tree frog. A closer inspection will show that these small creatures have not left their perch but simply changed their color to match the plant on which they are resting. This change in coloration matches the plant material so perfectly that even the best nature observer will have difficulty in discovering the tiny tree frog.

The spawning season for most tree frogs is in early summer between the months of April and June. In some cases this occurs in the confines of the reeds and cattails but those found closer to towns may choose a gravel pit where the waters are warmer or even a construction sight among the ruts. The male tree frogs are territorial, choosing an area from which to call to the females. As night descends they will leave their perch and move to their territory at the edge of the water to begin calling to the females. The females will enter the spawning sites later in the evening and if she is ready to spawn she will choose a male. Oddly, this behavior occurs only once each season for any given female, while males will continue returning to their spawning territory throughout the summer. The eggs, which the female lays in the water, will hatch producing tadpoles. These tiny creatures have almost transparent head areas with large eyes and can be observed swimming in the water around July or August, as they go through a metamorphosis finally becoming frogs. Once the tadpoles become frogs they will move away from the water to feed until they are old enough to spawn.

While European tree frogs are found among the cattails, the Mediterranean tree frog is often found in flowerbeds and bushes. The Chinese tree frog often makes its home in the trees surrounding rice paddies while the Pacific tree frog is known to move quite some distance from its spawning site to make its habitat among the trees. The Cuban tree frog makes its home in ditches, palm trees, banana trees and even cisterns, while some species such as the gray tree frog and squirrel tree frog have even been known to use a bird house as their habitat. In South America a distinct difference is found in the behavior of the tree frog species. Some that have been discovered in areas such as Argentina and Brazil are known to build mud nests in the shallow waters. In most species of tree frogs the diet consist of flies, spiders, ants, centipedes and other small insects, as well as some plants.

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