White's Tree Frog

(Litoria caerulea)

Habitat and Distribution: Found near streams and swamps in tropical and temperate forests of northern and eastern Australia

Size: 3-5.5 inches long. Females are larger than males.

Wild Diet: Spiders, grasshoppers, flies, moths, locusts, roaches, and some small vertebrates, including other frogs. As tadpoles, they will eat algae, mosquito larvae, and drowned insects.

Predators: Snakes, cane toads, quolls, kookaburras, owls, domestic cats and dogs.

Reproduction: White's tree frogs breed during the rainy summer season. Males grow black pads on their thumbs to help grip females during breeding. Females lay clutches of 150-300 eggs in the water. The eggs sink after about 24 hours then rest on the bottom for 1-3 days until hatching. In prime conditions, tadpoles may metamorphose within 2-3 weeks after hatching. Young frogs take 4 to 5 months to reach adult size. Females may lay two batches of eggs each season.

Behavior: White’s tree frogs are arboreal and primarily nocturnal, although they will often come out in the early evening to call. Long limbs and sticky toe pads make these tree frogs excellent climbers. They can be found resting motionless on leaves or other vertical surfaces. To keep moist in dry conditions, they will burrow or cover themselves with mucus; these behaviors make them highly drought tolerant. When threatened, they emit a high-pitched distress call.

Conservation

IUCN Status: Least Concern

White’s tree frogs tend to share habitats with humans and are often found in houses, bathrooms, water tanks and drain pipes. Although considered pests in some areas, they are abundant enough that they are not threatened. However, like all amphibians, they are highly sensitive to environmental changes because of their porous skin.

Did you know?

  • White’s tree frogs can change color from blue-green to dark brown.
  • The pupils are horizontal, which is unusual for tree frogs.
  • They were named in honor of John White, who published the first description of the species in 1790.
  • They are also known as "dumpy tree frogs" due to their rolling skin folds.