Are there tree frogs in Ohio? There absolutely are. However, before we take a closer look at the state’s tree frogs, it’s important to understand exactly what a tree frog is.
By definition, a tree frog is any frog species that spends the majority of its lifespan in an arboreal state. What that means is that they live primarily in trees or other vegetation that is high-growing.
These frogs typically only descend to the ground to mate or spawn, where some species build foam nests on leaves. As adults, tree frogs rarely leave their arboreal habitat.
Keep reading to learn some interesting facts about the tree frogs in Ohio.
Types of tree frogs in Ohio
There are at least 15 species of toads and frogs in the state of Ohio, but there are only six species of tree frogs in Ohio.
The 6 species of tree frogs you’ll come across in Ohio are the northern spring peeper, gray tree frog, boreal chorus frog, Cope’s gray tree frog, western chorus frog, and the mountain chorus frog.
1. Northern Spring Peeper
Scientific name: Pseudacris crucifer
Spring peepers derive their name from the chirping calls you can hear them making at the beginning of spring every year. In Ohio and other northern states, the Northern spring peeper can be found in forests, woodlands, swamps, ponds, and marshes.
Small chorus frogs, these tiny frogs are only 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) and weigh less than five grams. Their colors range from brown to tan, although it’s not uncommon to see some that look gray or olive green. Spring peepers have a dark cross on the back.
In the freezing winters, these frogs hibernate behind bark and under logs. In Iowa, the tree frogs are considered threatened.
2. Gray Tree Frog
Scientific name: Dryophytes versicolor
Gray tree frogs are small frogs found throughout Ohio that can change their color from green to gray as needed for camouflage. Here’s a fun fact about gray tree frogs. Their color changes to match whatever surface they’re sitting on. Moreover, their mottling can vary from almost pure white to nearly black.
If you see gray tree frogs in an area that isn’t their normal habitat, they will be mostly gray in color. Their legs are patterned with dark bands.
These tree frogs live in forested areas and only descend to the ground to mate. It’s not unusual to see them around windows and porch lights where they can feast on insects.
3. Boreal Chorus Frog
Scientific name: Pseudacris maculata
You can find the boreal chorus frog throughout Canada and the United States. These frogs are tiny, growing to about three centimeters long. The calls they make are unique and each individual frog has its own pulses.
Boreal chorus frogs live near permanent bodies of water and the males make their calls from vegetation nearby. Every spring, these are typically the first amphibians you will hear making themselves known.
These tree frogs are brown in most cases, but can sometimes be observed as slightly green on their backs. They have three broken dorsal stripes that can be either distinct or faint.
4. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Scientific name: Dryophytes chrysoscelis
Frequently referred to as the Southern gray tree frog, Cope’s gray tree frogs share the same geographical area in Ohio as the gray tree frog and look identical to them. What differentiates the Cope’s gray tree frog is its higher-pitched and faster-paced call and this is the only difference between the two species.
In terms of habitat, the Cope’s gray tree frog lives in woodland areas and they move to ponds for breeding.
These frogs are primarily solitary frogs, but they do form choruses that allow them to call when they’re together. You can sometimes even hear these frogs responding to loud noises during the day.
5. Western Chorus Frog
Scientific name: Pseudacris triseriata
Western chorus frogs are found throughout Ohio and are common in many parts of Canada and the U.S. These frogs grow to be about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters).
The color of Western chorus frogs is distinctive. They have three gray or dark brown stripes that run down their backs. However, the stripes can sometimes be missing or broken. On their upper lip, they have a white stripe, and a dark stripe can be seen on either side of their snouts across their eyes.
As with other species of tree frogs, the females tend to be larger than the males. You won’t often see these frogs. They are strictly nocturnal and tend to be secretive.
6. Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific name: Pseudacris brachyphona
Native to the United States and most common in Southeastern Ohio, mountain chorus frogs are members of the Hylidae Family.
Mountain chorus frogs are brown or gray. Their heads are broad and they are easy to recognize because they have a triangle between their eyes, along with a faint white line that can be seen on their upper lips. If you see a mountain chorus frog with a darker throat, it is probably a male.
These frogs prefer to live in swamps, marshes, rivers, ponds, springs, ditches, or canals. In size, they can be up to 1.4 inches (3.8 centimeters). Females of this species are usually larger than the males.