An arboreal species, tree frogs, feel at home among trees. Besides being excellent climbers, they are also strong swimmers, and most species can jump over 40 times their height to reach tall branches. Tree frogs find the various wetland habitats in Maryland home, including floodplain forests, bogs, shrub wetlands, and upland depressional swamps. Of the 21 different frog species in the state, there are 9 tree frogs in Maryland. Find out where you can spot these fascinating animals in the wild and interesting facts about them.
9 tree frogs in Maryland
1. Gray tree frog
Scientific name: Hyla versicolor
Gray tree frogs are commonly a mottled green, gray, or brown coloring similar to lichen. They also have an inner thigh that is golden yellow or orange-ish with black mottling. These tree frogs grow between 1.25 to 2 inches long.
These little guys are common tree frogs in the U.S. and throughout most of Maryland in habitats near shallow water bodies, including seasonal wetlands. They commonly hang out in trees or shrub trunks and branches.
2. Cope’s gray tree frog
Scientific name: Hyla chrysoscelis
The Cope’s gray tree frog is very similar in appearance to the gray tree frog but can be distinguished easily by the difference in their call. This species’ call is faster and more abrupt. Their coloring is mottled gray to light green and they can grow between 1.25 and 2 inches long.
These frogs are the more common species in the Coastal Plain regions of Maryland. They are comfortable in woodlands and suburban habitats, including near buildings and in flooded flower pots.
3. Green tree frog
Scientific name: Hyla cinerea
Green tree frogs are 1.25 to 2.25-inch frogs that are usually bright green but can also be a dull or yellowish-green or slate gray. They are distinctive by their yellowish or white stripe along their side from their upper lip to the groin area.
In Maryland, they can be found in the coastal areas by swamps, lakes, streams, and freshwater or brackish marshes. They have a nasally call that can be heard in large choruses during the breeding season from late April to August.
4. Spring peeper
Scientific name: Pseudacris crucifers
Spring peepers are small yellow, grey, olive, or brown frogs growing no more than 1.5 inches long. They are recognizable by the X-shaped pattern on their back and the distinctive peep whistle sound they make.
You can find them throughout Maryland, especially in woodland areas that were recently cut over with brushy second growth. During the breeding season, they gather near shallow semi-permanent or temporary water bodies.
5. Barking tree frog
Scientific name: Hyla gratiosa
A large tree frog, the barking tree frog, can grow over 2 inches long, with the record being 2.75 inches. They are typically a shade of green with round, granular rings on their back and large toe pads. They get their name from the unique barking call and explosive doonk sounds they make.
While these frogs spend most of their time in high treetops, they also burrow and need habitats with sandy soils. In Maryland, you can find them only in Coastal Plain counties, including in the Carolina Delmarva Bays, vernal pools, and nearby sandy-soiled woods.
6. Eastern cricket frog
Scientific name: Acris crepitans crepitans
Unlike other tree frog species, the eastern cricket frog does not climb trees. They are small warty frogs, growing around 1-inch long and typically brown with greenish blotches on their back and ragged stripes down their thighs. Their call is a gick gick sound that starts slow and picks up in speed.
They live throughout most of Maryland in or near shallow, permanent water bodies. They also enjoy hanging out in sunny, grassy areas on the edges of ponds, wetlands, and ditches.
7. New Jersey chorus frog
Scientific name: Pseudacris kalmi
The New Jersey chorus frog is a small 0.75 to 1.5-inch long frog that’s dark brown to pale gray with whitish undersides. They have three broad stripes on their back and only slightly webbed feet.
In Maryland, they are mainly found on the eastern shore, including the Delmarva Peninsula. They can live in various open or forested habitats and typically breed near open shallow water bodies, including flooded pastures, roadside ditches, and hayfields.
8. Upland chorus frog
Scientific name: Pseudacris feriarum
Upland chorus frogs are under 1.5 inches long and look similar to the New Jersey chorus frog. However, they are slightly thicker and have off-white undersides with occasional spots. Their sound also resembles a finger running up a comb and can frequently be heard from February to April.
These frogs are most common on the western shore and parts of western Maryland. They can be found near slow-moving or non-moving waters as well as in developed areas and urban environments.
9. Mountain chorus frog
Scientific name: Psuedacris brachyphona
The mountain chorus frog has a small, robust body growing between 1 to 1.25 inches long. They are light brown or tan to yellowish and have two bands that may touch to form an X. You can also sometimes see a dark triangle between their eyes.
You can only find them on the Allegheny Plateau of Garrett and Allegany Counties in Maryland. They prefer floodplains and moist hillside forests but can also be found in drainage ditches. Their sound is similar to the upland chorus frog but with a shorter trill interval.