Friday, June 24, 2011

A Hidden Surprise

While dead-heading the front roses today, something jumped and landed on one of the roses. Just assumed it was a grasshopper, until I started thinking that it's too early for them.

I'm glad I took a closer look, I found this little guy peering out at me:


I'm not good at ID'ing Cope's Gray Tree Frogs vs. Gray Tree Frogs (we have both in Minnesota), but based on the fact that it's skin is fairly smooth, and that it's close to the ground, I'm going to guess a Cope's. (would love input on this!)

He emerged after a few minutes for a better view:


One of the fascinating things with both Cope's Gray Tree Frog and Gray Tree Frogs is that their skin color changes based on time of year. During the summer when it's warm and vegetation is green, both frogs' skin is green. During cooler weather and after foliage begins to die (or in the spring before it "greens up"), their skin is a mottled gray.

The other fascinating item about both frogs? They freeze in the winter! They produce glycerol that's converted to glucose that they pump through their blood system as temps begin to drop. This fills and encases their organs, preventing them from freezing, but the rest of the body freezes up when temps plummet. Their hearts even stop! They burrow into dirt for added insulation: in fact many people have them emerge from potted plants that they're overwintering.

The two frogs have very unique calls, which makes ID'ing them at night easy. Here's a link to the Cope's call; and a link to the Gray Tree Frog's.

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