Clown Tree Frog: Facts, Info & Care Guide (with Pictures)


The clown tree frog is a beautiful frog found in South America. These frogs commonly inhabit areas near human settlements, and they seem to approach human intervention well. They live near cesspools that are covered with floating vegetation primarily in the city of Iquitos. Exotic pet keepers are captivated by their unique patterns and colors. Their colors help them to blend into their environment and keep them safe in their natural environment.

This informative article will help you understand how to correctly care for these striking tree frogs.

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Quick Facts about Clown Tree Frogs

Species Name: Dendropsophus leucophyllatus
Common Name: White-leaf frog
Care Level: Moderately easy
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Adult Size: 2 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Temperature & Humidity 70°F-80°F

75% to 80% humidity

Do Clown Tree Frogs Make Good Pets?

Frogs generally make good pets for people of all ages. They are easy to care for if you have previous experience in caring for exotic pets. They are small which allows them to be housed in small enclosures that can fit in nearly every household. They are not the easiest to handle due to their small size, however, it is possible if they have been tamed from a young age. They are undemanding and affordable pets that can form bonds with their owners.

a Clown tree frog
Image Credit: Milan Zygmunt, Shutterstock

Appearance

The average size of an adult clown tree frog is 2 inches in size. This makes them tiny frogs and the females are larger than the males. Clown tree frogs have a uniform color of reddish-brown with an orange underside with a pattern of yellow or blotches on the dorsal side of their body. Some color forms have a bright gold coloration on the back of their legs. They are easy to spot in green vegetation.

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How to Take Care of Clown Tree Frogs

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

Tank

An adult tree frog should have a minimum sized tank of 15 gallons. Experts generally recommend a 20-gallon tall tank for a pair or trio of clown tree frogs. It is important to ensure that the tank has adequate ventilation through a mesh lid that should cover the entire top part of the tank. They require a tank that is vertical because they love to climb platforms and branches in their tank. Clown tree frogs should have plenty of vegetation so that they feel safe and secure.

Lighting

Clown tree frogs do not require a form of UV lighting. A standard fluorescent or compact bulb is sufficient to provide enough lighting in the enclosure. This helps you to see inside of the tank better and it also helps live plant growth.

Heating (Temperature & Humidity)

Clown tree frogs require moderately high amounts of humidity in their tank. The optimal level of humidity is between 60% to 80%. Humidity helps them to retain moisture in their mucus-covered skin. The ideal temperature for a clown tree frog is between 70°F to 80°F. A heat lamp is too harsh for them, and you should opt to use a controlled heat mat for reptiles.

Substrate

Many substrates are suitable for clown tree frogs. The best types of substrates for their enclosure are shredded coconut fiber or sphagnum moss. The substrate should be misted several times a day to prevent it from drying out and to help raise the humidity.

Tank Recommendations
Tank Type 15-gallon glass vivarium
Lighting N/A
Heating Heating pad
Best Substrate Shredded coconut fiber and sphagnum moss

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Feeding Your Clown Tree Frog

The main food source for clown tree frogs is crickets. This provides them with all the nutrients they require to remain healthy. Crickets can be fed throughout the clown tree frogs’ entire life. They should also be fed tree frog pellets or powdered foods that have been soaked in water. A glass dish will suffice as a place to keep the food on. Any leftover food should be removed after several hours, and the dish should be rinsed under hot water. Approximately three to six crickets should be fed at a time. Avoid feeding wild-caught crickets as they usually contain pesticides or other types of poisons.

Diet Summary
Fruits 0% of the diet
Insects 100% of diet – moths, fruit flies, crickets
Meat 0% of the diet
Supplements Required N/A
Clown tree frog in a plant
Image Credit: Dr Morley Read, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Clown Tree Frog Healthy

Ensuring that your clown tree frog has suitable and clean habitat and insect-rich diet will keep them healthy for the duration of their lifespan. Getting the correct levels of humidity and temperature can be done by using a reptile thermometer and a hydrometer. The levels should not fluctuate during the day but can be lowered by a few degrees during the nighttime. Keeping clown tree frogs moist is the most important part of keeping them healthy. A rain reservoir system can be used to ensure the entire enclosure is kept moist and this will prevent them from drying out. An automatic misting system is also helpful if you are unable to mist them throughout the day. A shallow dish of water allows them to rehydrate themselves and you may find that your clown tree frog enjoys sitting in it.

Common Health Issues

Bacterial issues are the most problematic health issue in clown tree frogs. This can be caused by dirty water being introduced into their enclosure through misting or a dirty water bowl. Otherwise, the clown tree frog rarely gets ill in captivity and there are minimal health issues.

Lifespan

The clown tree frog does not live very long, and the average lifespan is around 3 to 5 years. It is not uncommon for healthy and well-cared for tree frogs to live to 6 or 7 years of age. If you take good care of the clown tree frog you should expect to have them around for the next several years.

Breeding

Clown tree frogs prefer to breed in pools of water. Increasing the amount of water in the habitat triggers a mature clown tree frog’s breeding instinct. The female lays eggs that will eventually hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles prefer to hang around the edge of the water as they start to grow, and they will eventually develop their hindlegs and may leave the water for short periods. The water dish should be large enough to accommodate the large clutch of tadpoles that will hatch from the female’s eggs.

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Are Clown Tree Frogs Friendly? Our Handling Advice

Clown tree frogs are very friendly, but they are difficult to handle due to their small size. They are not very fun pets to handle because they are known to jump out of their owner’s hands. There is no safe way to secure them during handling because you pose a risk of injuring their delicate bodies.

It should also be noted that dry and dirty hands can damage the clown tree frogs’ soft skin membranes and they can dry out quickly once they are being handled. You could also potentially transfer bacteria into their system. Ideally, if you do want to handle them you should wear medical-grade gloves that have been misted with water.

Hibernation: What to Expect

Clown tree frogs seek dry land when they hibernate. They bury themselves in deep and rich soil that they can easily dig into. They will typically hibernate during the drier months in summer, and they require a deep substrate to bury into. The substrate should be kept moist during this period. Captive-bred clown tree frogs generally will not hibernate, but if you are regularly missing out on misting the enclosure they may instinctively attempt to hibernate.

How Much Do Clown Tree Frogs Cost?

An average adult clown tree frog can cost anywhere between $50 to $150. They are commonly sold in a pet store or from tree frog breeders in your area. The overall cost of a clown tree frog alongside supplies and food is between $200 to $400.

Care Guide Summary

Pros

  • Docile nature
  • Inquisitive and exploratory
  • Simple diet

Cons

  • Require frequent daily misting
  • Do not live very long
  • Move a lot during handling

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Conclusion

The clown tree frog makes an interesting yet wonderful pet. They offer enrichment to children and adults and provide plenty of watch-time. Caring for a clown tree frog is an interesting experience and it is clear why so many exotic frog owners have such a deep connection to these tree frogs.

We hope this article has helped inform you on the best possible ways to care for your clown tree frogs!


Featured Image Credit: Patrick K. Campbell, Shutterstock





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