White's Tree Frog

ZOO LOCATION: My Big Backyard and Australia Walkabout

Lifespan: 8 to 16 years

Wild Diet: Eat mainly insects such as moths, locusts, and roaches.

Zoo Diet: Crickets

Predators: Snakes, lizards, and birds.


IUCN Status: Least Concern

Habitat/Range: Native to wetlands in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Characteristics: A rather large tree frog, ranging in length from three to 4.5 inches. Females are usually slightly bigger than the males. Color ranges from light blue to emerald green or almost gray dorsally and is capable of some color change. The ventral surface is a milky white and rough in texture. Males have a grayish wrinkled vocal sac underneath their throat region. The females have a white throat. Frogs have enormous toe pads with partial webbing between fingers and almost complete webbing between toes. Eyes have horizontal pupils, where most tree frogs have vertical pupils. Fatty ridge over the eye is a distinct trait.

Behavior: These tree frogs have adapted to seasonally dry or wet habitats. They secrete a waxy covering over their skin that helps retain water. Some scientists believe that these animals can actually control how much water is evaporated through the skin, and thus have some ability to control their body temperature. In forests other than rainforests, these frogs avoid desiccation in the dry season by taking refuge in tree hollows or covering themselves in a cocoon of sloughed epidermis and mucus and burrow to keep moist. They can be active in day or night. The male calls year round from high positions in the trees. When threatened they emit an ear-piercing distress call. Do not typically live in or near water, but instead live in trees. Rain collects on leaves, in cup-shaped plants, and in crevices in tree trunks. These places are replenished with water from the almost daily rains giving the frogs a source of water to keep themselves moist.

Reproduction: During the summer rainy season they feast for a few days then start to breed. White's tree frogs reach sexual maturity in their second year. Breeding takes place in the summer rainy season, often in very moist places, such as drainage systems, water tanks, or grassy semi-permanent water systems. The female expels her eggs with such a force they go through the deposited sperm cloud traveling up to 1.5 feet. A clutch can contain from 150 to 300 eggs. Once fertilized, the eggs sink to the bottom. Hatching begins about 28 to 36 hours after laying. In good conditions metamorphosis can occur in two to three weeks. The average life span is about 16 years, but one is recorded to have lived 21 years in captivity.

Conservation: Neither threatened nor endangered, still common in parts of its natural range.