Far outside the city the tree frogs were calling her,
and the deep, rhythmic pulse of their voices
set the blood flow to her heart.
— Ann Patchett, Author
Spend time out of doors in the Pacific Northwest and you will hear the call of the Pacific Chorus or Tree Frog. These cute little treefrogs are the smallest frog species in Oregon (at about two-inches) and can be found from northern California into Canada and as far east as Idaho. A few have even been introduced in Alaska.
But do they really call or sing? Yes! Male Pacific treefrogs use sound to attract females as part of the breeding process. It is amazing how loud these little critters can be as they attempt to attract females. The best time to hear them is usually from December through May depending on altitude. The song includes “ooh-yeeh” or ribbiting sounds (like “Krr-r-r-eek”) that are made through the males very stretchy, dark vocal sac that puffs out as they sing.
The frog’s skin is often a shade of green or brown but will change color seasonally to better match the environment. Depending on the season, they may also be tan, reddish, gray, brown, cream, or black with a variety of markings, stripes, and small bumps. The frog’s skin is highly permeable and thus very susceptible to chemical poisoning.
The frogs are predominantly nocturnal and can be found in a variety of riparian habitats often near water. This could include wetland, woodlands, and grasslands, chaparral, pastures, lakes, streams, and even in back yards with a water source nearby during mating season. Their range outside of mating season can include significantly larger and dryer areas.
To find them, look under rotten logs or rocks, in long grass or leaf litter, tree cavities, and hunting in shrubs and trees. Their toe pads, which are long and slightly webbed and coated with a sticky substance. This waxy, sticky substance helps keep their skin moist and helps them climb and hang-on to surfaces. They also have a sticky tongue! What a great advantage when hunting and ambushing spiders, beetles, flies, ants, slugs, snails, etc. And, eat insects almost as large as they are by slightly expanding their bodies.
Predators can include snakes, raccoons, birds (like herons, egrets), and other small mammals and reptiles (such as newts). They can be very difficult to spot because they blend so well into their environment when holding still. Their comparatively giant hop gives them away as they try to escape.
Protection. Treefrogs are on the decline in Oregon and are very sensitive to pesticides and herbicides. The Pacific treefrog is classified as Nongame Wildlife (OAR 635-044). It is unlawful “to purchase, sell or exchange or offer to purchase, sell or exchange” treefrogs (ORS 498.022). It is also unlawful to move or relocate treefrogs without a permit from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Anyone who wants to capture frogs or their larvae for educational or scientific purposes must first obtain a Wildlife Scientific Taking Permit from a local ODFW office (ORS 497.298, OAR 635-043).
For more information on treefrogs and inviting them into your garden see: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Frogs and Toads page at https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing/species/frogs-and-toads. For more indepth information download the ODFW Living With Wildlife flyer on the Pacific Treefrog at: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/docs/LWW_Pacific_Treefrog_final.pdf. For more great quotes see https://www.wisefamousquotes.com/quotes-about-frogs/.