Home | Amphibians | Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 2

Breeding White’s Treefrogs and White-Lipped Treefrogs – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article for information on other aspects of breeding the White’s treefrog (Litoria infrafrenata): distinguishing the sexes, preparation for breeding and egg-laying.

The Tadpoles
At 80-85 F, White’s treefrog eggs will begin to hatch in 24-40 hours. The tadpoles remain largely inactive for the first 1-3 days, during which time they should not be fed. Once they begin moving about, food should always be available.

While some have raised White’s treefrog tadpoles on simpler diets, I have been most successful when using a variety of food items. In some cases, tadpoles raised on 1-2 foods develop normally, but the froglets expire within a month or two of transforming. I feed White’s treefrog tadpoles tropical fish flakes, algae wafers, and kale, romaine, dandelion and other greens that have soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or so.

Well-fed tadpoles will transform within a month or so of hatching. Some will invariably lag behind, and may remain within the tadpole stage for an additional 4-6 weeks.

The tadpole rearing tank should be well-stocked with live floating plants such as water lettuce, water hyacinth and pothos, and lit by a Reptisun 2.0 bulb (please see Part I of this article). The plants, and a gently sloping reptile basking platform will provide the metamorphs with easy egress from the water.

The Young Frogs (Metamorphs)
Rearing a large number of froglets can be quite a challenge. Overcrowding, especially in situations of limited air flow, rapidly leads to highly contagious fungal infections of the skin. Screen cages  provided with numerous perching sites make ideal rearing enclosures.

Young White’s treefrogs usually feed vigorously, taking ¼ inch crickets, small waxworms, roach nymphs and similarly sized insects. If you are raising a large number of frogs, consider culturing flightless houseflies (available via biological supply houses). These insects are ideally sized, readily digestible and reproduce rapidly. The Zoo Med Bug Napper Insect Trap  can be employed to help provide the frogs with important dietary variety in the form of wild-caught insects.

All insects offered the frogs should be powdered with vitamin/mineral supplements  for the first few months following transformation.

The White Lipped or Indonesian Giant Green Treefrog (Litoria infrafrenata)
Native to extreme northeastern Australia, New Guinea, Timor and the Solomon Islands, this striking relative of the White’s treefrog inhabits swamps, rainforests, farms and suburban yards. It is the world’s largest treefrog, reaching a snout-vent length of nearly 6 inches.

White-lipped treefrogs tend to be high strung, and do not take well to handling. They should be housed in a large, well-planted terrarium provisioned with numerous perches and arboreal hideaways. This frog is less cold-tolerant than its plucky relative; ambient temperatures of 78-82 F by day and 74-76 F by night suit it well.

White lipped treefrogs may be bred as has been described for White’s treefrogs, but during the cooling-off period temperatures should be kept at 70 F during the night, and 74 F during the day.

Dietary variety for both adult white-lipped treefrogs and their tadpoles seems to be of even greater importance than is the case for other frogs. The metamorphs invariably develop skin problems if crowded or kept without adequate air circulation.

Further Reading
You can read more about the natural history and captive care of the white-lipped treefrog on the web site of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by PicTrans.


  1. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Would you breed Waxy Monkey Tree Frogs the same way as described for the White’s and White-Lipped Tree Frogs? I mean, would you also drop their temperature and give them 4 weeks of darkness?

    • avatar

      Hello Jacques, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog; interesting project, they are not easy to breed.

      Monkey frogs do not, as far as we know, range into areas that receive much of a cool season; rain showers are very important in stimulating them to breed. Keep them at 65-75 F for 2 months or so (I’d stay closer to 70-75F), during which time they will likely feed and bask a bit; reduce misting at this time as well. Day/light cycle can remain the same as usual, as there is not much fluctuation in their natural range. After that, place them in a rain chamber (please see this article) and run the “rain” for 6-7 hours each night as well as intermittently during the day. If they are going to breed, they should do so within 2 weeks. Be sure to position many laying sites over the water – potted snake plants and peace lilies work well, have sturdy leaves and do fine with roots submerged.

      A balanced, varied diet before the cool season and after breeding is critical to their health.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted. I look forwards to hearing of your success!

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    hi how can you tell male to female with the whitelips get back to me please thank you

    • avatar

      Hello Linda

      Thanks for your interest. Mature females are larger (to 5” ) and stouter in build than males, which typically top out at 3” or so (snout to vent length). Males also have darker-colored throats, and the skin in the throat area is “looser” (to allow for expansion when calling). Males in breeding condition develop hard, dark colored areas, called nuptial pads, along the inner surface of the front legs. Please let me know if you need info on breeding them.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I cant’t tell you how genuinely excited I was to see this blog on how to successfully breed White’s. I suppose you could say I’m one of the few with the belief that (of the Australian strain specifically) the whites genetics have become very muddled and unpure. Many whites are cross bred (with their closely related White’s of Indonesia) being a true White’s tree frog has gold eyes while many ranging from green to brown have blue eyes.

    It saddens me greatly, and though I’m one for being an avid enthusiast of amphibians and reptiles, I can’t say I’m of agreement that White’s should be recommended as beginner frogs, plainly for their ability to tolerate direct contact with our skin (the oils released from our skin not withstood by other tree frog species quite the same, with the exception of the white-lipped tree frog).

    They are bred regularly in captivity, but many strains seem to be weak and poorly colored. They should be bright green, but many captive bred individuals are a dull bluish-grey. Wild individuals rarely being available because most of their range is within Australlia, and Australlia does not allow export of wild animals.

    It is a great goal of mine to hopefully one day procure some wild White’s from New Guinea or New Zealand and producing a fresh genetic stock of captive bred White’s.

    Though I have seen some of quite a few varieties of colors, I have not yet studied into White’s enough to say if this is from cross breeding or just a dwindling in the genetics as each generation has weaker and weaker genetics. The colors however are at least appealing to the eyes, from blues and yellows to greens and greys, though I’ve seen a few I would be more urged to say purple versus brown, though I have definitely seen the brown.

    I was wondering if you have an opinion on the current genetic strains of White’s publicly sold and available at near reasonable prices?

    • avatar

      Hello Brittany,

      Thanks for the kind words and glad to see your interest.

      Most of the field reports I’ve seen in journals, and conversations with friends living/working within their range, indicate that there is quite a bit of natural variation in their color; but I haven’t looked into this specifically. Unfortunately, I can;’t generalize as to stock available in the trade…so many millions have been bred and shipped worldwide, no reasonable way to keep track as far as I know. Even in zoos, where we try to trace origins, etc., there’s generally no useful info available. Sorry I could not be of more help, Enjoy, best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top