Squirrel Treefrog
Hyla squirella

Common Name:

Squirrel Treefrog  

Scientific Name:

Hyla squirella



Hyla is Greek and means "belonging to the woods"


squirrel is English with the Latin -ella suffix meaning little squirrel"

Average Length:

0.9 - 1.6 in. (2.2 - 4.1 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species ranges in size from 22-41 mm (1-1.5 in). Coloration varies widely and is changable. Color ranges from brown to green, and patterns range from plain to spotted. There is often a bar between the eyes and a light stripe on the upper lip, shoulder and side of body *11407* *1014*. The ventrum is white with yellow shading on the axilla, groin, thigh and shank *1014*. This species can be distinguished from other hylid species in that it lacks the following characteristics: light spot under the eye, dark "X" on dorsum, and yellow or orange spots on the thigh *1014*.

REPRODUCTION: Breeding generally occurs between April and August and is associated with summer storms *1014* *11407*. The male breeding call is described as a flat, nasal, ducklike "waaak" that lasts appproximately 0.25 sec and is repeated every 0.5 sec *1014* *11407*. The female lays about 1000 eggs on the bottom of open pools or ponds. The tadpoles metamorphose in an average of 48 days. The newly transformed frogs are about 12 mm long *1014*.

BEHAVIOR: Within its range this species is ubiquitous and may appear suddenly in and around houses. Its requirements include moisture, food and a hiding place. This species has even been described as "dropping from the sky" as it falls from a perch while in pursuit of insect prey *11407*. The chief food for this species is small insects *1014*. Breeding occurs is conjunction with summer storms with eggs laid on the bottoms of open pools and ponds. Males have a nasal, ducklike breeding call *1014* *11407*. This species gets its name from its "rain call" which is described as a squirrel-like, scolding rasp *11407*. Its diets is made up primarily of small insects *11284*.

ORIGIN: Native

LIMITING FACTORS: In Virginia, this species occurs primarily in the Coastal Plain in coastal habitats, along inland streams, and around temporary wetlands *11332*. Within these areas, it occurs anywhere close to moisture, food, and refuge *11407*. This species requires moist woods close to standing water including ditches, ponds, or swamps *11284*. POPULATION PARAMETERS: In a survey of species at a South Carolina lake, only one specimen of this species was found *11406*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: This species prefers the open woods but is also found around buildings in the Coastal Plain and adjacent Piedmont *1014*. It inhabits gardens, weed or brush tangles, woods, vines, anywhere close to moisture, food and refuge *11407*. Breeding occurs in open pools or ponds *1014*. This species is most common in moist, open woods *11284*.

References for Life History

  • 1014 - Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., Harrison, III J.R., 1980, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 264 pgs., UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11284 - Wilson, L.A., 1995, Land manager's guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the South, 360 pp. pgs., The Nature Conservancy, Southeastern Region, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11332 - Mitchell, Joseph C. and Karen K. Reay, 1999, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Num. 1, 122 pgs., Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, VA
  • 11406 - Duellman, William E. and, Trueb, Linda, 1986, Biology of Amphibians, 671 pgs., The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore
  • 11407 - Conant, Roger and, Collins, John T., 1998, Peterson Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/Central North America, 616 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Company;, Boston


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Verified County/City Occurrence

Brunswick County
Charles City County
Chesapeake City
Chesterfield County
Dinwiddie County
Greensville County
Hampton City
Henrico County
Isle of Wight County
James City County
King William County
New Kent County
Newport News City
Northampton County
Portsmouth City
Prince George County
Southampton County
Suffolk City
Surry County
Sussex County
Virginia Beach City
York County
Verified in 22 Counties/Cities.

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