Being Green Is Easy


DSC_0064_070sigBeing green is easy, if you are a Cope’s Gray Treefrog. Green, tan, gray, or shades of these are within the Cope’s ability. Its color is adjustable and changes to match the color of its surroundings. Hyla chrysoscelis, is its Latin name. Hyla means tree frog, green tree frog. Chrysos, means gold and celis, is leg. It is a tree frog with golden legs! As you examine the photos your eyes are telling you, there are no golden legs! Surprise, if you catch a Cope’s Gray Tree frog and spread its back legs gently apart-gold is visible.

There is another consideration, if you were to catch a Cope’s Gray, you might wish to wash your hands after you set it down. Besides the hidden beauty, this diminutive amphibian (1.25-2 inches long) has a built in defense mechanism for predators and those who pick it up. It secretes a mucous that is foul tasting and produces a burning sensation to human eyes, lips, noses, and cuts in the skin. Wash after picking one up-or just leave it alone and save on water.

The human stereotype of frogs is life in water, sitting on a rock or log. Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are found as their name suggests in wooded habitat. The frog in the photos was on a buckthorn branch among basswood, ironwood and ash trees. It was near water, but in trees, on a bush.

DSC_0066_071sigIt was mid-afternoon when this photo was taken. The frog was at rest. In the evening, in the concealing safety of darkness, the frog will move down toward shallow pools of water, perhaps even the river just below where this one was perched to mate. Females will lay a loose cluster of up to 40 eggs which they will attach to vegetation near the surface. The young Cope’s Treefrogs take about one month in water to mature to adult stage.

Human fantasy delights in the invention of super heroes with extra human powers. The Copes Gray is a real life super amphibian. Poisonous mucus and color change skin fit in the super hero powers category. How does an amphibian no more than 2 inches in length have such abilities? Easy if an eternal all powerful God makes the frog. God spoke, it’s mucus was poisonous, it’s skin could change color. It was so.

It certainly was super silent beauty as my eyes finally saw it 5 feet from where I sat. It never moved the entire time.

Of course, we could call it SuperFrog but super is already taken. Only the ALMIGHTY is truly super.DSC_0060_069sig

Author: davidwellis

What does a grandfather, husband, former public school teacher and Education Specialist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with many life experiences in nature do with them? A naturalist with a camera-makes outside a daily destination. My confidence is that God will guide my words, and photos. We live in a magnificent world, come and look at it with me through eyes, lens and words. To God be the glory. Current Profile Photo- Prickly Ash, the name summarizes this brushy undergrowth well. It fascinates me with its thorny branches. Seeing a vine wrapped around the trunk called for a photo.