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There are four red-eyed tree frogs of unknown sex on exhibit. They are the descendants of six original frogs, which arrived from the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California on April 28, 2011.
Look carefully at the glass - you will most likely see one or two frogs pressed flat against it. All the lively colors will be hidden from view, as they rely on their camouflaged, green appearance when resting.
Reptile and Amphibian House
Red-eyed tree frogs are small to medium sized tree frogs with a smooth skin and a round head with a truncated snout. The dorsal coloration can be light green or dark green, some individuals are speckeled with light cream spots, the under part is mostly white. The flash colors are shown on the lateral coloration which is usually a blue or deep purple background with vertical yellow, cream or white stripes. The hand and feet of these frogs are either orange or deep red in color. The color of different populations vary greatly from locality to locality, but all red-eyed tree frogs have big bulging red eyes with a vertically narrow pupil, resembling the eyes of domestic cats and a reticulated membrane that protects the eye, the membrane is usually clear with a mesh of light colored reticulations.
Red-eyed tree frogs are short lived in the wild, falling pray to snakes and other predators. In captivity, animals that are well cared for can live for 5 to 8 years.
These are truly arboreal frogs that do not descend to the ground under normal circumstances. Their hands and feet are a tell-tale sign of their ability to grasp the smallest of twigs, and their legs are designed for walking, and not for jumping or swimming. They spent most of their life throughout the forest, and gather to breed in temporary pools, usually in areas where there is dense canopy cover.
The males call sporadically from floating or emerging vegetation directly above water, usually during rain events. Females select a mate and travel some distance to a secure place, usually under a Spathodea leaf, to lay the eggs. A mass of anywhere from 20 to 60 eggs are laid on the underside of a big leaf and left there to hatch. Once the tadpoles emerge, they will drop into the water. Under normal conditions, the eggs hatch in about two weeks, depending on the temperature.
Frog eggs fall pray to snakes that can eat the whole clutch and wasps that pluck individual embryos away from the egg. When a clutch is being attacked, the vibrations caused by the movements of predators triggers an alarm response from the developing embryos. Interestingly, the embryos inside the eggs can tell the difference between a wasp that plucks a few eggs and a snake that will eat the whole clutch. When the snake attacks, the whole clutch hurries to wriggle free and hatch, while if a wasp attacks, only the eggs closest to the vibration tend to hatch, allowing the rest of the eggs to develop normally.
Males measure about 51 - 64 mm in snout-vent length, while females are larger, measuring from 64mm - 76 mm.
Both sexes weigh from 6 to 15 g.
These frogs feed almost exclusively at night. They are ambush feeders, hiding amongst the leaves of trees. Their coloration allows them to stay hidden where they wait for insects and small animals to come to them. The frogs eat a variety of insects most typically crickets, moths, flies and grasshoppers; however, they will eat anything they can fit into their mouths and have been known to eat other small frogs. At the Zoo, the frogs are offered a variety of invertebrates including, fruit flies, crickets and small worms.
Found mainly in the tropical low lands and humid forest of the Caribbean side of Central America. Red-eyed tree frogs occur from the states of Veracrúz, Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula in México to extreme northwest Colombia. It is absent from El Salvador and other drier parts of the Pacific side of Central America.
Conservation at a Glance
Learn more about the amphibian conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo.
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