Other common names: RETF; Red-eyed Treefrog; Red Eye Tree Frog; Red Eye Leaf Frog
Scientific name: Agalychnis callidryas
The translation of this attractively-colored frog’s scientific name says it all – “Beautiful Tree Nymph”! The Red-Eyed Tree Frog is an extremely popular pet and the “poster child” for rain forest conservation - appearing on more calendars, book covers and travel brochures than any other amphibian.
The Red-Eyed Tree Frog’s natural range extends from Yucatan, Mexico to Panama, where it inhabits moist and wet lowland and hillside forests.
Appearance / Health:
The Red-Eyed Tree Frog is slender in build, with an average length of 2-3 inches. The back color ranges from light to brilliant green, and is sometimes flecked with white spots. White or cream colored bands mark the blue, purple, and brown flanks. The upper arms and thighs are blue and orange, the hands and feet are orange, and protruding red eyes adorn the head…a true “living jewel”!
Well-cared-for pets may reach 5-7 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:
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are nocturnal, but may 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. They remain rather shy in captivity and should not be disturbed.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs do well in groups. High-style aquariums that allow climbing space make the best homes for these strictly arboreal frogs. A 20 gallon tank can house 2-4 adults.
A sphagnum/peat moss mix or carpet moss may be used as the substrate. Shy and retiring, they are best provided with numerous cork bark rolls, branches, plants, and vines. Live plants are their preferred daytime resting places…Snake Plants, Pothos, Philodendron and Peace Lilies will be appreciated by these little gymnasts.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs fare best when kept at a temperature gradient of 75-85 F, with a dip to 70 F at night. 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, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs 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, crickets, butterworms, calciworms, cultured houseflies (an excellent food for most treefrogs), silkworms, and other commercially available insects. Burrowing species should be offered in cups suspended above-ground. 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.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs do best when fed small insects, the size of a 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.
Females may be distinguished from males by their larger size and stouter build. Males in breeding condition develop rough, brown nuptial pads along the inner arms. Breeding may be stimulated by a month long drop in temperature of 5-7 F, during which time misting should be reduced significantly. Once temperatures are returned to normal, a commercial rain-system or rain chamber, or increased misting, should be employed.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are bred most successfully in groups. Potential breeders should be placed in an aquarium containing 4 inches of water and stocked with potted broad-leafed live plants. Eggs are deposited on leaves over-hanging water or the aquarium’s sides. Gravid females produce multiple clutches of 20-50 eggs, and may breed 2 or more times each year. The tadpoles may be reared on a diet of fish food flakes, commercial tadpole pellets, and freeze-dried Daphnia. At 78 F, metamorphosis is achieved in 8-10 weeks. The tiny froglets should be offered flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, aphids and other tiny insects.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
scarlet eyd, bright orange feet, neon green bodies, stunning, neon frog, wonderful terrarium subjects
right conditions, proper care, humid tank, real skiddish
philodendron, inch cricket, natural cycles, Central America, supplements
Blobs by day, splashes of color by night.
Red-eyes are not the most active pet during the day. They sleep in their cages, sticking to the sides like big pale suction cups. They look pretty cool, actually. But they don't move at all, until nighttime. After dark, there have been many reports of at least four pairs of eyes watching guests and family members from the depths of the tree frog cage, and every now and then, a deep, throaty croak will pull me back from the edge of sleep.
When they're not suctioned to the side of a cage, they're usually walking around. Their lanky legs are always so impossibly thin and I love how all of their colors are so distinct: blue legs, orange toes, green skin, a yellow underbelly, and red eyes. They're a beautiful pet to have and are a great starting place for frog owners!.
From bluemaple Oct 24 2014 9:48PM
Red Eyed Tree Frogs
Red Eyed Tree Frogs(RETF) are beautiful tree frogs endemic to Central America. The typical specimens with the bold coloration are from the Pacific side of Central America while the less colorful specimen is endemic to the Pacific side of Central America. RETF's are nocturnal insectivores that spend most of their day curled up on the topside of a palm frond or large leaf to avoid predation. They can be found by looking up at leaves for that distinguishing curled up frog shaped shadow. Once the sun goes down they hop from leaf to leaf in search of prey items while trying to avoid the many snakes that feed on them. Among their predators include the fer de lance, eyelash pitviper, and cat eyed snakes.
Generally during the breeding season they lay their eggs on leaves overhanging small bodies of water. Therefore, when the tadpoles are ready to morph into tadpoles they fall right into the water until they morph into their adult form. So, there are many approaches to breeding. Some people prefer building a rain chamber, others just feed more and use a misting system. Although, a great way that a friend told me about is to put them into a screen cage outside in the late spring/early summer when it's raining quite often with a water dish at the bottom and a pothos plant to lay the eggs on.
The most important considerations for keeping RETF's are humidity, cleanliness, temperature, nutrition, and food. Humidity should be kept high at around 75-100% and shouldn't drop below 40% for extended periods of time without access to a body of water. Cleanliness is paramount because amphibians absorb almost everything that comes in contact with their semi-permeable skin. Therefore, dirty tanks or dirty water mean bacteria that can easily make a healthy frog sick. Temperature should range from mid 60's to upper 80's but keeping the temps closest to the middle of that range is best. Proper nutrition is attained by using a quality vitamin/calcium supplement such as Repashy supplements or Rep-cal which comes in powder form to be dusted on the insects around 2-3 times per week. Finally, diet should consist of crickets, worms, and other insects. I don't suggest using wild caught bugs as food because you don't know if those bugs will be healthy for your animal, so be safer that sorry. Crickets are generally the main food item and the size of the cricket shouldn't be larger than the space between your frogs eyes. This rule helps avoid your frog choking on his food. Other food items can be fed in a feeding dish such as wax worms, tomato worms, meal worms, and silk worms.
Housing a RETF is generally quite simple. Some breeders use simply large storage containers, although most people, like myself, like the more natural habitat. Therefore, a large water dish is a main component of the tank. Make it easy to get to and easy to remove because you'll be changing water pretty often. Next, use lots of branches and wood for your frog to climb on. Fake plants are easiest and safest but live plants can be used. If live plants are used you must make sure they're frog safe. Pothos is a great RETF tank plant but will quickly take over the tank. Also, I like to use a substrate mix of sphagnum moss, peat moss, orchid bark, coco chunks, and leaf litter. Finally, use a fluorescent light(UVB is best) for lighting and heat. Don't use a heat lamp unless it's a large tank and it's in a cold room. Otherwise you'll either burn or dry out your frog.
Overall, the red eyed tree frog is a beautiful frog to keep for the beginner to intermediate hobbyist. Although be prepared to observe the frog only during the nighttime hours. Remember to keep him clean and humid, and feed him regularly. Obtain him from a reputable breeder and be sure to quarantine any new frogs being added to an existing colony for a few weeks before introducing them to the main tank. Finally, as much as you'll want to play with your new pet, be sure to do it very seldom, as this can lead to the demise of your new RETF. Enjoy..
From mattolsen Jul 26 2012 11:13AM
Beautiful animal, difficult pet
This is not a pet for children nor for someone who is unable to provide specific conditions or wants an interactive frog. We had bought this frog for my sister's 13th birthday. Not knowing anything about frogs, we decided to use hand sanitizer whenever we touched him. Boo was very beautiful and vibrant, but timid and shy, not very active at all. Despite of this, my sister held him not-stop. 3 days after owning him, he was found dead in the tank, and after a very emotional burial, I decided to do some overdue research. Turns out, frogs breathe through their skin, and red eyed tree frogs are especially sensitive, so the sanitizer we used most likely poisoned and killed poor Boo. Also, this rain forest creature is used to damp, humid climate, so it is necessary to mist them several times a day and keep the tank fairly warm at all times. This was a lesson well learned, and after doing more research, I found that a Dumpee tree frog is much lower maintenance and much more durable, a frog more suitable as a pet than a red-eyed..
From npadron01 Jan 8 2015 9:52PM