amphibian-care

Amazon Milk Frog Care Sheet

May 10, 2021

amazon milk frog

The Amazon milk frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) is a 2.5-4” long, nocturnal, arboreal amphibian also known as the gold mission frog. They can be found throughout the Amazon Basin, and prefer forest canopies, where they stay close to water-filled tree holes.

Amazon milk frogs have round bodies, bumpy skin, and round, sticky toe pads that enable them to scale smooth vertical surfaces with proficiency. These frogs are particularly attractive, with broad stripes of alternating turquoise-gray and brown, sometimes with spots. Another noteworthy characteristic is their eyes, which are gold in color, and the pupil is intersected with a black mission cross marking.

Amazon milk frogs are popular beginner-level amphibians due to their general hardiness. With good care, they have a lifespan of 8+ years.

Minimum terrarium size for Amazon milk frogs

The absolute minimum terrarium size for 1-2 Amazon milk frogs is 18”L x 18”W x 24”H. Of course, larger is always better if you can manage it! Offering more space means you can provide a more varied landscape and more room for the frogs to explore and exercise.

Cohabitation (keeping multiple Amazon milk frogs in one enclosure) is common practice, since the frogs tend to get along well in groups, but they can also be housed singly.

Do Amazon milk frogs need UVB?

They are able to survive without it, but we still recommend providing appropriate UVB lighting as part of the setup, as research shows that this helps them grow and live healthier. The best UVB bulbs for Amazon milk frogs are:

  • Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 5.0
  • Arcadia ShadeDweller

For best results, house the UVB bulbs in a reflective fixture, 50-100% the length of the enclosure. Position the lamp over the mesh lid on the same side of the terrarium as the heat lamp, and place the basking branch no closer than 6” below the lamp (UVB intensity varies by distance from the bulb).

UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so placing the terrarium in front of a window doesn’t count as “free UVB” — in fact it can make your terrarium too hot due to the greenhouse effect. Don’t forget to replace your bulb every 12 months!

Lights should be on for 13 hours/day during summer and 11 hours/day during winter.

Best temperature for Amazon milk frogs

Like other amphibians, Amazon milk frogs are cold-blooded, which means that they rely on external temperatures to manage their own body temperature and metabolism. Although amphibians are generally not as dependent on thermal gradients as reptiles, it’s still important to make sure your frog can thermoregulate as needed.

Amazon milk frogs should have a basking air temperature between 80-85°F, an average ambient temperature of 70-75°F, and nighttime temps as low as 65°F. Air temperatures should be measured with at least two digital probe thermometers.

Provide heat for your frog with a low-wattage white heat bulb, placed over a basking branch or large artificial leaf. Do not use ceramic heat emitters, deep heat projectors, or colored bulbs, as these are not as effective. 

Best humidity levels for Amazon milk frogs

As amphibians, Amazon milk frogs can’t live without ready access to water. Average air humidity should stay between 50-90%, with occasional spikes up to 100%. Humidity should be measured via digital probe hygrometer, with the probe placed in the middle of the terrarium.

Increase humidity by misting your frog’s enclosure 2x/day with a spray bottle. Mist first thing in the morning and then again at night, preferably when the lights are off. A fogger connected to a humidistat can also be a helpful tool.

Because Amazon milk frogs naturally prefer to live in areas with free access to water-filled tree holes, it’s a good idea to replicate this in their enclosure. Place a large water bowl at the bottom of the enclosure, inside a large, upended cork round. Keep this water clean at all times, and disinfect the bowl weekly.

Amphibians are sensitive to chemicals present in their environment, and even the type of water that you use for misting and drinking. Use dechlorinated tap water or spring water for misting and drinking, not distilled or reverse-osmosis. Distilled is fine for running a fogger.

Best substrate for Amazon milk frogs

Although substrate isn’t required for Amazon milk frogs since they’re arboreal, it does help maintain correct humidity levels and makes the enclosure more attractive. We recommend the following substrates for Amazon milk frogs:

Remove poop and urates daily, along with contaminated substrate. Substrate should be totally replaced every month if you are not running a bioactive setup. Paper towels should be replaced as soon as they are soiled.

How to decorate an Amazon milk frog terrarium

An empty terrarium makes for a bored frog, reducing its quality of life. Keep your pet entertained and engaged with its environment with the strategic use of decor items that encourage it to exercise natural behaviors!

Here are some décor ideas to get you started:

Make sure your frog has covered areas to retreat to when it wants privacy.

What to feed to an Amazon milk frogs

Amazon milk frogs are primarily insectivorous, which means that they need to eat live insect prey in order to get the right nutrition. Young frogs should be fed daily, but adults should be fed 1-2x/week to prevent obesity. Offer as many insects in one feeding as the frogs will clean up in about 10-15 minutes.

Food options for Amazon milk frogs:

Supplements

You will need to keep calcium and multivitamin supplements on hand to help prevent your frog from developing a nutritional deficiency, helping it live healthier. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, lightly dusted on prey at each feeding for juveniles, and every other feeding for adults.

How to handle your Amazon milk frog

Amphibians generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do, but as far as amphibians go, Amazon milk frogs can be relatively handleable. However, it’s best to wait until your frog is mature, as juveniles get more stressed by handling than adults do.

To handle your frog, wear a pair of nitrile gloves and grasp them gently but firmly. The last thing you want is for them to jump out of your hand! And of course, make sure to wash your hands after working with your frog or their enclosure.

If you would like to interact with your pet without handling, try offering food via soft-tipped feeding tongs.


*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!


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