In the evenings between April and November, provided the temperature is above 68 F, whistling tree frogs can be heard all around Bermuda.
Tree frogs in Bermuda are a species in the Leptodactylidae family; Eleutherodactylus johnstonei (the common whistling frog). It was introduced to the island from the Lesser Antilles in the late 1800s.
Adult frogs are around 20 mm long, while females are slightly bigger, approximately 25 mm long. They have slender toes with distinct, small rounded pads, and little webbing; great for climbing but not for swimming. They live in damp spots amongst vegetation, but at night emerge from their hiding spots and climb up trees. You’ll certainly hear them but will be extremely lucky to see one.
The sound (gleep gleep) is of the males attempting to attract females. An individual frog produces a short two-tone whistle, consisting of a brief note of 2 kHz followed by a louder and longer one of around 3.5 kHz. The call is repeated up to 60 times each minute. Locals are accustomed to the chorus and many don’t notice it. It’s very audible to visitors though.
There may possibly be another species, Eleutherodactylus gossei (whistling frog). It is thought that this may now be extinct as it has not been spotted since the mid-1990s.
References to the whistling tree frog can be found throughout Bermudian culture. Images of a tree frog appear on front of the current $20 note and on a 1978 postage stamp. They also frequently feature in local art, children’s books, and tourist souvenirs. For example they appear in several designs produced at the Dockyard Glassworks and one of the collections on sale at the Island Shop.
There are no native species of amphibians on the island. The only other amphibian present in Bermuda is the cane toad (Bufo marinus). It was introduced in 1885 to control the cockroach population.