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My Tree Frog

We keep a large rain barrel down in the woodland garden.While it does collect rainwater, without a downspout only a small amount of water goes in the barrel. Rather, we fill the 65 gallon barrel with a garden hose, and the barrel then serves as a handy water reservoir. A small attached hose and a spigot on the side allow for easy filling of watering cans, which I keep nearby. This is much easier than hauling water all the way from the house to the woodland garden.

Yesterday I planned to check the level of the water in the barrel, to see if it needed to be refilled. I lifted the top off and got a surprise:

An American tree frog ( Hila Cinera) was resting on the metal grate at the top of the barrel, which is designed to keep debris out of the barrel. The frog did not seem too startled, so I took a few photos before carefully replacing the lid.

Then I began to worry about him. Maybe he was trapped. Maybe he could not find his way back out through the round opening in the lid. I was concerned that he would perish if I did not get him out. I decided to tell Lou about the frog and ask his opinion. 

"Oh, he's fine," Lou assured me. "He's been in there all summer. Sometimes I see him when I am filling the barrel, and sometimes I don't, so he knows how to come and go."

American tree frogs like to live in ponds, streams and other bodies of water, so apparently this one has decided to live inside our rain barrel. Without a better option on our property, the rain barrel has become his favorite retreat. The container's lid offers him good protection from predators, and he must enjoy the moist environment. I am sure there are plenty of small insects inside the barrel for him to consume. The thought of him down there gobbling up mosquitos makes me very happy.

Look at this photo:

Do you see the frog's tongue? Look on the left side of his mouth. Here is a close-up:

This was a very lucky shot. A tree frogs uses its long tongue to catch its prey. An unfortunate insect doesn't have a chance against this sticky adhesive strip of pure muscle. The frog catches its prey and pulls it into its mouth within 15/100 of a second! 

I admit my tree frog has sneaky eyes. Nevertheless, I think the creature is cute; but then I am not a mosquito!

You may also enjoy my previous post New Options for Watering.

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Reader Comments (18)

Hmm, I still don't see his tongue! It's funny, but every summer I put out a small water garden with water plants and goldfish, and even though it is a long way from any ponds or creeks, a toad or two always finds it by the end of the summer!

September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Robin, the tongue is coming out of the left side of his mouth. It is long and thin. Best wishes! Deb

September 4, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Looks like a happy frog!

September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJean

He's a handsome fellow! He also looks a bit smug to me - perhaps he's proud of himself to have found such a perfect place to hang out, or perhaps he just finished off one of the mosquitoes you mentioned. I wish I had a tree frog on call as I'm a mosquito magnet and my lizard population doesn't seem to be any help with those awful pests.

September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Beautiful creature!

You are lucky to have such a charming resident in your garden :)

September 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Your tree frog is wonderful and he must be happy, since he's been there all summer. What a wonderful treat!

One happy frog appreciating his new home.

September 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Sweet! I love to find frogs and toads in the garden! They're so beneficial. Your rain vessel is a great idea!

September 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

What a cute frog! Frogs live in healthy environments, they are a gardener's 'mining canaries'. Hopefully it will start a family, the more the better ;-) That's a fancy water barrel, I love it!

September 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGone Tropical

I am smiling! What a cute fellow!

September 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana@MySecretGarden

Your too funny. First talking about a barrel and rainwater then you become fascinated with a tree frog. I don't blame you he looks like a handsome explorer and glad to hear your even worry about him. Great captures. Fun post !

September 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPatsi

What a cute frog!

My daughter has an aquarium full of little bitty aquatic frogs that she got from her 5th grade science teacher at the end of the year. If no one took the frogs, the teacher was going to have to freeze them. Yuck! So we allowed her to keep them. They are so cute swimming around!

September 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie L. Robertson

Great pictures. I had no idea frogs left the tips of their tongues hanging out of their moutns!

September 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjason

Hi Deb, now that is a beautiful fellow. I love his bright green color. It amazes me that he has decided to live in your rain barrel, not exactly a natural environment, but it seems to work for him. It is astounding how adaptable wild life is. "The frog catches its prey and pulls it into its mouth within 15/100 of a second!", I had no clue that a frog could move his tongue that fast! That is really cool! I guess, once the frog has laid eyes on a special insect, it has no chance to escape that quick moving tongue.
Thanks for another great post!
Warm regards,

September 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I think his eyes look more sleepy than sneaky. He is really rather handsome especially when I think of the brown spotted toads that inhabit my garden. I wonder how he gets in and out of the barrel? Maybe he is more clever than he looks.

September 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Why is it that husband's never think to tell us about their discoveries?!

September 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I would be euphoric if I had such a find, considering we do not get tree frogs in the UK. Glad to get you back and linked to my site.

September 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Ick. Frog tongue. Looked like drool to me.

September 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

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