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White’s Tree Frog Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

whites tree frog

Table of Contents

Overview

Litoria caerulea

White’s tree frogs, also called Australian green tree frogs, are an arboreal species native to Australia and New Guinea. These frogs prefer moist environments and typically live in trees where they drink and keep their skin moist from water that collects on the leaves. They are adaptable to different environments and can also be found outside in urban areas.

Typical appearance and behavior

  • These large frogs are green, blue-green or gray with white bellies; some also have white or yellow spots on their backs and sides
  • Their coloring may change slightly based on temperature and activity level
  • Females have white throats, while males have a gray, wrinkled vocal sac on their throats and dark-colored nuptial pads on the underside of their thumbs
  • Females are larger than males, reaching up to 4–4.5” long, versus males that are typically not larger then 3.5” long
  • Both males and females have round bodies and webbing between their large toes
  • They have a fatty ridge of tissue on top of their heads and small fold of fat beneath each eye, which makes them look tired. Because of their fat folds and chubby appearance, they are sometimes called the dumpy tree frog
  • They have horizontally oriented pupils, unlike other tree frogs that typically have vertically oriented pupils
  • These frogs are nocturnal (active at night) and typically sleep during the day unless disturbed.
  • During dry conditions, they secrete a milky substance called caerviein that covers them like a cocoon and keeps them hydrated
  • They make a loud, shrill distress call when threatened; males also make repetitive croaking calls to attract females
  • Unlike other species of tree frogs, White’s tree frogs are generally docile, calm and readily accept gentle handling
  • White’s tree frogs are solitary in nature and live in groups only during breeding season. They should be housed together only if they are similar size and age in order to prevent one from eating another

Characteristics

Care Difficulty Beginner
Average Life Span Up to 6-10+ years with proper care
Average Adult Size 3-3.5" long for males; 4-4.5" long for females
Diet Insectivore
Minimum Habitat Size 15-gallon tank for one frog; add 10 gallons for each additional frog

Habitat

Habitat size

Provide a minimum 15-gallon glass tank for one adult frog with a securely fitting screen top to prevent escape and allow adequate ventilation. Increase the size of the habitat by 10 gallons for each additional frog. Provide an appropriate size and shape habitat to accommodate normal behavior and exercise. Provide as large a habitat as possible. White’s tree frogs will reach adult size in about two years 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

What do white's tree frogs eat?

A well-balanced White’s 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 white’s 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 without vitamin D daily and a multivitamin supplement once a week
  • Feed only as many insects as a frog will consume in approximately 15 minutes—White’s tree frogs commonly become obese and develop rolls of fat that can cover their eyes

 

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.
  • White’s 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 White’s tree frogs

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

Habitat mates

  • White’s tree frogs can be housed individually or together in small groups, as long as frogs are about the same age and size
  • Do not house different amphibian or reptile species together

Health

Signs of a healthy White’s 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/ discoloration Symptoms or CausesLesions, sores and discoloration of skin; caused by bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Suggested ActionConsult your veterinarian.

FAQs

  • How long do White’s tree frogs live? White’s tree frogs live up to 6-10+ years with proper care.
  • How big do White’s tree frogs get? Adult males are 3-3.5” long, and adult females are 4-4.5” long.
  • What do White’s tree frogs eat? White’s tree frogs eat a variety of insects, including gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, CalciWorms and small hornworms.

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 if you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.