Red-Eyed Tree Frogs or Red-Eyed Leaf Frog

24 05 2011

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs or Red-Eyed Leaf Frog

The animal order Annura offers the greatest variety in captive-bred amphibian pets. One such member of that order is the Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) who has bright red eyes, orange suction-cup toes and a mostly green body with splashes of blue and yellow.  Reaching a length of approximately 3 inches, this brightly colored frog is native to the neotropical rainforests of Southern Mexico and Central America.

It is believed that the bight markings are a way the frog avoids predators.  When the bright colors flash into view, it has been suggested that a ghost image occurs in the visual field were the frog was originally.  The frog has just enough time to hide because of the visual confusion that is created.  The red-eyed tree frog is not poisonous although it is also assumed that the bright coloration may make the frog appear poisonous thereby deterring predators by questioning their choice of a meal.

This frog is a skilled climber that likes to stick to leaves and wait for food to walk or fly by. The red-eyed tree frog’s diet should include a variety of insects including moths, crickets, beetles, flies and spiders.  Feed gut-loaded insects and dust the insects in supplements before feeding.  Make sure the size of the insect is appropriate for the size of the frog you are feeding.  When you’re not sure of what size insect to feed smaller insects are better.  The diet may also be supplemented with tubifex worms.

These frogs may live up to five years in captivity.

These frogs require a tall enclosure that is well-ventilated and includes a shallow water feature or bowl of water.  These frogs will reach a length of 2 to 3 inches.  Two or three frogs may be housed in one 20-gallon tall tank.

The red-eyed tree frog requires a moderate to highly humid environment.

Good choices of substrate include soil, leaf litter, and coconut fiber or sphagnum moss.  These frogs appreciate hiding places and heavy foliage. Lack of sufficient hiding places

or too much handling may stress a frog and make them more susceptible to disease.   Fake or live large-leafed plants such as bromeliads may be draped over wooden

perches to create the ideal environment.  Live foliage will help to maintain the proper lighting and humidity within the enclosure.  Soil with additives or chemicals should not be used as a substrate.

These frogs are nocturnal in nature (more active at night).

Live plants will require a daylight bulb although the frog does not require UVA and UVB lighting that is necessary for many reptiles.  An additional benefit of lighting is that it also helps warm the enclosure to the preferred temperature range of from 75 to 85º F.  The temperature of the enclosure should be reduced slightly at night.


Collins, Marian.  “Amphibians for Intermediate Owners.”  Pet Age.  April 2008.  P. 46-53.




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