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Abbethy Frog Farm
Chuck and Beth Abernathy
Abbethy Frog Farm
Tacoma, WA 98405

Red Eyed Tree Frog
(Agalychnis callidryas)


Red Eyes for many years have been one of the most desired amphibians of almost all enthusiast. Those of you who where actually able to attain some, one of the few times that they were available over the past few years, were disappointed at the loss of these animals soon after their arrival. Now there is new hope. Resulting from documented research also the use of fish technology. There are several morphs in the Red Eyes, the one that is most sought after is the southern morph from Nicaragua The colors on this specimen are some of the most magnificent with their bright lime green dorsal, bright orange hands and feet and of course the blue or purple bands on the flanks. They also have the red eyes and distinctive cat like pupil. Red Eyed tree frog are members of the Hylidae family and are found though out most of Central America, even as far north as southern Mexico. They are most commonly found in lowland rain forests and the adjacent hills. Red Eyes are found in trees on the underside of the leaves. These trees are usually covered with epiphytes and lianas. Red Eyes are very unusual in many ways, that is as far as frogs go, they have very coordinated hands and feet. For which reason they are also called monkey frogs. They may come down to the ground to feed in the wild. This is also the primary feeding area in the vivarium. Although they are excellent jumpers, they prefer to walk slowly about the vivarium. Red Eyes are nocturnal frogs but can be easily viewed by dimming the light or by using one of the various nocturnal reptile lights that are now available. But remember never use any type of light as a vivarium heater, as this will dry the air which can be very detrimental to the frogs.

Care and Diet

Red Eyes are carnivorous, like all frogs. As babies, they feed well on pin head crickets and fruit flies and if you can get aphids that have not been in contact with pesticides it gives them a better balance of nutritional needs. Adult frogs feed well on medium crickets, flies and moths. Most of which can be attained from pet stores or dealers in reptile magazines. I also vitamized them with a half and half ratio of osteo-form and rep-cal phosphorous free with calcium and vitamin D. One of the things that you need to remember is they need high humidity and well-ventilated tank. We will cover more about this under housing. The ideal temperature range is 76- 85f. With a humidity of 50-80 %, for the health of the frogs this can easily be attained by covering or uncovering their cage.


Most amphibians' diseases are caused by poor husbandry so hopefully you will not need this section, but if you do here is one of the most common problems you might run into. Oodinium looks like little gray dots all over the frog. But do not be too quick to think your frog has oodinium, red eyes naturally have white spots so look close. Oodinium is relatively easy to get rid of. Put the frog into a container with distilled water and clean the cage thoroughly. If that dose not work put the frog in water that has a little chamomile, rinse this tea like mixture over the frog, let it stay in the container for an hour. That should work, but if it does not, you need to explore for other things the frog may have. Also, oodinium is the first thing you will see if your frog has red leg disease and many more other diseases, but it usually poisoning from a dirty environment or over crowding.


There are several ways to set up a vivarium it just depends on your imagination here are two ways I like to use. One is using a 29 gallon tank with a reptile screen. Put a piece of glass over most of the top to keep the humidity up and a news paper substrate which you soak with distilled water, I also run an air line in so they receive good air circulation. I use this type of setup for new frogs and babies, so I can see if they are eating or ill. They also need to be misted frequently. For a more captivating vivarium, you first need a minimum of a 29 gallon tank (or taller)!, an under gravel filter, water heater, and an air pump. Put one inch of pea gravel over the filter. Now build a five inch tall land section using river rock that covers 3\4 of the surface. Then fill in and over the rocks with pea gravel. And just in case you did not know, Red Eyes do not like to swim. You can use an internal box filter, but I prefer to use canister filters for easy access and cleaning. This is a very low maintenance setup. You also need an air pump to run fresh air into the tank. Also with the use of another water pump you can build a beautiful rain system into the vivarium. Now for the decor. Some plants that work well that you can plant right in to the gravel are Japanese evergreen, devils ivy (pothos) and various philodendron. Java moss plants will grow directly in the water or on land if a portion of the plant is in constant contact with water. And there is good water flow. No fertilizer is necessary the frogs will do that for you. Always wash the plant thoroughly to get pesticides and fertilizers off the leaves and roots. For the health of the frog and the plants you should use a full spectrum light such as vita light. With good husbandry and tender loving care you can have many years of enjoyment with your Red Eyes. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call.


Fantastic Frogs by Jerry Walls. TFH Press 1995

Keeping And Breeding Amphibians by Chris Mattison. Blandford Press 1993.

Breeding Terrarium Animals by Elke Zimmermann. TFH Press 1986

The Vivarium vol. 5 no. 6

Diseases Of Amphibians by Dr. Reichenbach - Klinke & Dr. E Elkan. TFH Press 1965


Changes last made on: Mon May 27 14:09:38 1996