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White Tree Frogs

You have seen my two adorable babies, or if you haven't, you can find their bio and photo on 'My Animal and Insect page'. This page is more informative than anything else. On this page, I will cover Feeding and water, General health, Behavior, Handling, and Housing.

But, first some background info on this amazing frog. White Tree Frogs are native to Australia. They are called White Tree Frogs, not because they turn white, but a man called John White discovered them in 1790. Another less flattering name for them is, the dumpy frog. People call them 'dumpy' because they are frogs that are known to appear chubby.

Feeding and Water.

White Tree Frogs(Litoria Caerulea) chow down on all sorts of stuff. Their staple foods are Locusts and Crickets. Treat foods are: Wax Worms, mice(just as adults), Cockroaches, and Earthworms.  How much you feed a White tree frog really depends on the life stage of the frog.

For example a neonate should be fed everyday, whereas a frog who is a year old or in it's adulthood needs to be fed three times a week.  When feeding, you need to provide an adequate number and size of live-feed. You would never feed a neonate frog a large mouse or a cockroach, but fruit fries and Micro crickets are acceptable. Crickets can be very viscous  even when gut-loaded so please refrain from feeding these to neonates.Crickets have a reputation to bite and cause infection to amphibians and Reptiles. 

Older whites can be allowed to have medium to large locusts, Crickets, Mice, and Wax worms. Food such as Wax Worms and Mice are very high in fat, so only give these to your frog once a month. 

For both ages, Calcium powder should be sprinkled on the live-feed. For younger frogs, it is crucial that they receive this everyday, whereas adults do not need this every time they are fed. Too little Calcium powder can actually cause MBD(Metabolic Bone Disease, read more in the ailments section).  The powder contains phosphorus. Too much of this is actually toxic to your frog, so ensure you only sprinkle, and not coat all of the live-feed in powder. I recommend that you put the live feed in a small plastic food bag, filled with small traces of Calcium powder and give it a shake. As well as preventing intoxication from the powder, this will prevent naughty live feed from escaping.

The powder looks like this and can be found on Amazon, Blue Reptiles or even Northampton Reptile shop: 

White Tree frogs require a water bowl inside their terrarium. Frogs are amphibians, so absorb water through their skin. They need a wide bowl, that's not too deep, to soak in. All water used for your frog should have Reptisafe added to it. This removes chlorine from the water. It also aids in slime coat development. Never use water straight from the tap ! For cleaning out the terrarium, the live feed, and for misting ONLY use Reptisafe water.  You can also boil water for 20-25 minutes and leave to cool for an hour. The boiling processes rids of the chlorine and chloramines. Just remember to record the time of boiling and cooling accurately, otherwise fail to do so, and you could seriously harm your frog. 

Also, be careful about how much water you add to your frog's bowl. Though White Tree Frogs can swim , they are not known to be fantastic swimmers in deep water. Use a smaller bowl for Neonates, a slightly bigger one for older frogs, and a larger one for adult frogs. The bowl should be cleaned out everyday, at least once a day, and topped up.

General Health :

White Tree frogs are considered to be a hardy frog, but still can have health issues. Chytridiomycosis is a common health problem in frogs. It is a fungal infection, which can be caused by a buildup of fungus from improper cleaning, and it is hard to treat. Signs of this are: lethargy and dramatic weight loss.

Other common health issues include Red Leg and Edema(dropsy). Red Leg is caused by the bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila and is normally caused by bad husbandry. Terrariums that aren't cleaned thoroughly with Reptisafe water and Amphibian and Reptile safe disinfectant can often be the cause to this. The terrarium should be cleaned and disinfected every 3-4 weeks to avoid bacteria build-up. In addition to this, you must spot clean the enclosure everyday, or if you have clean up crew(will be covered in a different post) then once a week is acceptable.

Red Leg can also be caused by stress. So, sometimes if you take your frogs out to be cleaned, or you change the environment in a way they don't like, their legs may be a light red. Worry not, this will disappear when the frog settles in. Handling can cause stress as well.

Edema(known as Dropsy) is serious bloating of the abdomen. It occurs when fluid builds up within the animal. It is caused by a bacterial infection and poor diet. Prevent this by feeding your frog an appropriate diet, and do not use too much Calcium powder, as this can be toxic if given too much. Dropsy is hard to cure. If you suspect your frog has dropsy, isolate the affected frog , and seek advice from a vet.

Another common health issue is soil impaction. This occurs when a frog accidentally swallows soil when lunging for food. White Tree Frogs often just eat by catching prey with their mouth , and if any dirt gets in there they brush it out. Sometimes, they pick up too much soil and end up swallowing it. Young frogs are more prone to this, due to the fact they are still learning to hunt. They end up throwing up soil. Symptoms and signs are: Lethargy, lying constantly at the bottom of the terrarium , constantly throwing up, and lack of appetite.

MBD( Metabolic Bone disease) affects reptiles and amphibians. It is caused by low intake of Calcium and Vitamin D. High levels of phosphorus can also cause this. Benign cases of MBD can be cured with simple changes, for example increasing the amount of calcium powder provided, or decreasing it as the powder often contains phosphorus, which can be harmful in huge doses. It is characterised by lethargy, bumps or holes in the skin, bones showing, bloated legs, anorexia, constipation, poor posture, and limping. Severe MBD will require Calcium injections provided by vets. If you are unsure if your animal has MBD, or it has some of the signs seek advice. It is often better to diagnose asap so your animal does not suffer.

Behaviour

White Tree Frogs are known to be a charismatic species of frog .They have a weird behaviour of spraying urine when they get scared and want to defend themselves. As they get to know you, this will stop.

White Tree frogs are social and can live communally with others. They must be in a terrarium with frogs their own size, or cannibalism will occur. Neonates should be housed together, and adults with adults. If you introduce a new frog to your terrarium, you must ensure, A: It has come from a clean breeder, hasn't got any diseases that could spread to your frog, and B: Ensure it isn't bigger or smaller than your own.

When frogs are neonates its hard to identify their gender. As they get older you will start to notice the difference. For example, male frogs croak and females sometimes whine. Male frogs have smaller heads than the females. Males croak louder than females and ( as seen in the photo below) have a bigger vocal sack. This turns a dark grey when your frog has recently been calling. 

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Handling

When handling, wash your hands and put gloves on. This is to protect the frogs from your skin. The natural oils on our skin are harmful to frogs, so I highly advise using gloves. Don't use any with powder inside. I recommend Nitrile, Powder free Gloves. They have 100 gloves in one pack on Amazon.

They are intriguing to watch and easy to handle. Though they can be delicate, so I suggest an adult to assist a child if they want to handle one. After a while, they will become accustomed to handling. However, frequent handling can cause stress, so stick to handling 1-3 times a week.

Enclosure requirements 


White Tree Frogs are arboreal, which means they spend most of their time up in the trees. A wide and tall terrarium is advised. The Dimensions 45cmX45cmX45cm are highly recommended or 45x60x60. Anything bigger is, of course, much better too. Add logs, vines, and branches to provide support with climbing. They require a hide to prevent them from becoming stressed.


I recommend a Bioactive setup. This is a setup that is more natural and works well with animals like frogs. It is comprised of three layers: First: Clay balls. Second: Drainage layer, and third coco soil. Advantages of this setup are, soil does not get clogged up when spraying it, the terrarium closely resembles your animal's environment, and as you only need to clean it out once a month it saves a lot of money.

You can also add clean-up crew to the enclosure, they will dispose of any faeces by eating it. The only downsides are: you do have to put them in the enclosure a few days before your frogs go in. And, they need to be provided with food pushed deep into the soil so the frogs won't consume them immediately. There is an argument that if too much clean up crew are put inside the enclosure and breed, they will overpopulate, and the White Tree Frogs may eat too many. However, this is very unlikely, as the clean up crew mostly stay underground.
                                                                                



                                                                           
                                                                                    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 This is an example of a simple, small enclosure for a neonate frog. Reduced ornaments prevent the whites from getting stressed, and allow you to observe them and health check with ease. A slightly small setup, one that isn't too high will prevent your frog from falling and hurting themselves. Neonate frogs are not strong climbers, and can often fall. The second photo includes Spagnhum moss and is for when the white tree frog is a teenager. Neonate frogs should not have Spanghnum moss lose in the enclosure as this is an enormous choking hazard. 




 
 






 

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This would be more suited to an adult white tree frog.

Notice I used a baking tray for the water bowl. This is because my white tree frogs, Luna and Neville are so much bigger than they once were. They no longer have to be squashed into one bowl.

Also, it will be good to have some depth when Luna reproduces. Hopefully, it will be soon. Stay tuned!

The wires on the ceiling of the enclosure belong to a rainfall device, which is to be used to feign raining season when frogs are due to breed.  I am hoping this will encourage them to breed soon. 

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Electrical Thermometers and Hygrometers can be a good way to measure temperature and humidity. However, they can be a nuisance to hang up, and there is a risk of frogs getting caught on the wires, therefore causing injury. They also get in the way while spot cleaning.This is an old photo of an old setup. I no longer use electrical Thermometers and Hygrometers. I use analogue ones. They are easy to stick on and rarely fall off. They are ones which help read Humidity and Temperature together. I place one each side to ensure that the humidity and temperature are correct. For all frogs, one side must be hotter, this is otherwise known as the basking spot. I'd say 27 degrees is a good temp for the basking spot. The other side can be anywhere between 23-25 degrees. You can allow both sides to drop to 20 degrees at night. A heat mat should be used to provide sufficient heat for your frogs. The mat should be placed on the side of the terrarium to ensure it's not too hot for the frogs. Whites require heat, but if they receive too much they will dry up!

Daylights must be used to ensure frogs know when to sleep. You need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. The lights are fixed onto the canopy, which is a separate piece to the terrarium and goes on top of it. Monitor this closely. DO NOT EVER USE Heat Rocks or any other heated ornaments in their enclosure as this will kill them.


The exciting thing about cleaning out an enclosure is the setup you get to do afterwards. It's best to try and change it every time, even if the change is small. You can add plastic plants, you can add live plants, you can add awesome log hides for them to climb into. You can add water features such as waterfalls and foggers for extra humidity. In this picture, I am in the middle of setting up a waterfall I purchased from Mayberry's garden centre. Neville and Luna absolutely love it! 


 

Bioactive setup 

 

 

 

 

So, I am not going into too much detail as I want to do a video on this, but this is the fundamental way to build a  bioactive setup.

1. The first layer is drainage pebbles.

2.  The second is drainage cloth

 

 

 

 

 

3. Lastly soil is added.

Remember not to get soil with chunks of bark inside as frogs will choke on this. Get fine Eco Earth or Coco soil. Also, you may add sphagnum moss for humidity but with younger frogs please hide beneath the soil as they will have a choking hazard if you leave a huge blanket of moss on the surface. 

It is also crucial to purchase a clean up crew. Clean up crew are types of small inverts that help break down faeces. In the UK, they are rarely sold in shops but can be purchased from a range of shops, e.g eBay or Northampton Reptile shop. Springtails are my personal favourite as my greedy frog, Luna, hardly notices them due to her small size, therefore doesn't gorge on them. I did use the standard grey woodlouse culture, but Luna kept eating them all, so changed to Springtails. 

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Sources:https://www.petmd.com/reptile/conditions/skin/c_rp_am_red_leg

White Tree Frog and White-lipped tree frog handbook by R. D. Bartlett and Patricia P. Bartlett. An excellent resource for beginners.

Amazon website

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