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

What kind of tree frogs can you find in Nebraska?

Common Tree Frogs in Nebraska

 

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 Nebraska. 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 Nebraska:


#1. Gray Tree Frog

  • Dryophytes versicolor

Nebraska Tree Frogs species

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 found in western Nebraska. 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.*

 


#2. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog

  • Acris blanchardi

Common Nebraska Tree Frogs

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 0.6 to 1.5 inches long.
  • Warty skin is typically tan, brown, olive green, or gray with darker banding on the legs.
  • Dark triangular mark between the eyes.

 

These tree frogs can be found in or near permanent bodies of water in Nebraska, including bogs, lakes, ponds, marshes, and slow-moving rivers and streams. They can also sometimes be spotted in temporary bodies of water such as flooded fields and drainage ditches as long as there is a permanent water source nearby.

Blanchard’s Cricket Frog Range Map

cricket frogs common range map

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

 

Interestingly, although they are in the “tree frog” family, Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs spend most of their time on the ground and in the water.

 

Unfortunately, they are declining in parts of their range and are considered threatened. They face habitat loss, chemical contamination, and competition for resources. Another pressure these tree frogs face is their short life span, as the average individual only lives one year.

 

Males make unique, repetitive, metallic breeding calls.

 

The calls are thought to sound like two pebbles or marbles being clicked together.

 


Do you need additional help identifying tree frogs?

Try this field guide!

 


Which of these tree frogs have you seen in Nebraska?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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