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The Natural History and Captive Care of the Asian Flying Frog (Golden Treefrog)

Asian Flying FrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the Asian Flying Frog amphibian enthusiasts find a rare treat – a fascinating species with rarely-seen reproductive habits that is hardy, inexpensive and fairly easy to breed in captivity.  Also known as the Banana Frog, Golden Foam Nest Frog and Asian Treefrog (Polypedates leucomystax, Family Rhacophoridae), this active beauty is well worth more attention from hobbyists and zoos.

Description

Females may be up to 3.5 inches in length; males are slightly smaller (please see photo).  They have large adhesive toe and finger pads and are variably colored.  The background color of brown or tan is often attractively tinged with shades of red, yellow or orange, while some specimens are nearly black.  The skin may be spotted, striped or plain in pattern – great fun breeding these fellows, as you never know what to expect in terms of the offspring’s appearances!

Range

Golden Treefrogs are extremely widespread throughout south and Southeast Asia – India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam; they have been introduced to Japan.

Habitat

Wetlands, forests, farms, parks and large cities, often within houses (“House Frog” is a common local name).  Populations often higher in disturbed habitats.

Status in Wild

Golden Treefrogs appear common throughout most of their huge range, and often follow human habitation.

This frog is one of the few amphibian species that seems to benefit from the presence of people – sheltering within buildings in cities and on farms, and feeding upon roaches, flies and other insects to be found there.  They often congregate near outdoor lights at night in search of moths, beetles and other insects.

Reproduction

This opportunistic breeder may reproduce year-round or in the wet season, depending upon locality. 

Males call from the edges of ephemeral ponds, ditches and similar habitats.  Females lay 100-400 eggs in foam nests that are suspended on vegetation over water.  The tadpoles hatch in 3-4 days and drop into the water.  They are largely predatory, consuming aquatic invertebrates, carrion and each other; some decaying vegetation taken as well.  Metamorphosis occurs in 6-7 weeks.

Tadpoles that miss the pond when dropping from their egg masses will actively seek the water’s edge.  I’ve experimentally moved water bowls from under hatching eggs and have found that the tadpoles are indeed amazingly mobile on the ground and travel to the water’s edge with surprising speed.

Lowering the terrarium’s temperature to 68F for 2 weeks, followed by a period of heavy misting (or use of a rain chamber) often stimulates reproduction in captivity.  Spontaneous breeding also occurs.  Pairs invariably position their eggs over water – even if the “pond” is only a small water bowl!

Diet

Common TreefrogThe natural diet includes moths, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, ants, roaches, mosquitoes, centipedes, flies and many other invertebrates. 

Captives do not fare well on crickets alone, and should be fed as described in my article on Red-Eyed Treefrogs (please see “Further Reading”).  Houseflies, moths, smooth caterpillars, tree crickets and other wild-caught or captive- reared insects are vital to their health.

“Flying” Frogs?

The common name “flying frog” refers to the ability of several related frogs to glide by leaping from tree branches. 

This species lacks the adaptations (wide, webbed feet and hands, skin folds along body) possessed by more accomplished gliders, such as Wallace’s Treefrog, Rhacophorus nigropalmatus, and generally accomplishes a “controlled fall”. 

Further Reading

Caring For Red-Eyed Treefrogs (feeding tips).

Asian Treefrog Natural History (including photos and recording of calls).

Please write in with your questions and comments. 

 

Thanks, until next time,

Frank Indiviglio

Common treefrog image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Wie146

2 comments

  1. avatar

    Thankyou…for info. My Asian Tree frog lived 11 years. The barking….bright golden color…and personality…priceless…what an easy to care for pet!

  2. avatar

    Hi Davian,

    Thanks for the kind words. Very impressive..the published longevity for this species is only 6 years. Unfortunately that system is no longer updated, but you may have a record there; I don;t recall any living that long in our collection at the Bx Zoo. Please let me know what diet/supplements you used, and other care details when time permits – we still have a great deal to learn, and your experience will be very useful to others.

    Thx, Best, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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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.
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