The American green tree frog is a tiny creature, which grows no more than 2.5 inches, is green all over, with shades from yellowish-green to a bright lime green. The sides are marked with a thin yellow or white stripe running from the jaw till the flanks. In spite of its tiny size, it has big toes and strong legs, making it a very agile jumper. The underside is usually yellowish-white in color. A male is generally smaller than a female, and possesses a vocal sac in its throat. Found abundantly all over the southeastern United States, they make a shrill croaking sound, quite like the quacking of a duck, and can be heard all along marshes and ponds during the summers.
Green Tree Frog Pet Care
Glass aquariums, which hold at least 10 gallons of water make for an ideal enclosure for these tiny beings. Invest in a tank that is tall, since these frogs like to climb and jump. The bigger and taller the tank, the better it is. A tank with a tight-fitting lid is ideal, but make sure it provides good ventilation. But one which has a mesh or wire covering would also do fine. To allow these frogs to climb and jump buy plants that can be put up in the aquarium. Fake plants are a better option, but if you want real plants, opt for Philodendron and ferns. You must take care of live plants, and not allow them to dry out. Use a lot of plants. These frogs like to hide and prefer dense foliage. Be careful not to add fertilizers or pesticides to the plants, they may prove dangerous to your frog's health. Branches, driftwood, or sticks should be placed around the tank, in a slanting manner which gives an opportunity for the frogs to climb. If you get these items by yourself from the outdoors, clean them in very mild bleach and then rinse them thoroughly. This will prevent your frog from coming in contact with any germs or bugs that the sticks and wood might have harbored. Clean out the tank twice a month. Use hot water but avoid using soap. Take out all that it contains, and wash everything thoroughly. In the meanwhile you can place the frog in another container but keep an eye on it and don't let it escape!
The ideal choices for a good substrate are coconut husk, cypress mulch, pebbles, or cork or cedar bark. Do not use any material with an abrasive surface which can irritate the frog's skin. Commercially available reptile flooring is another good option. Whatever you use, make sure it retains moisture and humidity and the frog is unable to eat it up. You must keep the substrate clean by checking to see if it has spoiled, and replacing it with a fresh layer if need be.
The temperature should be maintained between 65°F and 75°F. In winter months, use heaters under the glass tank to keep the temperature around 75°F. Or you can also hang a low-watt bulb over the tank, in such a way that the frog doesn't try to jump on it.
Since these creatures are nocturnal, no extra light is required. Maintain well-distinguished periods of day and night, since these are important for the frogs to maintain their circadian rhythms. Some pet owners still prefer using UVA/UVB lighting. If you want, you can also use it to provide a dim, fluorescent lighting, but keep in mind that it should not be bright and should not be used for more than 8-10 hours a day.
Green tree frogs love to bathe and soak themselves in water and hence they need water. Fill a Petri dish or a water bowl with an inch of water and place inside the tank. Replace the dish with water everyday to prevent the growth of germs. The dish should be stable enough and should not topple in case the frog jumps on it. These frogs are not very good swimmers, so the water level should be shallow. Use only dechlorinated water. Chlorine can prove fatal to the frogs. These frogs also like humidity. Spray the tank with non-chlorinated water every day, or use a humidifier. Do not spray too much since excess moisture can lead to bacterial overgrowth.
These frogs love insects, so feed them a diet of crickets, moths, fruit flies, and houseflies. Remember to feed them gut-loaded crickets, which ensures a healthy nutrition for your frogs. Buy cricket foods which are sold at all pet stores to feed the crickets. The more nutritious the diet of the crickets, the more your pet benefits from it. An occasional meal of meal worms and waxworms can also be included as part of the diet. Also include vitamins and calcium as part of the frog's diet. Dust the food with these supplements thrice a week to ensure they get their due. These creatures have a good appetite and young frogs must be fed daily. Adult frogs can be fed every alternate day. Warmer months sees an increase in their hunger levels, whereas in winter months, these frogs eat less.
Handling the Frog
Do not handle the frogs unless it is an absolute necessity. Do not attempt to hold and stroke them, for rubbing their skin can damage it, since these frogs breathe through their skin. Their skin contains an oil which can be harmful if it comes in contact with your skin. If you must pick them up, wash your hands with dechlorinated water prior to handling, and wash your hands with soap afterward.
When you go to the store to buy one, ask for a frog that has been bred in captivity. Frogs that have been caught in the wild undergo a lot of stress during shipping, and may take a while to get acclimatized to living in an enclosure. Though once they pass that phase and adjust themselves to a life inside a cage, they are the best pets you can have. Go in for a frog that is emerald-green in color and devoid of dull, brown spots and aging skin. As with all pets, take them regularly to the vet, and shower them with loads of love!