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Green Tree Frog

Green Tree Frog Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

green tree frog

Overview

Hyla cinerea

 

Green tree frogs are amphibians that live throughout the Southeastern U.S. along the shores of bogs, ponds and streams. The male’s distinct call can be easily heard in the evening and late at night, especially during breeding season or just before stormy weather. They thrive in groups of the same species, love to climb and have a friendly nature.

 

Typical appearance and behavior

  • Appear brown to green, depending on temperature, humidity and light levels
  • Typically have white bellies and a cream-colored stripe running from the side of their face down to their hind legs, plus small yellow spots on their backs
  • Nocturnal (active at night); typically sleep during the day unless disturbed
  • Arboreal (love to climb)
  • Females are usually larger than males

 

Characteristics

Care Difficulty Beginner
Average Life Span Up to 6+ years with proper care
Average Adult Size 1 to 3 inches longs
Diet Insectivore
Minimum Habitat Size 15-gallon aquarium minimum for up to 4 adults

 

Habitat

 

Habitat size

Provide a minimum 15-gallon glass tank for up to 4 frogs with a securely fitting screen top to prevent escape and allow adequate ventilation. Appropriate size and shape habitat should accommodate normal behavior and exercise. Provide as large a habitat as possible.

Green tree frogs will reach adult size in about a year under ideal conditions.

 

Building your habitat

  • Décor - Include live or artificial plants, with driftwood, cork bark or other types of branches. While décor should be arranged for climbing, do not overcrowd the tank to enable insects to hide during feeding. Arrange branches and driftwood on the diagonal in the tank while connecting the floor to the top so that frogs can move around. Cover the back wall with dark green paper on the outside or use large suction cups to attach slabs of cork bark to the back wall to reduce stress and make frogs feel more secure.
  • Substrate - Use a mulch-type such as coconut fiber, dampened sphagnum moss or large river rocks. Avoid gravel, small pieces of bark or small rocks that can be easily swallowed and lead to a potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal tract obstruction. Do not use reptile carpet or other artificial turf, as it is too harsh for frogs’ delicate skin.
  • Temperature – Habitats should be 65-68°F at night with a temperature range during the day of 72-80°F. Monitor temperatures with at least two thermometers. Under-tank heating pads under half the tank and attached to a thermostat can provide additional heat. Large rocks placed over the heating pad will absorb heat and provide a warm place for frogs to sit. You can also provide heat with a low-wattage (15 watt) incandescent bulb during the day and a nocturnal heat bulb placed over a high perching spot. If additional heat is needed, a ceramic heat bulb can also be used.
  • Lighting – Fluorescent lighting for 10-12 hours a day is required. An incandescent day bulb can be used to provide light and low levels of heat in the basking area during daylight hours if not using an under-tank heating pad or ceramic heat bulb. Low-level UVB lighting is recommended to help frogs make vitamin D in their skin to absorb dietary calcium. Provide hiding places to hide from light, as needed.
  • Humidity – Supply dechlorinated water in a shallow, untippable bowl, about 1-2" deep to help maintain humidity at 70-90% and to allow frogs to soak. Mist plants and other habitat décor to increase humidity. Monitor humidity with a humidity gauge.

 

 

Cleaning your habitat

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect water bowls daily
  • The habitat should be spot-cleaned daily to remove droppings
  • Thoroughly clean the habitat at least once a week:
  • Place frog in a secure habitat
  • Scrub the tank and furnishings with a reptile/amphibian habitat cleaner or 3% bleach solution
  • Rinse thoroughly with hot water until no residue remains—it is imperative that all traces of the cleaner or bleach solution are gone
  • Dry the tank and furnishings completely and add fresh substrate back into the habitat before placing frog back in the habitat

 

Feeding

A well-balanced green tree frog diet consists of:

  • variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) cricketsroachesmealwormswaxwormscalci-worms and small hornworms
  • A shallow bowl of dechlorinated water, refreshed daily, in the bottom of the habitat in which frogs can soak to maintain hydration (frogs absorb water through their skin). Do not use distilled water, as it lacks the minerals and salts needed for frogs to maintain their hydration

 

Things to remember when feeding your green tree frog:

  • Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times
  • Feed juveniles daily, adults every other day
  • Insects fed should be no longer than the width of the frog’s head
  • Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily and a multivitamin supplement daily for juvenile frogs and 2-3 times a week for adults

 

Care

  • As frogs have very delicate, porous skin that absorbs bacteria and oils from our skin and can get damaged easily, don’t handle unless necessary. Always wear moistened, non-powdered gloves when handling your frog.
  • Green tree frogs secrete toxins from their skin to ward off predators. Because this secretion is irritating for humans, do not allow the frog’s secretions to contact your eyes, mouth or open wounds.

 

Where to buy green tree frogs

Green tree frogs are available for purchase at your local Petco Pet Care Center location. Please call ahead to check availability.

 

Supplies

 

Habitat mates

Green tree frogs of the same species may be housed together in small groups, but do not  house different amphibian or reptile species together

 

Health

Signs of a healthy green tree frog

  • Active and alert at night
  • Clear eyes, nose and mouth
  • Skin free of sores, wounds or discoloration
  • Clear vent
  • Plump, rounded body
  • Eats food and passes stool regularly
  • Males vocalize loudly
  • Climbs readily
  • Hunts prey actively

 

Red flags (If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian)

  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Bloated abdomen or other body parts
  • Skin lesions or discoloration
  • Distressed breathing
  • Weak movements
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dull reactions
  • Excess hanging shed skin
  • Discharge or bubbles from eyes, nose or mouth

 

Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueChemical intoxication Symptoms or CausesCaused by exposure to soap, detergent, pesticides, oils on human skin or other chemicals that are absorbed through their porous skin. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian; protect your amphibian from exposure by handling only with moistened, gloved hands and removing all cleaning products from habitat.
Health IssueIntestinal obstruction Symptoms or CausesLethargy, decreased appetite, bloating; may be caused by swallowing gravel or other indigestible substrates or by eating too many hard-shelled insects. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian; surgery may be required.
Health IssueNutritional deficiencies/ metabolic bone disease Symptoms or CausesWeakness, fractured bones, lethargy, decreased appetite, change in skin color. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian; ensure a varied diet; use vitamin and mineral supplements and ensure proper UVB lighting
Health IssueSkin problems Symptoms or CausesLesions, sores and discoloration of skin; caused by bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian.

 

FAQs

  • Can you touch a green tree frog? Yes, but you must always wear moistened, non-powdered gloves. Minimal handling is best because they become very stressed when handled often.
  • Is a green tree frog poisonous? No, green tree frogs are not poisonous. However, all amphibians secrete toxins from their skin to ward off predators. The secretion released by green tree frogs is irritating and not deadly; do not allow frog’s secretions to contact your eyes, mouth or open wounds.
  • What do green tree frogs eat? Green tree frogs should be offered a variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, calci-worms and small hornworms.
  • How long do green tree frogs live? Green tree frogs can live up to 6 or more years with proper care and nutrition.
  • How big do green tree frogs get? Green tree frogs can grow 1 to 3 inches long, nose to vent.
  • Where do green tree frogs live? In nature, green tree frogs can be found in the Southeastern U.S. along the shores of ponds, bogs, and streams.
  • What size tank does a green frog need? A 15-gallon tank is the minimum recommended for up to 4 adult green tree frogs.
  • What do you put in a green tree frog tank? Live or artificial plants, driftwood and branches for climbing; a bowl of shallow dechlorinated water to soak in; substrate (coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, river rocks); plus an under-tank heater, UVB light, thermometers and humidity gauge.
  • How can you tell if a green tree frog is male or female? Females are larger and don’t croak loudly like males do.

 


Additional care sheets

Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center partner about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all frogs are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your frog and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physicians before purchasing and/or caring for a frog and should consider having a pet other than a frog.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about frogs and disease.

 

The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If your pet is ill or you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.