NatureMapping Animal Facts

Pacific Tree Frog

distribution map

Pacific Treefrog Pseudacris regilla  (formerly Hyla regilla)
Also known as the Chorus Frog
Species code: PSRE

Description: Pacific Treefrogs, are small amphibians with a conspicuous dark "mask" or eyestripe extending from the nostrils through the eye as far as the shoulder. Another distinguishing feature is the rounded toepad at the end of each digit. They have a variable dorsal coloration including shades of green, tan, reddish, grey, brown or black. Individuals can even change colors!

Pacific Tree Frog

The ventral surface is whitish or cream with yellow on undersides of legs and lower abdomen. Their legs are long and slender; their toes have round pads, which help the frog grip and climb, and there is very little webbing between the toes, making them look quite long. They have smooth skin.

They are small frogs, up to 5 centimetres long. Females are slightly larger than males, a feature common to many frogs.

Range/ Habitat: The Pacific Treefrog ranges from British Columbia, Canada to the tip of Baja California, México and eastward to Montana and Nevada.

The Pacific treefrog is the most common and widespread frog in Washington State. It can be found in almost any habitat where there are suitable breeding waters which are usually small ponds. Lakes and rivers were selected because more suitable smaller water bodies or backwaters often occur at their edges.

Click the map for information about the habitat and range of the Pacific Treefrog in Washington.

Diet: The Pacific Treefrog eats a wide variety of arthopods. Predators of pacific treefrogs around ponds include predaceous diving beetles, giant water bugs, bluegill sunfish, and garter snakes.

Pacific Tree Frog

Reproduction: The Pacific Treefrog breeds from November to July in a wide array of habitats including marshes, ponds, lakes, ditches, and slow-moving streams.

Behavior: The sticky pads on their toes allow these little frogs to climb around on plants with great agility. Although they are good climbers, they usually stay close to the ground.

"One of the most fascinating characteristics of this little frog is its ability to change color. Unlike chameleons, which change their color to match their surroundings, the Pacific treefrog changes color based on the air temperature and humidity. The frogs don't control this change; it just happens naturally within a few minutes. The color change is for exactly the reason you think -- a defense mechanism to reduce the likelihood that the treefrog will become a meal for a bullfrog, raccoon, heron, snake, or other predator." Chance Finegan - National Parks Traveler

The distinctive call of this frog is known around the world - the "ribbit" that Hollywood uses in all of its films as the "standard" frog call is actually the call of the Pacific Treefrog! These frogs are also called the "Chorus Frog" due to their vocal repertoire, including distinct mating choruses.
Watch a video clip of a Pacific Treefrog Calling »

Despite the name treefrog, this species is predominantly terrestrial (lives on the ground).

Did you know?

  • In 2007, the Pacific treefrog was named the state frog of the State of Washington.
  • The Pacific treefrog and the bullfrog are the only 2 frogs you can easily hear croaking in Washington State.
  • The Pacfic treefrog is smaller in size than a chicken egg and may be shades or green or brown.
  • The Pacific treefrog can change color rapidly from light to dark.
  • A group of frogs is called an army.

More Information:
Pacific Treefrog Fact Sheet - B.C. Frogwatch Program

Pacific Treefrog Natural History - with photos, audio and video clips

Creature Feature: The Pacific Treefrog - National Parks Traveler

Pacific Treefrog - Identification Guide

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

Photo Credit: WDFW; Chris Brown

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