At Reptile Cymru we love our amphibians, so we’ve written a comprehensive guide to the Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea, an excellent small starter species of tree frog. Whilst we mostly talk about the American Green Tree Frog, you can apply this care guide to the European Green Tree Frog as well.
You can also download and print our quick starter guide which is a handy guide to have for reference, or a great way to learn and educate too. Note, our American Green Tree Frog Caresheet is copyright. All our caresheets are strictly for personal use and should not be edited.
If you’re looking for green tree frogs for sale in the UK, or any other type of tree frog, dart frog, horned frog or toad, check out what we have in stock.
An Introduction to the American (and European) Green Tree Frog
American Green Tree Frogs (Hyla cinerea), sometimes referred to as the GTF, are a small active and attractive species of tree frog. They are bright green in order to camouflage with foliage in Florida and the Southeastern USA. Growing between 1.5″ and 2.5″ they are easy to keep in captivity and do amazingly well in small groups.
It’s worth noting that there are European (Hyla arborea) green tree frogs that vary slightly in appearance and care to American Green Tree Frogs. We think it’s important that you only keep the same species of green tree frog together, as they can breed between species causing genetic confusion further down the line, but this care guide can be used for both.
American Green Tree Frog Quick Stats
|Common Name||American Green Tree Frog (GTF)|
|Scientific Name||Hyla cinerea|
|Size||1.5 – 2.5″|
|Lifespan||2 – 5 years|
|Diet||Wide variety of small to medium livefoods|
|Maturity||8 – 12 months+|
|Breeding||Uncommon, but is done in captivity|
We recommend a glass terrarium for housing Green Tree Frogs. This is because it allows for a high humid environment, for a damp substrate and good ventilation. It is possible to house frogs in wooden vivariums, but you’ll want to carefully line and seal where possible. You will decrease the lifespan of a wooden vivarium by keeping amphibians in it.
American Green Tree Frogs are arboreal, preferring a good amount of height. Despite being a small tree frog, they are active and will use as much space as you give them. The more space they have, the more natural an environment and the more interesting behaviour you will see.
We recommend our Amphibian Display Setup which is a full package put together for you, with the 45 x 45 x 45cm Exo Terra suitable for a group of four and 45 x 45 x 60cm Exo Terra suitable for a group of six. If you did want to keep one or two alone, then a 30 x 30 x 45cm Exo Terra or equivalent brand would be the very bare minimum. They live together in groups fine, as long as all are approximately the same size.
Like most frogs they will eat whatever fits in their mouths which in some cases will, including their own species. Groups should be kept to similar size frogs and should not be mixed with any other reptiles or amphibians.
Decor & Substrate
When it comes to tree frog care, you should attempt to go as natural as possible, so plant the enclosure out with as many branches and plants as you can. These can be fake plants, which are readily available in a variety of sizes and colours – or you can go for a more natural vivarium and include live plants, which increase the humidity, air quality and create a stunning display. Provide branches and vines of varying thickness and ensure there are places to hide near the top of the tank. It’s not necessary to provide a hide on the floor such as a cave as this won’t be used.
For a substrate we recommend a coco / coir brick, which can be mixed with orchid bark or moss.
A large water bowl should be provided, which they may occasionally sit in, but they will usually be found near the top of the tank. The water bowl will provide ambient humidity and should be changed daily.
We sell everything you need for a natural looking enclosure, whether you decide to go for artificial or a full bioactive setup.
Heating & Lighting
We recommend an ambient heat range of 23 to 26c. Night time temperatures can drop up to 5c, but temperatures in their wild locations remain fairly stable without huge drops most of the year.
You can provide this ambient through a heatmat and thermostat underneath the tank, or through a canopy and white (daytime) or red / ceramic (night time) lights. Bear in mind that lights can dry out the tank, so monitor the humidity carefully and spray as necessary. If you are using live plants you will need to add a plant growth UVA bulb, such as the Jungle Dawn.
Whilst these animals are nocturnal, providing UVB has been proven to have benefits in many areas, including health, appetite and colour. We highly recommend a low level UVB bulb for all tree frog species. Check out our article explaining the different types of UVB and how it benefits the animals we keep, even if they are nocturnal.
Green Tree Frogs are not fussy eaters and should readily take a selection of the livefood available, such as crickets, small locusts, waxworms, roaches and mealworms. In the wild they would also eat earthworms and moths, but really whatever fits in their mouth is considered acceptable! We feed our Green Tree Frogs every other day as we find ours don’t tend to eat much on a daily basis.
We don’t recommend feeding any defrosted mice to this species, as although their mouths might be big enough to swallow a pinkie, it is an extremely high fat and calorific item and they would not commonly eat rodents in the wild.
If your enclosure has UVB then we recommend a straight calcium twice a week, and a multivitamin with D3 once a week.
If your enclosure does not have UVB then we recommend a straight calcium once a week and a multivitamin with D3 twice a week.
Our livefood is delivered gutloaded, but this should be continued at home to make them as nutritional as possible.
We don’t recommend handling amphibians as a general rule. If you do need to handle a Green Tree Frog, for example for a health examination, or to move them to clean the enclosure, ensure you wash your hands first, scoop them up carefully and then move them to a temporary tub whilst you clean the terrarium or examine them. You may be able to coax them into a tub without needing to handle them. Never hold them out in the open, where they could easily leap into the air, fall and damage themselves.
Tree Frogs are great to look at, but are easily damaged and stressed by handling.
Sexing Green Tree Frogs can be a little tricky if they are not fully mature and even then can pose a few challenges. The easiest way to identify sex is by the male’s deep, loud breeding call, but juveniles won’t be calling. Adult females are larger than adult males and you may be able to spot a nuptial pad (area of rough skin where the male holds on to the female during mating) on the thumb of an adult male, but it’s pretty hard to see!
- Will call
- Have a small nuptial pad during breeding season
- Are smaller than females
- Are larger than males
- Don’t call
Are Green Tree Frogs Noisy?
American Green Tree Frogs do have a distinct call that in the wild can be heard from up to a mile away! In captivity the call is most likely to be heard if you are in the same room as them, but it’s not as common or as loud as in the wild. In the wild they primarily call when air pressure falls, which indicates rain is coming. In captivity this is not something we really simulate, but you may still hear chirps and occasionally choruses, both in the day and the night. We would not recommend keeping a group in the bedroom of a light sleeper, but they should be fine in any other room of the house. If you’re looking for a silent group, you may wish to look purely for females, as most of the chatter is between sexes and the males are by far the loudest, with their deep throated mated call that is designed to travel long distances in the wild.
Should I get an American Green Tree Frog?
In conclusion, the American Green Tree Frog is simple to care for and can be set up in a small, natural display. They’re a great starter amphibian as they are hardy and keen feeders, but will also please a more experienced reptile keeper, with their stunning colours and interesting interactions.
If you’re looking for a larger tree frog then you may want to consider Golden Tree Frogs or White’s Tree Frogs. For the more advanced keeper, one of the most stunning and amazing tree frogs is occasionally available, the Red Eyed Tree Frog.
I hope that this American Greet Tree Frog care guide has answered all your questions, but don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question.