Gray Tree Frog

Scientific NameHyla versicolor (Eastern) & Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope’s)
Common NameGray Tree Frog
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan7-9 years in captivity
Adult Size1.5-2 inches
OriginEastern and Central North America
TemperamentPeaceful, somewhat reclusive
Color VariationsGray, green, with occasional mottling; can change color

About the Gray Tree Frog

The Gray Tree Frog, a versatile and adaptable amphibian, finds its home across a wide range in the eastern and central parts of North America. Whether clinging to your window on a rainy night, serenading with its melodic trill, or gracefully hopping from leaf to leaf in a terrarium, the Gray Tree Frog brings a touch of wild beauty into the hearts of many nature enthusiasts.


Gray Tree Frogs are relatively petite, with adults usually measuring between 1.5 to 2 inches. This makes them suitable for enthusiasts with space constraints, yet their distinct appearance ensures they stand out despite their small stature.

Unique Features

One of the Gray Tree Frog’s most intriguing attributes is its ability to change color based on its surroundings and temperature. Although generally gray, they can shift to a shade of green or even exhibit a combination of both colors, often mottled. This chameleon-like ability serves as a form of camouflage against predators. Additionally, they possess enlarged toe pads that allow them to cling effortlessly to vertical surfaces, from tree trunks to glass windows.

Behavior and Temperament

In the wild, Gray Tree Frogs are nocturnal creatures, making them more active during the evening hours. This behavior carries over to captive environments as well. Their nightly chorus is characteristic of warm, humid nights in their native habitats. Despite their active night-time demeanor, they are known to be somewhat reclusive, often hiding amidst foliage during the day.


As is the case with many amphibians, handling Gray Tree Frogs should be kept to a minimum. Their permeable skin is highly sensitive to contaminants and oils on human hands. It’s always recommended to wash and wet your hands before handling to reduce the risk of transferring harmful substances. They can be jumpy, so any handling should be done gently and cautiously.

Diet & Nutrition

In the wild, Gray Tree Frogs have a diet consisting primarily of insects, and this should be mirrored in captivity. A mixture of crickets, small mealworms, and other feeder insects form the staple of their diet. Occasional supplementation with vitamins and minerals ensures they receive comprehensive nutrition.


For the Gray Tree Frog’s well-being, a temperature gradient ranging from 70°F during the day to a cooler 65°F at night is ideal. Heating can be achieved using low wattage bulbs or under-tank heaters. It’s crucial to monitor temperatures to ensure they remain within these comfortable ranges.


Maintaining a high humidity level, ideally between 50% and 70%, is essential for the Gray Tree Frog. Their natural habitats include woodlands and swamps, so a moist environment is key. Regular misting and a substrate that retains moisture can assist in achieving optimal humidity.


While Gray Tree Frogs don’t have stringent UVB requirements, they benefit from a consistent day-night light cycle. This can be provided through standard terrarium lighting, mimicking their natural environment’s light patterns.

Common Health Issues

If not cared for properly, Gray Tree Frogs can face health concerns. Fungal and bacterial infections can arise in environments that aren’t kept clean. Additionally, they can suffer from nutrient deficiencies if not fed a varied and supplemented diet. Regular check-ups and vigilance are necessary to detect and treat potential issues early.


To breed Gray Tree Frogs successfully in captivity, it’s beneficial to replicate the seasonal changes of their natural habitats. After a simulated winter cooling period, an increase in temperature can encourage breeding behavior. When conditions are right, females lay eggs in water, which eventually hatch into tadpoles.

Mating Habits

The courtship ritual of Gray Tree Frogs is punctuated by the males’ distinctive calls, aiming to attract females during the breeding season. Once a receptive female is nearby, the male will grasp her in a special embrace known as amplexus. As the female releases her eggs in water, the male fertilizes them externally. The resulting tadpoles embark on an incredible journey of metamorphosis, eventually emerging as young frogs ready to begin their terrestrial lives.

Gray Tree Frog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)