Georgia is a southeastern American state that was established in 1733 as a British colony. The state of Georgia, also known as the Peach State, is bordered by Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the Atlantic Ocean. The state has designated several official state symbols, including the Hyla cinerea (green tree frog) as the Georgia state amphibian.
The Green Tree Frog
The green tree frog is a popular pet and a famous New World tree frog species which belongs to the genus Hyla. The green tree frog is medium-sized and can attain a maximum length of about 2.5 inches. Their bodies have different shades of green ranging from lime green to bright yellowish-olive. The color of these frogs can change depending on temperature or lighting. Some of these frogs have cream-colored, pale yellow, or white lines running from their groins to the upper-lip or jaw. They have large toe-pads and smooth skin. The males are smaller than the females, and they have wrinkled throats.
Distribution and Habitat
The green tree frog resides in the southeastern and central United States with their geographical range stretching from southeast Florida to the eastern shores of Maryland. These frogs prefer places with plenty of cattails, grasses, and floating vegetation. They can also be found in streams, marshes, large lakes, small ponds, and in the backyard swimming pools at nights. The green tree frogs spend a considerable percentage of their time on trees, but they can also be found on smoother surfaces like the sliding glass doors and windows.
Behavior and Feeding
These frogs are nocturnal and when in captivity they become active after the lights have been switched off. Since they are easily frightened and quite small, they do not do well with frequent handling. These frogs are recognized by the night choruses which they produce during the warm months in the state. Most females breed only once every year. They are insectivorous frogs which consume mosquitoes, crickets, and flies among other small insects. The green tree frogs don’t pick preys by size; they prefer hunting active preys.
Designating the Georgia State Amphibian
The idea of Georgia adopting an official state amphibian originated from Armuchee Elementary School’s fourth-grade classroom. The fourth graders realized that Georgia did not have an official amphibian while they were studying government and science in 2002. They selected the green tree frog from the 85 different species of amphibians found in the state.
The bill designating an official state amphibian was introduced in the House of Representatives by Barbara Reece in 2003, but it was not passed. Barbara sponsored the bill again in 2004, but it failed in the Senate. The bill was later reintroduced and read in the state’s Senate on January 24, 2005, for the first time. Senator Smith Preston proposed that Georgia should adopt the green tree frog as their state amphibian. Both houses approved the bill and forwarded it to the governor on April 13, 2005. Governor Sonny Purdue signed it into law on May 9, 2005.