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What Is White's Tree Frog?

By L. Whitaker
Updated May 17, 2024
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White's tree frog is a species of frog native to Australia that has become popular worldwide as an exotic pet. This frog, whose scientific name is Litoria caerulea, is alternatively known as the Australian green tree frog or the dumpy tree frog. It can grow to approximately 4 inches (about 10 cm) in length.

The skin color of White's tree frog can change according to external conditions, ranging from olive green or emerald to grayish, bluish, or brown. In some cases, this frog might have irregular white spots on its back. The female has a white throat, while the male of the species has a vocal sac that is gray in color. Both sexes feature golden eyes with horizontal pupils, unlike the vertical pupils found in most frogs. Fatty folds form a ridge above each eye.

Predators in the wild can include some types of lizards, birds, and snakes. Dogs and cats could also prey on wild dumpy frogs in more populated areas. In captivity, White's tree frog is generally resistant to disease. This frog is said to be easy to maintain as a pet and can sometimes live longer than 16 years in captivity.

In the wild, dumpy frogs tend to eat spiders or insects, such as cockroaches or locusts. In captivity, they are typically fed crickets or mealworms. Owners should be careful to avoid overfeeding this frog, which tends to be inactive in captivity except when stalking its food. White's tree frog requires its water to be changed daily. It is recommended that this frog's habitat be created in a ten-gallon or larger tank with a secure lid, as dumpy frogs have a large disc on their toes to aid them in climbing.

If threatened, a male dumpy frog will emit a very loud sound as a signal of distress. For this reason, it is recommended that this frog be kept in a calm area away from other pets. White's tree frog should not be placed in a terrarium with other types of frogs or with another dumpy frog that is a significantly different size.

Owners of a dumpy frog should use care in handling this creature. The frog's skin exudes a mild toxin that can cause a skin reaction in humans, requiring owners to wash their hands with soap and water after handling. In research conducted at Vanderbilt University in 2005, it was found that secretions from the skin of White's tree frogs, as well as some other frog species, produce peptides that can kill human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a White's Tree Frog and where does it originate from?

White's Tree Frog, also known as the Dumpy Tree Frog, is a species of tree frog native to Australia and New Guinea. It's well-known for its distinctive chubby appearance and docile nature. These amphibians thrive in moist environments within rainforests, coastal areas, and even residential gardens, adapting well to various habitats.

How can you identify a White's Tree Frog?

A White's Tree Frog can be identified by its large, stocky body, which can grow up to 4 inches in length. They exhibit a range of colors from green to blue-green, with a creamy-white underside. Their skin has a waxy coating that helps retain moisture, and they have distinctive horizontal irises and padded toes for climbing.

What do White's Tree Frogs eat?

White's Tree Frogs are carnivorous and primarily nocturnal hunters. Their diet consists of a variety of insects such as crickets, moths, and locusts. In captivity, they may also eat small vertebrates and commercial frog food. They use their sticky tongue to capture prey with precision.

Are White's Tree Frogs good pets?

White's Tree Frogs are considered good pets due to their placid temperament and ease of care. They are suitable for beginner amphibian enthusiasts and are known for their hardiness. However, they require a properly maintained habitat with controlled temperature and humidity to stay healthy and can live up to 16 years with proper care.

What kind of habitat do White's Tree Frogs need?

In the wild, White's Tree Frogs inhabit rainforests and wetlands, but as pets, they need a terrarium with ample space to climb and a humid environment. The terrarium should include branches or vines for climbing, a water dish for soaking, and a substrate that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged.

How does the White's Tree Frog contribute to its ecosystem?

White's Tree Frogs play a crucial role in their ecosystem by controlling insect populations, serving as both predator and prey. They help maintain a balance by consuming large quantities of insects, and in turn, they are a food source for larger predators. Their presence indicates a healthy, biodiverse environment.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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