Red-Eyed Tree Frogs - Jewels of the Rain Forest

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs - Jewels of the Rain Forest

"As pets, I wouldn’t call them low-maintenance, although some suppliers state differently."

Red-eyed tree frogs are among my favorites in the amphibian world. Probably because of their brilliant colors, but because they’re tiny and so darn cute. Just look at that face! If you plan to keep them as pets, though, you should be a night owl, as it’s the wee hours of the morning when they’re most active. Otherwise, during the day, you’ll have to hunt for them. Amazingly those bright green bodies are perfect camouflage for the undersides of leaves.

They swim and jump well, but actually prefer to walk around with their highly-developed suction cup feet - which happen to be orange. When they need a drink, they’ll simply absorb water through their skin. They’re real carnivores, though, and will chow down on flies or crickets as a main course along with the occasional smaller frog and other insects.

Their bright colors are actually the perfect protection. In the wild, predators seem to know instinctively that vividly colored creatures are usually toxic. While the red-eyed tree frog is harmless, this natural defense probably saves its hide a big part of the time.

As pets, I wouldn’t call them low-maintenance, although some suppliers state differently. They require a humid environment, frequent misting, and distinctive night and day light settings. A source of water is required, but they’ll spend the majority of their time among higher greenery. Climbing is their thing, so a vertically-shaped aquarium is best. They should never be handled unless absolutely necessary. Their skin is very thin and germs or bacteria can easily be transferred from human hands.

If you really want to enjoy red-eyed tree frogs at home, be prepared to get up about 1:00 a.m. and you’ll be in for a treat as they move about in search of food.

Photo public domain courtesy Carey James Balboa