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Pet Care - Red Eyed Tree Frog


I don't consider myself an expert on this topic because we have only had our two Red Eyed Tree Frog's for a short time. However, I have done a lot of research and read a good number of books to help me understand and take care of them a little better before we got them, and I am still learning. Hopefully this information will answer a few questions that you may have about your Red Eyed Tree Frog or it may help you if you are considering getting one for a pet. There are many good resources available to help you care for your frog this is only one of them. You may want to ask the sales clerk at your local pet store, go to the library. or local bookstore. I offer this guide, as a resource to some of the more common questions and what I think would benefit you most of all.


GETTING TO KNOW YOUR RED EYED TREE FROG

CHARACTERISTICS
The Red Eye (Red Eyed Tree Frog)  Agalychnis callidryas also known as the "monkey Frog" because of their excellent coordination. They have big bright red eyes. The upper legs are usually bright blue and the feet are orange or red. The body is neon green with yellow and blue markings on their sides. They can change color with their mood, anywhere from a darkish green to a reddish brown. They are excellent climbers because of their suction cup toe pads, so now when they are climbing around the sides of your glass aquarium you will know how they hang on. The males usually reach a length of about  2 inches long and the female's 3 inches. I have read that Red Eye's can live as long as 4 or 5 years in captivity.

ENVIRONMENT
I think the most important thing you can know about the Red Eye is its background, where it is from and what it's natural surroundings are. Knowing this will definitely help you when you are building its new home and also make for a long living, healthy, happy frog. The Red Eye is native to South America and most of Central America and has been seen as far north as Southern Mexico. Although the Red Eye is not considered endangered the condition of its habitat is cause for great concern, one of those places being the Rain Forests of Costa Rica. They live high up in the trees, only to come down mainly at night to mate, hunt and explore.

HABITS
Red Eye's are nocturnal, which means during the day they sleep and at night they are awake, a good time to observe them is in the early hours of the morning, between 1 and 4. They will walk around exploring and looking for food. Don't be fooled just because they are walking they are excellent jumpers. They lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves over hanging bodies of water. When the eggs have turned into tadpoles they slide off the leaves and drop in to the water. It takes about 75-80 days before the tadpoles metamorphose into frogs. It also takes a while for the male vocal chords to develop. Click here to listen to their call, they call during mating season to attract the females, which is around October to March or what otherwise is known as the rainy season. Red Eye's seem to exist better in a community rather than on their own. After all wouldn't you want someone to play with!

DIET
Red Eye's are carnivorous and feed mainly at night. They eat crickets, grasshoppers, moths, flies and sometimes even smaller frogs. They will only eat something if it is alive and moving around, so if you are a bit squeamish when it comes to handling live crickets, crickets being the more common food source, I would think twice about getting a pet frog. Their mouths are quite larger than what you would expect. When I first had our Red Eye's I was worried because I thought the small crickets I was feeding them were to big, until I
actually saw one for the first time jumping on a cricket like a cat and swallowing it whole.


TAKING CARE OF YOUR RED EYED TREE FROG

HANDLING
Firstly I do not think it is a good idea to handle them a lot because of their sensitive skin, if you have to make sure that you clean your hands with an antibacterial soap. Frog's actually absorb water through their skin instead of drinking it. Every once in a while I will catch one of ours actually sitting in the water like he is getting ready to take a swim, but he is only absorbing the water, having a drink. Another thing about Red Eye's is that they can swim and in fact they are very good swimmers, but they don't really like water, although they will never actually dive into the water on purpose, except for when they were tadpoles, they may fall in by mistake and as long as you have something to help them climb out like a branch or a rock, they will be just fine.

CLEAN
It is very important that you keep their home very clean as I mentioned before they have very sensitive skin which can not only absorb water but other harmful toxins as well. If you are using a tank setup like the one we have here, The Ideal Frog Habitat, cleaning it will not be a problem. If you find that after a while the glass is getting harder to clean with just a wipe down with regular water, you can find an amphibian safe cleaner at most pet stores. Do not use regular glass cleaner because some of these contain ammonia and bleach which can be fatal for your Red Eye, even if you use it on the outside the harmful odors could linger and still get inside and be absorbed by your Red Eye.

FEEDING
Feeding your Red Eye is pretty easy. Every other day throw about 4 or 5 crickets in the tank and every week coat the crickets with a D3 vitamin powder. They may only eat some of the crickets but sometimes crickets escape and sometimes they just die. Normally Red Eye's will not eat if they are not hungry. If when you first get your Red Eye's they are small make sure you feed them small crickets and as they get bigger get larger crickets, that should be easy to figure out. The other thing you can do is feed your crickets correctly, this will make a big difference. Crickets are basically just an empty shell with no real meat on them. To make them more nutritious  for your Red Eye's you can feed them a Gut loader supplement, which fattens them up,  also by feeding your crickets pieces of carrot and orange will bring out the bright colors in your Red Eye's.

DISEASE AND SICKNESS
The one thing I hope is that your Red Eye doesn't gets sick or ill. An unclean environment causes most diseases. One treatable disease if caught early enough is Oodinium which looks like very small white speckles, be careful when diagnosing this disease because sometimes Red Eye's have small white spots which is just a pigmentation in their skin. To treat this immediately remove the Red Eye from it's home and place it in a container with distilled water, then clean it's home thoroughly.  If that does not seem to work after a few days do the same thing again but add a little chamomile to the water and rinse it over the Red Eye, leave it in their for about an hour. Oodinium is what you will first see if your Red Eye has Red Leg disease. There are many other types of Frog related diseases, I would however highly recommend finding a Vet to take care of any sickness, illness or disease just to be on the safe side and to stop the risk of incorrectly diagnosing it.


I hope that all or at least some of the information above will be of use to you. Please remember that owning a pet of any kind is a very important responsibility and should not be a decision that is made within 5 minutes. I would suggest learning how to take care of the species of frog that you want before getting it. Find out how much is really involved in housing and caring for it and then decide.



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