White’s Tree Frog Care
Also known as the Australian green tree frog or dumpy frog, this is one of the largest true tree frog species. Easily recognised by their cheerful expressions and chubby bodies, they are an excellent choice for both the beginner and the more experienced frog keeper. Females grow to approximately 11.5cm (4.5”) with the males only slightly smaller, so they require a reasonably large enclosure. They are happy to live in groups, so a trio would need a house of 60cm x 45cm x 60cm (24” x 18” x 24”), although of course bigger is always better! Like most amphibians they do like plenty of cover – if they are always close to a hiding place they are more likely to sit out in full view, whereas if they have fewer places to feel safe they won’t risk exposure, and will hide all the time.
They do like a high humidity, but there also needs to be adequate ventilation; the conditions in the forest canopy are humid but not stagnant, and the setup needs to mirror this. We prefer to use the screen topped glass terrariums, as they are very well ventilated, and when used with the correct substrate and plenty of cover, they hold humidity well. What is even better is a live planted, bioactive environment – if you’ve ever wanted to give that a go, this an ideal species to begin with!
Although in the wild their ponds are at the bottom of holes in trees, they are quite happy to use a water bowl with low sides to soak in. The bigger the better, although as long as they can get their whole selves into it that will be fine.
Water quality is absolutely vital for amphibians, and whilst it is fine to use tap water it should be dechlorinated first. There are many products available on the market for this, and usually a drop or two will suffice – always read the label! Mist the enclosure regularly to ensure that the humidity remains high. If time is an issue, there are automatic misting and fogging systems on the market that will do it for you.
Temperature wise, these frogs thrive with a temperature range of 21º C (70º F) and 30º C (81º F), with a 5 to 10 degree drop at night which can be provided with a deep heat projector used with a suitable thermostat. As with all reptiles and amphibians, there needs to be a gradient from warmest to coolest so that your pets can decide for themselves what temperature they want to be at. Always use a good digital thermometer.
Like most amphibians, White’s tree frogs will eat pretty much anything that moves that can fit in their mouths. The more different prey items you can supply for them the better; crickets, locusts, waxworms and calci worms are all fine. All food items should be gut loaded, and dusted with either a calcium or a calcium and multivitamin/multimineral powder. They can be greedy and will not hesitate to turn cannibal, so if you must cohabit them with other species then please select tank mates very carefully.
Due to this appetite and a rather laid back temperament, obesity is the commonest health issue with these frogs. The plump ridge above their eyebrows can grow to be so large that it droops over their eyes – this is too fat! A large enclosure and medium sized prey items will encourage them to keep fit as they chase and catch their food.
UV lighting is important for the health of your frog. We have noticed that they do appear to use and even enjoy controlled exposure to UV light, although like all animals they should be given plenty of places to hide away from it if they want to. A low output T5 UVB unit appears to provide sufficient exposure for them.
A word of warning – do not keep these frogs in a bedroom! The calling of an amorous White’s is astonishingly loud, and they can keep it up all night when the mood strikes them. They can also be triggered into calling by other household noises such as telephones, passing traffic, vacuum cleaners and the like.
These tree frogs are big enough to tolerate gentle, occasional handling, are relatively easy to care for and are undemanding in their care requirements. Whether they are your first treefrog or you want to try something a little different, White’s tree frogs might be for you.