How to Care for the Red Eye Tree Frog – Agalychnis callidryas

josh's frogs red eye tree frog adult

Red eye tree frogs are the trademark exotic frog from the neotropics. Large, colorful, and easy to care for, red eye tree frogs will forever be a popular pet frog.

What’s in a name?

The red eye tree frog has a very obvious common name – it is a tree frog with bright red eyes! It’s scientific name is Agalychnis callidryas, which literally translates into (aga) plenty of (lychnos) shining (kallos) beautiful (dryas) tree nymph. This refers to their sparkling eyes, beautiful appearance, and arboreal habits. The red eye tree frog is also known as the red eye leaf frog.

Historically, the red eye tree frog has a long taxonomic history, and changed names several times.

Hyla callidryas Cope, 1862

Agalychnis callidryas — Cope, 1864

Agalychnis helenae Cope, 1885

Phyllomedusa helenae — Kellogg, 1932

Phyllomedusa callidryas — Lutz, 1950

Phyllomedusa helenae — Lutz, 1950

Agalychnis callidryas callidryas — Funkhouser, 1957

Agalychnis callidryas taylori Funkhouser, 1957

Phyllomedusa callidryas — Savage and Heyer, 1967

Agalychnis callidryas — Duellman, 1968

 Natural History

In the wild, red eye tree frogs inhabit the canopy of tropical rainforests, and are endemic to Mexico, all the way through Central America, to the western coast of Colombia. They rely on camofluage to blend in, and do a great job during inactivity during the day! In daylight red eye tree frogs are bright green, and conceal themselves by keeping their bright red eyes closed, tucking their legs up against their bodies to hide bright blue sides, and to reduce exposed surface area, thus reducing water loss via evaporation. At night, when they are active, red eyes

Red eye tree frogs travel down to the forest floor in search of pools of water to breed. Eggs are laid on vegetation hanging above the pools. As the tadpoles hatch, they fall quite a distance (sometimes several meters) before splashing into the water. Tadpoles quickly grow in the pools, and can leave the water in 6-8 weeks. Young red eye tree frogs live around the edges of the pools, before making their way back up into the canopy.

Age, Size, and Growth

At the time of sale, captive bred red eye tree frogs from Josh’s Frogs will measure about 1 1/4″ and be between 8 and 10 weeks old. At this age they have been chowing down on 1/4″ crickets for several weeks and growing like weeds! The red eyes will quickly grow to 2″ within another 3-4 months, and be large enough to eat 1/2″ crickets. After about 10 months they will be nearly adult size, with males measuring about 2 1/2″ and females another inch larger than the males. As adults, red eyes will easily eat 3/4″ or adult crickets. With proper care, red eye tree frogs can live up to and over 5 years.

Housing

Red Eye Tree Frogs are easy to house. Choose a large enclosure – an 18x18x24 Exo Terra Glass Terrarium is a good size for 2-4 juveniles or adults. Opinions on substrates vary – we’ve had luck with finely ground coconut fiber, damp paper towel, and sphagnum moss. If using sphagnum moss, make sure to press down the moss so it is flat – this will greatly reduce the risk of impaction. Paper towel will need to be changed 2-3 times a week.

Red Eye Tree Frogs need constant access to fresh, clean water – a large water bowl is a must! Use an easy to clean dish, such as an Exo Terra Water Dish, as the frog will be using the dish as a latrine and you will need to clean daily. Scrub the dish and disinfect with a 5% bleach solution or ReptiSan.

 

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