Green Tree Frog Care Sheet

Maria Zayas, DVM
By Maria Zayas, DVM on Sep. 29, 2023
Green tree frogs looking at each other

In This Article

Species Overview

Green Tree Frog Species Overview

Green tree frogs can be found near bogs, ponds, and streams throughout the southeastern United States. These frogs have white undersides and a pale-yellow stripe that runs from the side of their face down to their rear legs.  

Frogs are amphibians, not reptiles. However, like reptiles, amphibians are ectothermic (or “cold-blooded”) animals that rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature.  

Male green tree frogs have a loud, bell-like call that can be heard during the evening and night. Green tree frogs croak more frequently during their mating season and before rainy weather. They are friendly, social animals that can live happily in small groups. 

Green tree frogs can appear brown to green depending on the ambient temperature, humidity, and light in their environment. They are primarily nocturnal (more active at night) and will sleep during daylight hours. As an arboreal (or “tree-dwelling”) species, these frogs love to climb! 

All frogs are potential carriers of infectious diseases, including Salmonella bacteria, which is zoonotic (transmittable to humans). Pet parents should always wash their hands before and after handling their frog or the habitat’s contents. 

Green Tree Frog Characteristics 

Difficulty of Care 


Average Lifespan 

Up to 6+ years with proper care 

Average Adult Size 

1–3 inches long 



Minimum Habitat Size 

15-gallons for up to 4 adults 

Green Tree Frog Supply Checklist

To keep a green tree frog happy and healthy, pet parents should have these basic supplies on hand: 

  • Cricket keeper 

  • Cricket food 

  • Cricket quencher 

  • Live insects 

  • Thermometers 

Green Tree Frog Habitat

Choosing the Right Enclosure 

A 15-gallon glass tank is the minimum recommended habitat size for up to four adult frogs. Enclosures should be tall with plenty of vertical space to allow for climbing. All habitats should be well-ventilated and secured with a screened lid to prevent the frog from escaping. Always provide the largest habitat possible. 

Recommended Products:  

Habitat Mates 

Green tree frogs are naturally social and can be housed together in small groups if the habitat is large enough. Frogs should be introduced to each other gradually and under close supervision to ensure they are compatible. If two frogs fight, separate them. 

Never keep different species of amphibians or reptiles in the same habitat. 


Frogs need a thermal gradient in their enclosure so they can warm up and cool down as needed. At nighttime, a green tree frog’s habitat should be 65–68 F; during the day, temperatures should be between 72–80 F. As frogs overheat easily, even short periods of exposure to temperatures over 80 F can be life-threatening. 

Pet parents must check the temperatures of their frog’s habitat daily. Two thermometers—one in the warm area and one in the cool area—should be placed in the enclosure so that both zones can be checked at once. A digital point-and-shoot thermometer can also be used to read habitat temperatures instantly. 

Recommended Products: 

Light & Heat Sources 

Although green tree frogs are nocturnal, they still need regular light exposure to maintain a healthy day/night cycle. Pet parents should provide 10–12 hours of light each day with the help of a fluorescent bulb. Turn off lights inside the frog’s enclosure at night, or switch to a nocturnal or infrared light to ensure the frog can rest. 

Recommended Products: 

Pet parents should also install a low-watt incandescent bulb, under-tank heating pad, or ceramic heat emitter to supply radiant heat in their frog’s habitat. The wattage needed for the heat bulb will vary depending on the size of the enclosure, the distance of the bulb from the frog, and the ambient temperature of the room in which the enclosure is kept. Adjust the wattage of the bulb to maintain the recommended temperature gradient within the tank.

Note: Some light bulbs provide not only light to the tank, but also heat and/or ultraviolet (UV) light. Pet parents should check the light sources they are considering to be clear of their function in the tank.  

Large rocks should be placed over under-tank heating pads to absorb heat and create an area for frogs to rest. If an under-tank heating pad is used, it must always be connected to a thermostat to prevent the frog from being burned.    

Hot rocks should not be used because they can get too warm and cause injury.  

Recommended Products: 

  • Light Fixtures & Hoods 

  • Heat Support 

  • Thermostats 

UV Light 

Studies show that daily exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can improve frogs’ immune system function and promote normal behavior. Pet parents should use a low-level (2.0 or 5.0) UVB bulb to provide their frog with 10– 12 hours of UVB light daily to imitate natural sunlight.  

Replace bulbs every six months (even if they still emit light) as their potency wanes over time. A day/night timer can make it easier to maintain a consistent day and night cycle. 

Recommended Products: 

  • UV Light Emitters 

  • Timers 


Humidity levels should be maintained between 70–90% and monitored with a hygrometer (humidity gauge). At all times, frogs should have a shallow bowl of dechlorinated water in their habitat that’s wide enough for them to soak in. The water inside the bowl should be about 1–2 inches deep. Water bowls should be cleaned, disinfected, and refilled daily. 

To boost humidity levels, mist your frog’s habitat once or twice a day using either a gentle misting spray bottle or a humidifier designed for terrariums. Adding live plants to the enclosure will also help keep humidity levels within the ideal range. 

Recommended Products: 

  • Humidity Gauges 

  • Humidifiers 


Green tree frogs have delicate skin that needs to stay moist. Pet parents should use damp sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, or large river rocks as substrate in their frog’s tank.  

When selecting a substrate for their green tree frog, pet parents should keep a few things in mind: 

Do not use gravel or pieces of bark that are small enough to be swallowed by a frog. They can cause a life-threatening gastrointestinal tract obstruction if ingested.  

Avoid reptile carpet and other artificial turf, as they’re too rough and will damage a frog’s sensitive skin. 

Recommended Products: 

Décor & Accessories 

Note: When decorating a green tree frog’s habitat, don’t overcrowd the tank. It’s more difficult for frogs to find and catch live insects in a cluttered enclosure. 

Climbing décor: Green tree frogs love to climb! Pet parents should arrange live or artificial plants, driftwood, cork bark, or other types of branches at a diagonal to create places for their frog to leap from and climb. Climbing décor needs to be connected from the floor to the top of the enclosure to allow frogs to move around.  

Recommended Products: 

Visual barrier: Cover the outside of the habitat’s rear wall with dark green paper or slabs of cork bark (secured with suction cups). This will help the frog feel secure and lower stress. 

Hiding areas: Frogs need at least two hiding areas in their habitat—one kept on the warmer side of the enclosure and one on the cooler side. Aside from offering the frog some privacy, hideouts can help frogs regulate their body temperature, as they give the frog a space away from their enclosure’s direct basking area. 

Monitor your frog’s behavior to be sure they are not hiding all the time, as they won’t have a chance to benefit from UV exposure. 

If more than one frog is housed in the same habitat, be sure to provide each with their own set of hiding places to decrease territorial behavior.   

Recommended Products: 

Green Tree Frog Cleaning & Maintenance

Pet parents should spot-clean their frog’s habitat daily, removing any discarded food or droppings. Food and water dishes should also be cleaned and disinfected daily. 

A frog’s habitat needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once a month with either an amphibian-safe habitat cleaner or a 3% bleach solution. Pet parents should always use moistened, powder-free latex gloves when handling their frog to avoid harming the animal’s sensitive skin.  

Recommended Products: 

To clean a frog’s habitat, take these steps: 

  1. Using moistened latex gloves, move the frog to a secure habitat. Be sure to handle the frog gently to avoid harming its sensitive skin. 

  1. Remove any old substrate, décor, and accessories from the habitat.  

  1. Scrub the empty tank and any furnishings with an amphibian-safe habitat cleaner or 3% bleach solution. The bleach solution should stay on the habitat for at least 10 minutes to ensure that the surfaces are properly disinfected. If using a commercial habitat cleaner, follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

  1. Rinse the habitat and accessories thoroughly with water, making sure to remove any trace amounts or residual smells left by the cleaning agent or bleach solution.  

  1. Allow the habitat and its contents to dry completely before placing new substrate and clean accessories into the habitat. 

  1. Return the frog to the clean habitat. Always be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handing a frog or its habitat’s contents. 

Green Tree Frog Diet & Nutrition

As insectivores, green tree frogs should be fed a variety of gut-loaded insects and worms. Frogs should always have access to a shallow bowl of clean, dechlorinated water. 

Feeding Guidelines 

Juvenile frogs should be fed daily, while adults should be fed every other day. Only feed your frog as many insects and worms as it can eat within 15 minutes. 

Juvenile frogs should be given multivitamins and a calcium supplement with vitamin D every day. Adult frogs should be given a calcium supplement at each feeding session and a multivitamin two to three times a week. 

A well-balanced and nutritious diet for a green tree frog consists of: 

Gut-loaded (recently fed) insects and worms, including crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, calci-worms, and small hornworms. 

For a happy and healthy frog, feed a variety of insects rather than the same ones every day. Feeding a frog the same food every day can lead to malnutrition. Prey should be no larger than the width of the frog’s head. 

Before being fed, live insects must be ‘gut-loaded’ with a nutrient-dense insect supplement to improve their nutritional value.

Recommended Products: 

Vitamin supplements. Before feeding, pet parents should dust their frog's insects with a powdered vitamin supplement. Green tree frogs need a calcium supplement with vitamin D and a multivitamin powder designed for amphibians. 

To dust insects quickly and efficiently, place insects in a bag or disposable plastic container along with a powdered supplement. Then, shake the bag lightly until the insects are coated evenly in powder. 

Recommended Products: 

  • Calcium Supplements with Vitamin D 

  • Multivitamins 

Clean, dechlorinated water. Water should always be available and replaced daily. Water dishes must be large and shallow enough for the frog to soak in. Food and water dishes should be cleaned and disinfected daily. 

Because frogs absorb water through their skin to stay hydrated, their water dishes should be large and shallow enough to allow them to soak in them.  

Do not use distilled water, which doesn’t include any of the vitamins, salts, or minerals that frogs need to stay hydrated. 

Recommended Products: 

  • Water Conditioners 

  • Water Bowls 

How to Gut-load Insects 

Gut-loading diets are fortified with vitamins and minerals to help provide optimal nutrition to the reptiles that feed on them. To gut-load prey, pet parents need to place insects in a container with a gut-loading diet that the bugs can gorge on. Insects should be gut-loaded for at least 24–72 hours before being dusted with a vitamin supplement and fed to a frog. 

Recommended Products: 

  • Gut-loading Supplements 

  • Insect Housing 

  • Insect Diets 

Green Tree Frog Grooming & Care

Handling: Green tree frogs should only be handled when necessary. Pet parents should always use moistened, powder-free latex gloves when handling their frog. Human skin has bacteria and oils that amphibians can absorb through their skin, leading to irritation and illness. 

Frogs have glands in their skin that can secrete toxins. Never let a frog’s secretions contact your eyes, mouth, or open wounds. A fine-mesh net can be used to move or block frogs during routine habitat maintenance. 

Shedding: Amphibians shed, or “slough,” their skin regularly. Some frogs will shed their skin daily, while others will shed every few weeks. Generally, healthy frogs should shed their skin in one, complete piece. Most frogs will eat their dead skin after shedding it. 

Younger frogs that are actively growing tend to shed more frequently than adults. A frog's skin may turn cloudy or milky in color when the animal is ready to shed. Frogs usually assume a crouching position while shedding. 

Green Tree Frog Veterinary Care

Annual Care

Green tree frogs should be seen by a veterinarian once annually. A secure transport carrier can be purchased from major pet stores that would be an appropriate size for a frog. You will need pictures of their enclosure and all food and tank items packaging for your veterinarian to assess during the appointment.

Signs of a Healthy Green Tree Frog

  • Clean, clear eyes

  • Smooth, intact, moist skin

  • Pink, clean oral cavity

  • Clear nostrils

  • Straight, smooth toes

  • Good appetite

  • Bright and alert

When to Call a Vet

  • Eye discharge or a swollen or protruding eye

  • Lesion on skin

  • Red discoloration of limbs and bottom aspect of frog

  • Discharge or blood from mouth

  • Oral lesions

  • Bent or broken toes or other limb bones

  • Dry skin

  • Lethargy

  • Inappetence

  • Nasal discharge

Common Illnesses in Green Tree Frogs

  • Red leg

  • Chlamydia

  • Mycobacteria

  • Chytridiomycosis

  • Chromomycosis

  • Saprolegniasis

  • Parasites

  • Trauma

Green Tree Frog FAQs

Is it OK to touch green tree frogs?

It is technically safe to touch green tree frogs, but doing so can transmit Salmonella. If you do touch one, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterward. Additionally, green tree frogs don’t generally enjoy being handled, so it isn’t recommended to do so except when necessary.

Can you keep a green tree frog as a pet?

Green tree frogs can be kept as pets and are a great choice for beginner frog keepers.

Where are green tree frogs in the US?

Green tree frogs are mostly located on the east coast from Delaware south, and the gulf coast. You can find them as inland as Tennessee/Kentucky, Arkansas, and even Illinois and Missouri.

Why are green tree frogs important?

Green tree frogs are important consumers of insects in their ecosystem and are prey to many predators as well, such as snakes and fish.

Do tree frogs need a heat lamp?

Tree frogs, which come from warm coastal areas of the U.S., do need heat lamps for proper upkeep.

Do green tree frogs need to live in water?

Green tree frogs live in a terrestrial environment but need access to shallow water to sit in. They do not swim so it’s important that water is shallow enough to lay in only. Regular misting of their enclosure keeps frogs moist enough to stay hydrated.

Featured Image: Getty Images / Thomas Lisson

Maria Zayas, DVM


Maria Zayas, DVM


Dr. Zayas has practiced small animal and exotic medicine all over the United States and currently lives in Colorado with her 3 dogs, 1 cat,...

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health