Red-Eyed Tree Frog Care Sheet
Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.
Also called the red-eyed leaf frog, red-eyed tree frogs are named for their bright red eyes. These amphibians are native to the rainforests of Mexico, Central America and Colombia. They have a friendly nature and thrive in groups of the same species. They love to climb and become active and vocal at dusk. They are very popular as pets due to their stunning coloration.
Typical appearance and behavior
- Red-eyed tree frogs are nocturnal (active at night) and arboreal (tree-climbing)
- They have green bodies, blue legs and sides, orange toes and white bellies; some have yellow stripes between the blue and green on their bodies
- They have yellow eyelids that are thin enough to see through, making their eyes appear green in the daylight
- During the day, they close their eyes and tuck in their blue-colored legs to camouflage themselves from predators in the trees
- While sleeping, they make their bodies compact to minimize exposed surface area and reduce water evaporation
- They have large toes with sticky pads on the bottom to help them adhere to smooth surfaces
- Females are longer and bulkier than males
- They become stressed when handled too often
|Average Life Span||
Up to 4 to 10 years with proper care, depending on species
|Average Adult Size||2 to 2.5 inches long for males, 3 to 3.5 inches long for females|
|Minimum Habitat Size||10+ gallons for one adult, 20+ gallons for 3 to 4 adults|
Keep in an appropriate size habitat, which can range from 10 gallons for one adult to 20+ gallons for up to 4 frogs, with a securely fitting screen top to prevent escape and allow adequate ventilation. Habitats should be vertically oriented to allow climbing and exercise. Provide as large a habitat as possible. Red-eyed 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 commercially available branches. While décor should be arranged for climbing, do not overcrowd the tank to enable insects to hide during feeding. Arrange branches and driftwood diagonally 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.
- Humidity - Supply dechlorinated water in a shallow, untippable bowl, about 1-2" deep to help maintain humidity at 70-80% and to allow frogs to soak. Mist plants and other habitat décor or use an automated misting system or fogger to increase humidity. Monitor humidity with a humidity gauge.
- Substrate - Use a mulch-type substrate 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 68-70°F at night with a temperature range during the day of 75-85°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.
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 before placing frog back in the habitat
A well-balanced red-eyed tree frog diet consists of:
- A variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, CalciWorms, roaches, small hornworms, silkworms, waxworms and mealworms
- 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 red-eyed tree frog:
- Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times
- Feed juveniles daily; adults under 3” long should be fed every 1-2 days, and adults over 3” long should be fed every 2-3 days
- Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily for juveniles and 2-3 times per week for adults; provide a multivitamin supplement once a week
- Because frogs swallow prey whole, insects fed should be no longer than the width of the frog’s head
- Insects with hard exoskeletons, such as mealworms, can damage a frog’s gastrointestinal tract and should be fed sparingly
- These frogs tend to overeat if given the chance and can become obese
- Always wear moistened, non-powdered gloves when handling your frog, 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.
- Red-eyed tree frogs naturally secrete toxins from their skin to ward off predators. Because this secretion can be irritating for humans, do not allow the frog’s secretions to contact your eyes, mouth or open wounds
Where to buy
Red-eyed tree frogs are available for purchase at your local Petco location. Please call ahead to check availability.
- appropriately sized habitat
- sphagnum moss
- water and mealworm dishes
- insects for feeding
- climbing décor
- heat light
- heat fixture
- under tank heater
- UVB lighting
- Multivitamin supplement
- calcium supplement
- cricket keeper
- cricket food
- humidity gauge
- Males should not be housed together, as they typically fight; a single male may be housed with one or more females
- Housing similar sized frogs together helps minimize aggression
- Do not house different amphibian species together
Signs of a healthy red-eyed 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
- 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 red-eyed tree frog health issues
|Health Issue||Symptoms or Causes||Suggested Action|
|Health IssueChemical intoxication||Symptoms or CausesCaused by exposure to soap, detergent, pesticides or other chemicals that are absorbed through 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 CausesMay be caused by swallowing substrate such as gravel or by eating a large number of hard-shelled insects.||Suggested ActionConsult with your veterinarian; surgery may be required.|
|Health IssueNutritional deficiencies/metabolic bone disease||Symptoms or CausesWeak hind legs, lethargy, weight loss, broken bones, lighter or darker skin color.||Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian and ensure a varied diet; use vitamin and mineral supplements and ensure proper UVB lighting.|
|Health IssueSkin problems/discoloration||Symptoms or CausesMay be due to abrasions/trauma or bacterial and fungal infections.||Suggested ActionConsult with your veterinarian.|
- What do red-eyed tree frogs eat? Red-eyed tree frogs should be offered a variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, CalciWorms and small hornworms.
- Is a red-eyed tree frog poisonous? No, red-eyed tree frogs are not poisonous; however, all amphibians secrete toxins from their skin to ward off predators. The secretion released by red-eyed tree frogs is irritating and not deadly. Do not allow frog’s secretions to contact your eyes, mouth or open wounds.
- Where can I buy a red-eyed tree frog? Red-eyed tree frogs are available at Petco; call to check availability.
- How big is a red-eyed tree frog? Male red-eyed tree frogs are 2-2.5 inches long, and females are 3-3.5 inches long.
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 bacteria, 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 sick or you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.