Recently I was in Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina visiting friends and family. This area is awash in various species of Tree Frogs. It was fairly easy to catch a few by hand so I decided these cute little guys would make cool pets. So we caught a few and brought them home to Long Island.
They went from being snake, bird and lizard food to being my own little terrarium zoo on my desk. I figure it’s a lot safer for them in my office than their previous haunts.
I had an old 10 gallon aquarium up in the attic. I cleaned it up and bought a screen cover. I also got a day and night light combo (you can anything you need for reptiles/amphibians from Jungle Bob Smith’s REPTILE WORLD in Centereach NY)
I also collected and brought back a couple of prickly pear cactus from The Outer Banks along with some sandy soil, some twigs and a few small pine cones. I wanted the little dudes to feel comfortable and at home in their new environment.
Then I did a little research. What do these guys eat? Well probably bugs I thought but which ones and how would I make them available to my little buddies? After a little reading online and my conversation with the aforementioned Jungle Bob, I learned that two very nutritious meals that are very popular with these frogs.
First and foremost they love crickets. I found out that three different sizes of crickets are easily available at most pet shops. That was simple. Not only are they available but the small ones that the frogs prefer are very inexpensive. 15 for a dollar. That lasts them for a couple of days. I bought a cricket cage to maintain a small community of the insects so I always have food on hand for the frogs. I add a little water and a couple of slices of fresh carrots. That all the care and feeding the crickets require. The cage has long black tubes in which the crickets spend most of their time hiding. I slowly remove the tube, open the top of the terrarium, and tap the tube into the tank dislodging the crickets into the environment where the frogs can eat them.
The other food they really like is flightless fruit flies. I visited John at BTJ’s Jungle in West Islip NY. He sold me a cup, About the size of a one pound deli salad with some flies and food on the bottom. The flies lay eggs. The eggs become larvae and eventually they become flies. They continue the cycle over and over providing a steady supply of live food for the frogs.
Every few nights I sprinkle a batch of flies into the aquarium and the frogs do the rest. Pretty amazing to watch them hunt!
What about the actual environment? I was told to keep it moist and humid which is easily achieved by spraying once a day with an easily obtainable spray bottle.
I really like air plants. They are delicate and beautiful and pretty eay to maintain so I added a few to the terrarium with the frogs. The plants also like a humid environment so that goes together well with what the frogs like.
Frogs can get pretty frisky when they are hunting and can disturb and disrupt the plants and the setup within the tank so I came up with a good solution. I found a small log out in the yard. Cut it to fit within the confines of the tank. Then I drilled some holes in it to accommodate the air plants. The plants are protected and the frogs can go about their business.
Tree frogs are great starter pets if you’re interested in a cool terrarium or you want to get into more sophisticated reptiles/amphibians at a later time. I’d suggest you contact Jungle Bob Smith’s REPTILE WORLD in Centereach or John at BTJ’s JUNGLE in West Islip. Happy frogging!