Litoria caerulea - White's Tree Frog - "Dumpy Frog"
The White's tree frog is often called the Dumpy Tree Frog because of their chubby appearance. It is a chunky green or blue-green frog native to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. These frogs are more tolerant of handling, making them a good first time frog. Their skin has a waxy coating that allows them to tolerate a more varied environment, making them easier to keep for novice owners unlike most frog species. They are nocturnal and males have a very loud croak that is fun to hear!
Bringing Home Your New Pet
When you bring your new frog home, you should already have a quarantine tank set up and ready to go. Place fresh water in a bowl in the tank, mist the tank and offer food, but be aware it is completely normal for them to refuse food for the first couple days, or even longer. You should keep this new frog separate from any other reptiles you may have for 90 days, to ensure there is nothing it could spread to your other animals.
Monitor its eating and fecals as they may be strange for up to a couple weeks, but this is due to a new diet, supplements, and environment. It is recommended you do not handle your new frog for the first 24-48 hours and keeping it to a minimum until it has started eating on its own.
Always keep in mind, your new animal is in a new tank, with new decor/dishes/hides, and new faces watching them. They need time to become acclimated to it all. After this quarantine process, they can be safely introduced to their permanent enclosure if it's not already. Be sure to wash your hands before handling any other reptiles during this time.
Always purchase captive bred animals when possible, to avoid disease and parasites.
White's tree frogs are a larger species of frog, and do require some space. An 18" x 18" x 24" terrarium is minimum for 1-2 frogs. Add more space if you add more frogs. If your enclosure is not heavily planted, consider adding paper to the sides to offer more security, as these frogs do not understand clear barriers. They love to climb, so arboreal space will be used. They are active frogs at night, and will jump or climb around every inch of their enclosure.
White's tree frogs are rather messy, but require a clean environment to stay healthy. Loose substrate is not recommended unless you choose bioactive. Layer of paper towel can be used and changed out daily. Frog foam, which is a trim-to-size thick spongy foam that can be rinsed is highly recommended as it is easy to clean. Do not use pebbles or gravel as the risk of impaction is high. Spot clean often.
White's tree frogs are cold blooded, so they rely on their environment to regulate body temperature. Most white's tree frogs do fine at room temperature, but will appreciate a temperature gradient if one is offered. Be sure the tank is big enough to allow them to move where they are most comfortable.
Aim for temperatures of 72-78° F daytime ambient. A night time drop is natural, but don't allow temperatures to fall under 65° F.
A basking spot can be offered with a low watt bulb. Place light on a thermostat if necessary to be sure the basking spot doesn't get too hot. Basking temperatures should be between 80-86° F and be plenty high enough in the enclosure so the frogs have a varied temperature range to thermoregulate.
White's tree frogs are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night! They should be exposed to 10-12 hours of light per day. Reptiles benefit from exposure to UVB lighting, so offering it for your frog is a healthy addition to their environment. Be sure to keep lights on a timer to offer a natural day and night light cycle.
White's tree frogs need a pretty clean environment, so decorate your cage with ease of cleaning in mind. Fake or live plants are just fine, but should be broad leaved and able to withstand their chunky bodies. Live trailing plants like Pothos are a wonderful addition to your frog enclosure. Vines and cork bark are also good, sturdy decor, as well as magnetic ledges for them to perch on. Blocking out the back and/or sides with paper, cork or backgrounds will help your frogs feel more secure.
Humidity and Shedding
White's tree frogs are tropical, and require a moderate humidity level of around 50-70%. Make sure your enclosure has enough air flow so the air does not become stagnant. Mist 1-3 times a day to help keep the humidity up, but allow the enclosure to dry out between misting. It should not constantly be wet. Humidity fluctuations are healthy.
White's tree frogs will shed their skin and ingest it, so if you notice your frog is particularly slimy looking, they are likely about to shed!
Your frog should have access to water to soak in that is deep enough to cover most of their bodies, but not so deep they can't easily get in and out of the bowl. Change this water daily and treat with water conditioner as frogs are very sensitive to contaminates in the water. Clean the bowl throughly between each water change. Check daily to be sure they have not soiled their water, and change immediately if they have. Frogs like to use their water dishes as latrines.
White's tree frogs are insectivores and love to eat. Dubia roaches, turkestan red runner roaches, crickets, chopped up earth worms and other types of reptile-safe insects should be the staple of their diets.
Insects should be gutloaded with a commercial gutload product. Gutloading refers to the practice of feeding the insects a nutritious diet before offering them to your frog to ensure the most balanced nutrition.
Your frog should be fed based on temperatures and size of frog. Young, growing frogs kept in warmer conditions will eat more often and more at a time than a larger frog kept cooler. Feed babies and young frogs daily. You want your frog to be nice and round, but not overly fat. This can be tricky to judge with this species because they are chunky by nature.
Typically for adults, offering 3-5 food items 2-3 times a week is sufficient.
While these frogs are more adapted to handling because of their docile nature, they still have sensitive skin so handling should be avoided or done with caution. However if you do handle your frog be sure to wash any lotions or perfumes off your skin first, as all frogs are sensitive to lotions, perfumes and oils. Wash your hands after handling them as well.
There are a variety of color morphs available for these frogs, with more becoming common every day as they are becoming more common in the captive bred industry. Some examples include blue phase, snowflake, super snowflake, blue eyed, and golden or honey. They also change color hues as the light, temperature and humidity changes, so it is not uncommon to see your normally green frog suddenly looking very brown.