Cope's Gray Tree Frogs

Native to the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, Cope's Gray Tree Frogs make homes for themselves in moist, deciduous woodland and swamp areas. Being the tree frogs they are, these nocturnal creatures crawl from branch to branch looking for food, using their sticky toe pads to cling. They only descend from the trees in the winter months to breed. And, to cope with cold temperatures, these frogs freeze themselves. Their will bodies produce large amounts glycerol in the blood and tissue, acting as antifreeze. This allows them to withstand temperatures as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cope's Gray Tree Frogs are difficult to differentiate from Gray Tree Frogs. Both species look a lot alike and, in the wild, can only be distinguished by their breeding calls. You might say they are twins.

What else is interesting about these amazing amphibians?
  • They hibernate under leaves, bark or rocks on the forest floor.
  • Able to camouflage themselves from gray to green, closely resembling tree bark.
  • Can change color in seconds and tend to be darker in cooler temperatures.
  • Males have black or gray throats, while females have lighter-colored throats.
  • Inner thighs on their hind legs are yellowish in color and thought to startle predators.
  • Skin secretions can irritate a human’s mucous membranes in their eyes and nose.
  • Can be found in portions of eastern Nebraska.

Cope's Gray Tree Frogs are considered of least concern in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. They are currently on display in Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's nocturnal exhibit, Kingdoms of the Night.

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