Tree Frog, Barking

Hyla gratiosa  

The barking treefrog is one of the larger, most stout and more spotted of all the tree frogs. It ranges in size from 2 to 2 5/8 inches. Its coloring varies from dark brown, bright green, or pale yellow or gray. Some green coloring is evident throughout all color phases. It is quite pudgy in build. 








Throughout the southeastern United States


Marshes, swamps, brushy areas

Life Expectancy

In captivity a wild caught adult survived 12 ½ years.

Sexual Maturity

Maybe less than 2 years


In the wild, they feed on crickets and other insects. In the Zoo, they are fed crickets.


IUCN - Least Concern


Barking tree frogs are spring and summer breeders. There is some indication that the barking tree frog may be cyclic with major breedings taking place several years apart. A breeding chorus of barking tree frogs sounds like a distant barking of dogs. The breeding call is a loud hollow sounding “quonk-quonk” much louder and deeper that that of the green tree frog. The barking tree frog often burrows beneath roots or vegetation during warmer, drier periods. Some have been reportedly seen in gopher tortoise burrows, and at the base of and in knotholes of trees. Others have been observed falling from large trees during windy evening storms.


Barking tree frogs are well adapted to life in an arboreal environment. Their toes have adhesive disks that allow them to climb easily on bark or twigs.

Special Interests

The barking tree frog is so named because of it nine or ten syllable bark-like call. It is one of our largest native tree frogs. Little is known about the life of this frog away from its breeding ponds. These frogs seem to be very secretive and appear only sporadically, even on summer evenings when you would normally expect to hear their choruses.


Frogs are generally seen as lucky creatures. To have one jump into the house was believed to bode well for the entire household. Rubbing frog skin against any blemish was said to provide a definite cure, but only when the frog finally took it’s last breath dying from natural causes. Some though believed that this would only happen if the frog was speared, then the procedure commenced until the frog died. Because frogs are often seen in great numbers as it begins to rain, they have long been credited as rain-bringers.


Because amphibians absorb moisture and oxygen through their skin, they are sensitive to air and water pollution. Habitat destruction also has an effect on these animals.

Jacksonville Zoo History

The earliest records found indicate that this species was first found in the Zoo’s animal collection in October 1984.


Wild Florida