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White's tree frog is a species of frog native to Australia that has become popular worldwide as an exotic pet. This frog, whose scientific name is Litoria caerulea, is alternatively known as the Australian green tree frog or the dumpy tree frog. It can grow to approximately 4 inches (about 10 cm) in length.
The skin color of White's tree frog can change according to external conditions, ranging from olive green or emerald to grayish, bluish, or brown. In some cases, this frog might have irregular white spots on its back. The female has a white throat, while the male of the species has a vocal sac that is gray in color. Both sexes feature golden eyes with horizontal pupils, unlike the vertical pupils found in most frogs. Fatty folds form a ridge above each eye.
Predators in the wild can include some types of lizards, birds, and snakes. Dogs and cats could also prey on wild dumpy frogs in more populated areas. In captivity, White's tree frog is generally resistant to disease. This frog is said to be easy to maintain as a pet and can sometimes live longer than 16 years in captivity.
In the wild, dumpy frogs tend to eat spiders or insects, such as cockroaches or locusts. In captivity, they are typically fed crickets or mealworms. Owners should be careful to avoid overfeeding this frog, which tends to be inactive in captivity except when stalking its food. White's tree frog requires its water to be changed daily. It is recommended that this frog's habitat be created in a ten-gallon or larger tank with a secure lid, as dumpy frogs have a large disc on their toes to aid them in climbing.
If threatened, a male dumpy frog will emit a very loud sound as a signal of distress. For this reason, it is recommended that this frog be kept in a calm area away from other pets. White's tree frog should not be placed in a terrarium with other types of frogs or with another dumpy frog that is a significantly different size.
Owners of a dumpy frog should use care in handling this creature. The frog's skin exudes a mild toxin that can cause a skin reaction in humans, requiring owners to wash their hands with soap and water after handling. In research conducted at Vanderbilt University in 2005, it was found that secretions from the skin of White's tree frogs, as well as some other frog species, produce peptides that can kill human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells.