White’s tree frog, also known as the dumpy tree frog, is native to Indonesia, New Guinea and parts of Australia. It is larger than most frogs at about four to five inches; males are slightly smaller than females and possess a vocal sac. Adult frogs will have a fatty ridge above the eyes, which gives it a tired expression.
The frog’s colors range from green to a light blue-green. Some may have white spots on the head and back. Their skin is thicker than other frogs with a waxy coating that allows it to survive in harsher environments.
The white’s tree frog is nocturnal and has an average life span of 12 to 15 years. It can be quite docile and will tolerate handling, making it an excellent choice for beginners. However, it has sensitive skin that can be damaged from the natural oils and salts found on human skin; be sure to wash and rinse your hands thoroughly of any soap or lotion before handling.
Caging and Humidity
Use a minimum 10-gallon terrarium, though 20-gallon or larger is preferred. White’s tree frogs like to climb, so a taller terrarium is a good idea. A tight-fitting, ventilated lid is essential, as a lack of adequate airflow can cause respiratory problems.
Provide lots of climbing opportunities: cork bark, branches, vines and plants (live or plastic). Make sure everything is sturdy and secure enough to support the frog’s weight. Plant cover should be dense in some areas to help with hiding; the leaves should be slightly larger than the body. You could also use a large vertical piece of cork bark against the back of the cage with a gap of two to three inches for a hiding spot.
Humidity should be about 50 to 60 percent. Mist the terrarium daily or as needed. Use only bottled drinking water or dechlorinated tap water when misting; avoid distilled or untreated tap water.
When it comes to the substrate, it should be organic soil, coconut fiber or larger pieces of bark. Cover the substrate with moss-like sphagnum, which helps retain moisture and maintain high humidity. Avoid small bark that may be accidentally ingested.
White’s Tree Frog Heating and Lighting
A basking light or heat pad attached to the side of the terrarium can create a daytime temperature range of 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Drop the nighttime temperatures to about 72 to 76 degrees. This can be done automatically with a digital thermostat, especially to help prevent burns on the frog’s belly and feet.
Be mindful of incandescent light bulbs, as they can overheat and rapidly dry the environment. Start with a lower wattage bulb and work up to a higher wattage until the correct temperature is found. Always use a thermostat to confirm temperatures.
As white’s tree frogs are nocturnal, UV exposure is not necessary, but it may benefit the frog. If you do include a UV bulb, make sure it is a lower output, such as 2.0 or 5.0 UV, and keep it on a 10- to 12-hour life cycle. Make sure to provide plenty of hiding spots if you use a UV bulb.
White’s tree frogs like to bathe in their water dishes to rehydrate. The water dish should be big enough to fit the frog yet shallow enough to sit with the head exposed above the waterline. Never use distilled water or fresh tap water, as the added chlorine or chloramines will irritate the skin and eyes. Use a declorinator or bottled drinking water.
Change the water every day or two and clean the water dish thoroughly. Never use soap or other chemicals to clean the frog’s equipment.
White’s Tree Frog Food
Insects are the primary source of food for white’s tree frogs; crickets are the main staple, and other options can include waxworms, mealworms, dubia roaches, hornworms, phoenix worms and earthworms or nightcrawlers. Adults may occasionally eat pink mice, but it is not a necessary addition to the diet. White’s tree frogs are also cannibalistic, so avoid keeping larger ones with smaller ones.
Although crickets can be added directly into the cage, other foods should be placed in a shallow ceramic dish or offered by hand using tweezers, tongs, forceps or chopsticks. Make sure the hand-feeding tool has a plastic-coated or blunted tip to prevent cuts or damage to the mouth.
With crickets, feed as many as they can eat in about five to 10 minutes; this should be between two to six. Remove any uneaten crickets after 15 minutes to prevent them from harassing the frog.
As white’s tree frogs love to eat and can become easily obese, try not to overfeed them. The frog has ridges above the eardrum that can indicate the amount of body fat; if you see noticeable ridges, this means the frog is underweight and should be fed more. Sagging or folded ridges indicate obesity.
Adults should be fed every two to three days. Babies and sub-adults should be ever every one to two days. You can keep other feeder insects in the food dish, but make sure that the frog is finding them. All food should be gut-loaded before being fed to the frog.
Add calcium and vitamins to the food to promote proper bone growth and prevent any deficiencies in the diet. Gently dust the food daily for babies, two to three times a week for sub-adults and once a week for adults.