The Red-Eyed Tree Frog

The Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The scientific name of the red-eyed tree frog is Agalychnis Callidryas. It is also commonly called the red-eyed leaf frog. This amphibian's natural habitat is found in tropical rain forests located in southern Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Contrary to most frog species, the red-eyed tree frog lives in trees instead of ponds and plants located on the shore of these water sources.

The red-eyed tree frog earned its name from the red coloration of its eyes, which also have a vertical pupil. Its body is bright green, its toes are orange and its flanks and thighs display a pattern of bright blue and yellow stripes. While resting during the day, this type of frog lies against the bottom of a tree leaf. It closes its eyes and hides its markings in order to camouflage itself with the color of the leaf. This allows the red-eyed frog to escape the predators' sight.

When facing a predator, the red-eyed tree frog opens its eyes and displays all its markings in order to shock the predator. Several scientists believe that such a bright display of colors often causes the predator to be startled. This short time is often enough to allow the frog to jump away from the threat. Their natural predators are: snakes, birds, bats and spiders.

Since the red-eyed tree frog is an arboreal frog species, it explains why it is such a great jumper. This type of frog is known to slightly change the color of its body and markings in order to allow it to camouflage itself better with its natural surroundings or depending on its mood.

The size of the red-eyed tree frog varies between 5.08 cm to 6.35 cm (2 to 2 1/2 inches) for a male and 6.35 cm to 7.62 cm (2 1/2 an 3 inches) in length. The skin on its stomach is more fragile than the skin on its back. Juvenile frogs are dark brown and reach this neon-green coloration as they become older.

When ready to mate, the red-eyed tree frog uses vibration to warn its rivals. It will also croak some deep sounds as a warning sign and high sounds to attract females for mating. Once the male gets the female's attention, the female will carry him on its back for several hours, during the mating process. She will then deposit a clutch of eggs on a leaf, located over a water source, usually a pond or a puddle of water.

A few days later, the tadpoles hatch and fall into the water where they will face dragonflies, fish and water beetles as predators. For the 3 weeks following their birth, the tadpoles will live in the water until they go through the metamorphosis (this process can take up to a few months). The juvenile frogs who survived until then, will move out of the water and settle in tubular water plants such as the bromeliads. The juvenile frogs will feed on small flies and insects for the first months of their lives. As they grow, the diet of this nocturnal insectivore will be mainly composed of: crickets, moths and flies.

The red-eyed tree frog is not an endangered species, but it is facing the disappearance of its natural habitat due to human encroachment. Humans are using their land to be real-estate as overpopulated cities face a need for expansion. The life expectancy of this frog species, in the wilderness, is 5 years old. The red-eyed tree frog has been known to increase its life expectancy, in captivity, up to 10 years of age.

Let's be sensitive to the life of the red-eyed tree frog by trying to meet the humans' needs for expansion while protecting the natural habitat of this frog species!

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