Red-eyed tree frogs, also known as Agalychnis Callidryas, are tropical frogs that mostly dwell in Central American lowland rainforests. Especially, countries such as Mexico, Costa Rico, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Belize are home to these amphibians.
Compared to other rainforest frogs, red-eyed tree frogs (A. Callidryas) has distinctive characteristics, one being its vibrant red eye color and extraordinary jumping ability.
Like any other frogs, red-eyed tree frogs like to live near the water sources and wet environments. If you are lucky enough, you may see one on a tree in the areas close to water sources such as rivers and ponds.
1. Thanks to their vibrant colors, red-eyed tree frogs camouflage themselves well to avoid predators.
The red-eyed tree frogs are fragile creatures. That means they can be easy prey for larger creatures. However, their vibrant naturalistic colors blend in with the forest environment very well, enabling them to avoid lethal dangers.
2. Red-eyed tree frogs prefer to live in a humid environment where the temperature is between 66-85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-29 degrees Celsius).
Their optimal habitat has a humidity level of 80% and 100%. It is because their skin is porous and it needs to absorb adequate moisture for its body to function properly.
3. Their red-eyes often startle predators.
Interestingly, the red eyes of the frogs help them to deter the threat for a few seconds, or at least until they jump to safety. While red-eyed frogs are resting, their eyes remain closed.
When they sense an approaching predator, they suddenly wide open their red-eyes, initiating a tactic called “startle coloration”. Predator, on the other hand, freezes a moment being startled by the flash of bright red-eyes. Taking advantage of that confusing moment, the frog jumps to safety using its outstanding jumping skills.
4. The lifespan of red-eyed tree frogs is about 5 years and they spent most of their time on a tree.
The estimated 5 years of lifespan is given to red-eyed frogs that live in the wilderness. However, these species of frogs live around 10 years in captivity. Unfortunately, their survival rate in the wilderness is that well.
5. Red-eyed tree frogs, A. Callidrya, have a third eyelid, which protects their eyes from potential harms.
The third eyelid of an A. Callidryas is called the nictitating membrane. It is a semitransparent lid that not only protects the eyes of frogs from dust and debris but also moisturizes it to function properly.
The nictitating membrane also allows red-eyed tree frogs to see underwater and remain hidden around predators since their eye color is too catchy.
6. A. Callidryas is a nocturnal creature, which means they are most active during the night.
Due to the red color of their eyes, the frogs can see at night. They hunt smaller insects remaining silent and motionless until their preys come to an approachable distance.
Once their prey comes to reachable distance, they catch them using their long and sticky tongues.
7. Depending on their mood, red-eyed tree frogs change their skin color.
Most of the time, their skin color is vibrant lime-green with a slight mixture of blue and yellow in some areas. That color blends well with the color of leaves, making red-eyed tree frogs almost unnoticeable among the trees.
However, they can change their color to darker-green or reddish-brown color depending on their mood and time of the day. For example, younger froglets remain in green color during a day and change their color to purple or reddish-brown at night.
8. Red-eyed tree frogs are carnivores. That means they feed on other animals.
Their primary diet consists of insects such as grasshoppers, flies, crickets, and moths. In some rare cases, they will also eat smaller frogs. Generally, A. Callidryas can eat insects that can fit their mouth.
9. Red-eyed tree frogs have suction cups on the tip of their toes and those cups allow them to climb and stay on the trees.
As their name suggests, red-eyed tree frogs are good at climbing a tree. They categorized as arboreal creatures, which means they spent most of their life on trees.
They sleep and hunt there. Also, staying on trees, they protect themselves from ground predators. Contrary to other frog species, they can even stay attached to the sides of trees and underside of leaves, by utilizing their sticky toe pads.
10. Red-eyed tree frogs hide their colors while they sleep.
This behavior helps them to remain unnoticeable among the trees. As mentioned, A. Callidryas is a colorful creature that can attract the attention of everyone, including predatory creatures.
The especially catchy things are their large red eyes and orange toe pads. To blend in with the leaves, they only display their green color and hide their orange toe pads under their body. Additionally, they close their catchy red-colored eyes not to attract other creatures.
11. Red-eyes frogs lay their eggs on the leaves over the water.
Especially, the foliage at the brinks of ponds is a preferable place for them to lay their eggs. It is because, once eggs hatch, tadpoles directly falls into the water, increasing their chances of survival.
12. Eggs of red-eyes tree frogs hatch in seven days after they are laid.
5 days after the eggs are laid, one can observe tiny bodies of developing frogs inside the eggs through the clear jelly-type membrane. To study the development of red-eyed tree frogs inside the eggs, scientists usually use microscopes since their eggs are too small to study with bare eyes.
13. Red-eyed tree frogs mostly sleep underside of leaves.
There are two primary explanations for such behavior: first, by doing so, they hide their bodies from the aerial predators that have sharp eyes. Second, they minimize the effect of scorching hot sun to maintain their body moisture.
14. The mating season of red-eyed tree frogs takes place between October and March, during which males fight to become a deserving candidate.
Mating starts when a male frog makes a croaking sound. That is how they call for females. However, A. Callidrays mating is not that easy. When male frogs spot a mature female, they jump on her back to position themselves for the mating.
However, a quest for a single female frog creates a chaotic scene. Male frogs battle for the best position. The one positions himself a better on a female wins the battle.
15. A female red-eyed tree frog carries a male on her back for a few days or until she lays eggs.
Male positions himself on the back of a female and clasps his forelegs around her belly. This mating position is called amplexus in scientific language. What happens is that a male red-eyed frog won’t release a female until she lays her eggs.
In some cases, a female frog carries two males on her back; however, a male that is in better position mates with the female.
16. Red-eyed tree frogs are not in the category of threatened species, but it does not mean they are not threatened by human activities.
Deforestation, pollution, global warming, wetland drainage are primary phenomena that shrink the natural habitat of A. Callidryas. Therefore, some environmental protection organizations use an image of red-eyed tree frogs as a symbol to advocate for a better environment.
17. Female red-eyed tree frogs are about 1-2 inches bigger than males.
Female of Agalychnis Callidryas grow to 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) in sizes, while the size of adult males is usually around 2 inches (5 cm).
Small sizes of males make it easier for a female to carry them on her back. Also, male red-eyed tree frogs are vocal compared to females that remain silent most of the time.
18. Red-eyed tree frogs breed during the rain. So, if you are keeping them in captivity, creating rain chambers will help your frogs to have a successful breeding period.
Firstly, to keep the A.Callidryas in your house, you have to create a suitable environment for them by replicating their natural environment.
Caring for red-eyed tree frogs involves controlling the temperature of their container, feeding them adequately, changing their water regularly, furnishing their container with branches and leaves, and creating other necessary conditions for them to thrive in captivity.
19. Red-eyed frogs Agalychnis Callidryas thrived on this planet for millions of years. That means they were present on the earth way before humans were.
However, they did not look the same millions of years ago. For example, about 250 million years ago, ancestors of red-eyed tree frogs had a larger size and a small tail.
Modern red-eyes tree frogs do not have a tail at all. Scientists believe that the frogs lost their tails to an evolution. The frogs needed to escape from larger predators such as snakes and birds often and a tail was inconvenient for them during the escape.
20. They do not have external ears but they still can hear and sense their surrounding.
Instead of external ears, red-eyed tree frogs have circular inner ears, which are visible right behind their bulging eyes. Interestingly, they can sense or hear through their chests since their inner ears are attached to their lungs.
For example, when a snake or other predator attempts to approach them, the frogs feel their vibration and jump to safety.
21. Their bulging eyes allow them to see 360-degrees.
Generally speaking, their exceptional hearing and vision help them to take their fragile body to safety when they feel an upcoming threat.
22. Red-eyed tree frogs do not chew their food. They swallow it with the help of their eyes.
They eat the insects that fit their mouth or can through their throughout. To swallow their prey, they use their eyes. Once they catch the prey, their bulging eyes sink back into the eye socket, pushing the food down their throat.
23. Eggs of red-eyed tree frogs can hatch early if they feel a threat.
Snakes, birds, bats, and other predators of the frogs can disturb their eggs. To avoid such cases, the frogs intentionally hatch their eggs and release their tadpoles into the water to increase their chance of survival.
24. Red-eyed tree frogs are not poisonous despite their poisonous looking skin.
Although they are not poisonous, it is not recommended to hold them in hands as people can easily injure their delicate bodies.
25. Red-eyed tree frogs can jump up to 20 times its body lengths.
That is a pretty impressive distance. To match that distance proportionately, people will need to jump to the width of two basketball courts in one leap.
We all know that humans are not capable of making that type of jumps. Therefore, little fragile creatures beat humans single-handedly.
26. Newly hatched tadpoles become full-grown red-eyed tree frogs within 16 weeks.
Although that is not a long time, tadpoles pass that period with hardships. Because they need to avoid possible dangers both inside and outside of the water. The frogs reach sexual maturity in 2 years.
27. Snakes, owls, toucans, spiders, and bats are the most common natural predators of red-eyed tree frogs.
That is not a complete list though. Many sharp-eyed predatory birds can also prey on them. Also, when tadpoles are maturing inside the water, they are being hunted down by fish, dragonflies, and other larger marine creatures.
28. Do red-eyed tree frogs live in groups?
The answer is no. Red-eyed tree frogs tend to live alone; however, they do not live too far from each other. The only exception is the mating season, during which males and females come together for breeding. Nevertheless, once the mating is over, pairs separate again to live their solitary life.
29. It is recommended to wash hands before and after handling red-eyed tree frogs.
They are not poisonous; however, the frogs have sensitive porous skin which can easily absorb what is in your hands, including germs and other remnants that may contaminate their body.
30. Are red-eyed tree frogs good pets?
Yes, most people consider them good and beautiful pets to keep inside a home. They are exotic creatures that make it fun to watch and create a naturalistic corner in a room. However, people should follow strict guidelines to create favorable conditions for them to thrive in a controlled environment. You may read how to take care of red-eyed tree frogs in this post.