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My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

Amphibians

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Amphibians around my house are pretty much just frogs since I don't live close enough to fresh water for something like a salamander.

Promoting places for your different types of frogs to live isn't that difficult. Growing plants they like helps as well. With tree frogs they like plants that have 'cubby holes' where water can stand as a place to hide, like elephant ears and 'mother in-laws tongue'(sansevieria). I also have some green plastic sheet roofing around some parts of my house and they love it. I have one half-sheet between the side of my house and a plastic garbage can acting as a rain water barrel and they just cluster there by the dozen with the occasional anole.

The primary toads around here are ground burrowing. Housing for them can be promoted with something as simple as over turning a medium to large clay plant pot half buried into the ground. There's a few more details in 'Making Outdoor Critter Houses'.

I'm at a loss with the hyla's I have in two different vivariums. I dunno what they are. I believe they are Hyla Squirella. I've ruled out allot of others only because of distribution and there's allot of mis-naming online between hyla's, grass, cricket and Cuban with even a couple of rana's thrown in. Another thing is Hyla's can change their colors from green and lighter to brown. My biggest problem is the ones I have in a smaller 10gal tank I caught under a board with the greenhouse frog have spots. They aren't large patterns like a typical femoralis or versicolor chrysoscelis but spots with smooth skin and some stripe pattern across the legs but not consistent. For the most part I still think they're squirella's or hybrid. With the way things get imported, who knows.

I've listed all the North American Hyla's I could find that would or could be in Southeast Tx.

Green Treefrog
Hyla Squirella

squirreltf1a.jpg

The squirella is still a little easier to identify on sight because it tends to look like a straight green to brown without the strip to the eyes with mottled sides.

Green Treefrog
Hyla Cinera

cinerea1.jpg

These are the most common to hear about first in looking up Hyla's in general or looking for any in the pet trade. Most pet trade are (WC) wild caught as opposed to the more preferable (CB) captive bred.

Green Treefrog
Hyla Femorallis

femoralisgrn.jpg

Tree frogs change colors from green to brown and even shades of gold between. Femoralis tends to have reddish browns, and darker markings across the back like the gray treefrog. The only real way to distinguish them are yellow spots inside the back thighs.

Gray Green Treefrog
Hyla Versicolor

versicolor1.jpg

They can be light or dark gray, or light gray with darker gray, black, yellow or green mottling. They are relatively small compared to other North American frog species, typically no more than 1.5 up to 2 inches.

Copes Gray Treefrog
Hyla Chrysoscelis

copes.jpg

Virtually indistinguishable from the versicolor. The only real difference to tell between them is their call. Copes has a higher pitched and faster paced call than versicolor.

Greenhouse Frog
Eleutherodactylus Planirostris

greenhfrg.jpg

These are living around my lawn mower shack. I ruled out others like the cricket frog and native narrow mouth types. These frogs are very tiny, amazing jumpers, and like things pretty moist. I can't find them anywhere else in my yard thus far. They're mainly recognized as getting as far as New Orleans and Georgia from Florida as an introduced species from Cuba, but they continue to spread and you might find one yourself. They are from the family Leptodactylidae (neotropical, rain and leptodactylid frogs) of suborder Neobatrachia. It's the same family as barking and chirping frogs. The greenhouse frog itself sounds kind of like a cricket. They lay eggs that develop directly into a small frog with a tail it quickly reabsorbs. I'm keeping some as pets and they're very good at hiding until its time for the fruitflies. They'd be ideal for anyone to practice on for raising baby frogs or thinking about getting tinc's or as a feeder. Tropical/bog vivarium with small hides or leaves.

Southern Leopard Frog
Rana Sphenocephala

leopardranasphenocephala1.jpg

The guy who inspired me to make my backyard pond was a Rana, probably a typical leopard frog a little on the greener side. It's really not common for them to come to my house but I'd like to encourage it.

Gulf Coast Toad
Bufo valliceps

bufovalliceps1.jpg

We see these all the time, they're all over the place, especially around my garage when it's time to breed after a good spring/summer rain. Unlike the other frogs they prefer to live a little on the damp side over very moist to wet and like to burrow under things, under a house is ideal. You'd be amazed how one can scoot its little fat body into the thinnest crack in a chunk of wood or underneath a rock. Very passive toad with dry, grainy skin, they puff themselves up to dissuade predators among other things like pee and taste bad.

Amphibian Research Center

Anura (frogs and toads) Animal Diversity Web

Folkways: Frog Calls

Pollywog