Also known as the Mission golden-eyed tree frog and the panda bear tree frog due to its contrasting, black and white coloration as juveniles, Amazon milk frogs (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) are an enjoyable and easy frog to keep as a pet. While not as common as the more familiar White’s tree frog, caring for this species requires a very similar approach and process. Their care is uncomplicated, which makes watching them at night as they move about in their terrarium, enjoyable.
Availability, Size, & Lifespan
Large-bodied, with big hands for climbing, these frogs are widely available online and at pet stores, and are one of the larger tree frogs currently held in captivity. Adult male milk frogs can reach 2-3 inches in length, while females can grow even larger—4 inches. Milk frogs are capable of living a decently long life—up to 8-10 years or more.
Milk Frog Caging
A standard 20-gallon Terrarium should be big enough to house one to two adult milk frogs, while a larger 30 Gallon is big enough for a group of five to six milk frogs. Baby Milk Frogs should be housed in smaller enclosures, like a 10-gallon terrarium, so that the frog(s) can be easily monitored. Because terrariums are usually used for reptiles that require a moist and wet environment, it is important to use a screen cover to provide proper ventilation, which will help prevent mold growth within the terrarium.
For substrate, milk frog owners should use moist coconut fiber or sphagnum moss. Because these little guys are arboreal (like to live in trees), Milk frogs habitats require extra terrarium equipment, decorations, and supplies. With that being said, consider providing your frog with plenty of perches above the ground, such as cork bark, magnetic ledges, or artificial plants. Live plants can also be used but may require special lighting. If using live plants, select hardy varieties like large-leafed philodendron or bromeliads.
Milk frogs tend to spend much of their time around a large water-filled tree hole, which is where they often breed. With this in mind, provide a large water dish to mimic these water-filled tree holes. However, make sure to change the water daily and use tap water that has been de-chlorinated with a water conditioner. Speaking of conditioning, a milk frog’s entire terrarium should be cleaned every 4 to 6 weeks. When cleaning, DO NOT use soap. Instead, use hot water or specialized reptile terrarium cleaner to help remove waste, if necessary.
Lighting & Temperature & Humidly
Like all amphibians, milk frogs are cold-blooded creatures that need their environment and temperature controlled. Allow an area of the cage to reach 80 to 85°F during the day, with other cooler parts of the cage staying around 70 to 75°F. and nighttime temperatures at 65°-70°F. Incandescent light bulbs can be used for heating if needed, but please. make sure to use an accurate thermometer to measure the temperature. Finally, keep a close eye on humidity levels. For milk frogs specifically, humidity levels of 50-90% are ideal. To maintain proper humidity, simply mist the terrarium daily using a spray bottle or auto mister. You can use dechlorinated tap water, distilled, or reverse-osmosis (RO) water for misting.
Milk Frog Food
Milk frogs can be fed a variety of insects. Young frogs can be fed flightless fruit flies and small Crickets, daily, while adults can be fed larger crickets, Phoenix worms, Dubia roaches, and Wax Worms. Unlike baby milk frogs, adults need to be only fed around two to three days per week, with 3-10 food items per frog each, per feeding. It is essential to use a vitamin and mineral supplement powder to dust over the frog’s food to prevent nutritional problems, such as bone loss.
Handling & Behavior
DO NOT handle frogs except when necessary, like when removing the frog(s) to clean the enclosure or to examine its health. Like all amphibians, milk frogs have skin that is very sensitive and can be damaged easily. So if you decide to hold your tiny friend, wet your hands before handling to avoid irritating their skin.
These frogs are nocturnal and generally remain asleep during the day. They often hide inside hollow cork bark or other structures until night. At night they become active, and this is the best time to observe them. Many milk frogs will also awake during the day after its terrarium has been misted with water or if it or they are being fed.