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November 22, 2017  |  Login

Green Tree Frog
Litoria caerulea

What Are They Like?

As their name suggests, green tree frogs are well-adapted for an arboreal environment. They measure 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) in length and females are usually larger than males. Green tree frogs have mainly green limbs with some yellow on the stomach area. The eyes are golden or yellow with a horizontal pupil and they have webbed toe pads.  Their skin allows large amounts of water to be taken in during wet conditions, making them tolerant to drought. The average life span of green tree frogs is about 16 years, but they can live up to 21 years in captivity.

Where Do They Live?

Green tree frogs are found in multiple parts of Australia, the lowlands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia; they have been introduced to New Zealand. In Australia, they are found in dry forests, grassland and woodland trees or trunks where there is a constant replenish of water available, but are rarely found in wet forests, swamps, or near streams. Green tree frogs have also been documented in domestic environments, such as letterboxes, toilet bowls, and bathrooms, and are commonly kept as pets.

 
Did You Know?
Green tree frogs have skin that produces several useful anti-bacterial and anti-viral compounds and scientists are studying them to develop advances in medicine.

How Are Babies Made?

Green tree frogs typically reproduce once a year, and their breeding season takes place in the summer rainy season from November to February. Males call near water, and clumps of 200-2,000 eggs are deposited on the surface and sink after 24 hours. Hatching begins about 28-36 hours after the eggs are laid, and metamorphosis can occur within 2-3 weeks in good conditions. The frogs develop completely within six weeks.

What Do They Eat?

Green tree frogs are mostly insectivores. They prey on insects such as moths, locusts,and roaches; invertebrates; and occasionally larger animals like mice.  They catch food with their strong jaws and often use their toes to force the food down. When the frog swallows food the eyeballs pull in under the skin to help push the food down the throat.

 
Did You Know?
Some scientists believe that green tree frogs can control how much water is evaporated through the skin, and thus have ability to control their body temperature.

What Do They Do?

Green tree frogs are nocturnal hunters and are known for their tame behavior and habit of living in or near buildings. When threatened, they emit an ear-piercing distress call.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the green tree frog in a “Red List” of species in global endangerment as “least concern.” Their wild population is widely distributed. With a tolerance for a broad range of habitats, these frogs have a stable population at present. Pollution and predation by domestic animals in suburban areas are a major threat to green tree frogs, and habitat loss is also a large threat to coastal areas. An illegal pet trade could harm local populations, but the primary threat is the possibility of a disease epidemic, most likely due to pollution and global warming.

What's Being Done?

Though not much conservation action has been executed due to the green tree frog’s stable population, Australia has restrictions on the pet trade system, and requires a permit to keep frogs. New Guinea is also setting up monitoring systems and documenting the population throughout the country. In addition, implementing steps to avoid draining breeding water sites or introducing new fish species into fish ponds, and reducing the use of poisons or pesticides will further protect the population.

 

Litoria caerulea en chambre de pluie (Green Tree Frog Croaking)

 
 
 
 
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