White’s Treefrog Care
White’s Treefrog Care
White’s Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)
Origin: Australia, New Guinea
Native habitat: Woodland
Size: 3 – 4.5 inches
Lifespan: 15 years or more
Appearance: Also known as the Dumpy Treefrog, it has a cute, plump appearance that is accentuated by its tendency to gain weight, as well as the rubbery rolls on its skin. They have the ability to change colors, so coloration ranges from brown to green depending upon temperature and environment. The ventral surface is white. It sometimes has small, white, irregularly shaped spots on its back, which increase in number with age. It has large discs at the end of its toes, which help it grip while climbing, and allow it to climb vertically on glass. The eyes are golden and have horizontal irises rather than vertical like those of other frogs. The fingers are about one-third webbed, and the toes nearly three-quarters webbed. Females are larger than males.
Activities: This docile frog is nocturnal and comes out in early spring and summer evenings to call and hunt at night. During the day, it sleeps in cool, dark, and moist areas. It is not usually seen during the winter.
Defense Mechanisms: When it is in danger, this frog screams to scare off its foe, and it squeaks when it is touched.
Misc characteristics: The White’s Treefrog has thick rubbery skin with a cuticle covering that helps it retain water. These frogs are communal and do better when kept in groups rather than alone.
White’s Treefrogs need space. A pair of adults needs at least a 40-gallon aquarium tank, with 10 gallons added for a third adult. The enclosure should be vertically oriented to provide plenty of climbing opportunities. Cover the tank securely with a screen top for ventilation.
Arrange branches and plants diagonally in the tank to provide the frog with a chance to climb and hide during the day. Climbing branches should be at least as wide as the diameter of the frog’s body.
Organic mulch, paper and towels are good substrates. Avoid small bark and gravel, as the frog may ingest them. Avoid aromatic wood substrates like cedar, since they can cause health risks. Inspect substrates daily to remove soiled material.
White’s Treefrogs like a daytime temperature in the upper 70s to low 80s F. during the day and slightly lower at night. They can tolerate cooler temperatures as long as they never dip below 70. If room temperature doesn’t provide these readings, secure a 20-watt incandescent bulb above the enclosure’s screen. Avoid heat sources that are too powerful for the size of the enclosure, which can cause overheating and lower humidity levels. Monitor the temperature carefully by positioning two thermometers in the enclosure at branch level where the frog spends most of its time: one near the heat source and the other in a cooler section. Never put the enclosure in direct sunlight.
White’s Treefrogs don’t need as much humidity as many other frogs. They can have a relatively high level of humidity — around 50 percent. Lightly misting the enclosure every day with chlorine-free water should provide this. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity.
Even though they sleep during the day, they still need exposure to ultraviolet rays. Do this with a supplemental low-output UVB light such as a fluorescent lamp designed for frog terrariums. Fluorescent bulbs need replacing every six months. Glass blocks out UVB light, so keep overhead light sources behind a wire mesh cover, not a glass or acrylic tank top. There should be a distinct day/night cycle. Use a timer to set day/night periods. If a heat source is required to maintain correct nighttime temperatures, use heat mats or strips mounted below or on the side of the tank, infrared heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, or a combination of these.
White’s Treefrogs love to eat and will gladly accept any insect offered. Avoid overfeeding or they will become obese. Do not feed them wild-caught insects because they may contain pesticides. Gut loaded crickets are a good choice of food, as are cockroaches, moths and beetles: All should be dusted with supplements. Feed adults 10-15 crickets every other day, and feed juveniles 3-6 crickets every day. Offer only what the frog can eat in a few minutes. It is necessary to provide calcium and vitamin supplements as part of the diet.
Keep a large, shallow water bowl in the enclosure. The water level in the bowl should be shallow, and there needs to be a climbing branch in the bowl to make it easy for the frog to climb out of the water.
A Note About Overfeeding
You can judge the weight of a White’s Frog by looking at the supratympanic ridges over its ears. This is where it stores fat. If the ridge is visible, the frog is underweight and needs more food. If the supratympanic ridges cover the ear membrane, the frog is overweight and the frog needs less food. Obese frogs have a shorter lifespan.
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