Hidden in the rainforests of southern Mexico in Central America are the arboreal Red-Eyed Tree Frogs. Thanks to their big bulging red eyes and lime green bodies, it’s easy to spot these tiny creatures. They feed mainly on insects like grasshoppers, crickets and flies, catching them using the element of surprise. Keep on reading to learn 20 facts about Red- Eyed Tree Frogs.
Fact 1: Tree Frogs belong to the order ‘Anura’.
- ‘Anura’ is the name given to a group of animals who are all amphibians.
- Amphibians need water or moist environments to survive.
- Examples of amphibians are frogs, toads, newts and salamanders.
Fact 2: Tree Frogs are usually slender, are less than 10 cm in length and have long legs.
- They have enlarged sticky disks on the tips of the fingers and toes that aid them in climbing.
- They also have striking red eyes that glint with flecks of gold or copper.
- And, their shiny skin varies widely in color, and it usually has a metallic-looking sheen.
Fact 3: Most species of Tree Frog deposit their eggs in water.
- Although it is also common for eggs to be laid on vegetation overhanging water.
- After hatching, the tadpoles drop through the air into pools or streams below.
Fact 4: Mature Red-Eyed Tree Frogs only weigh around 0.2- 0.5 ounces.
- Female Tree Frogs are also typically larger than males.
Fact 5: Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, despite their obvious coloring, are not venomous.
- Poison Dart Frogs are harmful to humans.
- A single “golden poison frog” harbours enough poison to kill 10 grown men, making these frogs one of the most poisonous animals alive.
- Interestingly, Poison Dart Frogs eat harmful poisonous chemicals that grow in the rainforests, this just adds to their poisonous effect.
Fact 6: Red-Eyed Tree Frogs sleep during the day by sticking to leaf-bottoms with their eyes closed and body markings covered.
- When disturbed, they flash their scarlet eyes and reveal their huge, webbed orange feet and bright blue-and-yellow flanks. This defence mechanism is called startle coloration, startling the predator and buying the Tree Frog enough time to escape.
Fact 7: A group of frogs is typically known as an ‘army’.
- There are around 5,000 species of frog in the world at present.
Fact 8: Red-Eyed Tree Frogs have been around for millions of years.
- Amphibians have been around for an estimated 350 million years.
- The earliest known frog appeared about 190 million years ago, during what is known as the late Jurassic period.
Fact 9: Fortunately, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are not on the “endangered species” list yet.
- However, deforestation, land conversions, and calamities has caused their habitat to shrink at an alarming rate.
Fact 10: Their vibrant coloration and small size make them a constant target for a number of predators.
- They are often preyed upon by snakes, spiders, bats, owls and toucans.
- Red-Eyed Tree Frog tadpoles are targeted by dragonflies, fish and water beetles.
Fact 11: Males Red-Eyed Tree Frogs show dominance by shaking tree branches to create vibrations.
- The vibrations are a display of superiority that can deter other, competing males.
- They also produce croaking sounds to attract females, and then a quivering mating ritual initiates reproduction.
Fact 12: During the day, they are the masters of disguise. At night, they are master hunters.
- The Red-Eyed Tree Frog hides its colors and sleeps stuck under leaves, where it blends into the foliage perfectly during the day. At night, when they’re less vulnerable from predators, the frogs are much more active, spending much of their time hunting for insects.
Fact 13: Adult Tree Frogs mate on branches above ponds or puddles.
- As with other amphibians, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs start life as tadpoles in temporary or permanent ponds. As adult frogs, they remain dependent on water to keep their skin moist, staying close to water sources.
Fact 14: They were first identified by herpetologist Edward Cope in the 1860s.
- The Red-Eyed Tree Frog is found in the lowlands and on slopes of Central America and as far north as Mexico. Edward Drinker Cope was an American palaeontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist.
Fact 15: Frogs have been used as ‘indicator species’ in the past. Meaning their population levels are used as evidence by scientists to determine the Earth’s ecosystems health, or its impending vulnerability.
- Not surprisingly, the world’s amphibian population has experienced a decline in recent years. Research has also shown that chemical contamination from pesticide use, acid rain, and fertilizers, the introduction of foreign predators, and increased UV-B exposure from a weakened ozone layer has begun to damage fragile eggs of tree frogs. Concluding that there is an issue with the current ecosystem.
Fact 16: Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are carnivores that feed mostly on insects.
- They eat flies, ants, crickets, beetles, moths, and other small invertebrates.
- However, as tadpoles, most of them are herbivores.
Fact 17: Their scarlet red eyes help them swallow their prey.
- The frog’s tiny teeth hold the insect in place as they retract their eyes into their body to push the meal down their throats. While they can swallow without the extra push from the eyes, it helps quicken the process so they can get moving, so they won’t get eaten by a predator.
Fact 18: Adept climbers, Red-Eyed Tree Frogs have cup-like footpads that enable them to cling onto leaves.
- They also have long sticky tongues to help them latch onto their prey.
Fact 19: It takes one to two years for a Red-Eyed Tree Frog to mature.
- Moreover, relative to their size, red-eyes can be considered a long-lived tree frog. When properly maintained, life spans of up to 10 years are common.
Fact 20: Red-Eyed Tree Frogs can change their skin’s color according to their mood.
- They can become a dark green or reddish-brown color to camouflage themselves.
- They also have white bellies and throats but their sides are blue with white borders and vertical white bars.
- Their feet are bright red or orange.