4 Types of Tree Frogs Found in Maryland! (ID Guide)

What kind of tree frogs can you find in Maryland?

Common Tree Frogs in Maryland

 

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 Maryland. 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. 🙂

 

4 Types of Tree Frogs in Maryland:


#1. Spring Peeper

  • Pseudacris crucifer

Maryland Tree Frogs species

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are small and range from 1 to 1.5 inches long.
  • They’re typically tan or brown, with the females being lighter in color.
  • Both males and females usually feature a dark cross or ‘X’ on their back.

 

These tiny tree frogs can be found all over Maryland.

 

You’ll typically find Spring Peepers on the forest floor among the leaves. However, they do have large toe pads that they use for climbing trees.

Spring Peeper Range Map

spring peeper range map

You can find them in ponds and small bodies of water in the spring, where they breed and lay eggs. After hatching, the young tree frogs remain in the tadpole stage for about three months before leaving the water.

 

Spring Peepers get their name from their distinctive spring chorus. They’re thought to sound like the “peep” of baby chickens. You are most likely to hear them in early spring! LISTEN BELOW!

 

Their calls are very distinctive, and these tree frogs are easy to identify by sound.

 


#2. Gray Tree Frog

  • Dryophytes versicolor

Common Maryland Tree Frogs

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult body lengths range from 1.5 to 2 inches.
  • Mottled gray, green, and brown coloring. Look for a whitish spot beneath each eye.
  • Bumpy skin, short snouts, and bright orange on the undersides of their legs.

 

This incredible tree frog can slowly change colors to match what it’s sitting on to camouflage itself. And you thought chameleons were the only animal that can change colors! They vary from gray to green or brown. It’s common for their back to display a mottled coloring, much like lichen.

 

Gray Tree Frogs are ubiquitous throughout Maryland. You’ll spot them in a wide variety of wooded habitats, from backyards to forests to swamps.

Gray Tree Frog Range Map

gray tree frog range map

They stick to the treetops until it’s time to breed. Gray Tree Frogs prefer to mate and lay eggs in woodland ponds without fish. They’ll also use swamps and garden water features.

 

Gray Tree Frogs are easier to hear than to see.

Listen for a high trill that lasts about 1 second, commonly heard in spring and summer.

 

*Gray Tree Frogs are essentially identical to Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs. The only way to tell the difference is to listen to their breeding calls. You can learn more by visiting this site.*

 


#3. Northern Cricket Frog

  • Acris crepitans

northern cricket frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults from 0.75 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Irregular color patterns including grays, greens, browns, yellows, and blacks.
  • A dark triangular spot between the eyes, blunt snout, warts, and dark banding on the legs.
  • Also referred to as the Eastern Cricket Frog.

 

Although Northern Cricket Frogs are part of the tree frog family, they don’t spend much time in trees. Typically you can find them in ponds and lakes with plentiful vegetation as well as slow-moving rivers.

 

These tree frogs are extremely small. In fact, they are one of the smallest vertebrates you will find in Maryland!

 

Northern Cricket Frog Range Map

cricket frogs common range map

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS

 

But even though they are tiny, they can jump over 3 FEET in a single jump to escape predators, in addition to being excellent swimmers.

 

This tree frog gets its name from its unique call. As you can probably guess, the Northern Cricket Frog makes a breeding call that sounds like the repeating chirp of a cricket.

 


#4. American Green Tree Frog

  • Dryophytes cinereus

green tree frog

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can grow up to 2.5 inches long and have smooth skin.
  • Yellowish-green to lime green with pale yellow or white undersides.
  • White stripes down their sides sometimes have black borders.

 

Even though they are common in their range, Green Tree Frogs can be hard to find since they spend most of their lives high in trees.

American Green Tree Frog Range Map

green tree frog range map

During mating season, they visit ponds, lakes, marshes, and streams to breed and lay eggs. They prefer bodies of water with a lot of vegetation. They also can change color based on light and temperature.

 

Their breeding call is a repeated, abrupt, nasal “bark. Sound is typically the best way to locate these tree frogs in Maryland.

 

Green Tree Frogs are often kept as pets. They are popular because of their attractive appearance, size, and how easy it is to take care of them. For example, they don’t require artificial heating like most amphibians. But being nocturnal, it’s unlikely you will see them moving around much, so they are probably not the most exciting pets!

 


Do you need additional help identifying tree frogs?

Try this field guide!

 


Which of these tree frogs have you seen in Maryland?

 

Leave a comment below!

One response to “4 Types of Tree Frogs Found in Maryland! (ID Guide)”

  1. Bob Rast says:

    I have a gray tree frog living in one of my self watering flower boxes on our 2nd story deck. He/she hangs out in the water fill tube and has been there since the spring. Apparently goes down the stairs to our swimming pool and to hang out with all the other frogs, then climbs back up. He’s no longer afraid of me and will stay looking out at the top of the tube when I check on it. Now that it’s getting cold, its down at the bottom of the tube and looks like he might hibernate in there. Will he freeze?

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