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White's Tree Frog

Introduction to Keeping White's Tree Frogs as pets


Important Note: Frogs can make lovely pets, but frogs in the wild are facing population declines and extinction largely as a result of human activities. Unfortunately, the pet trade is likely contributing to the amphibian extinction crisis and the spread of an devastating infection by Chytrid fungus. For this reason, you should only buy frogs that you are sure are captive bred locally and tested to be free of disease. It may be impossible to find frogs which meet these conditions, but otherwise, pet frogs may be contributing to the decline of wild frog populations.

Scientific Name: Litoria caerulea
Other Names: dumpy tree frog
Life Span: 15 years (up to 20 years has been reported)
Size: 4-5 inches
Distribution: White's tree frogs are native to Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea
Appearance: Their color ranges from a green to a blue green or aqua color, and can be quite striking. They have a waxy film or coating on their skin that helps them retain moisture, so these frogs can tolerate more arid conditions than some other tree frogs
Temperament: White's tree frogs are quite sedentary and docile, and can become fairly tame and tolerate handling. Remember however that amphibians have very sensitive skin and absorb chemicals through their skin, so extreme care is needed when handling (wash hand thoroughly with warm water and rinse well - natural oils and salts found on human skin can be damaging, as can any soap or lotion residue).
Habits: They are nocturnal, so will be more active in the evening and night hours.
Notes: good choice for beginning frog owners

A diet of primarily crickets can be fed to White's tree frogs. Other items that can be fed include moths, beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and earthworms. Fully grown White's may even take pinkie mice on occasion. Insects can be simply placed in the cage, or offered using blunt (rounded) tip forceps.

The amount needed by your frog will very somewhat, but keep in mind that White's tree frogs tend toward obesity, so do not over feed. As a very general guideline, feed large frogs (greater than 3 inches long) a few larger crickets every 2-3 days, adjusting based on the behavior (i.e. acting hungry or not interested in food) and body condition of the frog (see below). Smaller frogs can be offered about 3 week-old crickets every 2-3 days, and juveniles should be fed daily. The best way to judge how much to feed is looking at the frog's body condition. Look for ridges just above the frog's eardrum - if there are no noticeable ridges the frog is likely underweight and should be fed more or more often. If the ridges become prominent and start to sag or fold over, then the frog is obese and should be eating less.

The insects fed to the frog should be gut loaded (fed a nutritious diet that is then passed on to the frog - for more information on cricket care, see "Raising Crickets"). In addition, the food should be dusted with a calcium/vitamin supplement (daily in very young frogs, once or twice a week for intermediate sized frogs, and once a week for mature frogs).

Next: Housing White's Tree Frogs

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