Whether you’re new to keeping pet frogs or you’ve been keeping frogs for a while, White’s Tree Frog care can be easy and lots of fun. These Aussie tree-dwellers have sparkling personalities to boot.
Also known as the Australian Green Tree Frog or Dumpy Tree Frog, the White’s Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) comes from Australia, inhabiting northern and eastern regions with humid to semi-dry forested areas.
This frog is commonly found in suburban gardens, which shows its adaptability to human habitation. There are populations found in New Guinea as well.
The White’s Tree Frog can attain lengths of 4.5–5 inches as adults and may develop a fatty ridge above the eyes as they get older. They always appear to be smiling and have sweet bug eyes and shiny, smooth skin.
Colors can range from bright green to turquoise blue to even purple hues. Hobbyists have bred several new color mutations, including yellow and spotted variations.
The specialized toe pads of these tree frogs allow them to climb the vertical surfaces of trees and plants in the wild. Primarily nocturnal, the White’s Tree Frog sleeps during the day and hunts for insects at night.
Why White’s Tree Frogs Make Great Pets
- They’re undeniably cute.
- They come in several colors.
- You can keep them in groups of 3 or more.
- You can handle them.
- They don’t require UVB lighting or heating.
- They don’t grow too large.
- They can live 10–20 years if properly cared for.
- They are forgiving of many mistakes in White’s Tree Frog care, making them quite hardy.
- They make cute croaks and may even talk back if you imitate their call.
Where to Find Them
“White’s Tree Frogs are generally available in the pet trade throughout the year, but captive-bred specimens are most available in the summer and fall,” says John Clare, PhD, founder of Frogforum.net and Caudata.org.
“Captive-bred specimens are usually youngsters (less than 2 inches long) and should be preferred to wild caught,” Clare adds. “Wild-caught frogs often carry parasites and diseases, and are not as well adapted to captive conditions.”
You can find White’s Tree Frogs through reptile shows, message boards and online vendors. By reading message boards and reviews, you should be able to find reputable breeders of White’s Tree Frogs.
New color mutations are being bred — expect those to be a bit more costly than the usual colors.
White’s Tree Frog Care
Setting Up Housing for a White’s Tree Frog
A 20-gallon tank will house about 4 young frogs temporarily, but this is the absolute minimum.
Taller, larger terrariums will give these arboreal frogs more room to climb upward as they would in the wild.
While younger frogs will be very active, some adults may become a bit lazier and choose a spot to sleep most of the day.
- Add vines, branches, bamboo tubes or frog houses to offer climbing and retreating opportunities for the frogs.
- Place any hides on the substrate because these frogs have no problem venturing down to ground level.
Artificial plants are a good option if you don’t want to bother with lighting. Monstera, pothos and philodendron plants are great live plants to include in your White’s Tree Frog tank — these plants aren’t overly demanding and will support the weight of the larger adult frogs.
You can use fluorescent plant lights on a 12-hours-on/12-hours-off cycle with a timer. This should give the plants all the light they need, and it’ll establish a day and night cycle for your frogs.
Get the habitat set up completely before you bring your frogs home — you’ll be glad you did.
To avoid any impaction risks, use a fine soil material, such as Eco Earth, as substrate. You can also use specialty soils made for Dart Frogs or a 50/50 mix of these substrates, which will also keep the enclosure humid.
If you’re using a bioactive substrate, know that pill bugs (roly polies) and springtails are a great cleanup crew. They will eat mold, aerate the soil and feed on decaying plant material.
Add starter cultures of these insects to the soil and, eventually, they’ll start breeding for you and will help keep the substrate healthy and natural for your frogs as well as keep down mold growth.
Frogs don’t really drink — they hydrate themselves through their skin, so always have a large water dish available for your frogs to soak in.
White’s Tree Frogs will soak in the water dish when they need the extra water, and they will often defecate in the water dish, too.
- Change the water often to make sure it stays clean.
- Large ceramic dishes may offer the most room and just the right depth.
- Use bottled water or dechlorinated tap water.
Maintain the humidity around 60–70%:
- Misting the terrarium once or twice a day will help you achieve this.
- Don’t overdo it, though — these tree frogs don’t like things overly wet. Over-misting can contribute to mold growth or respiratory infections. Don’t chance it.
- Choose a terrarium with a screen lid to allow ventilation. This will prevent humidity from rising too much and allow fresh air to circulate the environment.
Temperature and Heating
A good daytime temperature for White’s Tree Frogs is 75–80 F.
Depending on your local climate, you may or may not need extra heating. If you do, use a heat mat to raise temps to the desired range, attaching it to the side of the terrarium and using a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
Allow nighttime temperatures to drop — this will reflect conditions in the wild.
Overhead heat bulbs can dry out the terrarium and cause the frogs stress, so it’s best to avoid them.
UVB lighting isn’t needed for these amphibians, since they are nocturnal and as long as you’re supplementing their diet with calcium.
Here’s an important thing to know about White’s Tree Frog care: These frogs will eat virtually everything, and they can become obese if you overfeed them. They are also known for begging behavior.
On feeding, Clare says, “Gut-loaded crickets are a good staple food. Feed as many crickets as the frogs will eat in 10–15 minutes. For adults, feed 2–3 times per week. For youngsters, feed every 1–2 days.”
“Earthworms are another staple food,” he says. “Treat foods include waxworms, mealworms, superworms and other live reptile foods. ”
All insects need to be gut-loaded at least 24 hours before they are fed to your frogs. Offer vegetables, such as squash and carrots, and greens, such as collard, mustard or turnip greens.
Use a calcium supplement to dust the crickets or roaches once weekly to make sure your frog gets the proper nutrients for health and bone growth.
White’s Tree Frogs are a more social species and will appreciate having the company of their own kind.
Don’t house smaller frogs with larger — they may get eaten. Try to acquire your group of frogs at the same age to avoid any issues in size difference.
If you want to try breeding White’s Tree Frogs in the future, the only way to ensure a better chance of getting both sexes is to acquire a group of 4 or more frogs. Unfortunately, there isn’t any easy way to sex the frogs when they are young.
Males will typically be on the smaller side, with the females being larger. Both sexes can croak, but only males have an expanding throat sac.
Males also have “nuptial pads” — dark, raised pads at the base of their thumbs for holding on to the female when mating.
White’s Tree Frogs are one of the few amphibians that you can handle without much issue.
As long as you make sure your hands are free of any creams or soap, and you rinse them beforehand, handling should be just fine.
Many of these frogs seem to enjoy the interaction with their humans.
When handling them, you’ll have to use 2 hands in case they decide to jump. Once they find a comfortable spot, they’ll sit calmly for a while.
Final Thoughts on White’s Tree Frog Care
The White’s Tree Frog will add humor and fascination to your household.
Their personalities will charm you, and their varying colors will please the eye.
These little amphibians are one of the best beginner frog species in the hobby, and if you bring a group of White’s Tree Frogs home, you’ll surely be entertained by their antics.
- Clare, John, PhD. “White’s Treefrog Enclosure Information and Care.” Reptiles. http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Frogs-Amphibians/Whites-Treefrog-Enclosure-Information-and-Care/.
- Halter, Josh. “How Do I Create a Bio-Active Vivarium?” The BioDude. Jan. 2, 2017. https://www.thebiodude.com/blogs/how-do-i-create-a-bioactive-vivarium.
- Brinks, Zach. “Isopods in the Bioactive Enclosure.” Josh’s Frogs. June 22, 2018. https://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/blog/2018/06/isopods-in-the-bioactive-enclosure/.