Do you want a pet frog but aren’t ready to take on an aggressive pixie frog or an aquatic bullfrog?
White’s tree frog maybe the perfect species for you.
These 4-inch-long amphibians are peaceful, adorable and simple to care for.
Unlike many other pet frogs, they are docile and can easily be held. Their calm personalities also mean that they can live in small groups.
Continue reading for a complete species guide to this exotic amphibian. We also share how to care for them and the best places to get one from.
|Common Name||Australian green tree frog and dumpy tree frog|
|Scientific Name||Ranoidea caerulea|
|Range||Northern and eastern Australia, southern New Guinea|
|Size||3 to 5 inches|
|Color||Emerald green to minty blue, white and cream underbelly|
|Diet||Crickets, dubia cockroaches, mealworms and hornworms|
|Tank Size||15+ gallons|
|Temperature||75°F to 90°F|
|Humidity||70% to 90%|
|Price||$35 to $70|
White’s Tree Frog Species Profile
White’s tree frog (Ranoidea caerulea) is an arboreal, medium-sized tropical species native to the forests of New Guinea and Australia. These adaptable amphibians are found in both heavily forested environments and urban areas close to humans.
Around the world, they are commonly called the Australian tree frog or White’s dumpy tree frog.
They are simply called “green tree frogs” in Australia.
White’s tree frogs are chubby, green or blue, with wide fingers and toes, horizontal pupils and a distinct fatty ridge above their eyes.
Males and females both have pale-colored throats, though males are typically more white.
In the wild these amphibians are arboreal and spend their time high in the treetops, hunting for insects.
As pets they are very peaceful and can live with other members of their kind.
This species is known among amphibian keepers for its friendly demeanor, simple husbandry and undeniably cute appearance. White’s tree frogs are one of the most commonly owned frogs, especially for beginners.
Many owners enjoy interacting with them, especially because they are easy to handle, staying calm and docile when held.
Other reasons for their popularity include their simple setup and the fact that they can be kept with other individuals of a similar size. These amphibians do not need humidity as high as other frogs to stay happy and healthy.
They can tolerate dry environments by regulating the amount of water lost from their skin through evaporation.
White’s tree frogs can survive in a wide range of environments and are very hardy.
Thanks to this adaptation they are able to withstand conditions unsuitable for other amphibians. This has contributed to their widespread popularity as an excellent pet.
White’s tree frogs have plump, rounded features that give them their dumpy tree frog name.
Their cute, plump bodies are supported by stocky legs with webbed fingers and toes. The end of each digit is flattened and used as a suction cup to stick to slippery surfaces. This unique adaptation allows them to climb the vertical glass walls of terrariums with little trouble!
This frog is typically lime green, mint, or grayish blue with a white or creamy underbelly and chin.
Many individuals also have white and gold speckles across their shoulders and down their sides, though the number of these speckles varies from none to over 20.
The color of White’s tree frogs will differ among individuals and can change based on the mood of the frog, environment and temperature.
As temperature and light levels decrease their colors fade from vibrant greens into tans and grays.
Once warm temperatures and light return, their skin will take on a richer green color.
Their skin is smooth and slightly sticky to the touch. It is covered in a natural, waxy secretion that protects them from water loss and microbes.
Unlike other amphibians, White’s tree frogs have horizontal pupils.
These frogs have two ridges of fatty tissue that run from both nostrils to the base of the neck. These ridges only appear in adults, but their thickness can be an indicator of obesity.
White’s tree frog is a relatively large, heavy species.
Females grow 4 to 5 inches long, while males remain closer to 3 inches.
A fully grown adult weighs 2.5-3.5 ounces. Though these amphibians can live for 20 years, they reach their adult size just 2 years after metamorphizing from a tadpole to a young frog.
Male vs Female Differences
The care and lifespan of a White’s tree frog is the same no matter if it is a male or female.
However, you may want to know their gender if you plan on breeding, or when picking a name.
Males and females are easiest to tell apart once they reach around 9 months old. Before this age, telling males and females apart isn’t always obvious and takes a good eye for subtle differences.
Use these methods to tell if your White’s tree frog is male or female:
- Size: Females grow larger than males, they can reach up to 5 inches and 3-3.5 ounces. Males usually do not grow quite as long and heavy. They stay under 3.5 inches in length and 3 ounces. Any individual over 4 inches is likely female.
- Throat Color: Males and females both have light-colored throats, but males have a cream-colored, wrinkled throat. Females have pure white, smooth throats.
- Nuptial Pads: Nuptial pads form at the base of each thumb on mature male frogs only. They look like dark brown, slightly rough patches.
Where Can I Buy A White’s Tree Frog?
Finding a White’s tree frog for sale is easy because of their popularity as pets and willingness to breed in captivity.
They are widely sold by online vendors and breeders at reptile expos.
White’s tree frogs are not expensive, which adds to their appeal as a great first-time pet. They are usually priced at $35 to $50.
Morphs like the snowflake and blue phase are slightly more expensive. Depending on their genetics, these morphs sell for $45 to $70. Specialty morphs, such as the blue eyed and golden morphs can be priced at over $100.
Though they go through early life stages as eggs and tadpoles, most White’s tree frog are sold as juveniles and adults. As tadpoles they must be kept in water, making them extremely delicate and not able to survive shipping.
When looking for a frog make sure it shows signs of being healthy, happy and well cared for.
Healthy individuals have clear, bright eyes, smooth, moist skin and are alert.
Avoid buying an overfed frog as overweight individuals are at a higher risk of developing health problems. Obesity is common in this species!
Before buying a White’s tree frog you should have its enclosure prepared and setup.
Expect to pay close to $450 for a complete setup – this includes the tank, water dish, décor, substrate, lamps, thermometer and hygrometer.
Pros and Cons
The dumpy tree frog is a fun, entertaining and lively pet.
One of the biggest appeals of keeping a White’s tree frog is their hardiness. These amphibians are less sensitive to fluctuations in temperature or humidity that could stem from a husbandry mistake or equipment malfunction.
Their natural resistance to skin infections also makes them less prone to fungus and bacteria.
They are also one of the few species that can be kept safely in a group, so long as all individuals are close to the same size.
Though this species is widely considered to be one of the best pet frogs for beginners, caring for one comes with its own challenges.
White’s tree frogs are highly vocal, especially at night. Their croaks, squeaks and grunts are loud and may be disruptive to those who prefer quiet. Owners should also be prepared to buy a relatively large enclosure. These frogs are energetic and need plenty of space for their active lifestyle.
Before buying a White’s tree frog, be aware that amphibians are often carriers of salmonella.
This bacterium can cause a dangerous illness in humans, especially young children and people with weak immune systems. Be sure to wash and rinse your hands before and after touching any amphibian or their tanks.
White’s Tree Frog Care
White’s tree frog is one of the easiest and best species to keep as a pet.
They are just as popular as pacman frogs!
Their combination of friendliness, hardiness and cuteness makes these amphibians suitable for owners of all skill levels.
Caring for this species is straightforward and does not require specialized equipment or an expensive setup. They are adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions, as their native environment in the forests of Australia and New Guinea goes through annual wet and dry seasons.
Their dietary needs are relatively simple and consist of mostly crickets and dubia cockroaches.
As a bonus they also become accustomed to handling in a short time.
These frogs need a large tank relative to their body size.
As a tree climbing species, they must be kept in enclosures that are taller than they are long. This will give them enough space to climb.
White’s tree frog tanks should be 15-gallons in size (12” x 12” x 24”).
If keeping more than one, increase the tank size by 10-gallons for each addition. Four frogs will be happy in a 40-gallon terrarium (20” x 20” x 24”) stocked with plenty of décor.
Glass is the best material for a White’s tree frog tank. It holds humidity well, allows you to easily watch your pet, and does not overheat. Most vertical glass tanks have a mesh screen top for proper ventilation and lighting.
The tank should have a vertical temperature gradient between the upper and lower levels.
A temperature gradient allows your frog to regulate its own temperature by moving between warmer and cooler areas.
Use a ceramic heater near the top of the tank to maintain a hotspot of 90°F during the day and 82°F at night. The opposite, end of the tank should remain ~15°F cooler.
White’s tree frogs prefer humid environments to keep their skin moist and healthy.
The tank’s ambient humidity should remain between 70-90%.
This humidity can be maintained by misting the tank twice daily or using an automated reptile fogger. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity and adjust the mister as needed.
Coconut fiber, organic orchid potting mix and sphagnum moss are all good substrates.
Substrate should be layered 3 inches deep at the bottom of the tank and changed every three weeks.
The perfect White’s tree frog tank setup should be decorated with live or fake plants, branches and PVC pipes. This décor will provide sturdy climbing options for your frog.
Secure climbing décor at multiple levels throughout the tank.
Keep in mind that their skin is delicate and highly sensitive to chemicals. Any décor you use should be free from sharp or rough edges and not contain any pesticides or fertilizers.
This species benefits from a low-output UVB lightbulb, both 2.0 and 5.0 are suitable.
A UVB bulb should be suspended above the tank and replaced every 6 months.
White’s tree frog is a strong climber and should be kept in a tall, 15-gallon glass terrarium. Though primarily active after dark, these frogs will often climb and explore objects in their tank during the day. The perfect setup should be decorated with live or fake plants, branches and PVC pipes.
- Tank: 15-gallon glass.
- Substrate: Coconut fiber.
- Décor: Fake plants, branches and PVC pipes.
- Lighting: 2.0 low-output UVB lightbulb.
- Temperature: 75-90°F.
- Humidity: 70-90%.
Frogs are carnivores and the tree species is no exception.
White’s tree frog use their keen eyesight to hunt any small animal that moves, including:
When prey is spotted, they lunge forward and strike it with their short, sticky tongue. They can also use their front arms to push larger prey into their mouth.
White’s tree frog diet mainly consists of crickets or dubia cockroaches. Earthworms, hornworms, or mealworms can be fed as treats. All insects should be gut-loaded for 48 hours before feeding.
The frequency of feeding depends on size and age.
Froglets under 1.5 inches long need daily feedings of small crickets, as many as they can eat in 20 minutes. If they eat all the crickets, add a few more the next day. A healthy froglet will usually eat 6-8 pinhead crickets each feeding.
Juveniles between 1.5-3 inches should also be fed as many crickets as they eat in 20 minutes, but on a less-frequent basis. They only need feeding 2-3 times each week.
Once your frog reaches one year old, offer 3-4 large crickets twice each week.
Dust crickets with a calcium and multivitamin powder immediately before feeding. This will ensure your frog gets the minerals and calcium its body needs to remain healthy.
Provide your frog with clean, dechlorinated water in a wide, shallow dish.
They absorb water through their skin, so do not be surprised if you find your amphibian soaking frequently.
White’s tree frog is a long-lived species. As pets, they have an average lifespan of around 15 years, but in rare instances some have been known to live for over 20 years.
This tree frog is less sensitive than other species and more resistant to illnesses and husbandry mistakes. However, all amphibians are delicate and can suffer from health issues.
They can contract parasites from eating infected insects. A frog with a parasitic infestation will lose weight, have watery or unusual poop or stop eating altogether. To prevent infections, always buy captive-bred insects and never feed insects collected from outdoors.
White’s tree frogs are highly susceptible to obesity from overfeeding.
In obese adults, the ridges of tissue on their heads will become clearly defined and may extend over their eyes. They may also have thick, creased fingers and rolls of fat above their limbs.
Fungal skin infections are a very serious issue in amphibians.
Any tree frog that develops discolored skin, white speckles, fuzzy growths, or red streaks should be immediately quarantined and taken to an exotic vet.
In the wild White’s tree frogs generally lead solitary lives.
They spend most of their time high in the treetops, where they seek out pools of rainwater and hide in tree hollows to conserve water during the dry season.
At the beginning of the rainy season, males gather near ponds and wetlands and croak to lure females.
A happy White’s tree frog will be active, alert and greedy! They should have a strong feeding response and will jump if gently pushed.
Adults who are unresponsive to touch, or have their eyes tightly shut, are showing signs of stress or illness.
As pets these amphibians can either be kept alone or in groups.
Many owners prefer to keep multiple White’s tree frogs so they can watch their lively interactions and vocalizations. As long as each frog gets enough space and are close to the same size, they will not be aggressive toward each other. Very small juveniles are at risk of being eaten by larger adults.
A 15-gallon, vertical glass tank will comfortably house one adult, while up to four frogs can be kept in a 40-gallon tank.
Fun Species Facts
- Part of the scientific name of this species (Ranoidea caerulea) means ‘blue’ in Latin. This is because the skin of White’s tree frogs is blue! However, it is covered with a yellow waxy secretion that makes it appear green. After the frog dies, the yellow layer degrades, and the frog looks bluer than it did in life.
- White’s tree frogs are resistant to several types of fungus and bacteria that can kill other amphibians. This resistance has helped their wild populations remain healthy, while many other species are declining around the world.
- Dumpy tree frogs are being studied for their incredible ability to climb smooth, vertical surfaces without falling.
- Australian tree frogs appear to be the only species in the world with a homing instinct. If caught and released in another location, these amphibians are able to navigate their way back to their home site. Exactly how they do this, or the maximum distance they can travel, is unknown.
- White’s tree frogs have been found in Florida. Researchers believe they were brought to the area as pets and released into the wild.
White’s tree frogs are a tropical species native to the forests of New Guinea and Australia. These adaptable amphibians have plump, rounded features and are loved for their lime green, mint, or grayish blue bodies.
This species is known among reptile keepers for its friendly demeanor and undeniably cute appearance.
White’s tree frog is an excellent pet for new keepers. They are calm, docile and strong feeders. Their well-earned popularity means that finding one for sale for a low price is not difficult. These frogs are usually sold as fully metamorphosed juveniles, not tadpoles or eggs.
With good care and husbandry, they can live up to two decades!
If you want a hardy, friendly pet that still holds all the appeal of an exotic amphibian then look no further.
Has the adorable White’s tree frog captured your heart? Let us know in the comments.