Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gargoyle Frog

Summer is the time of Cope’s Gray Treefrogs at Blue Jay Barrens. The treefrog is a master of camouflage and can blend well with most rock or tree bark. Though most of the skin can adjust its coloration, that small yellow-green patch beneath the eye always remains constant. Perhaps it’s some sort of species identification marking that allows the frog to identify others of its kind.

It’s interesting how local common names of animals develop based on people’s personal experiences. I would probably call this the Gargoyle Frog because of its habit of wedging itself beneath the house soffit and hanging its head over the edge of the brick wall. As you might guess, these treefrogs normally spend their days in the trees. Because these particular individuals use the water garden beside my house as a breeding area, they spend their days in various cracks and crevices about the house. This individual is demonstrating the most common daytime resting spot.

Although the frog appears to be watching in every direction, it doesn’t respond to any intrusions into its space. Insects wandering by don’t elicit any response and it seems oblivious to my presence only inches from its face. It won’t move unless I reach up and touch it. I’m careful not to bother them in that way.

The gap between soffit and brick narrows quickly toward the back of the brick. The frogs can squeeze in to fully conceal their bodies, but the gargoyle pose seems to be the most common resting position. Once a spot is chosen, the frogs will to return to that spot every day. They must be fairly safe from predators since their numbers atop the wall remain relatively constant.

I didn’t have these frogs around the house until I began providing suitable water sources in which they could breed. During most nights they hang around the windows catching insects attracted by the light. When it rains they move down and fill the water with eggs. Most days they are on Gargoyle duty. I would certainly miss them if they disappeared.


  1. thats very cool..i'm guessing they serenade you at night aswell..i'm jealous.

  2. Hi Steve...I laughed trough the whole thing...I just couldn't get over that face!! He is so homely he is cute!
    He looks like he posing,and he even has a smile on his face!!
    What an interesting fellow he is your name for him!!

  3. Hi, Lois. It is a cutie.

    Michael, sometimes they sing so loud they make the house shake.

    Hi, grammie g. I think he was smiling because he was amused at my attempts to balance on the step stool while taking his picture.