Resource Center Menu
Monkey Tree Frog

Monkey Tree Frog

phyllomedusinae spp

Abundant in dry areas of South America, these amphibians secrete a waxy substance, which they rub all over their skin to prevent water from evaporating. These frogs use their hands and feet to crawl around instead of hopping. Includes orange-legged, giant waxy, painted and chacoan frogs.

Monkey Tree Frog

Monkey Tree Frog Facts

Average Adult Size 1.5-5 inches long, depending on species and sex
Average Life Span 8 to 10+ years with proper care, depending on species
Diet insectivore

Will reach adult size in 12-18 months, depending on species and under ideal conditions.


A well-balanced Monkey Tree Frog diet consists of:

  • A variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, mealworms and waxworms.


Things to remember when feeding your Monkey Tree Frog:

  • Fresh, clean, chlorinefree water should be available at all times.
  • Feed juveniles daily, adults every other day. Do not feed anything larger than the width of the Frog’s head.
  • Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily and a multivitamin supplement once or twice a week.


  • Size - appropriate size glass habitat with a tight-fitting screen lid.
  • Habitat - provide large driftwood branches and artificial, nonedible plants placed directly below basking lamp. Maintain less than 50% humidity by misting as needed.
  • Substrate - use a mulch-type such as coconut fiber; avoid gravel and artificial turf (too harsh for skin).
  • Temperature - temperature gradient (90-95°F for the warm end and 70°F for the cool end).
  • Lighting - UVB rays with full spectrum lighting for 10-12 hours a day is required. An incandescent day bulb can be used for basking area during daylight hours only; can use a ceramic heater or black or red incandescent at all hours.
  • House adult male Monkey Tree Frogs separately and do not house different reptile species together.

Normal Behaviour

  • Nocturnal (active during the night).
  • Love to climb and will perch on branches during the day.
  • Handling is not recommended due to stress, which can make them too frightened to eat and possibly damage their delicate skin.
  • Females are usually larger than males.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Thoroughly clean the habitat at least once a week: place Frog in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings with hot water; dry the tank and furnishings completely and add clean substrate.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Don’t handle unless necessary; always wear latex gloves when handling your Frog; residue or oil on your skin can harm amphibians; all amphibians secrete toxins. Do not allow Frog’s secretions to contact eyes, mouth, or open wounds.


signs of a healthy animal

  • Active, vocal, and sociable after dark
  • Eats regularly
  • Healthy skin
  • Clear eyes
  • Maintains weight

Red Flags

  • lethargy
  • skin lesions
  • loss of appetite
  • distressed breathing
  • weight loss
  • weak leg movements

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Chemical intoxication Symptoms or Causes Caused by exposure to soap, detergent, pesticides, etc. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian and protect your amphibian from exposure.
Health Issue Intestinal obstruction Symptoms or Causes Caused by swallowing gravel or by eating too many hard-shelled insects. Suggested Action Consult with your exotic animal veterinarian; surgery may be required.
Health Issue Nutritional deficiencies Symptoms or Causes Weak hind legs, lethargy, lighter or darker skin color. Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian and ensure varied diet; use vitamin and mineral supplements.
Health Issue Skin problems Symptoms or Causes Abrasions, bacterial and fungal infections. Suggested Action Consult with your exotic animal veterinarian.


Ask an associate about Petco’s selection of books on Monkey Tree Frogs and the variety of Petco Brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All Petco Brand 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 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a Frog and should consider not having a Frog as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about Frogs and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

See for more information.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.