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The White's Tree Frog is often called the Dumpy Tree Frog, because it often looks really flat and flabby. Its eternally cheerful expression has also gained it the nickname of the Smiling Frog.
White's typically live in Northeast Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Torres Straits. There is some evidence of remains of the species being found in South America. A few scientists believe that the White's Tree Frogs were originally from South America, and in the 1800's migrated to Australia. Others believe the migration took place thousands of years ago.
They can now be found in all kinds of habitats, frequently near homes, and around water tanks and cisterns. Breeding tends to only happen in pools of at least 12" of water in really huge terrariums or greenhouses. These frogs are known to live up to 21 years in captivity, and 15 years is not uncommon. Their life span in the wild generally much shorter due to heavy predation.
White's Tree Frogs grow from between 4" (males) to 5½" (females) from nose to snout. Their skin is smooth and generally green, and their rubbery texture helps them to retain water. The higher the humidity and the lower the temperature, the darker and browner a White's will become. Conversely, under warmer and drier conditions, they tend to look brighter, often almost blue.
This hardy nocturnal frog is excellent for beginners. It requires a really big and tall terrarium, ideally 25 gallons or more, with lots of plants and hollow branches. Either the arboreal tank or the terrestrial tank work well for White's. The tall arboreal tank is better because these tree frogs spend most of their time high in their tank's branches.
Humidity should be moderate. Spray the tank with dechlorinated water a few times every week. Good ventilation is essential to prevent illness. Temperatures should range between 86ºF during the daytime and 60ºF at night. Colder temperatures can kill a White's Tree Frog quickly and painfully.
NEVER use small, fine substrate such as aspen chips, or cedar or pine shavings, gravel, or sand. Chips and shavings are too dusty, and small bits can accidentally be swallowed when your frog is eating. This can be fatal. Larger chunks of cypress mulch are generally the best choice.
The water dish in your tank is another big issue. A dish that is six to eight inches long and wide, and four to five inches deep, is perfect. White's like to spread out in the water and relax. As your frogs grow, you'll have to get a bigger water dish.
The White's Tree Frog eats larger insects like crickets, cockroaches, locusts, moths and beetles. They are known for eating non-stop, but many experts warn about overfeeding. Determining how much to feed the frog seems a bit tricky, so your best bet is to check how fat the frog is getting. A White's Tree Frog's weight can be tracked by checking the state of the arches (like eyebrows) over the frog's eardrums. If you can't see the ridges at all, the frog is probably underweight, so start feeding it more! If they get big and start rolling down over the eardrums, it's probably getting too fat. These arches, called "tympanic ridges," can get so big that they even start to cover the eyes. If your frog is that fat, it DEFINITELY needs to go on a diet and fast!
Sexing a White's Tree Frog (telling the difference between male and female) is difficult. It cannot be done until the frog reaches breeding age, approximately 1 year of age. At that time, males develop "nuptual pads" (puffy little pads on the place where their "thumbs" and "palms" meet) during the breeding season. In addition, some experts claim that only the males croak and sing, though to my knowledge, this has not been scientifically proven.