Facts on rainforest tree frogs

Written by nancy wagner
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Facts on rainforest tree frogs
Tree frogs live in rain forest trees. (tree frog 2 image by yaros from Fotolia.com)

Tree frogs live in rain forests around the world where they rely on the forest's humidity and large amounts of rainfall to keep them hydrated. Unlike other types of frogs that spend most of their time in the water, tree frogs live on vegetation and trees high above the ground where they hunt for insects. An added benefit of staying in the trees is that the frogs avoid predators of rain forest waters.

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Species

The world's rainforests contain a variety of tree frogs including the red-eyed tree frog of Central America with its neon green body and bright red eyes used to scare predators. The clown tree frog, a brown and yellow frog, spends most of its life in underground burrows where it catches small vertebrates for food. The African big-eye tree frog sports huge eyes and a camouflaged body to help it blend in with its environment. The Pacific tree frog makes its home in the Pacific Northwest rainforest. It relies on small pools of water or shaded places during dry periods, only coming out at night to hunt.

Location

Several species of tree frogs live in tropical rain forests in the Amazon River Basin in South America, Indonesia, Australia and the Congo Basin. Tree frogs also thrive in temperate rain forests along the Pacific Coast in Washington and Canada.

Characteristics

Tree frogs rely on expanded circular disks under their toes that help them climb trees and vegetation. They catch beetles, flies, spiders, ants, moths, flies, grasshoppers and other insects with their long, sticky tongues. Tree frogs also eat smaller frogs. The frogs secrete a waxy coating that allows them to stay moist without going near bodies of water. Red-eyed tree frogs grow up to 3 inches in length while the largest frog, the giant tree frog, reaches 5 inches in length. Female tree frogs almost always grow larger than the males.

Reproduction

Males attract females by chorusing. The female lays 400 to 750 eggs on vegetation in tropical rain forests or in small bodies of water in temperate rain forests. The male then fertilises the eggs. Within two to three weeks, the eggs hatch, and shortly thereafter turn into tadpoles. Six weeks later, the tadpoles turn into juvenile frogs at which time they leave the water and climb onto trees and vegetation where they'll spend most of their adult lives.

Habitat

Tree frogs must stay moist since respiration occurs through their skin. In tropical rain forests, tree frogs live in the trees where the high humidity and rainstorms give them great mobility to move around the trees. They seldom come down to the ground except to lay eggs on the ground or on vegetation. Laying their eggs on the ground helps avoid predators such as fish, shrimp and aquatic insects who like to eat frog eggs. In temperate rain forests, tree frogs mostly live on plants and trees close to bodies of water. They move down to swamps, ponds and marshes to mate and lay their eggs.

Survival Skills

Each tree frog sports a unique feature such as the red-eyed tree frog with its bulging red eyes. When the frog closes its eyes, it blends in with the foliage, but if a predator approaches, it opens its eyes, momentarily stopping the predator. Those few seconds allow the frog to escape. The white-lipped tree frog relies on camouflage to stay safe from predators, changing its colour depending on what type of foliage it sits on.

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