White’s Tree Frog

Litoria caerulea

White’s tree frogs are native to Australia and New Guinea, and introduced populations have become naturalized in New Zealand and the U.S. These frogs are relatively large (up to 4 inches long) and easily recognizable. They often live near human dwellings, and can even be found inside houses or on windows eating insects drawn by the light. Due to its docile nature and unusual longevity (average lifespan is 16 years in captivity), the White’s tree frog has become a popular pet worldwide.

Sustainability

Does the harvest for wildlife trade or captive breeding of this species harm wild populations?

Little Cause for Concern

White’s tree frog populations appear to be thriving in the wild. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization that tracks the status of wildlife populations, as a species of Least Concern due to its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, and presumed large population size.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

When purchasing a White’s tree frog, ask for proof that it is captive bred from domesticated animals. Only acquire a pet that is from a reputable breeder or dealer to ensure that you are not buying an illegally wild-caught and/or imported animal.

Invasion Threat

Does the release or escape of this species into the wild harm the environment and/or economy?

Some Cause for Concern

White’s tree frogs have established populations in Florida and New Zealand, but there is little evidence that they are causing negative impacts. Their tropical to subtropical requirements suggest limited potential for expanded invasion.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

Before obtaining any non-traditional pet, check that it is legal to own one in your state of residence and check for permitting requirements. Only acquire a pet that is from a reputable breeder or dealer to ensure that you are not buying an illegally imported or wild-caught animal. Always keep your pet inside a safe and secure enclosure. Never release a pet into the wild.

Ease of Care

Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or being kept as a pet harm individual animals?

Some Cause for Concern

Ease of care of many non-traditional pets depends on the individual owner’s years of experience and knowledge caring for a particular species. For the purposes of this website, we have geared information toward the benefit of the beginner.

White’s tree frogs require specific temperature ranges and are very sensitive to their environment. A tall, 10-gallon tank is ideal for a single frog. Multiple White’s tree frogs may be housed together, but must be similar in size to avoid cannibalism. These frogs enjoy climbing, and are prone to accidentally ingesting rock and pebble substrates while consuming prey. Spring water or treated (not distilled) water should be provided in a small dish. A quiet, warm and humid environment with UV light exposure is required.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

Before acquiring a White’s tree frog, be sure to research the animal’s specific care requirements. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper diet and housing for your pet.

Health Threat

Does this animal pose a health risk to native wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?

Some Cause for Concern

White’s tree frogs may carry the highly infectious amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes the disease chytridiomycosis. Bd fungus is a significant threat to most frog species and has been linked to massive die-offs and recent extinctions of native frogs around the world.

Frogs may also carry Salmonella, which if ingested can cause vomiting and diarrhea; these symptoms are usually mild in healthy adults but can be fatal to infants and young children, or anyone with a compromised immune system. It is important to wash hands before and after handling an animal.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

When purchasing a pet, ask for a list of any medical treatments the animal has received. The fungal disease chytridiomycosis may be harmful to the health of your frog and native frogs. To learn more about chytridiomycosis and the symptoms of disease, we recommend reviewing the information on Amphibian Ark.

EcoHealth Alliance works at the intersection of ecosystem, animal and human health through local conservation programs and develops global health solutions to emerging diseases.
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