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Caring for a Tree Frog

Updated on December 13, 2008

Tree Frogs

Tree frogs and/or tree toads are those that spend the majority of their life in the trees. They are arboreal frogs that are usually found in very tall trees or areas of high-growing vegetation. For the most part, tree frogs don't even touch the ground, except for mating.

Typically, the back of a tree frog is going to be some shade of green, as for camouflage. For the most part, different species have different skin patterns, all of which just depend on the natural habitat of the frog. The color of the frog is very important for camouflage from predators.

The cool thing with tree frogs, is that they can change colors to blend in to their surrounding. Typically, they will turn shades of gray and brown when on bark, but shades of green when on vegetation.

On average tree frogs are usually pretty small, as they have to be able to hope from limb to leave and leave to leave from tree to tree. Typical tree frogs are no larger than 4 inches long, usually most are much smaller around 2 inches with thin framed bodies.

Their finger and toe tips have well-developed discs that allow them to walk vertical surfaces, and their limbs are typically pretty long and slender which helps aid in their grasping abilities.

Flickr Image by Shelly and Roy
Flickr Image by Shelly and Roy

Pet Tree Frogs

Although, I personally think that frogs and toads make better wild specimens, many people find that they enjoy having them as pets. Typically, frogs are a look at pet, and not a play with pet. You'll find this is the case with tree frogs.

When it comes to pet tree frogs, the most commonly kept tree frog is going to be the White's Tree Frog and the Red-Eye Tree Frog.

Depending on the species of tree frog that you decide to care for, the actual care is going to vary. You'll have different enclosure sizes, different temperatures, and different humidity levels in the enclosure depending on the actual frog. This is why is it very important that you do all of the research that you can before you actually get the particular tree frog that you are interested in.

The one thing that really isn't going to vary is the diet of your tree frog. Frogs are insectivores, which means your frog will need to be fed crickets. For the most part, feeding every 2 to 3 days will suffice. It's good to let your frog eat as many crickets as it will eat within about 15 to 20 minutes, and remove any uneaten crickets.

As for basic tree frog enclosure details, you'll want to start with the below information and continue your research for more information, always keeping this basic information in mind.

Tree Frog Books

Tree Frog Enclosure

For the most part, the enclosure is going to be the most important aspect of keeping a healthy tree frog- no matter what species of tree frog you decide to care for.

On average though, you can start with the following tips, doing more research to get more specific enclosure details per the tree frog that you want to care for.

Enclosure Size: Because you have an arboreal frog, you first off want to make sure that your enclosure is taller than it is long. The actual gallon size of the enclosure is going to vary with the species and how many frogs you want to care for. 15 gallon tanks are pretty good for one, sometimes two frogs; otherwise, you may want to consider a 29 gallon aquarium.

Substrate: In most frog enclosures, you want to have some kind of dirt substrate. Try the Bed-A-Beast compressed dirt. I would also add some kind of moss and/or bark as a thin layer on top of the dirt. Never use potting soil, and especially avoid soil with fertilizer blended in.

Décor:Because your frog is an arboreal frog, you want to make sure that you have plenty of climbing resources. Try branches, vines, cork bark, and plenty of plants. You may consider a live enclosure, but using fake plants and vines would suffice just the same, and it'll be less hassle on your part. (If you decide to use live plants, consider leaving them in pots otherwise you'll have to worry about fertilizers affecting your frog(s). In any case, make sure that there aren't any pesticides on the décor, as your frog can and will absorb them.

Also, consider a large, shallow water dish, as some frogs like to soak in the water.

Temperature: Most tree frogs require temperatures around 70 to 75F, but there are some tree frogs like the White's Tree Frog that prefers higher temperatures around 80 to 85F.

Humidity: The humidity is pretty important as well. You never want to have the enclosure soaking wet, as mold can start to grow in the substrate, but you don't want the enclosure too dry either, as this can dry out your tree frog. An ideal humidity level should be at bare minimum of 50%. Many tree frogs require much higher humidity levels though.

* You should really invest in a digital gauge to monitor the temperatures and the humidity levels.


White's Tree Frog

The White's tree frog is probably one of the better beginner frogs that you can have as a pet. You may find that they are also commonly referred to as the Dumpy Tree Frog.

White's tree frog typically reaches around 4 to 5 inches long. They will also live around 15 years, so they are a commitment.

White's tree frogs are typically range from a green to a blue green color. They have a waxy film over their skin that helps them retain moisture, which is why they are able to tolerate slightly more arid conditions than other frogs.

These frogs are usually pretty docile and can become fairly tame for slight handling, although it really isn't recommended that you handle them (it is possible to do so). If you decide that you want to handle the frog, you'll want to make sure to wash off any chemical that may be on your hands because the frog will absorb them and it can be damaging to the frog.

Dumpy tree frogs are nocturnal, which means that they will be most active during the night.

You will want to make sure that you provide crickets as a main diet, but dumpy tree frogs will also eat moths, beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and earthworms.


Size: At least 25 gallons for one, as they require tons of climbing room. Make sure to have a tight fitting lid.

Substrate: Larger pieces of bark, large sized gravel, or soil can be used, and can be covered with sphagnum moss. Avoid small substrate such as gravel or bark.

Décor: Lots of branches, large pieces of cork bark, and foliage for climbing. Make sure that whatever you use, it will be very sturdy as White's tree frogs are very stocky frogs.

Temperature: 80F - 85F during the day and as low as 72F - 75F at night

Humidity: 50% - 60%

Flickr Image by dzaks
Flickr Image by dzaks

Red Eye Tree Frog

The red eye tree frog is probably the one that you think of when you think of tree frogs, and these guys make great pets. I'd say that they are more of a look at pet than a play with pet, though.

Typically these guys are very calm, but again it's always best to limit the handling because you don't want your frog to absorb something that you didn't manage to wash off before you picked up the frog.

The red eye tree frog averages about 2" to 3.5" in length, making them much smaller than the dumpy tree frog. The red eye tree frog is a much more slender tree frog. But, they do have a much smaller lifespan, averaging around 4 years.

The red eye tree frogs are usually a bright green color with yellow-orange toes and red eyes, which makes them all the more appealing.

You want to feed them a staple diet composed of crickets, but the red eye tree frog will also eat moths, flies, mealworms, and other small insects.


Size: A 10 gallon aquarium will be great for 2 frogs. As a general rule of thumb- use 5 gallons per red eye tree frog. It is always better to have taller enclosures than longer ones, as they do need climbing room.

Substrate: 3 - 5 inches of substrate such as orchid bark, sphagnum moss, or dirt (avoiding potting soil). You may consider putting gravel under the base substrate to allow for better drainage.

Décor: Plenty of branches and vines to climb on. Avoid deep water bowls, as they cannot swim, but a shallow bowl would be fine. Consider adding plants (live or fake) that have broad leaves.

Temperature: 78F - 84F during the day, with a nightly low of 67F - 73F.

Humidity: 60% - 70% (mist daily, but never allow water droplets to form on the glass walls throughout the day, as this means the humidity is too high)


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