Last week I mentioned that red-tailed hawks go uncredited as the voice of eagles in movies. This week, I’d like to introduce you to another neglected movie star, the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla). This little creature, barely larger than a quarter, is the only frog that ribbits. Your stock frog call comes from this tiny performer.
Male tree frogs move from damp forests to still water in early spring and begin to call. They call in choruses; one will begin, and then suddenly the entire pond joins in. They cease as abruptly, only to start again at seemingly random intervals throughout the day and night. Females follow the sound and enter the ponds to mate. Their jelly-like egg masses are left clinging to vegetation or, in these ponds, to my experimental enclosures.
These frogs are able to change colour from bright green to brown and various shades in between. In both states they retain a black stripe that crosses both eyes like a mask. Here are two from last year perched contentedly on the mesh of my enclosures.