Red eye tree frogs are the trademark exotic frog from the neotropics. Large, colorful, and easy to care for, Red Eye Tree Frogs will forever be a popular pet frog.
What’s in a name?
The Red Eye Tree Frog has a very obvious common name – it is a tree frog with bright red eyes! Its scientific name is Agalychnis callidryas, which literally translates into (aga) plenty of (lychnos) shining (kallos) beautiful (dryas) tree nymph. This refers to their sparkling eyes, beautiful appearance, and arboreal habits. The Red Eye Tree Frog is also known as the red eye leaf frog.
Historically, the Red Eye Tree Frog has a long taxonomic history and changed names several times.
Hyla callidryas Cope, 1862
Agalychnis callidryas — Cope, 1864
Agalychnis helenae Cope, 1885
Phyllomedusa helenae — Kellogg, 1932
Phyllomedusa callidryas — Lutz, 1950
Phyllomedusa helenae — Lutz, 1950
Agalychnis callidryas callidryas — Funkhouser, 1957
Agalychnis callidryas taylori Funkhouser, 1957
Phyllomedusa callidryas — Savage and Heyer, 1967
Agalychnis callidryas — Duellman, 1968
In the wild, these frogs inhabit the canopy of tropical rainforests, and are endemic to Mexico, all the way through Central America, to the western coast of Colombia.
Red eyes rely on camouflage to blend in, and do a great job due to inactivity during the day! In daylight Red Eyes are bright green and conceal themselves by keeping their bright red eyes closed, tucking their legs up against their bodies to hide their distinct blue sides. The compact sleeping design also helps to reduce exposed surface area, thus reducing water loss via evaporation.
Age, Size, and Growth
After about 10 months they will be nearly adult size, with males measuring about 2 1/2″ and females another inch larger than the males. As adults, red eyes will easily eat 3/4″ or adult crickets.
With proper care, red eye tree frogs can live up to and over 5 years.
Pro Tip! Try house flies for an entertaining treat!
Red Eye Tree Frogs are easy to house. Choose a large enclosure – a 18x18x24 Exo Terra Glass Terrarium is a good size for 2-4 juveniles or adults.
Opinions on substrates vary – we’ve had luck with finely ground coconut fiber, damp paper towel, or sphagnum moss. If using sphagnum moss, make sure to press down the moss so it is flat – this will greatly reduce the risk of impaction. Paper towel will need to be changed 2-3 times a week.
Red Eye Tree Frogs need constant access to fresh, clean water – a large water bowl is a must! Use an easy to clean dish, such as an Exo Terra Water Dish, as the frog will be using the dish as a latrine and you will need to clean daily. Scrub the dish and disinfect with a 5% bleach solution or ReptiSan and allow to dry before putting it back into the tank.
At night Red Eye Tree Frogs travel down to the forest floor in search of pools of water to breed. Eggs are laid on vegetation hanging above the pools.
As the tadpoles hatch, they fall quite a distance (sometimes several meters) before splashing into the water. Tadpoles quickly grow in the pools and can leave the water in 6-8 weeks.
Young red eye tree frogs live around the edges of the pools, before making their way back up into the canopy.