2 Types of Tree Frogs Found in California! (ID Guide)

What kind of tree frogs can you find in California?

Common Tree Frogs in California

 

Tree Frogs are interesting animals that have adapted to all sorts of habitat niches. And while they are common, they are MUCH harder to find than your “typical” frogs that live in lakes and ponds. For example, a tree frog could literally be right next to your head, but it may be concealed on the other side of a leaf or camouflaged perfectly to its environment.

 

So what exactly qualifies as a tree frog?

 

For the sake of this article, I have included members of Hylidae, which is the family that encompasses all tree frogs in California. But don’t let the name “tree frog” fool you, as species from this family are not always arboreal but can be terrestrial and semi-aquatic too!

 

Since tree frogs can be hard to observe, I have tried to include audio samples for each species. Listening is sometimes the BEST (or only) way to locate each species. 🙂

 

2 Types of Tree Frogs in California:


#1. Pacific Tree Frog

  • Pseudacris regilla

Tree Frogs species that live in California

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can reach 2 inches long, with the males typically being smaller.
  • Most are green or brown with pale white undersides, but some are reddish, gray, cream, or black.
  • Dark mask across the eyes to the shoulders and uniformly bumpy skin.

 

The Pacific Tree Frog can be found in a wide range of elevations in California, ranging from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,050 m)!

Pacific Tree Frog Range Map

pacific tree frog range map

Look for them in woodlands and meadows. Interestingly, they spend most of their time on the ground despite being quite good climbers. They even hide from predators in underground burrows!

 

The Pacific Tree Frog travels to the shallow water of ponds and lakes to breed and lay eggs. The female attaches the eggs to sticks or other underwater debris.

 

Listen for them during the spring. Their mating call is a two-part call that sounds like “kreck-ek” or “rib-bit.”

 


#2. California Tree Frog

  • Pseudacris cadaverina
Common California Tree Frogs
Identifying Characteristics:
  • Adults grow up to 2 inches in length.
  • Grey or light brown coloration resembles granite stones, which provides excellent camouflage.
  • Dark brown blotches on warty, rough skin.

 

California Tree Frogs are not really found in trees. Their preferred habitat is along streams, where they are found amongst boulders, quiet pools of water, and shade.

California Tree Frog Range Map

California tree frog range map

They are mostly nocturnal. During the day, look for them under rocks and between rock cracks. If you find one, they are not very shy and can easily be handled.

 

At night, their calls can become deafening.

Listen for a loud, low-pitched quack that sounds a bit like a duck!

 


Do you need additional help identifying tree frogs?

Try this field guide!

 


Which of these tree frogs have you seen in California?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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