Amphibian Noisemakers

Blog Category
Discover Nature Notes
Published Display Date
May 17, 2020

Discover the super powers of Acris crepitans and Hyla versicolor and hear their musical trills.

Listen for these amphibian callers this spring and summer. They will fill your outdoor time with pleasant music while dining on many unpleasant insect pests.

Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

Cricket frogs are active during the day near pond and river edges, gravel bars and mud flats. To some, they look like a toad and sound like a bird. Their sound is like pebbles or steely marbles clacking. They are members of the tree frog family but are not well equipped for climbing. Yet, cricket frogs can leap incredible distances for their small size. Their leaps of more than three feet would be like a human feat of leaping 200. They will also jump in a series of zigzag moves to escape predators. Their tadpoles have black-tipped tales to trick predators into aiming at their tails rather than their head. Missouri's smallest frog is the Blanchard's cricket frog. Like other cricket frogs, they are small and warty with variable coloration.

Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla versicolor)

Gray tree frogs are excellent climbers with large, sticky toe pads. They can climb up and down and move side to side. You can hear them calling after dusk for as long as four hours. They hunt wooded areas at night, and use porches, decks or empty birdhouses. Gray tree frogs can change color in seconds, matching surroundings and temperature.Their species name, Hyla versicolor, is Latin for variable color which can range from gray to green. They’re easy to find during breeding season but rarely seen the rest of the year. Gray tree frogs and Cope's gray tree frogs are so similar that usually their calls are used to tell them apart. At 17-35 notes per second, the gray treefrog trill is slower and more musical than the Cope's gray tree frog. Gray tree frogs are also a bit larger and bumpier.

All Missouri frogs and toads spend part of their life in the water and can usually be heard during their breeding seasons. Discover more about toads and frogs from our experts.


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