Do Cuban Tree Frogs Make Good Pets?

Are you considering a pet frog but you’re unsure what species to go with? Do you want a large, hardy, and entertaining species? If you answered yes to these questions, we think a Cuban tree frog would make a great pet for you.

In this article, we’ll lay out the care guidelines for Cuban tree frogs as well as go into more detail on why we think these frogs are great for herp enthusiasts of all ages and levels of experience.

cuban tree frogs are good pets
We think Cuban tree frogs make great pets for herp hobbyists of all levels of experience.

Cuban tree frogs as pets

Originally, Cuban tree frogs come from Cuba, but nowadays, they are commonplace in states like Florida. Because they adapt so well, eat ravenously, grow to quite large sizes, and are so prevalent, they have come to be seen by many as an invasive species. These traits that make Cuban tree frogs so successful in the wild are also what make them very well suited to captivity.

Cuban Tree Frogs are actually the largest species of tree frog living in North America. Females can grow to be nearly six inches in length, while males will stay a bit smaller. Although they are long frogs, they stay quite slender with powerful hind legs designed for long jumps.

In general, Cuban tree frogs are a light brown, beige, or grey color, but can also be a darker brown or whitish color. They also possess the capability to slightly alter their color depending on their surroundings and temperament.

If you keep a Cuban tree frog for a pet, be prepared to feed it…lots. They have immense appetites and seem to prefer crickets in captivity. In addition to crickets, roaches, night crawlers, hornworms, and reptiworms make great treats and supplements. Fully matured, adult frogs have also been known to eat pinkie mice on occasion. We advise feeding pinkies in moderation because if consumed in excess or too frequently, your frog will become overweight. But the bottom line is – you will definitely enjoy watching your Cuban tree frog pig out at mealtime.

cuban tree frog
This photo shows that although Cuban tree frogs are large, they are still very slender of frame with long, powerful hind legs.

A single Cuban tree frog will thrive in a 15 or 20 gallon tank with plenty of foliage to climb on and hide in. You can keep males and females together, but make sure the frogs are of comparable size to one another. Larger Cuban tree frogs have been reported to eat smaller ones, so you don’t want them to cannibalize each other.

Good substrates for Cuban tree frogs are peat moss, potting soil, and coconut fiber. These all hold moisture well, but won’t necessarily become soggy. In addition to the plants (both real and fake are acceptable), you should provide a hide space such as a log or a coconut half that stays on the ground in the cage. While Cuban tree frogs are mostly arboreal, they do at times come down to the ground of their enclosure.

A water dish that is large enough for your frog to comfortably submerge itself should also be provided on the bottom of the cage. You can also put a small rock or platform inside the water dish so that it’s easier for the frog to get in and out of the water pool. Make sure that the water stays fresh because stagnant water can make your frog ill.

If you decide to keep a male with a female or two, expect to hear loud, barking noises during the mating season at night time. Cuban tree frogs are known for their noisy mating calls which have been described as sounding like small dog barks. If successful mating occurs, the female will deposit her eggs in the water dish.

Osteopilus septentrionalis
Cuban tree frogs have quite impressive appetites.

Conclusion

If you want a large frog with lots of personality and heart, we recommend getting a pet Cuban tree frog. Not only are these frogs large, but they are pretty easy to keep and will provide lots of entertainment at feeding time.

If you think you are ready to welcome a Cuban tree frog into your home, you can buy one (or a pair!) from Backwater Reptiles.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Mossy Tree Frogs (Theloderma corticale)

Vietnamese Mossy Tree Frogs (Theloderma corticale) are fascinating and unique animals. They are not common pet frogs, so we wanted to let them shine a little this week. So read on and maybe you’ll discover something new about these neat little frogs.

1. Vietnamese Mossy Tree Frogs get their common name from their camouflage habits. Whether trying to blend in with moss on a tree, rock, or log, the texture of this frog’s skin combined with its green, brown, and black color palette makes it appear very moss-like to potential predators.

mossy tree frog facts
Notice the knobby texture of the frog’s skin. What a great camouflage tactic!

2. Because they are nocturnal and semi-aquatic, mossy frogs are active at night and should always have access to a pool of water in which they can fully submerge. 

Naturally found in flooded caves and mountain streams in Vietnam, these frogs can be shy and secretive. Excessive handling is therefore not recommended.

mossy tree frog
This picture was taken at our facility and we can’t get enough of it!

3. When full-grown, mossy frogs will reach lengths of up to three and a half inches. The females are larger than the males.

Their lifespan in the wild is unknown, but on average they will live twelve to fifteen years in captivity.

theloderma corticale care

4. Vietnamese Mossy Frogs breed readily in captivity and thus have become healthier and more common in the pet trade than they were some years ago. 

They breed between April and June in rock cavities with water collected in the bottom or tree knot holes. The females lay the eggs on rocks or plants directly above a pool of water so that when the eggs hatch, the tadpoles will fall directly into the water.

The entire metamorphosis cycle from tadpole to mature frog takes about a year for the mossy frog.

mossy frog photograph
Mossy tree frogs generally do extremely well in captivity–just make sure they don’t dry out.

5. Like all frogs, the Vietnamese Mossy Tree Frog has no hard palate in its mouth. Instead, when the frog chomps a tasty insect meal, it blinks in order to help it swallow the food down. With no roof of the mouth to help push the food against, the frog will close its eyes and essentially push the eyes down into the top of its mouth, which in turn forces the prey down the frog’s throat.

mossy frog pet

 

Backwater Reptiles has captive bred Vietnamese Mossy Tree Frogs for sale if you feel inclined to purchase your own after reading our fun little factoids.

Top Five Best Pet Frogs

What are the best pet frogs, you may be wondering? Backwater Reptiles offers many frogs for sale ranging from exotic, rare, and “specialty” frogs to more common “everyday” frogs. This list represents the top five frogs we think are best suited to be kept as pets, whether you’re a beginning hobbyist or an experienced herper.

#5 – Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

Top five best pet frogs

Leopard frogs are extremely common in America and have a wide habitat range. Although they are not as neon in color as some of their arboreal cousins, they are very easy to keep and make great beginner pets due to their minimal care requirements and hardy nature.

These frogs generally reach just over four inches in length when full-grown and are easy to breed in captivity. They are not picky eaters and can even live outdoors in a pond-like environment.

Leopard Frogs can be housed together, but make sure that the frogs are all of a similar size as Leopard frogs will strike at anything that moves and fits in their mouth, including smaller frogs.

Their life span is generally anywhere from four to six years.

Purchase your own Leopard frog today!

#4 – Clown Tree Frog (Hyla leucophyllata)

best pet frog

Clown tree frogs are certainly attractive pet frogs. With their orange feet and undersides and white spots, these mid-size frogs are vibrantly colored.

Clown tree frogs are arboreal and thus require a tank that is taller than it is wide. They should be provided with climbing branches, leaves, and moisture as they originate from a tropical environment.

Feeding Clown tree frogs is easy as they will consume any insect of an appropriate  size. Just be sure that the insects are dusted regularly and gut-loading them is also advised.

Purchase your own Clown tree frog today!

#3 – Pacman Frog (Ceratophrys cranwelli)

pet pacman frog

Pacman Frogs come in a variety of morphs ranging from albino to ornate, which is one of the endearing characteristics of this species, and a major reason they are so utterly popular with amphibian hobbyists.

While they start out small (not much bigger than a quarter), Pacman Frogs grow rapidly and are actually one of the biggest frogs in the world. They can reach lengths of up to seven inches and they can (and will!) get fat if you let them due to the fact that they have voracious appetites and will eat anything they can fit in their mouth. Suffice it to say that feeding time is always amusing when you have a Pacman.

These frogs don’t require a large enclosure as they spend most of their time burrowed into their substrate…that is, when they’re not eating. Just be sure that their enclosure has a water source and that the temperature doesn’t surpass 85 degrees and they will live for up to fifteen years.

Purchase your own Pacman frog today!

#2 – Glass Tree Frog (Hyla sp.)

glass tree frog

As their name suggests, Glass Tree Frogs have varying degrees of semi-transparent skin which allows you to see their innards. This is a unique feature and thus makes this group of frogs highly desirable.

Rarely reaching sizes larger than three inches, these frogs don’t need a large enclosure, however they are arboreal tropical frogs and will need a tank that is taller than it is wide. Their home should also be equipped with leafy branches because they like to climb but will also stick to the sides of their tank allowing you to see their gorgeous underbellies and their inner workings. Maintaining adequate humidity is key.

We have dedicated an entire blog entry to these fascinating little tree frogs, so click here if you want to learn more about them.

Purchase your own Glass tree frog today!

#1 – Whites Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

dumpy tree frog pet

Also known as Dumpy Frogs, these funny guys are popular pets because of their flabby form which often makes them look squished, fat and incredibly cute.

Dumpies are easy-going and don’t mind being handled, but like all tree frogs, they are incredible jumpers, so be mindful of this when they are outside of their enclosure.

These frogs also come in a blue-phase coloration which simply means that their skin has more of a blue-tint. They have the same care requirements and temperaments as the traditional green “Dumpies.”

Feeding Dumpy frogs is also very easy. They eat crickets, meal worms, and other insects and will also accept baby mice. Keep in mind that they can overeat and become rather fat, so be sure that they eat a varied but controlled diet.

They thrive in a glass-sided terrarium that contains peat or sphagnum moss as a substrate (which helps retain moisture) at a depth of perhaps 2-3 inches, a couple climbing branches, a water dish, and a screen top for ventilation. If you add live plants, the frogs will thank you for it. As with all frogs, please remember to keep the humidity up.

Purchase your own White’s tree frog today.

Transparent Glass Tree Frogs

There are many varieties and subspecies of Glass Frogs (Hyla sp.), but the thing most of them have in common is the transparent nature of their skin and the visibility of their organs due to this unique trait. This fascinating feature makes them interesting to look at as well as great topics of conversation.

transparent tree frog belly
The transparent belly of a Glass tree frog.

 

Backwater Reptiles received a shipment of Glass Tree Frogs, many of which are about the size of a dime. In general, these frogs stay very small, ranging in size from one to three inches in length, so the ones at Backwater will probably grow a bit larger, but should stay very small overall.

In addition to being arboreal, Glass Frogs are also nocturnal and are commonly found in streams in the wild. Overall, males hang out in vegetation around streams at night, while females have proven more elusive to scientists during non-breeding seasons.  Typically, males and females can be hard to distinguish from one another, unless eggs are visible through the underbelly skin of the female.

glass tree frog

In captivity, these frogs should be housed in a terrarium with plenty of climbing space and vegetation as well as plenty of water. The enclosure needs to be well-ventilated, but prevented from becoming too dry. Appropriate lighting is also necessary.

Glass frogs will eat small arthropods in the wild and their diet should include appropriately sized insects in captivity. These little guys have hearty appetites and will eat a lot if given the opportunity. Most species lunge at their prey to capture it and have very good aim.

hyla punctata frog

 

If you’re interested in adding one of these beautiful and rare frog gems to your collection, Backwater Reptiles has Glass Tree Frogs for sale just like the one pictured in this blog.