Finding and Catching
Found in southeastern United States, these little critters can often be found at night crawling on the sides of houses near water. They are a lot less “jumpy” than regular aquatic frogs and this makes them much easier to catch, as long as they come down low enough to get without a ladder. Unlike the poison arrow frogs, American tree frogs are not toxic so you can pick them up, but I do recommend you wash your hands after handling them just like any other reptile or amphibian.
A large aquarium with a very secure lid works best. For the bottom of the tank, you should fill it with about three inches of water with a good filter to keep it clean. Don’t worry about your pet drowning, it won’t spend much time at the bottom, but you do need to worry about chlorine. All amphibians absorb chemicals through their skin, so be sure to purify your water before use. To avoid feeder insects drowning, you might want to put some islands into the water for them to crawl onto.
Tree frogs all have suction cups on their toes which allow them to climb dang near anything, even glass! To make them feel more at home, and spruce things up, I recommend some fake plants for them to cling to as well. Tree frogs love to congregate at the top of whatever enclosure you put them into, usually in crevices, so be careful not to squish them, and make sure you have a secure lid. If you don’t, they will escape. If you feel your home is a tad on the cool side, get a heating lamp or pad to keep your pet comfortable.
Tree frogs love flies, but since these can be hard to provide on a regular basis, crickets will do, but I do advise you to throw in some beetles and such every now and then; nobody wants to eat the same thing everyday. Now THIS IS IMPORTANT! One of the biggest problems with feeding tree frogs is the vitamin supplement powder. Because their tanks are so moist, any powder you put on your crickets will probably wash off before they are eaten, so you have to first feed vitamins to the crickets, then feed the crickets to the frogs. You are what you eat, and what you eat ate as well.
Tree frogs can be a bit messy. When they cling to the glass, they leave behind a kind of slime. This needs to be cleaned AT LEAST once a week, if not more. Just use an algae scrubber. If left unchecked, you’ll need a razor blade to get this stuff off, it’s like nature’s super glue. They leave their waste on the glass as well. You also need to clean the water regularly as dirty water can cause a lot of health problems.
Tree frogs do well with other amphibians of relatively the same size. Like every other frog I have experience with, they will eat anything small enough to swallow that crosses their path, even their own young! Keep this in mind when deciding on your pet’s roommates.
After about a year, most tree frogs are ready to mate in spring. As long as you have this relative tank setup with about four to six inches of water, and if you feed them a wider variety of insects, they should spawn. Once they do, remove the parents for the safety of the young, they may eat the eggs, tadpoles, or young frogs. The eggs hatch in about a week. Feed the tadpoles fish flakes, or read my care sheet on tadpoles. the tadpoles start changing into adults after about six weeks.
Male tree frogs have a somewhat loud mating call. Keep this in mind before deciding to get one as a pet. Though personally I enjoy the sound, some find it irritating. Tree frogs are less timid than regular aquatic frogs and will climb on you if you let them, just be gentle with them and wash your hands afterwards. Tree frogs become litter or darker in color depending on what they are resting on. Frogs are living creatures too, so please don’t mistreat or abuse them.