European Tree Frog Care Sheet


Introduction

The European tree frog, known by its Latin name Hyla arborea, inhabits various parts of Europe, for example France, Germany, Poland and Latvia. Males usually grow to around 3.5  cm, and 4.5 cm in females. The European tree frog has varied appearances depending on temperature, humidity and mood. Their skin is usually green or grey with the ventral skin being white. These frogs have rounded heads, dropped lips and pupils the shape of a horizontal ellipse. A characteristic feature of Hyla arborea is the disc shaped toes that help them climb shrubs and trees. Similar to other frogs, the European tree frogs hind legs are larger, stronger and better suited to jumping than their fore legs. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Hyla arborea is their ability to predict rainfall, making them probably, the worlds most noisy barometer due to them being one of the loudest species of frog!  

large male European tree frog, sitting in a bush.

Feeding

These frogs enjoy a varied diet consisting of crickets, mealworms, calci worms, spiders, woodlice or any commercially available feeder insect.  It is important to gut-load the feeder insects with fruit, vegetables and dandelions as the nutrients from the food will go straight into the frogs. Dusting the feeder insects is also an important step to ensure your frog maintains healthy levels of vitamins and calcium. We encourage people to establish natural colonies of insects and invertebrates into the enclosure which will ensure your frog can get an unlimited supply of a varied diet, at no extra cost. Before the frog goes into hibernation, it is advised to feed it wax worms or any other type of high-fat food to help cope with the cooler temperatures in winter.

Housing

European tree frogs will really appreciate a vivarium with plenty of space to explore, dig, swim, lay and bask. Therefore, we recommend a vivarium of size 1.5 m (tall)  x 1 m  (wide)  x  0.5 m (deep) for a pair or group. The enclosure should also have 40-50 cm of soil for the frog to burrow down and brumate as well as adequate space for a pond for the frogs to lay their spawn. A variety of plant species, logs and stones will help create a more natural, realistic environment for the frog to enjoy. This also makes for great habitats for insects such as ants, spiders and woodlouse: it’s your own microbiome! Remember, the larger the enclosure, the happier the animal, so don’t hesitate to make a larger enclosure. At Celtic Reptile & Amphibian we house all of our tree frogs outdoors in greenhouse enclosures, as this allows vital exposure to the sun and thus, the absorption of UVB light. Tree frogs are particularly fond of thorny plants such as raspberry or blackberry bushes, despite popular belief derived from the name that European tree frogs don’t often live in trees! No external heating supply or UVB bulb is required when outdoors in the UK or Europe. This ensures the animals live the most naturalistic and healthy life possible which can be seen from the stunning colours of our animals! In terms of temperature and humidity, European tree frogs are very hardy and so can withstand temperatures as low as -10 C and as high as 40 C , with a happy medium of around 25 C. This species loves to bask and so basking temperatures may need to be higher than the rest of the enclosure, however you can achieve this by ensuring your enclosure is on the south facing wall with no sunlight obstruction.

Habitat of the European tree frog: Lac du Januay, Vendee, France.

 

Breeding

Mating occurs within the spring months where the males croak, calling out for a compatible female. If you have a small group, the males will compete with each other and thus, the concert begins. The concert of croaks. Mating usually takes place after a healthy rainfall during a warm period. Each female will lay clumps of around 900 eggs where individual eggs measure to about 1.5 mm in diameter. After a period of around 12 days, the eggs will hatch, and 3 months after that you will have the  beginning of the metamorphosis of tadpoles to frogs.