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Do Tree Frogs Make Good Pets?

Tree frogs generally come from warmer parts of the world and enjoy living in naturalistic vivariums that most resemble their natural environment in the wild. When figuring out if tree frogs are good pets, you want to see how easy they are to care for and whether they are safe.

Since there are dozens of species of tree frogs available in the pet trade, you have to pick the right species for your level of expertise. Options range from great for beginners to more suitable for an expert amphibian owner.

All tree frogs have sticky padding on their feet to climb trees and scale the tank walls. They are also friendly and active frogs that are fun to watch. Some species are more docile and easier to handle than others.

Let’s learn more about whether tree frogs make good pets and which ones are best for beginners.

Are tree frogs good pets?

Red-eyed tree frog perched
Red-eyed tree frog perched | image by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

With so many species to choose from, a few tree frogs are great for beginners due to their low maintenance and docile nature. Tree frogs are also colorful and active pets that are fun to watch.

Are tree frogs easy to take care?

Tree frogs generally don’t need a lot of maintenance after you set up their environment. However, you still have to research the specific species’ diet and handle them gently as their skins are sensitive.

Are tree frogs friendly?

Although tree frogs have a reputation for jumping around, they are not aggressive animals and most species are friendly. You won’t be cuddling with these pets, but you can handle some of them sparingly with care and don’t need to be careful of biting when feeding them.

Most tree frogs can also share their terrarium with other frogs of similar size or certain tropical lizards. However, some species are best kept alone or with the same species. For example, the Cuban tree frog is better alone, and the House Dumpy tree frog can be stressed when in the presence of other species.

Are tree frogs poisonous?

Most tree frogs are poisonous but very low in toxins. They can produce a skin secretion that causes discomfort to your lips, eyes, open cuts, or mucus lining of the nose. You must wash your hands before and after handling them or wear gloves to avoid side effects from the secretion.

What species are best for beginners?

White's tree frog
White’s tree frog

The White tree frog is one of the best pets for beginners and children. They are bigger than other tree frogs and naturally docile, making them easy to handle without problems.

The American green tree frog is another great species for beginners who prefer having smaller tanks. They are easy to care for since they can live at room temperature and don’t require lots of special heating equipment.

While not as easy as the two species listed above, the Red-eyed tree frog is still a popular pet for beginners with attention to care. If you want lots of tree frogs together in one tank, this species is the best option.

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Why do tree frogs make good pets? – 5 reasons

Tree frogs are active and interesting pets that don’t require a lot of interaction or maintenance. Here are the top 5 reasons to consider a tree frog as your next family pet.

1. Low maintenance

Once you set up their tank environment, tree frogs are relatively low maintenance to have as pets. You just have to make sure the humidity and temperature are adequate, clean the tank, and feed them.

2. Beautiful colors and habitats

Tree frogs are beautiful to have in your home since they come in many sizes and colors. They also prefer natural-looking habitats, so your tank will be a wonderful exotic feature in your home.

3. Most have a long lifespan

These frogs can live between two and sixteen years. Most species have lifespans of ten years or longer, so you can have them as a long-time pet and friend.

4. Do not require interaction

Tree frogs are peaceful pets that do not require human interaction. You can let them be independent, exploring their environment and they will remain happy.

5. Some species are very tame

Most tree frogs jump around a lot, so it’s hard to handle them. However, the White tree frog is one of the best pets for beginners since it is docile and naturally tame, ideal for handling.

12 things you’ll need to take care of a tree frog

There are some essential things you will need before purchasing your first tree frog. Here is a list of things to consider having:

Zilla Tropical Vertical Habitat Starter Kit for Small Tree Dwelling Reptiles & Amphibians Like Geckos and Frogs 11 GAL

1. A tall tank

As their name suggests, tree frogs enjoy climbing and exploring, so you need a tank tall enough to include suitable plant material. A 10-gallon tank is suitable for one small tree frog. However, you will need a 15 or 20-gallon tank for bigger tree frogs or multiple frogs.

Glass tanks are also best to maintain the moist environments tree frogs prefer. Having a mesh area as well provides vents for air circulation and prevents mold.

Something like this 5 gallon terrarium from Exo Terra would be perfect for a young tree frog.

However, you may want to go ahead and start with a taller tank like this terrarium from Zilla and not worry about having to upgrade later on.

2. Live protein

A diet with variety provides your tree frog with optimal nutrition. Most tree frogs eat live protein such as gut-loaded crickets, wax worms, and earthworms. You should also dust their food, such as crickets, with vitamin or mineral supplement powders a few times a week.

3. Climbing accessories

Tree frogs enjoy climbing, so branches, bark, and wood chunks must be part of their tank. Good sturdy branches to purchase are sandblasted grapevine branches. Be cautious when bringing in branches from outside, since they might have parasites.

4. Substrate

At the bottom of your tank, use a substrate suitable for moist conditions. Loose coconut fiber substrates are popular since they hold humidity well and are also optimal for plants. Keep the substrate damp but not watery. You can also scatter reptile moss along the substrate surface.

5. Thermometer

Tree frogs should be in environments of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 75 at night. Placing a thermometer at each end of your tank will help you monitor and manage temperatures. Look for something like this one.

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6. Light bulbs

Tree frogs need lighting to create a day and night cycle, so they get 8 to 12 hours of light daily. Fluorescent bulbs are appropriate. However, you can also purchase ultraviolet B (UVB) lights to provide your tree frogs with the vitamin D3 they need.

7. Hygrometer

Measure and keep track of the humidity in your tree frog’s habitat with a hygrometer. You want to maintain humidity between 50% and 80%. The thermometer linked to above is a thermometer hygrometer combo.

8. Live plants

Plants provide areas for tree frogs to climb, hide under, and explore. While you can definitely use artificial plants, having some live plants is beneficial for improving the humidity in the tank. The best plants are those safe for tree frogs and easy to maintain in humid conditions. Examples include:

  • Aloe
  • Philodendrons
  • Pothos
  • Spider plants
  • Ficus

9. A water bowl

A bowl of fresh, chlorine-free water can maintain humidity in the tank and provide your tree frog with a place to drink and soak in. Do not use water with heavy metals or distilled water since it can cause medical conditions. Change the water every one to two days.

Make sure the water bowl is big enough for your tree frog to soak in completely. However, still shallow enough so they can climb out of it later and not drown. You can add smooth rocks by or in the bowl for your tree frog to climb.

Something like this one on Amazon should work fine for tree frogs.

10. Heat pad

Heat pads can contribute to the humidity and temperature optimal for tree frogs. Purchase heat pads specifically designed for reptiles and avoid reptile heat rocks. Heat rocks don’t heat evenly and can cause thermal burns on your tree frogs.

Since tree frogs don’t spend much time at the bottom of the enclosure, you can stick the pads to the bottom of the tank opposite the water dish. However, you can also place it on one wall of the tank so your tree frog can choose the temperature they want to hang out at.

Something like this should work fine for a tree frog.

11. Moistened latex or vinyl gloves

Tree frogs are sensitive to most chemicals. You can easily irritate their skin with sunscreen, soap, or lotions on your hands. Wearing gloves ensures your tree frog’s safety when handling them.

12. Spray gun

A spray gun is useful to provide your tree frogs with the moist, humid environment they enjoy. Spray the tank two to three times a week. Chemicals are harmful or deadly to them, so ensure you label and use this spray bottle for freshwater only.


There are plenty of reasons to have tree frogs as your first amphibian pet. They are generally low-maintenance, don’t require a lot of table space for tanks, and include docile species that are easy to handle. However, still, research each specific species first, wear gloves when possible, and commit to them since they live long lifespans.

While they are not cuddly pets, tree frogs are beautiful, active, and interesting to have around.