Red-eyed tree frogs, as the name implies, have large, bulbous red eyes with black, vertically slitted pupils. These colorful little chaps have vibrant, brightly colored bodies that are hues of bright green, with yellow and blue striped sides, and bright orange toes. There is a great deal of regional variation in flank and thigh coloration depending on the area and types of trees these lovely little frogs dwell in.
The males usually range from 2 to 2 1/2 inches for fully mature adult, while females generally range anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 inches. Very young frogs are generally a shade of basic brown in color; eventually developing the bright colorations as they mature. Red-eyed tree frogs have a very soft, pale, and very fragile skin on their bellies, however the skin on their back is thicker and rougher. This offers a bit more protection from their arboreal surroundings. The red-eyed tree frog has three eyelids for protecting those big eyes from injury. These tree frogs spend most of their lives in trees, and therefore have developed long legs and little “suction cup” type sticky pads on the ends of their toes.
Despite the rather bright colorations on this tiny frog, the Red-eyed tree frog is not a not poisonous species and must rely on good camouflage to protect themselves from predators. During the day light hours, these small frogs remain completely motionless. Using their back legs to cover those bright blue stripes, they will tuck those orange feet under their belly, and cover their red eyes. The frog then appears almost completely green, and well hidden among the deep green foliage. Predators include spiders, snakes, bats, and birds.
At night, the Red-eyed tree frog comes out to hunt, eat, mate, etc. These frogs are carnivorous and their diet includes crickets, moths, beetles, flies, and many other insects. These frogs have been known to even eat other small frogs.
Unfortunately, these beautiful little frogs are very much in danger of becoming only a distant memory. Due to the ravages of Man clear cutting the rain forests for wood, human settlements, raising of livestock, etc. the Red-eyed tree frog could well become extinct before too many more years pass.
Red-eyed tree frogs main habitations include the rainforest’s of southern Mexico down through Central America and Northern parts of Columbia. Most often they can be found near rivers or ponds, especially during mating season. On very rare occasions they are found in the caves in the Appalachian range areas of Kentucky, Virgina, and West Virgina. Red-eyed tree frogs are closely related to Chorus Frogs which are found throughout Kentucky, Virgina, West Virgina, the Carolinas, and most parts of Appalachia. Red-eyed Tree Frogs and Chorus Frogs have the same body style and many of the same habits, although the Chorus Frogs tend to be more vocal.
Fortunately, Red-eyed Tree Frogs have been successfully bred in captivity, although not as often as those striving to save this little frog from extinction would like. If kept under adequate conditions in high-humidity environment along with tropical plants like the bromelia and other similar types of tropical plants, together with well-aerated water pools and a misting system. A Red-eye tree frog’s captive habitat should have a 11-12 hour light cycle and a day-time temperature of 80-82 degrees (Fahrenheit) with the night-time temperatures ranging around 73-75 degrees (Fahrenheit). Simulating a rainy season once a year during the months of November and December will encourage the reproduction of these tiny frogs.