The green tree frog is usually a beautiful bright green, though, depending on the mood of the frog, this may sometimes fade to a dark khaki green. Some specimens also have white spots that are outlined in darker colours. The underside is creamy-white. In its adult stage, a female green tree frog may reach almost 12cm in length. Males are much smaller and less robust than the females.
The green tree frogs can climb smooth surfaces by clinging with their belly skin and the pads on their toes. Their call is an extremely distinctive ‘wark-wark-wark’, which is only produced by the males. Both males and females will produce a loud, high-pitched scream if taken by a predator that may surprise it into dropping the frog. The main danger to the green tree frog is the destruction of its habitat through wetland clearance and drainage. Disease has also become an important factor, particularly a type of fungus called a chytrid fungus that attacks the frog’s skin. Researchers are currently examining the effects and spread of this pathogen very closely as it appears to have caused the decline of several species of frog both in Australia and South America.
The green tree frog is distributed through the eastern and northern parts of Australia. It prefers cool damp places and, particularly in more arid areas, will often use human habitation for shelter. It is well known for its habit of hiding under the rim of outback toilet bowls!
The tree frog’s diet includes spiders, crickets, lizards, other frogs and cockroaches and, when in captivity, it will even eat small mice.
The green tree frog is a summer and wet season breeder and will make use of all types of still water including water tanks, swimming pools, semi-permanent swamps and drainage systems. Before metamorphosing, the tadpoles may grow to about 10cm in total length.