Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class - Amphibia
Order - Anura
Family - Hylidae
Genus - Hyla (H. gratiosa)

Barking Tree Frogs


Native to the United States throughout the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, including all of southern and eastern South Carolina and Georgia.
Scientific Info
Size - 5 - 7 cm
Life Span - Up to 7 years
Colour - bright or dull green, brown, yellowish, or gray in color.
Main Prey - crickets, wax worms, and butter worms.

Barking tree frogs are generally olive green, brown, yellowish or gray in color with dark, round spots on the back. They have prominent toe pads for gripping, which are typical of tree frogs. The barking tree frog is the largest of the native US tree frogs and has a loud nighttime communication call. Its distinctive “barking” sound has been measured at 85 decibels, which is about as loud as a bus! A single specimen will “bark” roughly 8,000 times in one night. Be aware that your frog will not be a quiet housemate during the night. Their loud barking is generally reserved for the overnight hours. Adults spend most of their time in the trees during the day, and will often bury themselves in sand to avoid high temperatures.

location of origin

Native to the United States throughout the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, including all of southern and eastern South Carolina and Georgia.

Found throughout most of Florida (except the Everglades and Keys), usually high in treetops. Has also been found burrowed in sand under logs or grass near breeding sites. Breeds in a variety of shallow wetland habitats (fish-free), including cypress domes, bogs, wet hammocks, and flooded ditches.

Nocturnal (most active at night) and arboreal (tree dwelling). These frogs live in groups and will get along fine as long as there is proper space for each frog. A minimum of 4 gallons of tank space per frog is a good measure, but the tank should not be smaller than 10 gallons overall, even for one frog.


DO NOT house barking tree frogs with other species due to the differences in care, temperatures, and the fact that some species can be highly stressed in the presence of other species.


To reduce the risk of contracting and spreading salmonella poisoning, all handlers should wash their hands after handling any reptile.


All water given to amphibians for bathing, swimming or drinking, as well as water used for misting must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. (Not all home water filtration systems remove 100% of the chlorine and heavy metals from tap water). We recommend that you use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water; never untreated tap water. If tap water is used, you should treat it with a de-chlorinating treatment. If you do not want to chemically de-chlorinate the water, you can leave an open container of tap water out for at least 24 hours. The chlorine will naturally dissipate. Do not use distilled water, which can cause severe medical problems, since it lacks minerals that are essential to important body functions. Change the water in your frog’s enclosure every one to two days. A daily misting or two with chlorine-free water will also be appreciated. However, care should be taken not to allow the enclosure to become damp. Also, do not mist less than two hours before turning the heat lamps off for the day.


Frogs do shed their skin. It can be quite alarming, so it’s good to know what to expect. Your frog may crunch his body up into an uncomfortable crouching position. He will puff his body up to try to loosen the skin, then he will convulse as if he is coughing! As the skin is shed, he will eat it. It has many good nutrients, and your frog knows it!

If the tank humidity is low, your frog may not shed properly.

To create more humidity, the entire tank can be lightly spray misted twice a day, especially during shedding time. Spray once in the morning and once later in the day. Make sure the later spray dries completely before lights go off for the night.

If your frog still has a hard time getting the shed completely off its toes, tail or head and if the retained shed is severe and cannot be removed easily, see your exotic veterinarian. It is best not to handle the frog yourself to try to remove the shed, as the skin is thin and can tear easily.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your frog.


Your frog(s) need a warm, humid environment in their enclosure. A twenty-gallon high glass tank (for two frogs) with a metal mesh cover will work fine.

If you lose too much humidity through the metal mesh cover, you can tape plastic sheeting (thick plastic bag) over part of the mesh. However, be sure NOT to block the UVB light with the plastic, as it will filter out all the important rays before they reach you pet(s).

There are several ways to set up a barking tree frog enclosure. Some people prefer to create a primarily aquatic environment, with a bit of land area. Others create a more terrestrial tank with a bit of water area. From our experience, the frogs prefer to be more on land (in “trees”) than in deep water, so for our purposes, we will diagram a primarily terrestrial enclosure.

ENCLOSURE SIZE: A minimum of 4 gallons of tank space per frog, although a minimum of 20 gallons High is recommended. Remember that barking tree frogs are TREE frogs; they are arboreal; so a tank that supplies more height than width is always a better choice, such as a 20 High or 40 High.

HEAT PAD: Reptile heat pads can be adhered directly onto the underside of the glass bottom of the tank. Stick it on the glass on one of the very far ends of the tank (opposite the water dish). For safety reasons, make sure to attach the rubber feet (contained in the box) at all four corners of the underside of the tank. This will allow air to circulate underneath the tank and prevent the heat from being trapped under the tank. If your enclosure has a wood bottom, a human-grade heat pad may be used on the low-medium setting, depending on the thickness of the wood. Do be sure to allow for proper ventilation for safety reasons. The human-grade pad can also be used for glass enclosures.

HIDING PLACES: Barking tree frogs appreciate hiding places within their enclosure. Small huts, crevices and planted areas will give your frog a place to hide when it is nervous or needs to escape light.


Hunting and feeding

Carnivorous (insectivorous) - live food Barking tree frogs eat live protein sources such as: gut-loaded crickets, earthworms and wax worms. In the wild, they would eat smaller frogs and a variety of live insects. Wild caught insects should never be fed, since they can carry disease. All insects should be gut loaded (fed a nutritious diet about 24-hours before being offered to your frog - see our cricket care sheet). Be careful to feed the proper size prey for your frog’s size. A good rule of thumb is that a cricket should be never be larger than the distance between the frog's eyes, or the distance from its eyes to its nose. When feeding larger insects to your pet, try to make sure the insects have recently molted, as an insect with a large, hard exoskeleton is difficult to digest and may cause impactions.

Some reptile/amphibian owners find it easier to feed their pet in a separate enclosure, free of bedding and furniture, this way you can be sure your pet eats all its insects, the prey cannot hide, and the frog will not pick up any bedding when grabbing prey and mistakenly ingest it along with the prey. Do remember, however, that barking tree frogs are very delicate and their skin can tear easily.

Feed at least three times a week. Feed as much as your frog will eat in 3-5 minute’s time, which will be about 6-12 insects.

SUPPLEMENTS:Dust food with calcium supplement and vitamin supplements. As a rule, a growing juvenile's food (and a pregnant/gravid female’s) should be dusted more often than an adult's. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for applying supplements to avoid over-supplementing food. Our veterinarian recommends dusting insects with a good quality calcium supplement fortified with vitamin D3, 2-3 times a week. (Avoid using a calcium supplement with added phosphorous, unless specifically directed by your veterinarian, since this can promote kidney disease.) Always consult your veterinarian for specific directions on supplementing your pet’s food, since there are many variables that go into determining the best supplementation regimen for each animal.

TEMPERATURES: Cage temperatures should be monitored daily and kept at the temperatures listed at the top of this page. Use your reptile thermometer to check the temperatures in different places in the cage regularly to make sure they continually match the listed proper temperatures. * If the room temperature falls below 65 degrees at night, a supplemental infrared or ceramic heat fixture may be necessary. (These fixtures do not emit a light spectrum that is visible to the frog, so it will not disturb him at night, but they WILL provide the necessary supplemental heat.) If your toad does not receive the proper heat at the proper temperatures along with UVB light, he may become sick with issues such as respiratory disease and will probably stop eating, as frogs have a hard time digesting their food without proper heat and light.


March to August; lays eggs singly on the bottom of the pond. Breeding call is a hollow tonk, tonk; a chorus of frogs sounds like distant barking dogs. To hear frog calls, visit the USGS Frog Call Lookup and select the species you want to hear from the common name drop-down list.




DO NOT handle your barking tree frog. The skin of tree frogs is very delicate and porous. Oils and chemicals on your hands can be transferred to the skin of your pet and make it sick. Also, since the skin is very delicate, it can tear easily.

smooth, even scales; no traces of mites (small, reddish brown spots around pits and nostrils, under scales); clear, bright eyes; rounded, full body; strong, even, smooth jaw line; regular record of healthy feeding and defecating schedule. It is very important to keep a journal for each animal that records feeding, refusals, defecation, shedding, unusual behavior, changes in behavior and dates of bulb changes. This will help your veterinarian trouble-shoot any health issues.


Irregular scales; small reddish brown spots (mites) around mouth, pits, eye area, ear area or under scales; irregular jaw line, ‘dents’ in mouth with (or without) cottage cheese-like material (mouth rot); cloudy eyes or dull colored body when not in a shed; thinned body; irregular feeding and defecating habits. Limp, thin body, lethargy, sunken eyes, pinkish patches or spots on belly or sides; obvious bite marks or wounds from cage mate or prey. Red, fluid filled patches may indicate thermal burns or blister disease. For most conditions, see your exotic pet veterinarian, who can properly address and treat your pet.

  • Details
  • United States of America -Coastal Plain of the Southeast / South Carolina
  • Georgia -Georgia

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