The Green Tree Frog is a relatively large, thin amphibian, usually bright green (but sometimes olive or brown) in color with large toe pads and a white belly. Most individuals have orange or gold spots scattered on their backs and a clearly defined ivory or yellow stripe along the upper jaw and side. These frogs are mainly found in the coastal plain of North Carolina, where they can be extremely abundant along wetland margins and in swamps. During the day, they hide under vegetation by the water or in other humid, shaded areas.
At night, they look for flying insects, often performing acrobatic maneuvers while jumping from branch to branch. Tree frogs are not aggressive or poisonous. The highest risks you can take when handling them are skin irritations and Salmonella bacteria. Therefore, it is best to refrain from handling them.
Your skin absorbs oxygen and other chemicals around you, so holding them with unwashed hands can transfer these chemicals to your skin. This can weaken the frog's immune system and allow bacteria to enter, causing frog disease. North Carolina has a good number of different toad species from three different families. Only members of the Bufonidae family produce bufotoxin, a toxin that you don't want to ingest.
The North Carolina Amphibian Survey Program collects data from volunteers across the state who monitor specific frog call routes. This helps to identify more than 25 different species of frogs and toads that inhabit the state. The Oriental Spadefoot Toad is the only species of Spadefoot Toad in North Carolina, so if the toad has a shovel in its hind leg, it is this species.