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American Green Tree Frog – Habitat, Care, Diet, Facts

The American Green Tree Frog makes a great pet even for complete beginners. You don’t need to meet a laundry list of specifications to offer the right care and environment for this species.

These tiny frogs are mostly nocturnal and usually shy and quiet. It’s only when the lights are out, that the male frogs might start croaking and calling for females to mate. Female frogs are less vocal and they never croak.

Appearance-wise, they’re small to medium-sized. The adults reach up to 6cm in length, and females are larger than males. They’re usually completely green, and they come in a variety of shades, from beautiful lime, all the way to muted olive.

Their bellies are white or light yellow. Their color might also change depending on the temperature and lighting. Sometimes, these frogs also present small golden or white-colored patches on their backs. Males also have a throat pouch they use for their mating call.

The best thing about their appearance is how whimsical and cute they are. Their appearance makes them a popular choice for children and adults alike. They have big, beady eyes, long toes, and large, rounded toe pads, and their mouths always look like they’re curled up in a faint smile.

Combine that with their small stature and bashful temperament and it’s impossible not to love them.

Natural Habitat

Where do the American green tree frogs live? What is their natural habitat?

The American Green Tree Frog is a common backyard species. It naturally inhabits the southeast and small parts of central US states. This frog covers a wide range of territories, from central Texas to south Florida and all the way to New Jersey and even the southeast of Missouri.

This arboreal species is highly adaptable to a wide range of environments. But it prefers water-rich places with lots of floating vegetation like duckweed and lily pads, dense grasses, and cattails.

They aren’t great swimmers, so they tend to prefer shallow bodies of water. You can usually find these frogs in wet prairies, marshes, and along lakes, ponds, and streams. You can even see them in backyard swimming pools. Basically, anywhere where there’s clean water where they can soak to hydrate.

These frogs also need a variety of tall and short grasses and plants. They’re an arboreal species, which means they spend a lot of time climbing, jumping, and just sitting on trees. But they also need short grasses for hiding and hunting.

Fun fact! The American Green Tree Frog loves rainy weather. In the wild, this species usually breeds after rainfall. This frog even has a distinct mating call during rainy seasons. For this reason, people often refer to them as “rain frogs”. There’s a common belief that this species helps predict upcoming rain when it starts calling during damp weather.

Food & Diet

What do the American green tree frog usually eat in the wild and what can you feed them as pets?

The American Green Tree Frog is an insectivore. Its diet should consist exclusively of insects. They eat a wide variety of species such as crickets, houseflies, mosquitoes, fruit flies, worms, and moths. Compared to other amphibians, the majority of the American Green Tree Frog’s intake can be made up of crickets.

However, the crickets should be fed a rich, high-protein diet before becoming frog feed. This process is called gut-loading, aka feeding your live insects a nutrient-rich diet before “sacrificing” them as feed.

You can even find special gut-loading feed for crickets online and in most pet stores. Besides gut-loaded crickets, you should also include a calcium and multivitamin supplement 2-3 times a week.

Dust the frog’s food with a supplement powder a couple of times a week should be enough to meet all of your pet’s nutrient needs. The amount an American Green Tree Frog eats will depend on a variety of factors.

Smaller frogs need to eat more often in order to meet all their nutritional requirements to grow. Adult frogs should eat daily, but they can even be fed every other day. It’s worth noting that this frog will eat whenever there’s food available, so don’t overdo it. Feeding your frog too much or too often can make them pack on unhealthy weight.

This frog meets its hydration needs from soaking in water and from ambient humidity. Remember to mist the enclosure often and include a shallow bowl of clean, chlorine-free water. Change the water often to prevent harmful bacteria. This frog has thin, permeable skin, so it’s highly susceptible to infections!

Enclosure Setup

What type of enclosure is best for American green tree frogs? Do they need lighting? What is the ideal humidity and temperature for these small green frogs?

This tree-dwelling frog needs enough vertical space to climb and jump around. Floor space isn’t as important with this species. A tall, 10-20 gallon tank should work well for an adult frog.

Because this species loves jumping around, it’s a good idea to close your tank up with a lid or with a mesh. Otherwise, this frog will easily escape and turn your entire house into its playground.

Try to simulate the frog’s natural environment as faithfully as possible. Include plenty of tall branches, as well as a variety of grasses, stones, and even artificial decorations.

Make sure that every plant and decoration you include in the tank is thoroughly cleaned. Harsh chemicals such as soaps, detergents, pesticides, as well as foreign bacteria can damage your pet’s health.

The enclosure, including the tank itself, should also be thoroughly cleaned regularly. As with any other amphibian, unsanitary living conditions might lead to bacterial infection, which usually affects the skin and eyes.

When cleaning the tank, use hot water and avoid any soap or detergent, as these might be irritating or downright toxic for your pet frog.

– Lighting

Here’s some good news! This frog doesn’t need UVB light exposure to stay healthy. In fact, the American Green Tree Frog is mostly nocturnal and will spend most of the daytime hours hiding and sleeping.

You can definitely do without a special UVB lamp for this frog. However, if you keep live plants in the enclosure, you’ll need a direct source of UVB light for them to stay healthy.

Exposing your pet frog to light is still a good idea. Your frog needs a clear day and night cycle, and direct UVB light exposure can help them regulate their natural internal clock.

Make sure that your frog has 12 hours of daylight each day, and try to keep a regular day and night time schedule. During summer, you should also increase their light exposure to 14 hours a day.

– Humidity

The ambient humidity can range between 50-60% at any time. Never let the humidity drop below 50%! Investing in a glass tank and a good substrate will help to maintain adequate levels of moisture in the air.

Live plants are also a good addition to help with humidity levels. Mist the enclosure with clean, dechlorinated water a few times a day. If you use a UVB lamp, you might need to mist the enclosure more often.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a hygrometer just to make sure the humidity is within range. This device comes in handy when you need to measure the humidity level in your enclosure. No need to guesstimate when you have one of these! And the good news is you can find one for cheap on many online stores.

An air humidifier can also be helpful if you tend to forget to mist the enclosure, or if you’re away for most of the day.

– Temperature

Like any other amphibian, the American Green Tree Frog is a cold-blooded animal. This means that your frog will regulate their internal temperature according to its environment. They need a source of heat to stay warm, and a cooler area to retreat to when their temperature rises.

They prefer mild temperatures, ideally 21 to 25 degrees Celsius. In most houses, this is also the average room temperature. A UVB light lamp might considerably raise the temperature in the enclosure. Keep an eye out for that, if you’re planning to use one.

During the nighttime, the temperatures can drop slightly, but never lower than 18 degrees Celsius. The best set-up for this species is when the tank has a temperature gradient. One side of the tank should be of maximum heat, while the opposite side should be the coldest spot in the enclosure.

You can create a warmer area using a heat lamp, a ceramic heat emitter, or an under-tank heater. You must ensure that the warmest spot in the enclosure doesn’t exceed a temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.

Also, look out for any objects that could be overheating. If you use a glass tank, ensure that the walls and the lid never get hot. Your frog’s skin is thin and sensitive, and it burns easily when it comes into contact with high temperatures.

Install an in-tank thermometer to monitor the heat at all times. This is the best way to ensure the temperature is within range.

– Substrate

The substrate is the floor or bedding at the bottom of the enclosure. It’s not only a nice aesthetic touch, but it also helps simulate a frog’s natural environment. Green Tree Frogs are arboreal species, so they spend most of their time climbing. For this reason, the substrate isn’t that important. However, there’s something worth mentioning.

This frog is a big eater and it might accidentally ingest any small object lying on the floor of the enclosure. For this reason, you should stay away from substrates that include things such as small pebbles or gravel. Accidental ingestion of such undigestible materials can lead to intestinal impaction and even death!

The safest, cheapest, and most popular substrate choice for this pet is coconut fiber. You can also use any reptile carpet, with the added bonus of easy washing and sanitizing. Other safe options include organic soil and cypress mulch. Loose material substrates should be replaced regularly to maintain sanitary conditions for your pet.

Breeding

Can American green tree frogs reproduce in a terrarium? What are the requirements to successfully breed these frogs?

In nature, the American Green Tree Frog breeds once per year. There’s no clear-cut data about their mating season in the wild, but most believe that mating season starts in March and ends around August. Multiple factors such as daylight time, temperature, and rainfall influence this frog’s mating behavior.

During warm seasons with heavy rainfall, male frogs will start their mating call. If you want to breed American Green Tree Frogs in captivity, you can simulate natural seasonal changes by slightly increasing enclosure temperature, daytime hours, and humidity levels.

In some American Tree Frog populations, the average number of eggs laid by female frogs was around 400 per clutch. Sometimes the female frogs can lay multiple clutches in a mating season, and a female’s body size is strongly correlated with their clutch size.

As with any other amphibians, the male frog clutches itself on the back of the female during breeding. The female deposits her eggs among moss or logs, and fertilization happens externally. The male frog releases sperm to fertilize the eggs. After about 4-14 days, the eggs will hatch. It takes an additional 12 months for the tadpoles to reach maturity.

Wrap Up

The American Green Tree Frog is everything an amphibian enthusiast could wish for. It’s a great choice for children and new pet owners as well. This frog has a unique appearance, and a sweet, shy personality.

It loves climbing and playing so you can always watch a nice show of acrobatics right in your living room. Besides being pleasant and entertaining, this frog is also small and easy to care for. It’s a win-win!

Remember that this frog is easily scared and highly sensitive. It doesn’t like coming into direct contact with people, and too much handling might even hurt its delicate skin. It’s best to admire them from afar. Sometimes, when kept in captivity since they are froglings, they can grow accustomed to being handled. But always remember to be gentle!

Frogs - Updated: July 22, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.

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