About Tree Frogs
Whites Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)
The Australian Tree Frog is known for its anthropomorphic ( meaning to describe an animal as having human characteristics) grins. Coupled with its rolly polly flabby fatness, the tree frog has earned the nicknames, the smiling frog and the dumpy frog.
Being rather good natured, the tree frog lives by people sometimes in their houses eating insects. The frog is somewhat lazy except when eating. When hungry, it will pounce on prey of insects and spiders and even eat small mammals.
The frog is a gentle color of green with skin folds that give it the flabby appearance. These skin folds are useful for retaining water. The frog is large for its family and measures approximately ten centimeters (4 in.) long (2). They are also heavy being a fat frog. It is smooth textured and very similar to the giant tree frog. The giant tree frog has a distinct white stripe that runs along the lower edge of mouth that sets it apart.
Like all tree frogs, Whites has specialized toe pads. The toes and feet are also webbed. The toe is a sticky flat surface with interconnecting discs. The discs squeeze together to provide substantial grip for climbing and leaping from leaf to limb.
Cool Color Morphing
Several tree frogs have a super ability to melt from one color to the next. Frogs have three layers of pigments that they can change. Color morphing can be subtle or dramatic. The changes are not based on environmental color as much as they are on the temperature and light background(4). A frog is likely to change color during the seasons. Many times the change takes weeks to complete, but a noticeable difference in color can be observed within hours. The frog slowly blends into the lighter or darker trees of summer or fall. Not only does this provide some camouflage for the frog, but is an energy and heat conservation tactic. When the weather is warmer, the frog will be lighter so as to reflect heat and stay cooler and vice versa with cooler temperatures. The frog will become darker to soak up heat and create more energy(4). Whites tree frog changes from green to brown(3).
Whites tree frog is native to Australia and New Guinea, but has been introduced to other areas(1). They are popular as a pet throughout the world. In captivity, the tree frog has a long life an average of sixteen years(2). Even while being heavy, the frog spends the majority of its time in the trees and descends to mate. A common household visitor, Whites tree frog will sit in gutters, tanks, and pipes where it is moist and cool and where its call will be amplified.
A problem with being a frog is that its skin is always wet. And what does wet skin get? Mold and bacteria. To counter balance this, most frogs shed their skin and eat it. Whites tree frog is perhaps the cleanest frog around. They go a step further and secrete an anti-bacterial and viral substance. The caerulins that the frog oozes is being tested as a cure for infections and as an appetite suppressant (2).
Fun Frog Fact:
A: No, they are mostly nocturnal like nearly all tree frogs so as to escape predators.