Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Baudin's Treefrog, SMILISCA BAUDINII

from the March 25, 2012 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

Beside an orchard about a 15-minute walk into the scrub there's a water tank where for the last couple of years usually one or more Yucatán Casqueheaded Treefrogs could be found. Last Monday when I peeped into the tank to check on the Casqueheads they were gone but someone unexpected was there, as shown above. A different shot is below:

Baudin's Treefrog, SMILISCA BAUDINII

That's a Baudin's Treefrog, SMILISCA BAUDINII, distributed from southern Texas to Costa Rica, and inhabiting a wide variety of habitats, from our scrubby forests to high-elevation cloudforests, to low-elevation rainforests.

Since it's so adaptable, over much of its distribution it's one of the most common frog species. Though this is the first time I've seen Baudin's Treefrog at the Hacienda, in 2006 at Hacienda San Juan near Telchac Pueblo it was common. However, I'll bet that this is the species that often after our rains here I hear lustily calling WONK-WONK-WONK, as the species' call is described. During the day Baudin's Treefrogs are known to take refuge in the axils of epiphytic bromeliads or beneath logs and vegetation on the ground.

from the January 22, 2006 Newsletter written at Hacienda San Juan Lizárraga one kilometer east of Telchac Pueblo, Yucatán, MÉXICO

According to my herp fieldguide we have three treefrog species here. Farther south and east where rainfall is greater, the forest more luxuriant and there's a higher species diversity, there are others. Our most commonly encountered treefrog species here is Baudin's Treefrog, SMILISCA BAUDINII.

My first encounter with Baudin's Treefrog was about a month ago when one appeared on an arching, shaded date-palm petiole about a yard off the ground, crouching there in full view, day and night, for several sunny, very dry days. He was pale green and stood out against the palm's dark green foliage. I don't think I've ever seen a treefrog perch so conspicuously in one place.

My latest encounter was one morning this week when I flushed the commode in a bathroom with a door that's kept open. This one, pale brown with dark brown banding and spotting, had been hiding up under the seat's rim and he almost got flushed into unknown territory. At first it was hard to believe that this dark-banded frog was the same species as the pale green one I'd seen earlier.

The herp book says that sometimes after rains this frog emerges in incredible numbers. There's one report of an outbreak of the species "so numerous on the trees as to bend down the branches."