May 06, 2021
I mentioned how the bullfrogs have begun to flourish with the addition of our accidental pond. There has also been a plethora of treefrogs at the house since Melissa had it built in 1995. That is in part because of the poorly drained field behind and house providing standing water for at least part of the spring-summer breading season. This is accompanied by the belt of trees that divide our property from the businesses next door. That means the conditions are right for the amphibious frogs to live and breed in the trees and then lay their eggs in the standing water. Except for the constant calls, the frogs keep the mosquito population in check.
When I looked online the Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) is also called the southern gray treefrog. It is almost indistinguishable from the Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) and shares much of the same geographic range. Both species are variable in color, ranging from mottled gray to gray-green and therefore resembling the bark of trees. These are treefrogs of woodland habitats, though they will sometimes travel into more open areas to reach a breeding pond. The only readily noticeable difference between the two species is the mating call. The Cope’s has a faster-paced and slightly higher-pitched call than the Gray. In addition, the Cope’s is reported to be slightly smaller, more arboreal, and more tolerant of dry conditions than D. versicolor.
After the storms we got some water damage on our kitchen ceiling. I called the insurance agent, and he provided a roofer to check the damage. When the roofer went up on the roof, he found a PVC vent pipe had come loose and dropped into the attic, as well as other damage that is still being researched. The interesting thing was, when he looked down the vent pipe, he saw a treefrog had decided this was the perfect place for his new home. He took pictures for me and all you can make out are the two eyes looking up from about a foot into the pipe (it did not reproduce). When I asked him about the treefrog, he said it happens all the time. Good thing this pipe did not vent the furnace.
Thoughts: After finding how difficult it is to determine between the two treefrogs common in Arkansas, I checked around for more identification possibilities. I found a secondary site online which identified the mating calls of the frogs and toads of Arkansas. The Cope’s Gray and the Gray do have different mating calls. The calls begin the same, but the Gray has a secondary trill that makes it distinguishable. That is how I know ours are the Cope’s Gray Treefrog. I have found when trying to identify treefrogs, when identifying my birds, that even subtle differences begin to stand out when you take the time to learn the differences. I have also found the same is true with people. Once you take the time to get to know people the similarities fade into the background. Instead, each person’s uniqueness is readily evident. That is when them can become us. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.