Basic Information Sheet: White’s Tree Frog

White’s Tree Frog (Pelodryas caerulea)

Photo credit: Dara_Kero via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo credit: Dara_Kero via Flickr Creative Commons

Natural history



The White’s tree frog is indigenous to Australia and Indonesia. Also known as the dumpy tree frog or the Australian giant green tree frog. This species is captive bred in large numbers. Wild-caught frogs from Indonesia are also still in the pet trade.

Taxonomy



Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Hylidae (tree frogs)

Color and Size



This medium to large tree frog reaches 2-4.5 in (5-11 cm) in length. Most adults weigh 50-90 grams. Males are smaller than females. The dorsum is jade green to olive brown and the lips are greenish.

Diet



Feed a variety of gut-loaded appropriately-sized invertebrates, primarily insects. Dust food items with a vitamin/mineral supplement twice weekly for juveniles and once weekly for adults. Feed juveniles daily and adults two to three times weekly.

Husbandry


TemperatureMaintain a temperature gradient of 70-90°F (24-32°C) with a basking spot that reaches 95°F (35°C). Cage temperature may drop to 65-70°F (18-21°C) at night.
Humidity/waterMaintain humidity at 60-70%. Mist the enclosure daily and provide a sizable, but shallow, water dish. Between mistings the substrate should remain damp, but not water logged.
Potential water sources include:

  • Aged water:  Allow chlorinated water to sit in an open container for 24-48 hours so chlorine can dissipate
  • Bottled spring water
  • Filtered tap water:  run through a sediment and activated charcoal filter
Cage size and designThis quiet frog does not require much space. One to four frogs can thrive in a 20-gallon (75-L) terrarium. A woodland terrarium is ideal, but White’s tree frogs also do well with a simple set up.
Cage furniture/suppliesDry paper towels can suffice as a cage substrate for a patient but care must be taken to maintain adequate humidity. Provide a large tree limb at least the diameter of the body or a clay pot to serve as a perching spot. Provide low-intensity full-spectrum lighting for optimal absorption of dietary calcium. Provide plants for visual security.
Social structureCommunal


Lifespan



20+ years
White’s tree frogs often reach sexual maturity during their second year of life.

Anatomy/ physiology


Dermatologic:Frog skin is a dynamic organ involved in water and electrolyte balance, chemical synthesis and secretion, and immunity. Poor husbandry may result in skin disease that can quickly kill the patient.
Frogs periodically shed and eat their skin. The skin will appear cloudy beforehand.
Gastrointestinal:A short, simple gastrointestinal tract empties into a cloaca
Cardiac:A three-chambered heart is encased within the pectoral girdle.
Lymphatics:All amphibians possess lymph hearts, which beat in synchrony independently of the heart.
Urogenital:A renal portal system is present
Miscellaneous:Frogs possess coelomic and inguinal fat bodies.
Sexual dimorphism:Adult males are about 30-50% smaller than adult females. Males also call during the breeding season and they also develop small brown nuptial pads on each thumb.


Restraint


Amphibian skin is very sensitive so handle frogs as little as possible. To manually restrain the frog, wear moistened surgical gloves.

Venipuncture



Ventral abdominal vein

Preventive medicine



Perform a visual exam by placing the frog in a clear plastic box or tub.
Physical examination prn (as needed).
Fecal parasite testing

Important medical conditions


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References