This article is one of a series in which I plan to provide a brief introduction to both popular and rarely-kept amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. I’ll cover such topics as unique habits in the wild, common mistakes or concerns in captive care, pet pros and cons, little-known husbandry tips and so forth. Detailed care articles will follow…until then, I would enjoy receiving your questions and comments. Today we’ll take a look at the Red-Eyed Treefrog, Agalychnis callidryas.
Night Shows Only!
Ranging from southern Mexico to Panama, this striking beauty (its scientific name translates as “Beautiful Tree Nymph”) has become something of a “rain forest darling”, appearing on more calendars, book covers and travel brochures than any other amphibian. Frog keepers, enamored of its huge, brilliant red eyes and lime-green skin, have taken to it as well.
Many, however, are disappointed when they find that these eyes are seen only after dark. By day, Red-Eyed Treefrogs remain in the classic treefrog water-conserving stance, with limbs drawn in and eyes tightly closed (please see photo). A night viewing bulb will most definitely enrich your frog-keeping experience.
Diet: A “Fly Specialist”
Another important consideration in keeping these little fellows is diet – they are adapted to prey on a wide variety of arboreal and flying insects, and will not fare well on crickets alone. The frogs’ enthusiastic reaction to moths, flies, midges and similar flying insects will leave no doubt as to their dietary (and “quality of life”!) value. The ZooMed Bug Napper Insect Trap is an invaluable aid in collecting flying insects.
Other insects that Red-Eyes under my care have accepted include “non-hairy” caterpillars, snowy tree crickets, tiny orange-spotted roaches, potato and other small beetles, field crickets and termites. Houseflies are, in my opinion, nearly indispensible in the husbandry of these and other small treefrogs (please see article below).
As regards crickets, use only ¼ to ½ inch individuals, and be sure to feed them a nutritious diet. During periods when crickets comprise the bulk of the diet, powder most meals with supplements, alternating among Reptivite with D3, ReptiCalcium and ReptoCal. I do not use supplements when feeding wild-caught invertebrates.
Please see my article on Keeping Houseflies for more info on this important food item.
Video showing how active these frogs are under night-viewing (red) light.