amphibian-care

Green Tree Frog Care Sheet

April 22, 2021

American green tree frog

The American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) is a 2-3” long, nocturnal, arboreal amphibian. They can be found throughout the southeast United States and prefer tropical forest habitats, where they stay close to bodies of water.

Green tree frogs have lean bodies, long legs, smooth skin, large eyes, and horizontal pupils. These attractive frogs are easily recognizable thanks to their bright green coloring, often with a pale lateral stripe on both sides. However, some have small yellow or orange spots, and others are reddish-brown instead of green. 

Green tree frogs are popular beginner-level pet amphibians due to their general hardiness. With good care, they have a lifespan of around 6 years.

Minimum terrarium size for green tree frogs

The absolute minimum terrarium size for one green tree frog 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 green tree frogs in one enclosure) is generally not recommended, as green tree frogs prefer to live solitary.

Do green tree frogs need UVB?

They seem to be able to survive without it, but we still recommend providing appropriate UVB lighting as part of the setup. UVB lighting helps provide a clear day/night cycle, provides all of the vitamin D that your pet needs, strengthens the immune system, facilitates better digestion, and provides other benefits.

The best UVB bulbs for green tree 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 14 hours/day during summer and 10 hours/day during winter.

Best temperature for green tree frogs

Like other amphibians, green tree 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.

Green tree frogs should have a basking air temperature around 84°F, an average ambient temperature of 72-78°F, and nighttime temps as low as 66°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 green tree frogs

As amphibians, green tree frogs can’t live without ready access to water. Average air humidity should stay between 60-80%, 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.

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 green tree frogs

Providing a thick layer of naturalistic substrate (“bedding”) will help maintain correct humidity levels and helps make your enclosure more attractive! We recommend the following substrates for green tree 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.

How to decorate a green tree 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 your started:

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

What to feed to a green tree frog

Green tree 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 every 2-3 days to prevent obesity. Offer as many insects in one feeding as the frogs will clean up in about 15 minutes.

Food options for green tree 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 once a week.

Water

Of course, don’t forget a small, shallow water bowl for your frog to drink from and soak in! Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with an amphibian-safe disinfectant weekly, or whenever it becomes soiled.

How to handle your green tree frog

Amphibians generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do, but as far as amphibians go, green tree frogs can be relatively handleable. However, each individual is different, so while some may tolerate handling well, others may be very stressed by it. Get to know your particular frog and handle accordingly.

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!


"FROG, AMERICAN TREE (Hyla cinerea) (11-4-2016) thornwell, jefferson-davis parish, la -02" by Sloalan is marked with CC0 1.0


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