Red Eyed Tree Frog

Red-eyed Treefrog, Red Eyed Leap Frog

Family: Hylidae Red Eyed Tree Frog Agalychnis callidryas, also called Red Eyed Leap FrogAgalychnis callidryasPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Russ Gurley
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Hello everyone. I'm looking into getting some live plants for my frogs aquarium. I have a red eyed tree frog, love him to death and his name is Mr. Red. :) I've... (more)  CJ

The beautiful Red Eyed Tree Frog is on of the most sought after of the hybrid frogs!

The Red Eyed Tree Frog Agalychnis callidryas is one of the most popular pet frogs. It has a light green body with blue banding on the sides, interspersed with white, though it can change its color to blend in with the substrate. However, its most notable characteristic are the bright red eyes that its common name is derived from. Another common name, though less frequently used, is the Red Eyed Leap Frog.

These cute frogs are not hard to keep as long as their needs are met. They become active at night and are thus awake when the family is home from school and work. They are funny frogs, always fascinating to watch, but it is especially exciting to witness their color changes. They turn from shades of light green to dark brown, matching their surrounding environment, when they are hunting.

The Red Eyed Tree Frog is an excellent pet frog for beginners and experienced frog owners alike. They were first imported prior to the middle or late 1980s, generally from Honduras. There are suspected to be more than one species, possibly up to three, though the genetic research is pending.

For more Information on keeping frogs see:
Guide to a Herptiles: Reptile & Amphibian Care

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Geographic Distribution
Agalychnis callidryas
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Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Genus: Agalychnis
  • Species: callidryas
Red Eyed Tree Frog

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Agalychnis callidryas (Red Eyed Tree Frog)

Agalychnis callidryas (Red Eyed Tree Frog)

Scientific Name

Agalychnis callidryas

Habitat: Distribution/Background

The Red Eyed Tree Frog Agalychnis callidryas was first described by Cope in 1862. The Red Eyed Tree Frogs are found naturally from Central America to Mexico, most notably in Honduras. They are native to Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. They live in tropical forests and move from tree to tree, staying somewhat low to the ground, where they return every night to hunt. They will almost always be found near a water source. Other common names they are known by include Red-eyed Treefrog, Red Eyed Leap Frog, and Red-eyed Leapfrog.

Status

The Agalychnis callidryas is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species as Least Concern (LC). The Red Eyed Tree Frog is generally considered to be an abundant species.

Description

The most striking characteristic of the Red Eyed Tree Frog is obviously their red eyes. The body is a light green in color with blue banding on the sides, interspersed with white. The feet are generally yellowish. They may sometimes have white dorsal spotting. The females are the larger of the species, reaching up to 3" (7.6 cm) while the largest size for a male is 2 ¼ inches (5.7 cm).

Food and Feeding

Crickets and house flies are two of the best foods for the Red Eyed Tree Frog. Crickets should be fed a ‘gut load' diet, readily available at most pet stores. This gives the cricket, and in turn your frog, a better diet with more vitamins, minerals, and calcium. Red Eyed Tree Frogs are sensitive to calcium and Vitamin D3 deficiencies, so these should be provided in powder form by dusting the crickets with a powdered mixture of 1/3 calcium and 2/3 vitamin powder every third or fourth time they are fed.

Housing

The smallest suggested enclosure size for a single frog or a pair of Red Eyed Tree Frogs is a twenty gallon ‘tall' aquarium. These frogs are arboreal, or tree-dwelling, and need the height rather than the length in an enclosure. Orchid bark or a coconut-fiber based substrate work best.

Ventilation is also important for the frogs and balancing ventilation and humidity can be complicated. You can cover part of the screen top with plastic wrap, or cover part of the top with a thin towel. Some handy keepers have even mounted a small computer fan on top of their tree frog enclosures to introduce a steady airflow into the cage.

These frogs enjoy many plants, vines, and limbs to climb on, as their natural environment is a forest. Some common plants that would readily be accepted by your frog are Philodendron, peace lilies, Pothos, prayer-plants, Sanseveria species, and bromeliads. These should be kept in their own pots buried in the substrate. Climbing branches at suitable widths (the width of your frog's body or larger) should be available at your local pet store.

If you wish to provide lighting for your frog, a fluorescent light will be best. Fluorescent lighting will help to set a day/night schedule as well as to help with calcium absorption and UV exposure, though it is currently under debate as to whether these frogs need the exposure or not.

Temperature and Humidity requirements:

The substrate should be kept damp and the cage should be misted three times a week. The humidity in the cage should be kept between 30 to 50% during the non-breeding season. If trying to create breeding conditions, you can raise the humidity to 80%, but constant exposure to this high humidity can result in health complications for your frog.

These frogs do well in temperatures between 65° to 85° F, though specimens kept at either extreme for suspended lengths of time can suffer health problems. It is best to keep the temperature at a happy medium of 70° to 75° F.

If your house is particularly cool, a low wattage (20 to 40-watt) daytime bulb can be useful, though a thermometer should be used to monitor the average temperature of the cage to make sure it does not get too hot. Some incandescent bulbs can heat up a glass enclosure very quickly and dangerously. Heat also lessens humidity as the water evaporates, so you may need to mist more often with a heat bulb in use.

Cage Care

Any and all water provided for your frog should have chlorine and chloramines removed. Both of these chemicals are often used in local water treatments. You can use a dechlorinator or purchase purified or distilled water. Some dedicated frog keepers have even set up home RO systems (reverse osmosis) to provide purified water for their frogs. Water should be provided in a bowl for your frog.

The water bowl needs to be cleaned daily, as that is where the bulk of the urination and defecation will occur. Any other feces should be scooped out or scraped from the glass daily. The cage should be misted two to three times a week, depending on the relative humidity of the cage. This is easily determined by keeping a humidity reader in the cage.

Behavior

These frogs do well alone, in pairs, or in colonies. They get along well with each other and provided the cage is large enough, there will be no aggression problems. For more than two frogs, a 55-gallon tank is recommended. You can go with a different size tank (such as a hexagon), as it will provide more height, which is an essential factor for these tree frogs.

Red Eyed Tree Frogs become active mainly at night. They will climb down to the bottom of the cage to get time by the water bowl and also to hunt. Sometimes, the frog will change its color to blend in with the substrate to aide in hunting, turning a dark brown.

Handling

These tree frogs do not normally jump, preferring a hand over hand motion of moving. However, their leaps can be quite large if they are startled. It is always better to handle your new frog over its cage until you know how it will react to your presence. As these animals absorb substances through their skin, it is vitally important that you wash your hands before and after handling the frog, for its own safety and for yours.

Reproduction

If you wish to initiate breeding, you should first have a pair, male and female. Only the males vocalize, so that along with the size difference of the sexes, is an easy way separate the sexes.

Raise the average humidity and make sure that there are plenty of leaves available DIRECTLY OVER a water source, rather large in area. The leaves should be no more than two to four inches above the water source. The female, once approached by the male, will deposit her eggs in a gelatinous substance on the underside of a leaf over the water source. The male will then fertilize the eggs.

Once the eggs mature, the tadpoles will wriggle out of the egg sac and fall directly into the water. The clutches can contain between 20 to 75 eggs, depending on the size and age of the female. A female can deposit up to three or four clutches of eggs in a single night. Temperatures should be kept between 78° to 85° F for ideal hatching, which occurs between five and eleven days.

The tadpole stage lasts between 40 to 60 days. It is critical that the water is kept clean, aerated, and that the tadpoles are offered food in the form of flake fish food, soaked leaves, and live aquarium algae and moss. Once the tadpoles metamorphose to the froglet stage, they will have an insatiable appetite. You should feed them wingless fruit flies and pinhead crickets on a high calcium gut load and dusted with calcium powder every other feeding, as they are prone to MBD (metabolic bone disease) at this stage.

Diseases: Ailments/Treatments

Along with many other frogs, Red Eyed Tree Frogs are highly prone to metabolic bone disease. It is particularly important that you gut-load their feeders with a mixed, high-quality diet and that the feeder insects are lightly dusted with a calcium and vitamin powder every other feeding.

Availability

These frogs are readily available at many pet stores. Depending on the size and age, they can range in price between $20 and $50.

References

Author: Monica Rearick
Lastest Animal Stories on Red Eyed Tree Frog


CJ - 2012-01-11
Hello everyone. I'm looking into getting some live plants for my frogs aquarium. I have a red eyed tree frog, love him to death and his name is Mr. Red. :)

I've been trying to look online to see if there are places to buy plants from but I don't want to have the possibilities for having fertilizer or unhealthy stuff in the plants for my frog. So I'm curious if anyone knows personally of a site online that sells the type of plants my frog likes that are also safe for my frog.

Thanks, and love this site. :)

  • Alex Burleson - 2012-01-11
    Choose broad leaf varieties of plant that can support the weight of the frog. Some suggestions include snake plants (Sansevieria), many bromeliads, pothos ivy, some philodendrons, Japanese evergreen, java moss, Anthurium, Mongtera species and creeping figs. Remember, plants will require a full spectrum bulb for growth. The Red-Eye Tree Frog does not require any special lighting, so make sure you provide hiding or shade spots in your enclosure.
Reply
cory workman - 2013-01-29
there is a place called josh's frogs they sell online plants and other stuff for frogs plus all kinds of frogs to location is in michigan and i've to there store personally to buy some plants cool store and a lot of plants check them out it's called joshs rogs

Reply
Ashley - 2010-04-06
Tree frogs shoudn't be kept in cages, they should be in the wild where they belong. I can understand if they are in captivity because they're population is dropping, but using them for you own entertainment is terrible! Think if you were in a cage all day and you were meant to be in the wild, but you just couldn't get out because you're so small. Think about it. :(

  • JJ - 2010-04-29
    Well, if you have a dog, you better let that loose too and cats too. Guess you better not have an aquarium either. My frog was born in captivity and if you think about it, the only reason that some animal populations are still around is due to zoos and to people breeding them. I agree that it would be better out in the wild but as their habitats are being destroyed, what are we supposed to do? The only entertainment I get is from it walking down my arm and going to sleep, just as I am entertained by watching my deaf dog (who obviously would have died in the wild) fetch sticks and bring them back to me. Its called companionship and that's what pets are for.
  • wil - 2010-05-09
    Without us trying to attempt to breed and find out more about these beautys, where will they be in the wild in five to ten years, ashley? G-O-N-E That's where quit trying to be self righteous and educate yourself. KTCS
    ( the t.v. station) had a program about frogs at the end of April, I believe that this would be a good place for you to start your learning. It discusses about Kitrid ( a parasitic fungus attacking frogs). As well as how all the household products expelled into our water sources are genetically changing frogs, this includes excess hormones from birth control pills disposed into our water sources through elimination of bodily fluids. So good luck protecting that glass house ashley.
  • Emily - 2010-05-11
    If people are selling them as pets though, surely it is ok to buy them. I do know what you mean though! =)
  • AJ - 2010-08-31
    I'm sorry, are you in PETA? Tree Frogs do VERY well in captivity. And most of them are captive bred, so it's not like they go from being in the rainforest to being in a tank. And in the wild, Frogs may occupy one territory for their entire lives. Being in a tank is basically the same. I hope you don't own any dogs or cats to be speaking like that either.
  • Lucas - 2010-11-27
    What if they were born in captivity. They aren't taken out of the wild then. I have two Red Eyed Tree Frogs and they love their habitat and their new home. They are so happy and they have never NOT been happy. I keep them in an 18"Wx18"Lx24inW tank (Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium.) Most veterinarians say they are easily stressed but I take mine out and handle them at least once a week and they are fine with it and never show signs of stress (stress in them is indicated by a brownness of the skin instead of the neon green.) Mine were C.B. (captivity bred) so they are not wild deprived, captivity is their wild and they do not seem to mind it.
  • Dave B - 2010-12-15
    Read 'The Life of Pi' for a better understanding of the situation that caged and zoo animals are in. As an example from the book, many caged animals that 'escape' often return to their cage after a short time. Life in the wild has many more dangers and hardships than a cage.
  • Rob - 2010-12-17
    I understand how you feel and can respect that, however if you show concern for one animal you must for all and therefore be vegan because you would not eat meat, nor eggs because even free range only means they have a larger sized pen. In fact even eating vegetables causes the death of some amazing creatures. Every year 20,000 wild African grey Elephants are murdered in order to diminish an already dwindling population so that farmers can expand their land for crops. Crops have always been built in the grazing land of native animals. You also shouldn't therefore even own a dog or cat, as the dogs unless bought from a purebred breeder costing minimum$600 depending on breed as petshop dogs are bred in tiny cages with concrete floors and are given physical deficiencies to attain the unnatural look most dogs now have. Nor should you own a cat, who's natural habitat is found nowhere within australia(I'm assuming is where you live) and their ever present thirst for blood and the thrill of a hunt means they will always kill native birds and marsupials regardless how much and often they are fed and whether you see the remains.
  • Michael - 2010-12-22
    Clearly you have never worked in an office.
  • Bob - 2011-01-14
    Ummm, there are no animals that are kept as pets currently that at one point were not wild. And seeing that this page was mostly about how to keep one as a pet, and you knew that this was the type of page it was, you came here asking for trouble.
  • The Frog - 2011-03-10
    She has no right to tell them what they want.
Reply
david - 2011-06-25
Hey. I have a Red-eyed Tree Frog and I feed him primarily live crickets. However, this food source is getting expensive and I was wondering if it is possible to wean my frog onto freeze-dried crickets and mealworms. If this is possible, how would I get him to eat the nonliving alternatives? Thanks.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-25
    Red-eyed tree frogs are carnivorous and eat crickets, moths, flies, and other insects, and have been known to eat other small frogs. For froglets, fruit flies and pinhead crickets are the meals of choice.
    This is what I can find and I can find nothing which says they can eat freeze dried foods. The problem here is they would be non-moving (as you realize) and therefore the little guy would not recognize them as food. There are obviously other choices besides the crickets - but I don't think non living would work.

  • kayla - 2011-10-25
    Live food is needed. If it isn't living they don't eat it as they don't see the dead insects as food.
Reply
cory workman - 2013-01-29
there is a place called josh's frogs they sell online plants and other stuff for frogs plus all kinds of frogs to location is in michigan and i've to there store personally to buy some plants cool store and a lot of plants check them out it's called joshs rogs

Reply
willowbee - 2010-04-06
I'm 12 and I really want a red eye tree frog they are soo cute, but idk how to get one so if any one knows where to get one please reply.

  • Editor's Note - 2010-04-06
    You could start by checking to see if any local pet stores carry them. If they do not, ask them if they could special order one for you.
  • Lucas - 2010-11-27
    You can order them online! Thru the mail! That's how I got mine when I was 14. It may seem cruel but how do you think pet stores get them? Yep, that's right, through the mail! By the way they are usually captive bred babies so they don't know the difference and you get them the second morning after you order them. Example: If you order them Monday you will get them Wednesday about 10:30am. I recommend getting them at reptilesncritters.com because they are born in captivity on that site. Not taken from the wild. There they are $40.00 for adults and $30.00 for babies...plus about $35.00 for shipping.
Reply