Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

By Snaketracks / August 10, 2020

Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) Care Guide

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are arboreal hylids (meaning they spend a majority of their lives in trees) found in tropical lowlands from southern Mexico, throughout Central America, and in northern South America. 

Red-Eyed Tree Frog inhabits areas near rivers and ponds in rainforests and humid lowlands on the Atlantic slopes.

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience level:  Beginner
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Agalychnis callidryas
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: 1.5 to 2.75 inches
  • Lifespan: In the wild 5 years average and up to 12 years in captivity
  • Predators: Dragonflies, fish, and water beetles prey on the tadpoles

Why Should You Choose A Red-Eyed Tree Frog As A Pet?

They have a spectacular look and are easy to care for. They look magnificent when paired with a live enclosure and jungle plants.

Their scientific name Agalychnis callidryas comes from Greek words Kalos (beautiful) and dryas (a tree or wood nymph). Despite their conspicuous coloration, they are not venomous.

However, they don’t like being handled. If you’re happy observing your frog from outside its enclosure, a Red-Eyed Tree Frog can make a fantastic pet.  Otherwise, you may want to consider another species.

What Does A Red-Eyed Tree Frog Look Like?  

Red Eyed Tree Frog (agalychnis callidryas)
Red Eyed Tree Frog (agalychnis callidryas)

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs have bright green, yellow and blue bodies, and vibrant red eyes.

Their webbed feet and toes are orange or red. And, they have sticky pads on their toes to cling onto leaves.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Reproduction

Red Eyed Tree Frog sitting on leaf
Red Eyed Tree Frog sitting on leaf

During the mating season, the male frogs shake the branches where they sit. This improves their chances of finding a mate by keeping rivals at bay.

Females use the call as well as the color of the male frog to find a possible mate. Both call and color of the male frog show territorial display and anti-predatory behavior.

During amplexus, the female carries the male on her back for several hours during the oviposition process. The female chooses a leaf above a pond or large puddle on which to lay her clutch.

Breeding

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs sometimes breed successfully in captivity. However, they should be kept in high-humidity vivaria (e.g., by using misting equipment), tropical plants such as Bromelia, and other epiphyte plants, together with well-aerated water pools.

Their captive habitat should have a light cycle with 11–12 hours of daylight. Also, it should have an average daily temperature of 26–28°C (and night-time averages of 22–35°C).

Additionally, simulating a rainy season once a year in November to December encourages reproduction. Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agalychnis_callidryas

Eggs Laying

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs lay eggs terrestrially on leaves overhanging water. Eggs range in color from white to yellow to green to teal. The jelly surrounding the eggs is clear but quite thick.

Typically, multiple clutches of less than 10 to more than 100 eggs are laid by a single female in a night (Duellman 2001). Females must go to the water before laying a clutch of eggs to absorb water to hydrate the jelly surrounding the clutch (Pyburn 1970).

Eggs Hatching

Eggs become capable of hatching four days post-oviposition. But if undisturbed, embryos typically remain in the egg until the night of age 6 days (Warkentin 1995).

Source: https://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/amphibians/en/species/1/ 

Since oviposition generally occurs on both sides of a leaf, red-eyed tree frogs may fold the leaf to hide the eggs from predators.

Tadpoles Development

The tadpoles remain in the water from three weeks to several months, until they metamorphose into frogs.

The time of metamorphosis depends on the duration of the larval stage, which varies depending on the environment.

After metamorphosis, the color of tadpoles’ torsos changes from green to brown. In addition, their initially yellow eyes turn into deep red without much side patterning. These changes mark maturity.

Source: https://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/amphibians/en/species/1/

Red-Eyed Tree Frog Habitat

Red Eyed Tree Frog walking on branch
Red Eyed Tree Frog walking on branch

Enclosure Requirements

Red-Eyed Tree Frog grows fairly large. So a 45x45x60cm terrarium is a good option for 1-2 frogs.

They are arboreal. That is, they love to climb and they appreciate a tall, vertical enclosure that lets them get to a higher vantage point.

Cleaning

To clean the enclosure you can use TetraFauna AquaSafe Reptile & Amphibian Water Conditioner.

Temperature

They thrive in a temperature range of 75 to 85F, with a drop of up to ten degrees at night.  You can use Zacro Reptile Heat Pad or VIVOSUN Reptile Heating Pad.

Humidity

Humidity is a controversial subject with these frogs. During breeding, they prefer the humidity level around 90 percent, and some hobbyists keep them this moist all the time.

Others, citing that the frogs experience lower humidity over much of the year, keep them between 60 and 75 percent relative humidity. Though, they raise it during the summer.

You can automate the process with something like the BETAZOOER Humidifier paired with a humidity controller so you don’t have to constantly think about if the humidity is correct or not.

Feeding

Red Eyed Tree Frog hanging on purple flower
Red Eyed Tree Frog hanging on purple flower

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are nocturnal carnivores. In the wild, they hide in the rainforest canopy and ambush crickets, flies, and moths with their long, sticky tongues.

As pets, you can feed them crickets (learn to raise your own crickets), moths, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects.

Insects should be dusted with a high-quality calcium and vitamin D3 supplement before offering to the frog. This is particularly important for baby Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, who must have calcium and D3 supplemented at each meal.

Older frogs may go a feeding or two without being supplemented because they are less in danger of developing a metabolic disorder.

A good reptile vitamin should also be added but is usually only dusted on the insects once or twice a week instead of at every feed.

Temperament & Handling

Close up of red eyed tree frogs eyes
Close up of red eyed tree frogs eyes

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are generally calm, docile animals. They aren’t prone to aggression.

However, they don’t like to be picked up or handled in any way, even after regular socialization. Too much handling can overstress a Red-Eyed Tree Frog, making it vulnerable to illness or potentially causing death from shock.

When disturbed, they flash their bulging red eyes and reveal their huge, webbed orange feet and bright blue-and-yellow flanks.

This technique, called startle coloration, may give a bird or snake pause, offering a precious instant for the frog to spring to safety.

Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/r/red-eyed-tree-frog/

Their neon-green bodies may play a similar role in thwarting predators. Many of the animals that eat Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are nocturnal hunters that use keen eyesight to find prey.

The shocking colors of this frog may over-stimulate a predator’s eyes. This creates a confusing ghost image that remains behind as the frog jumps away.

Source:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/r/red-eyed-tree-frog/

Health Concerns

Red Eyed Tree Frog on tree
Red Eyed Tree Frog on tree

In general, the majority of diseases of amphibians maintained in captivity will relate directly or indirectly to husbandry and management.

This is partly due to the high permeability of their skin. They are very susceptible to toxic insult, and a variety of chemicals may be problematic in wild or captive animals.

Some of the more common amphibian diseases with bacterial etiologies include bacterial dermato septicemia or “red leg syndrome,” flavobacteriosis, mycobacteriosis, and chlamydiosis.

The most common viral diseases of amphibians are caused by ranaviruses. Mycotic and mycotic-like organisms cause several diseases among amphibians, including chytridiomycosis, zygomycosis, chromomycosis, saprolegniasis, and ichthyophoniasis.

Protozoan parasites of amphibians include a variety of amoeba, ciliates, flagellates, and sporozoans.

Common metazoan parasites include various myxozoans, helminths (particularly trematodes and nematodes), and arthropods.

Commonly encountered non-infectious disease etiologies for neoplasia, absolute or specific nutritional deficiencies or overloads, chemical toxicities, and inadequate husbandry or environmental management.

Dietary Problems

Of the specific dietary problems that affect amphibians, some of the more commonly encountered challenges are the vitamin and mineral imbalances related to metabolic bone disease.

Specifically, these imbalances include the failure to ingest or adequately process vitamin D3, calcium, or phosphorus to maintain them in the proper ratios.

Also, elevated levels of vitamin A may also interfere with the normal metabolism of vitamin D and contribute to metabolic bone disease.

However, most often the metabolic bone disease is caused by low levels of calcium or improper calcium: phosphorus ratios in the insect prey (Wright and Whitaker 2001).

Many insects used as food or prey, including mealworms (diy mealworm farm guide), waxworms (diy wax worm farm guide), earthworms, and fruit flies, have low levels of calcium or imbalanced calcium: phosphorus ratios (Barker et al. 1998).

It is possible to correct this calcium deficiency by feeding the insects calcium-rich food or by dusting the insects with a calcium-rich powder.

Source: Diseases of Amphibians Christine L. Densmore, David Earl Green ILAR Journal, Volume 48, Issue 3, 2007, Pages 235–254, https://doi.org/10.1093/ilar.48.3.235

Signs Of A Healthy Red-Eyed Tree Frog

  • Hides often
  • Eats vigorously
  • Clear eyes and smooth skin

Red Flags

  • Loss of appetite
  • Hazy or cloudy eyes
  • Does not escape away from capture
  • Weight loss

Interesting Facts 

Dark Green Red Eyed Tree Frog
Dark Green Red Eyed Tree Frog

Many scientists believe the  Red-Eyed Tree Frog developed its vivid scarlet peepers to shock predators into at least briefly questioning their meal choice.

Eggs hatch prematurely in response to disturbance (Warkentin 1995, Warkentin et al. 2000, Warkentin 2001). Embryos can distinguish between dangerous and benign disturbances based on the vibrational frequencies produced by the disturbance as well as the temporal pattern of the vibrations (Warkentin 2005, Warkentin et al. 2006, Caldwell et al. 2009).

Embryos do not hatch immediately upon disturbance. Instead, embryos require time to sample cues. Thus, hatching is delayed until enough information is accrued (Warkentin et al. 2007).

Source: https://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/amphibians/en/species/1/

Tadpoles also adjust the timing of metamorphosis. They emerge smaller in the presence of tadpole predators and larger if there are metamorph predators (Vonesh and Warkentin 2006).

Source: https://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/amphibians/en/species/1/

Conservation Status

Least Concern on IUCN Red List. Even if they are not actually in danger in their natural habitat the current population is decreasing.

Their habitat is shrinking at an alarming rate, and their highly recognizable image is often used to promote the cause of saving the world’s rainforests.

Video On Red-Eyed Tree Frog

Conclusion

The Red-eyed Tree Frog is one of our top frogs when it comes to choosing one as a pet. They are easy to care for, not picky eaters, and just look cool.

Other cool frogs which also make great pets include the Tomato Frog, Amazon Milk Frog, and of course the African Dwarf Frog. Be sure to check out our best pet frogs article to see all of our favorites!

What frog do you own or plan on getting? What made you choose that or them? We love hearing from you so let us know in the comments below!

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