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Red-eyed Tree Frog

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) Care Sheet

Taxonomy
(Agalychnis callidryas)

  • Kingdom:
  • Animalia
  • Phylum:
  • Chordata
  • Class:
  • Amphibia
  • Order:
  • Anura
  • Family:
  • Hylidae
  • Genus:
  • Agalychnis
  • Species:
  • callidryas

Red-eyed Tree Frog
(Agalychnis callidryas)

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

Red-eyed Tree Frog

The Red Eye Tree Frog has become the "poster child" of the Save the Rainforest effort. Due to the frogs unusual characteristics and colors, most individuals recognize the Red Eye Tree Frog. They are known for their cat like tomato red eyes with vertical, black, elliptical pupils. The dorsal surface, face and legs are leaf green, with bright orange toes. The side of their body is blue with white to gold stripes. Their upper arms are also blue in color. Some color variation has been noted depending on the location or range of the individual frogs habitat. Frogs from the northern range (Mexico and Honduras) have no stripes on the sides of their body and have orange thighs. The bars on the side of the frog are connected by a yellow stripe indicating the frog is native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. There is another variation from Panama, which can have orange and blue thighs with "T" shaped bars on the side. It is not unusual to find white spots on the back, in a variety of numbers, in any of the red-eye frog ranges. They have a white underbelly. During metamorphosis, these frogs are brown and can have white speckles. The adult coloration will not take place for several months.

Females of the species are larger, on average of 2 ½ -3" in length. Their male counterpart is only 2 to 2-1/2" in length.

Distribution

The red-eye tree frogs range is from southeastern Mexico to Panama and are noted to have been found in Colombia. Most exported frogs come from Nicaragua. The red-eye tree frog is found in the neotropical rain forest close to streams or water sources. They are an arboreal species (tree dwelling), spending their time in the canopy of the rain forest, rarely descending to the floor. They are also nocturnal and are excellent jumpers.

Red-eye tree frogs are not considered an amphibian for beginners. Wild caught animals are more difficult to raise than captive bred, but both can be a challenge.

Temperament - Handling

These frogs are more commonly used for display than for handling. Handling of these frogs should only commence when absolutely necessary.

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

Habitat - Enclosure

Red-eye tree frogs do well in a community setting with more than one frog. They require an enclosure that is tall opposed to long, as they require height for climbing. A minimum of a 10-gallon size aquarium (20" L x 10" W x 12" H) is recommended for one frog with an additional 5-gallon size (16" x 8" x 11") space for each additional frog. Remember the taller the enclosure, the happier the frog. Tops should have at least half glass and half screen to help keep humidity levels high. For more information on how to make an arboreal enclosure check out the following link: Converting For Arboreal

Feeding

Red-eye tree frogs eat a variety of insects, including crickets, flies, moths, grasshoppers, and even other small frogs. The rule of thumb is to only feed insects that are no larger then the width between the frogs eyes. Insects should be dusted with vitamin powder with vitamin D3. A source of water should be available at all times for the frogs to re-hydrate themselves either by drinking or submerging. Breeding your own crickets is an ideal way to ensure that the insects are being fed a nutritional diet, thus passing on nutrients to your frogs.

Heating

These frogs do best with a daytime temperature of 75-85° and a night temperature of 65-75° though they can do very well at room temperature depending on the temperatures in which you keep your home. To keep the enclosure at the recommended temperatures, you can use any of following: Under-tank heaters (UTH) or a human heating pad, ceramic heat emitters or low wattage incandescent bulbs.

In the summer you must also be aware of temperatures and take measures to cool your enclosure if necessary. This can be done by changing the location of your enclosure, reducing the heat output of your warming elements using a rheostat or thermostat and by circulating the air in the room with a fan or open a window to prevent heat from building up in a single location.

Humidity

Red-eye tree frogs are from the rain forest and require a high humidity level of 80-100 percent. High humidity can be obtained by using a misting system or hand misting several times a day. you can also create a Drip Watering System but will need to utilize an overflow tank to ensure that excess standing water is removed from the enclosure.

Lighting

UV light has not been proven to be beneficial to these frogs. As with all species, a photoperiod of 12 hours of light will help create a "day time" and a "nigh time". Low level UV could be used if you are using live plants in the enclosure.

Substrate

Substrate can be as simple as moist paper towels or as complex as a grown cover mixture of varying mosses and plants. The following ground mixture can be used. The bottom layer is 1" deep of gravel for drainage. The second layer is 2"-3" of organic soil, or orchid bark and the top layer is an inch of sphagnum moss. One area of the floor should contain a pool of water; this is essential for breeding red-eye tree frogs. Use of an underground or canister filter is easiest to maintain this pool.

Plants

It is important to remember that red-eye Tree frogs are arboreal, requiring many different levels of vegetation. Plants should be repotted or directly potted into the substrate. When repotting or planting, make sure you rinse the plants to remove all pesticides and fertilizers, which can be harmful to your frogs. Choose broad leaf varieties of plant that can support the weight of the frog. Some suggestions include snake plants (Sansevieria), many bromeliads, pothos ivy, some philodendrons, Japanese evergreen, java moss, Anthurium, Mongtera species and creeping figs. Remember, plants will require a full spectrum bulb for growth. The red-eye tree frog does not require any special lighting, so make sure you provide hiding or shade spots in your enclosure.

Lifespan

The life span of the red-eye tree frog is around 5 years.

Sexing

Red-eyed tree frogs are not sexable until they reach maturity, which is around 2 years. (Breeding doesn't typically take place until they are around 3 years.) The biggest sexual difference between the sexes is their size. Males are much smaller than the females. Other than size, males will call in the evenings to attract a female during breeding season. Females rarely call out but will do so if frightened. Males will develop nuptial pads.

Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

Rain

Rain triggers a breeding response in red-eye tree frogs and in the wild they breed during or following the rains. Mimicking this behavior will help induce the breeding response in your frogs. A rain chamber or mist system can be used for this purpose. You will want to run your rain or misting system for several hours each night, multiple times.

If you are a "do-it-yourself" kind of person, you can also create a Drip Watering System. If you create several of these drip systems you can run several splitters to have "rain" falling consistently within the tank.

Breeding

The red-eye tree frogs breeding season is from October through March. The males will attract females by croaking, sometimes in unison. Males may compete for the same area on a branch, climbing on top of each other until they fall off, leaving only one male. The male frogs may also shake the branches where they are sitting to improve their chances of finding a mate by keeping competing males at bay.

When there is only one male left, he will attach himself to the female with his legs (amplexus). During mating, other males may climb on the back of the breeding male and the wrestling match begins again. The female, who is hanging upside down on the back of a leaf, must support the weight of all the males. The wrestling match continues until there is only one male left again.

The pair will hang upside down on a leaf, over a water source. (The water should be heated 78-80°.) The female will lay one egg at a time and the male will fertilize the egg. The female needs to make sure her body is hydrated during the mating process because eggs require a high percentage of water to survive. The female will enter a pool of water when she needs to re-hydrate herself. Once in the water, the wrestling match begins again.

Note:You need to place broad leaf plants in or around the water. they need to be secure as the frogs will climb on them and use the for egg deposition.

During this time, males may change positions while in the water, leaving the female with a different partner upon exiting the water. When the process is complete, the eggs are left to mature on the underside of a leaf that is overhanging the pool. In 5-9 days the eggs hatch and the tadpoles are released into the water. The tadpoles mature in the water and become froglets. Tadpoles can be fed fine fish food. When they develop their front legs, they can be placed in a separate tank.

Egg Rearing

You need to create a paludarium to rear your frogs or provide floating land masses for the froglets to exit the water. A tank filled with 6" inches of water is suitable. Make sure you provide a filter system to keep the ammonia levels at a minimum or change half of the water daily. Ammonia is the number one killer of tadpoles. The setup will also need plants and bark. The bark can be used as a way for the froglets to enter and exit the water. Once they loose their tails they can be moved back to the original enclosure. Remember to feed the correct size prey.

Attribution

Author: Colleen Boyd
Red-eyed Tree Frog Main - (Public Domain)
Red-eyed Tree Frog 2 - © Devon Massyn
Red-eyed Tree Frog 3 - (Public Domain)