Common Names: White’s tree frog, dumpy tree frog, green tree frog
Size: Adults usually grow to between 3.0 inches to 4.5 inches (7.5 cm to 11.5 cm)
Appearance: A big heavily built frog, White’s tree frogs vary in color from muddy brown to green. White’s tree frogs that lean more towards blue or turquoise in appearance rather than green (Australian blue) are also often offered for sale, as well as frogs with white polk-a-dots (snowflake) and most recently ones with blue eyes. All of these different color morphs change colors depending on environmental conditions.
Distribution, Habitat and Behavior: Active mainly at night, White’s tree frogs are found throughout much of Australia as well as part of Papua New Guinea and Indonesian West Papua. They are adaptable and found in a wide variety of habitats from dry forest and grasslands near streams and swamps to more urban areas around houses and gardens. Here they can be found in hollow logs or rock crevices and have even been known to take up residence within mail boxes in town. They breed seasonally in temporary water bodies.
Availability: One of the most popular pet amphibians, wild-caught Indonesian White’s tree frogs can be found for sale at most pet stores in North America. A better option though is to search for captive-bred individuals. Captive-bred frogs are most often available in color forms such as blue or the white spotted snowflake morph. Herp shows and online vendors are good places to find captive-bred White’s tree frogs if none are available locally.
Housing: White’s tree frogs are large, active animals and should be provided with a spacious enclosure. A standard 29 gallon aquarium that measures 30 inches long by 12 inches wide by 18 inches high (76 cm by 30 cm by 46 cm) is large enough for two to four adult tree frogs, although providing more space is recommended. Juvenile frogs can be kept in smaller enclosures. A secure screen cover is essential to prevent escapes.
The main components of the setup consist of a substrate, perches, and hiding areas. There are a number of substrate options available including coconut husk fiber or other safe soil, large river rocks, foam rubber, or moist paper towels. Simple substrates, like paper towels or foam rubber, will need to be replaced frequently. Gravel, sand, small pieces of bark and reptile cage carpeting should be avoided because they have potential to be unsafe if swallowed or can be irritating to frogs.
White’s tree frogs are arboreal and should be provided with perches and hide spots above ground. Cork bark tubes and sections of PVC pipe are especially useful. Bamboo poles can be positioned horizontally, vertically, and at angles in between. Perches can also serve as hiding areas, especially when live or fake plants are draped over them.
Water: Provide a large bowl of clean water. This should be changed daily. If tap water is used it should be treated with tap water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.
Temperature and Humidity: White’s tree frogs are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, which is one of the reasons they make hardy captives. Most days the temperature should remain between 75°F and 85°F (24°C and 29°C.) At night, the temperature can decrease by 10°F. A low wattage infra-red heat lamp can be positioned above part of the cage if heating is needed, but use a thermometer to measure the temperature first.
Humidity levels can range from 30% to 70% in different areas of the cage. A light misting every few days can help ensure that there is always a humid area for the frog to go to. White’s tree frogs, like many other tree frogs, do not tolerate soggy, stagnant conditions well, so make certain that the cage isn’t sprayed too heavily and that adequate ventilation is provided. Dry conditions are better than overly wet conditions for White’s tree frogs.
Lighting: Although not absolutely required, it is not a bad idea to provide a light that emits low levels of UV-B radiation, placing it above an area where the frogs often sleep during the day. This light should be set on a timer to go off at night and remain on for 10-12 hours each day. Replace UV-B lighting once every six months.
Food: One of the most enjoyable qualities of White’s tree frogs is their tremendous appetite. They are rarely fussy feeders and accept the usual variety of feeder insects, including crickets, earth worms, wax worms, mealworms, silkworms, slugs, moths, and roaches. The majority of their diet can consist of crickets, with other food items being offered every few feedings. Feed adult frogs two to eight crickets every two days. Juvenile frogs should be fed on a daily basis, but in smaller quantities.
Obesity is a common problem in captive White’s tree frogs, but can generally be avoided by not feeding too often or in large quantities. Adult frogs should have their food coated with high quality reptile vitamin and mineral supplements once every two to four feedings. Juveniles should have their food supplemented more often.