White’s tree frog are popular pet frogs for both beginners and experienced keepers. Keepers are endeared by the frog’s distinctly squat appearance and docile demeanor. Though this frog has specific temperature, heating, and humidity requirements, they are otherwise easy to care for.
Those experienced with reptiles will find them a stress-free pet. Those who are new to the amphibian and reptile trade may be slightly intimidated, but should be reassured that this frog is suitable for beginners and that the most difficult part of care will be maintaining humidity. However, this problem is easily solved with equipment such as misting machines.
Anyone interested in White’s tree frog will find them a laidback, interesting companion that can provide nearly two decades’ worth of joy.
|Common Name:||White’s tree frog|
|Scientific Name:||Litoria caerulea|
|Natural Habitat:||Australia and New Guinea|
|Adult Size:||Males: 3 – 4” Females: 4 – 5”|
|Lifespan:||16 Years (Average)|
|Enclosure Size:||15 Gallons|
White’s tree frogs are typically light blue to deeper green in color, with white underbellies. They are larger frogs, with females growing up to five inches and males growing up to four inches.
They have distinct horizontal pupils and a fatty ridge over their eyes and the side of their heads. They also have pronounced toe pads.
These frogs are more affordable, starting around $30, although rare morphs can cost more than $100. They are also a long-term financial commitment, since they can live more than 15 years.
They are prized for their temperament, which is docile, and their ability to handle easily. They are not overly active; but when they do move, it tends to be at night.
While not overly vocal, they do still make mating and distress calls. They may also chirp, croak, or otherwise make noise intermittently.
White’s tree frogs will need to be housed in a 15-gallon enclosure, minimum, with high humidity levels (70 – 90%) and warm temperatures (70 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit). They will also need lots of climbing space and materials, in addition to access to multiple sources of water.
White’s tree frogs come in a range of colors, from light blue to bright green, and have white underbellies. The most common colors are a blue-green (teal) or light green.
Some particularly vibrant specimens may even appear to be a lighter purple-blue.
Popular whites tree frogs morphs include the Snowflake. The Snowflake morph adds white speckling over the frog’s back and legs.
It is possible for your frog’s coloring to change throughout the year. This may be based on a number of factors, including temperature, humidity, diet, and activity level.
A commonly reported phenomenon is that the frogs will change their colors to a muted gray at night.
Females only marginally differ from males. Males will be slightly smaller and also have a vocal sac on their throat, which will be gray and have wrinkles.
Females typically grow up to five inches, while males often top out around four inches. Females will also be somewhat squatter, heavier, and wider.
Like many other species, these frogs have pronounced toe pads.
However, the most distinct feature of the White’s tree frog is their eyes. These frogs have a fatty ridge over their eyes, in addition to having a horizontal pupil. This is particularly unusual since most frogs have vertical pupils.
It is common for these frogs to develop a slightly pudgy appearance, which is what allegedly lead to their other common name: the dumpy tree frog. A third common name is the Australian green tree frog, in reference to one of their native habitats.
Did you know? The word ‘caerulea’ is Latin for ‘blue.’ This may be a reference to the frog’s coloring, which can be blue or border on a blue-green.
Price & Availability
White tree frogs typically cost $30 to $50. The price may rise according to age, gender, and color variations.
Morphs will cost more, although the price will depend on how common or rare the morph is. More common morphs will typically cost $50 to $100, while rarer morphs will cost more than $100.
These frogs are typically sold as juveniles or adults. It is very unlikely that you will be able to purchase eggs or tadpoles, unless you have a breeder within driving distance.
Even if you do, carefully consider your options beforehand. While raising a frog from an egg or tadpole may be tempting, remember that these have a high mortality rate from transportation-related stress.
The conservation status of white’s tree frog is ‘Least Concern.’ But even so, interested owners should source their future pets from captive-bred populations, versus wild-caught populations.
Wild-caught frogs are prone to parasite infections and will be more temperamental eaters. They may also suffer from transportation stress, which could lead to additional health issues and even premature death.
Behavior & Temperament
White’s tree frogs are generally docile and do not often make sudden movements, such as jumping. Instead, they are more methodical in movement and sedentary in nature (that is, they like to rest and move slowly).
While juveniles are active during the day and at night, adults tend to reserve their energy for nighttime. Do not be surprised if you suddenly hear them moving and making noise after you turn their nighttime bulbs on.
These frogs will tolerate handling and can become accustomed to it, but are unlikely to seek it out or really ‘enjoy it.’ When handling, keep movements slow and deliberate.
To hold them, flatten your hand and place it in front of your frog. Using your other hand, gently nudge their backside to encourage them to move into your palm.
When holding your White’s tree frog, make sure to support their entire body. You should also keep your hands close to the floor, a table, or another surface, in case the frog jumps off.
These frogs are excellent jumpers, but may be harmed if the distance between your hand and another surface is too far apart. This is especially true if you accidentally drop them.
Prior to touching the frogs, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Frogs absorb moisture through their skin, so your hands should be free of lotions, perfumes, or other substances. If possible, wash with an unscented soap.
It is also a good idea to wash your hands after holding your frog. This ensures your frog won’t accidentally pass on salmonella or another infection to you.
You should also make sure the area is clear of animals, such as cats and dogs. Even if your other pets are well-behaved, you should still bar them from the area in case your frog jumps.
White’s tree frogs are not as vocal as some species, but they do make noises. For example, they have a very loud ‘distress’ call when they feel threatened.
If you have a male in your tank, you may also hear him croaking, grunting, and screaming. These noises are intended to attract females during breeding season, but you may hear them year-round.
White’s tree frogs can live up to 16 years in captivity. However, their lifespans are greatly affected by the type of care they receive.
Did You Know? The oldest recorded captive White’s tree frog lived to be 23 years old.
White’s tree frogs need a 15-gallon enclosure, at a minimum. For every additional frog you want to house, add another 10 gallons.
Because of their docile nature, white’s tree frogs can be kept in pairs or small groups. However, the enclosure size should reflect this; the more frogs you have, the larger your enclosure needs to be.
Either a glass or acrylic aquarium or terrarium is suitable. Remember that it should have more vertical space than horizontal space, so that your frogs can climb.
White’s tree frogs prefer moist environments, with lots of cover and foliage (either live or artificial) that mimics their tropical habitat. Although they can adjust to intermittently dry or wet environments, maintaining steady temperatures and humidity is strongly recommended.
These frogs are arboreal and particularly fond of tree canopies, so they would likely appreciate foliage to mimic this. Provide plenty of options for horizontal and vertical climbing, including branches and perches.
In a pinch, even PVC piping can work. If you decide to use sticks or wood from your backyard, make sure to heat treat and sanitize it first to remove any bugs, mold, etc. and then sand it.
Nothing in your tank should be rough, abrasive, or sharp. These frogs have very sensitive skin and can be easily harmed.
In their native countries, these frogs do not gather near large bodies of water. Instead, they rely on rainwater that collects inside or on leaves, flowers, and trees.
You can mimic this by crafting an enclosure with lots of places where misting systems can create shallow pools of water. Cup-shaped flowers, inverted leaves, and wood crevices are three examples of how to do this. Alternatively, small dishes strategically placed throughout the enclosure can accomplish the same goal.
Some owners do prefer to keep one larger, shallow dish in the enclosure. While this does accomplish the goal of giving the frogs access to water, it provides less enrichment.
If you are concerned about your frog having access to enough water, consider doing both. Include a large, shallow drinking dish and places where water can gather higher up in the enclosure.
Remember that any larger, shallow dishes will need the water replenished daily. Your frog will likely use it to relieve themselves, and so the water will be unsanitary.
A misting system is the easiest way to recreate the regular rain these frogs are used to receiving. Another way would be to install a small waterfall or drip system that runs down one side of the enclosure (typically the back).
Remember, all water should be treated prior to use with a de-chlorinator or similar water cleanser. Chemicals like chlorine and metals will negatively affect your frog, and should be removed.
White’s tree frogs need to keep themselves moist, so access to water and humidity levels are important components of your frog’s enclosure. If your frog develops a milky white coating (called ‘caerviein’) over their body, similar to a cocoon, then your enclosure is too dry.
To this end, it is best to use an enclosure substrate that holds moisture well, such as coconut husk fiber mix. Including moss patches will also help maintain high humidity levels.
Temperature & Lighting
White’s tree frogs, like most other reptiles, prefer a regular 12-hour light cycle. This means that they would have equal amounts of daytime and nighttime, as simulated through lamps.
The enclosure should have a thermal gradient, with a ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ side. The ‘hot’ side should be anywhere from 80 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ‘cool’ side should be roughly 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
These temperatures can drop at night by no more than five degrees (at the very most) to mimic your frog’s natural habitat, but be careful. Cool temperatures and high humidity levels can lead to respiratory infections and other problems.
Use a thermometer to monitor temperatures. To monitor temperatures on both sides of the gradient, use two thermostats: one on the ‘hot’ side and one on the ‘cool’ side.
Daylight bulbs do an excellent job of mimicking real daylight. At nighttime, owners can use blue or purple night bulbs, or just not use a bulb at all (provided the enclosure is housed in a room that gets dark).
Many owners prefer UVB lighting, although some still use halogen. Both will accomplish the same function, although UVB lights may last longer.
Lights may also double as heat sources. If this is the case, ensure the lights do not get close enough to the enclosure to heat up or warp the frame.
Alternative methods of heating include under-tank heaters, heat tape, heat bulbs, and basking bulbs. Heated rocks or similar objects are not recommended, as your frog could burn themselves on such objects.
Owners who prefer to err on the side of caution can keep temperatures the same during the day and night. Those seeking to strike a balance could lower the temperatures just by two or three degrees, but keep a source of heat in the enclosure (such as a nighttime basking bulb).
White’s tree frogs prefer humidity levels between 70% and 90%. This is high for many reptiles, including several other frog species, which makes it more challenging.
To monitor humidity at all times, use a hygrometer. Make sure it is in a place that is visible that you can read it clearly.
The water used to maintain humidity levels should be treated to get rid of the chlorine and other chemicals. These will negatively affect your frog.
As mentioned earlier, misting systems and humidity-retaining substrate can help with this. Layering in sphagnum moss will provide additional protection to trap moisture.
Keeping a continuous source of water in the enclosure, such as a waterfall or drip system, is also helpful.
Switching from mesh lids to glass or acrylic enclosure lids can also be helpful, although it does reduce air circulation.
This can cause problems both for your frogs and for any live plants. Stagnant, humid, and warm air can cause bacterial infections.
The type of tank you have will affect how to resolve this. If you have a terrarium with front air vents, it is fine to use a complete glass or acrylic lid. But if you have a tank with no air vents, leave half the lid mesh and use glass or acrylic for the other half.
You may also want to switch from a mesh to glass or acrylic lid if the mesh becomes abrasive to your frog. They will likely climb on the lid, so watch out to make sure the mesh isn’t hurting their toe pads or soft underbellies.
White’s tree frogs should be fed an insect-heavy diet.
Common food sources include crickets, roaches, and mealworms. Waxworms and hornworms can be fed as a treat, but should not be a staple in the diet.
Your frog’s diet should primarily consist of protein-heavy insects. Though you can feed them other insects as a treat, remember to make this a rare opportunity (and not a regular occurrence).
All insects should be gut-loaded prior to feeding. Owners may also prep the insects with calcium or other supplements, if desired.
To prevent accidental injury, make sure the prey is the proper size. Insects should be the same size as (or smaller than) the width between your frog’s eyes.
These frogs should be fed two or three times per week. Obviously, adults will need larger feedings versus juveniles.
Owners should be very careful about overfeeding, since obesity is a common health problem. Since White’s tree frogs are already prone to pudginess, they can quickly become overweight.
While these frogs should have a fatty ridge over their eyes and head, the ridge should not obscure their eyesight or dip down over their eyes. Additionally, their fingers should be slim, not thick enough to show creases near the joints.
Closely monitor your frog’s weight. If they seem to have trouble moving or have put on too much weight, scale back feedings (either in terms of how many times you feed them or how much you feed them).
Potential Health Issues
A healthy tree frog is active, vocal, food-motivated, and has clear skin. While White’s tree frogs are not as active or vocal as other species, you should still be able to observe them moving and making noise regularly.
As mentioned earlier, White’s tree frogs are prone to obesity. Feeding should be closely monitored to see how your frog’s weight fluctuates, and if dietary adjustments are needed.
Regularly cleaning your enclosure will go a long way in ensuring your frog is happy and healthy. Spot clean on a daily basis by removing uneaten food and feces, and do a deep clean at least once per month.
If you are interested in breeding White’s tree frogs, you will have to wait until your breeding pair is at least two years old. At this point, they will have reached maturity.
You will need to either alter your enclosure or move your frogs into a specific breeding enclosure. This is because female frogs lay eggs in larger pools of water.
Therefore, you will need to create a large pool of water in your current enclosure, or move the frogs to a modified enclosure that includes a large pool of water.
Include plants and vegetation, either live or artificial, along the water close to the shoreline. This is where the female will lay her eggs.
Typically, breeding occurs during the rainy season, when it is also very hot. You will need to recreate these conditions in order to spur your frogs into being receptive.
Keep a close eye on your male. If he grows a black pad on his foot (on the ‘thumb’), then you know you have succeeded; these pads are used to grip females during the mating process.
White’s tree frog females lay eggs quite forcefully; they may be projected more than one foot away from the female. Clutches are quite large and can be made up of anywhere from 150 to 300 eggs.
The eggs will typically hatch within 36 hours of being laid. After this, it will take another two weeks (in ideal conditions) for the tadpoles to fully transform into frogs.
After birth, the tadpoles will remain near the water’s edge in the shallow end of the pool. As they grow, they will move onto land and then progressively into the canopy.
White’s tree frog is one of the best beginner frogs for those who are interested in wading into the amphibian world of caretaking. Though they need high humidity levels, the care requirements are otherwise easy to handle. They are docile, not prone to escaping, and will readily take food. Those interested in breeding will find the mating process to be easy, as well. They can also be kept with other members of their species, which is less common.
The unique appearance and easy care is what draws most people to this frog. But the gentle nature, fun movements, and distinct vocal sounds are what truly endear keepers to this amazing pet.
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