- Pets and Animals
Tree Frog Facts and Pictures
Facts about Tree Frogs
Tree frog facts don't conform to many of our preconceptions about amphibians. The general picture that comes to mind when one thinks of a frog, is a slimy animal that spend most of their time in or around ponds, and that is an excellent swimmer.
Hylid frogs, as they are called by scientists, are arboreal, they spend their lives high up in trees. Some species never come near water and can't swim very well. Rather than webbed feet, tree frogs have sticky pads on their toes, to allow them adhere to the bark, or to the sides of the home terrarium.
I have two species at home, and my pride is Zoidberg (pictured on the left), my giant waxy monkey frog (who could resist a frog with that name?). Tree frogs are fascinating pets, they can be kept in a beautifully designed terrarium, and you can observe a piece of wilderness from the comfort of your armchair.
Photos of the giant waxy monkey frog are from my collection. Other Photos are public domain or used under CC licence as shown on individual images.
The Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Agalichnys callidryas
Photo by Carey James Balboa, public domain
One of the most popular tree frogs in hobby, is the Red-Eyed tree forg. Its appeal is very easy to understand, the big red eyes, dark green back, blue sides and orange toes make a visually stunning frog. However, people enchanted by its looks should be warned that, like most tree frogs, it is nocturnal and spends most of the day asleep, with its forelimbs covering its eyes.
When the frog is approached by a predator, like a snake, it will suddenly unfold its body, showing its red eyes and blue sides. The snake is so startled by this sudden change, that it (usually) gives the frog the chance to escape.
In the wild the frog is found in Mexico and Central America. It is not a particularly large frog, females reach 3 inches in length, males are slightly smaller.
A red eyed tree frog tank, with a frogs, a gecko and fish!
Several red eyed tree frogs in a beautiful designed planted terrarium with a waterfall. Uploaded by BDdragonkeeper on Jul 17, 2010
The Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs
Photo by Petra Karstedt CC-SA-BY-2.0 via wikimedia commons
Frogs of the genus Phyllomedusa are less commonly kept in the hobby but are fascinating treefrogs that have several distinctly unfrog-like characteristics. They live high up the trees of the Amozon rainforest, where, due to the exposure to wind and sun, conditions are drier than you would expect. To prevent dehydration the frogs produce a waxy substance which they careful rub all over their bodies, thus waterproofing themselves (hence the 'waxy' in the common name).
The frogs also have opposable toes, so they can grasp thin branches and climb trees, rather than hopping (hence they are called 'monkey frogs'). Phyllomedusine frogs kept in captivity include the waxy monkey forg, P. sauvagi, also known as they painted belly frog (pictured), the giant waxy monkey frog (p. bicolor) and the tiger-legged monkey frog.
The frogs don't even lay their eggs in water. Instead the eggs, in their jelly coat, are stuck to a leaf over a body of water, which is rolled into a funnel shape. After a few days the jelly weakens and the tadpoles are released and fall into the water below where they develop until they metamorphose into frogs.
What is more the tadpoles can speed up the process and hatch early if they are in danger, e.g. a predator, like a was, has found the 'nest' and is about to make a meal of the frog spawn.
The waxy substance produced by the frogs is not just for waterproofing purposes, it contains many antibacterial substances and is being studied by pharmaceutical firms with the aim of developing medicines. Moreover the Giant Waxy Monkey Frog produces strong opioids and hallucinogens which is used by native tribes in shamanic hunting rituals. You can read more about this and the general care of Phyllomedusa bicolor here.
Waxy monkey frogs waxing, from Life in Cold Blood
Sir David Attenborough's Life in Cold Bood
If you like amphibians and reptiles, or nature documentaries in genera, then I highly recommend Sir David Attenborough's "Life in Cold Blood" first shown on the BBC. Episode 1 actually shows a P. bicolor frog applying the wax to itself, like putting on sun screen lotion. The DVD is full of fantastic wildlife photography and fascinating facts about reptiles.
Amazing footage of frogs, lizards, snakes and crocodiles in Madagascar, South American and Africa.
Phyllomedusa Frog MugCHECK PRICE
Phyllomedusa iPhone 5 CaseCHECK PRICE
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White's Tree Frog, Litoria caerulea
Photo by Bidgee CC-SA-BY-3.0 via wikimedia commons
Another very popular frog is White's tree frog, so called because it was first described by John White in 1790. Because of its voracious appetite and tendency to obesity it is also known as the dumpy forg. The frog is endemic to Australia, although a subspecies is also found in Indonesia, the Australian form is usually jade green, occasionally with a blue tinge, while the Indonesian form tends to be brown.
White's frogs are amonst the easiest tree frogs to keep in captivity, and also possess very laid back docile personalities and an almost buddha-like serenity. They are so greedy, that they can appear to be very fond of their owners, who they come to asssociate with offerings of tasty crickets. They can become quite excited when they see their owners, emitting calls when they come into the room. This is the closest an amphibian will come to begging for food.
Being arboreal, tree frogs need to be kept in a tall terrarium so they have the possiblity of climbing. Since they need high humidity, like all frogs they dehydrate very easily, glass terraria are best, although they must also have good ventilation, to prevent stagnant conditions which would lead to bacterial or fungal blooms.
The exact conditions as to temperature and humidty vary with species and have to be researched for the particular frog you are obtaining. High humidity is achieved by by spraying the terrarium with water, a waterfall is an option, it will increase humidity and can be visually very appealing, but is somewhat more complicated to set up and is not necessary. Frogs do not drink. Arboreal frogs rehydrate by finding small pools of water (often in holes in the trees) and sitting in them, absorbing the water through their very permeable skins. A small dish of clean water has to be provided, it must be changed daily, and must be dechlorinated, the frog can easily absorb impurities through its skin and become ill.
Live plants add to the naturalistic look of the terrarium and help maintain humidity hence they are desirable, although some keepers perfer easy to clean plastic plants.
Frogs are insectivores and in captivity they are usually fed crickets. They might also accept various worms e.g. wax worms or phoenix worms. Care should be taken in not furnishing the terrarium with bedding which the frog might swallow as it is hunting for food.
To get the frogs to breed it is usually necessary to simulate a rainy season, by building a rain chamber. The exact method of looking after the eggs and taking care of the tadpoles varies from species to species. Some treefrogs from drier climates, such as the orange legged monkey frog P. hypochonrialis were reportedly induced to breed just by spraying their enclosure with water after a period in which they were kep in arid conditions.
Zoidberg is demanding his crickets, so I will finish for now :)
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