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Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)

(Photo By Pierre-Yves Vaucher)

Introduction: In the past, the Amazon milk frog was difficult to locate in captivity but recently, thanks to successful captive breeding programs, the Amazon milk frog has become relatively common in collections. They are easy to locate online from large reptile dealers, and it isn’t uncommon to find one for sale at a local reptile show. One of the reasons people choose to keep this species is because of their attractive coloration and pattern. Juvenile Amazon milk frogs are banded in black and white, but as they mature their contrasting colors change. The black lightens to a dark gray or brown while the white tends to darken to a very light gray. Their skin has a very granular or bumpy texture which gives the frog a distinct look. More unique than their appearance is their breeding behavior. This species of frog breeds only in holes inside large trees, which is one of the reasons it took hobbyists so long to successfully breed them in captivity. Their common name milk frog refers to the poisonous, white, milky secretion that this frog may secrete when threatened. The Amazon milk frog is a rather large tree frog and adults usually range in size from 2.5 to 4 inches (6.3 cm to 10 cm), with males being smaller than females.

Cage: Amazon milk frogs are large tree frogs that should be kept in a cage that offers plenty of room. 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 enough room for two to four adult Amazon milk frogs, although more room is better. A tight-fitting cover is essential to prevent escapes. Attaching black poster board or an aquarium background to all but one side of the aquarium will reduce stress and make the frog feel more secure.

The main components of their cage should consist of a substrate, perches, and hiding areas. The substrate that is used should hold moisture, be safe if swallowed, and easy to clean. Coconut husk fiber (bed-a-beast, forest bed, eco earth, etc.) or other safe soil substrate is a good option. Avoid soils that contain vermiculite or perlite. Simple substrates such as moist paper towels or foam rubber can also be used. Gravel, small bark chippings, and reptile cage carpet should not be used as substrates. Perches can consist of sturdy pieces of drift wood, cork bark tubes, bamboo poles or pieces PVC piping. The Amazon milk frog is arboreal and will do best when provided with hiding spots that are at the top of the cage rather than on the floor. These can be created by resting curved pieces of bark against the side of the cage or by attaching other types of hide spots to the side of the cage with silicone sealant. Many keepers choose to recreate a hole in a tree on one side of the cage for use as a hiding area.

Water: A large bowl of clean water should be provided at all times. The water should be changed daily or when it appears dirty. If tap water is used it should be treated with a tap water conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. Bottled spring water can be used instead of treated tap water.

Temperature and Humidity: The temperature in the cage can range from 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C) during the day with a slight drop in temperature at night. They are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and will do fine when temporarily kept outside of those temperature perimeters. A low wattage incandescent light bulb can be used to heat the cage. Use infrared bulbs for heating at night if needed.

The Amazon milk frog is native the humid jungles of South America and the humidity level that they are kept at in captivity should mimic that of their natural environment. To achieve high humidity, their cage can be sprayed with water once or twice a day and ventilation can be restricted. Care should be taken to avoid sealing up too much of the terrarium and creating stagnant conditions.

Food: The Amazon milk frog is a large frog with a large appetite. They will accept the normal selection of feeder insects such as crickets, wax worms, roaches and mealworms. Some adult frogs will also accept pre-killed pinky mice. The majority of their diet should consist of crickets that are the length of the width of the frog’s head. A feeding schedule of three to eight crickets every two days per frog should work well for adults. Juveniles should be fed daily. Other food items can be offered once every week or two instead of crickets. Adult frogs should have their food coated with high quality reptile vitamin and mineral supplements every two to four feedings. Juveniles should have their food supplemented more often.

Last updated 06.19.05

Online Resources
Captive Reproduction of the Amazonian Milk Frog
Care and Breeding of Amazon Milky Frogs
Mission Golden-eyed Frog Draft
WAZA's Virtual Zoo: Amazon Milk Frog