Life cycle of the red eyed tree frog

Updated February 21, 2017

The red-eyed tree frog is striking with its bright red eyes, oversized orange feet and a bright green body. A red-eyed tree frog goes through four distinct life cycle phases: egg, tadpole, tadpole with legs, froglet and adult frog.


Female red-eyed tree frogs lay their eggs on the underside of leaves that overhang rivers. The eggs typically hatch in 6 to 21 days, and the tadpoles fall into the water.


Red-eyed tree frogs in the tadpole phase breathe through gills and swim using their tails. The tadpoles begin losing their tails and start developing lungs for breathing when they are about 30 days old.

Tadpole with Legs

Red-eyed tree frog tadpoles start sprouting tiny legs within 6 to 9 weeks. The hind legs typically grow in first.


Red-eyed tree frogs enter their froglet, or young frog, phase by the time they are 3 months old. The froglet moves from the water and into the trees, where it will live the rest of its life.

Adult Frog

Red-eyed tree frogs typically complete their life cycle within 16 weeks. Adult red-eyed tree frogs are carnivorous and live primarily on worms and insects.

Fun Fact

Red-eyed tree frog embryos can sense when a predator is about to attack. They can prematurely hatch within seconds and drop safely into the river below.

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