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|Barking tree frog|
Hyla gratiosa is the largest native tree frog in the United States. It is 5 to 7 cm (2.0 to 2.8 in) in head-body length. It is variable in color, but easily recognizable due to the characteristic dark, round markings on its dorsum. Individuals may be bright or dull green, brown, yellowish, or gray in color. It has prominent, round toe pads, and the male has a large vocal sac.
Barking treefrogs can be kept as an exotic pet quite simply in captivity, when provided with a few basic requirements. A variety of substrates will suit the needs of these frogs, including everything from simple paper toweling to more natural substrates, such as peat, moss, coir, or a mixture of coir and orchid bark. It is important to have a drainage layer at the bottom of the enclosure, which can be made using either large grade pea gravel or expanded clay pellets, and then covering this with fiberglass window screening to prevent the finer substrate from filling the gaps in the drainage layer. Suitable plants include Philodendron, Pothos, Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia, and other large-leaved sturdy plants. It is also important to provide a large, clean water dish to allow these animals to soak regularly.
Crickets make a good staple food item. Supplement these with small mealworms and small silkworm larvae. Barking treefrogs have a voracious appetite and can become obese if overfed. Gut loading crickets with a large variety of vegetables and commercial cricket food is a good way to provide nutritious food items. Dusting the food items with a vitamin/mineral supplement is also a good idea with this species, especially for younger animals still undergoing periods of rapid growth. This will help to ensure proper bone development.
The barking tree frog is known for its loud, strident, barking call. It may also utter a repetitive single-syllable mating call. It has been known to chorus with other frogs of the same and similar species.
The barking tree frog burrows in the sand, especially when the temperature is hot. It also spends time high up in trees, especially during the day when it is less active.
- Hammerson, G. 2004. Hyla gratiosa. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 04 June 2013.
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