American Green Tree Frog

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Other common names: Green Treefrog

Scientific name: Hyla cinerea

The Basics:
This beautiful frog has been largely overlooked by keepers within its home range and abroad, and is rarely bred in captivity. Those who take the time to know the American Green Treefrog, however, find it to be a most personable and fascinating pet.

The huge range of this US endemic extends from Delaware south through Florida and west to eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma, and north along the Mississippi River drainage to southern Illinois. Introduced populations are established in central Missouri and Puerto Rico.

The American Green Treefrog is usually found in the vicinity of slow-moving water bodies that support dense emergent vegetation. Canal and river edges, swamps, and flooded brushy meadows are its primary habitats, but well-watered yards and parks are also colonized.

Appearance / Health:
The American Green Treefrog is slender in build, with an average length of 1.2 – 2.5 inches. The body color ranges from light to yellowish or brilliant green, and is sometimes flecked with white or gold spots. A white or cream colored band extends along the sides of the body.

Well-cared-for pets may live to 7+ years of age. Nutritional deficiencies (caused by an improperly-varied diet) and digestive tract blockages that result from feeding overly large or difficult-to-digest insects, are the most commonly encountered health problems.

Behavior / Temperament:
American Green Treefrogs are nocturnal, but will readily awaken to feed by day.

As is true for all amphibians, they should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

American Green Treefrogs do well in groups if provided enough space and cover. High-style aquariums that allow climbing space make the best homes for these strictly arboreal frogs. A 20 gallon tank makes a good home for 1-4 adults.

A sphagnum/peat moss mix or carpet moss may be used as the substrate. Shy at first, they are best provided with numerous cork bark rolls, branches, plants and vines. Live plants are best…Snake Plants, Pothos, Philodendron and Peace Lilies will be appreciated by these little gymnasts, and leaf clusters make cozy retreats.

Temperature tolerance varies with the origin of the animal in question, but most fare best when kept at 72-76 F. Treefrogs do not require Ultra-Violet B light, but anecdotal evidence indicates that low levels of UVB, along with UVA, may be of some benefit.

Moderately high humidity levels and ample air circulation is essential. The terrarium should be misted at least twice daily. They need only a simple water bowl, which should be changed daily. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via liquid preparations available at pet stores.

Alternatively, American Green Treefrogs can be housed in terrariums decorated with live plants and branches overhanging several inches of water. Undergravel, or submersible turtle filters may be used in the water sections of treefrog terrariums.

A highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, are not an adequate diet. Provide your pet with small roaches, sow bugs, crickets, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies (an excellent food for most treefrogs), silkworms, and other commercially available insects. Insects should be offered a healthful diet for several days before use. Soft-bodied flying insects such as moths and crane flies are especially favored.

These and other treefrogs do best when fed small insects, the size of a ¼ to ½ inch cricket, despite their willingness to tackle larger prey. Mealworms may be too much for this species’ digestive system to handle, and should be avoided.

Most meals should be coated with a powdered Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin mineral supplement should be used 2-3x weekly.

Breeding may be stimulated by normal fluctuations in room temperature, but a cooling off period of 4-6 weeks at 55 F (after a week-long fast) will yield more consistent results. A commercial rain-system or rain chamber, or increased misting, is useful in stimulating breeding behavior.

Sexual maturity is reached at 1 ½ -2 years of age. Females may be distinguished from males by their larger size and stouter build. Gravid females produce 400-4,000+ eggs, which are deposited at and just below the water’s surface. At 76 F, the tadpoles hatch within 5-7 days. They may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and par-boiled dandelion and other greens. Metamorphosis is achieved in 25-50 days.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


Fun personalities, nice display, wonderful color, healthy happy frog, starter tree frog


chirp, dislike handling, light sleeper


community herp cage, warm temps, nocturnal species, tall terrariums, high humidity

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