Unveiling the Mysteries of the White Lipped Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata)

white lipped tree frog habitat

Have you ever heard a frog that sounds like a dog barking? That’s the surprising call of the White-Lipped Tree Frog, Australia’s, and one of the world’s, largest tree frog species! These captivating creatures boast not just impressive size (up to 4.7 inches!), but also stunning emerald green bodies and a distinctive white lip stripe – hence the name.

But beyond their striking looks, White-Lipped Tree Frogs have unique needs as pets. They’re arboreal (meaning they love living in trees) and require a carefully designed habitat to thrive. Ever wondered how to create the perfect environment for your White-Lipped Tree Frog friend?

This comprehensive guide will unveil the secrets to crafting their ideal home! We’ll focus on incorporating hiding spots that mimic their natural surroundings, ensuring your frog feels comfortable and secure. By the end, you’ll be a White-Lipped Tree Frog habitat expert, ready to provide the perfect environment for your amazing amphibian companion.

Key Takeaways

  • The White Lipped Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata) is Australia’s largest tree frog species, known for its striking appearance and arboreal nature.
  • Creating a habitat with ample hiding spots is crucial for their wellbeing, mimicking their natural environment and reducing stress.
  • Incorporating climbing branches, live plants, and proper substrate helps create a visually appealing and enriching environment.
  • Maintaining optimal temperature, lighting, and humidity levels is essential for their health and comfort.
  • Responsible frog-keeping practices and conservation efforts are necessary to ensure the well-being of these remarkable amphibians.

White Lipped Tree Frog Species Profile

Before we dive into habitat setup, let’s first get acquainted with the White Lipped Tree Frog:

Physical Description: These frogs are a striking green or blue-green colour with a distinctive white stripe extending from the mouth to the shoulder. Their large size, webbed feet, and prominent toe pads make them excellent climbers.

Natural Habitat: White Lipped Tree Frogs are native to the rainforests and coastal areas of Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland, Australia, and parts of New Guinea.

Unique Behaviors: These frogs are nocturnal, becoming most active after dusk. Their loud “barking” or “mewing” calls can echo through the rainforest at night. During the day, they seek refuge in hiding spots like tree hollows and dense foliage.

The Importance of Hides and Environmental Enrichment

In the wild, White Lipped Tree Frogs rely on various hiding spots to feel secure, regulate their body temperature, and exhibit natural behaviours. Providing ample hiding opportunities in captivity reduces stress and promotes overall wellbeing.

Here are some key benefits of incorporating hiding spots into your White Lipped Tree Frog’s enclosure:

  1. Stress Reduction: Frogs are prey animals, and having access to secluded spaces allows them to feel safe and secure, minimizing stress levels.
  2. Facilitation of Natural Behaviors: From sleeping during the day to hunting at night, hiding spots enable your frog to engage in species-typical behaviours.
  3. Thermoregulation: Different hiding spots at various heights and positions allow your frog to self-regulate its body temperature by moving between warmer and cooler areas.
  4. Humidity Regulation: Certain types of hides, like humid hide boxes, can help maintain optimal humidity levels for proper skin shedding and overall health.

Creating an enriching environment with plenty of hiding opportunities keeps your White Lipped Tree Frog happy and healthy. It provides a visually appealing and naturalistic setup that’s a joy to observe.

Setting Up the Ideal White Lipped Tree Frog Habitat

white lipped tree frog size
white lipped tree frog size

Now that we understand the importance of hiding spots, let’s dive into the specifics of creating the perfect White Lipped Tree Frog habitat.

Enclosure Size and Accessories

White Lipped Tree Frogs are relatively large amphibians, requiring a spacious enclosure to accommodate their size and arboreal nature. A tall, vertically oriented enclosure is ideal, with the following recommended dimensions for an adult frog:

  • Minimum Size: 24 x 24 x 36 inches (60 x 60 x 90 cm)
  • Recommended Size: 36 x 18 x 48 inches (90 x 45 x 120 cm)

In addition to the enclosure, you’ll need to provide various accessories to create an enriching and naturalistic environment. Essential items include:

  • Climbing Branches: Sturdy, non-toxic branches of various diameters and lengths for climbing and perching
  • Cork Bark Flats: Large pieces of cork bark can be used to create hiding caves and background covers
  • Live or Artificial Plants: Non-toxic plants help provide hiding spots, humidity, and a naturalistic aesthetic. Pothos, Philodendron, and Ficus species work well.
  • Water Feature: A shallow water bowl or pond area for soaking and drinking

Substrate Selection and Maintenance

The substrate, or bedding material, plays a crucial role in maintaining proper humidity levels and providing a naturalistic environment for your White Lipped Tree Frog. Here are some suitable substrate options:

  • Coconut Fiber/Coir: This moisture-retentive substrate helps maintain humidity while allowing for proper drainage.
  • Cypress Mulch or Bark Chips: Another moisture-friendly option mixed with coconut fibre.
  • Sphagnum Moss: This moss helps retain humidity and can be used as a top dressing or in specific areas.

Regardless of the substrate you choose, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene by spot-cleaning regularly and performing partial or full substrate changes as needed.

Heating, Lighting and Humidity Requirements

White Lipped Tree Frogs thrive in warm, humid environments reminiscent of their tropical rainforest homes. Here are the optimal environmental parameters to aim for:

  • Temperature Range: Daytime temperatures should be between 75°F and 85°F (24°C to 29°C), with a nighttime drop of a few degrees.
  • Heating Sources: Overhead heating, such as ceramic heat emitters or basking bulbs, can create a thermal gradient, allowing your frog to thermoregulate.
  • Lighting: Besides general ambient lighting, providing low-level UVB lighting (2.0 to 5.0 UVB) is recommended for proper calcium metabolism and overall health.
  • Humidity Levels: Aim for humidity levels between 60% and 80%, achieved through regular misting, a deep water bowl, and proper substrate moisture.

Ideal Hiding Spot Locations and Materials

Now that we’ve covered the basics of enclosure setup let’s dive into the exciting world of creating hiding spots for your White Lipped Tree Frog.

Where to Position Hides in the Enclosure

When it comes to positioning hiding spots, variety is key. Aim to create a mix of horizontal and vertical hides throughout the enclosure at different heights and locations. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Vertical Hides: Position hides along the back and side walls of the enclosure, as White Lipped Tree Frogs are skilled climbers who will use vertical spaces.
  • Horizontal Hides: Incorporate hiding spots at different levels, including ground-level hides and higher up on branches or ledges.
  • Balance Open and Covered Areas: While hiding spots are essential, it’s also important to provide open areas for your frog to bask, hunt, and move around freely.

Best Naturalistic Hide Materials

When selecting materials for hiding spots, opt for naturalistic options that mimic the frog’s wild environment. Here are some excellent choices:

  • Cork Bark Flats: Large, flat pieces of cork bark can be leaned against the enclosure walls or silicone together to create caves and crevices.
  • Driftwood and Logs: Clean, chemical-free driftwood or logs can create hiding spots and climbing surfaces.
  • Rock Caves: Arrange clean, non-porous rocks to create cave-like structures, or consider purchasing commercially available reptile hides made from resin or ceramic.
  • Live or Artificial Plants: Dense, bushy plants can provide excellent hiding spots while contributing to the naturalistic aesthetic.

Importance of Humid Hides

In addition to standard hiding spots, providing your White Lipped Tree Frog with humid hide boxes or areas is essential. These moist microenvironments are crucial for proper shedding and overall skin health.

Humid hides can be created using various materials, such as:

  • Sphagnum Moss: Line a small container or hide box with damp sphagnum moss, which retains moisture exceptionally well.
  • Eco-Earth or Coconut Fiber: These substrates can be kept consistently damp and used to line a hide box or create a humid burrow.
  • Live Plants: Certain plants, like pothos or philodendrons, can create naturally humid microclimates when their soil is moist.

Refresh and remoisten humid hides as needed to maintain optimal moisture levels.

Creating a Visually Appealing Naturalistic Environment

While functional hiding spots are crucial, you’ll also want to create an aesthetically pleasing and naturalistic environment where your White Lipped Tree Frog can thrive. Here are some tips for achieving a visually appealing setup:

  • Incorporate Live or Artificial Plants: Strategically placed live or artificial plants can add depth, texture, and a sense of lushness to the enclosure.
  • Use Naturalistic Backdrops: Consider using natural-looking or 3D backgrounds to create a visually striking and immersive environment.
  • Add Leaf Litter and Vines: Scattered leaf litter and trailing vines can help camouflage hiding spots and create a naturalistic aesthetic.
  • Pay Attention to Lighting: Proper lighting, whether natural or artificial, can enhance your setup’s vivid colours and textures.

By creating a visually appealing and naturalistic environment, you’ll provide your White Lipped Tree Frog with a stimulating and stress-free habitat and enjoy the beauty of their enclosure as a captivating display piece.

Signs Your White Lipped Tree Frog Needs More Hides

white-lipped tree frog diet
white-lipped tree frog diet

Even with careful planning, there may be times when your White Lipped Tree Frog indicates a need for additional hiding spots. Here are some behavioural cues to watch out for:

  • Glass Surfing or Persistent Climbing: If your frog constantly climbs the enclosure walls or exhibits “glass surfing” behaviour, it may be a sign that it’s seeking additional hiding spots or feels exposed.
  • Remaining Out in the Open: While White Lipped Tree Frogs will come out to hunt and explore if your frog is consistently out in the open during the day, it may not feel secure enough.
  • Territorial or Aggressive Behaviors: In enclosures housing multiple frogs, a lack of adequate hiding spots can lead to territorialism and aggression.
  • Physical Injuries: Toe or tail nips and other physical injuries can sometimes result from frogs feeling unsafe or exposed.

If you notice any of these behaviours, consider adding more hiding spots, rearranging existing hides, or increasing overall cover to create a more secure environment for your White Lipped Tree Frog.

Responsible Frog Keeping and Conservation

As with any exotic pet, it’s important to prioritize responsible and ethical practices when keeping White Lipped Tree Frogs. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Obtain Frogs from Reputable Sources: It’s crucial to only acquire captive-bred White Lipped Tree Frogs from reputable breeders or suppliers. Avoid taking frogs from the wild, which can contribute to population declines and disrupt ecosystems.
  • Understand Threats and Conservation Status: While the White Lipped Tree Frog is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, it faces habitat loss and disease threats. Awareness of their conservation status and supporting efforts to protect their natural habitats is essential.
  • Follow Local Regulations: Depending on your location, specific licensing or permitting requirements for keeping White Lipped Tree Frogs may exist. It’s essential to research and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

By practising responsible frog-keeping and supporting conservation efforts, we can ensure these fascinating amphibians thrive in the wild and captive environments for generations.


Creating the perfect habitat for White Lipped Tree Frogs is a rewarding endeavour combining art and science. By providing ample hiding spots, maintaining optimal environmental conditions, and creating a visually appealing and naturalistic setup, you’ll keep your frogs healthy and happy and enjoy observing their unique behaviours and captivating presence.

Patience and attention to detail are key when setting up a White Lipped Tree Frog enclosure. Trust the process, and you’ll soon have a thriving amphibian habitat that is a testament to your dedication and passion for these remarkable creatures.

If you found this guide helpful, please share it with fellow frog enthusiasts and consider supporting organizations dedicated to amphibian conservation. Together, we can contribute to protecting and appreciating these incredible animals for generations to come.


What are the distinguishing features of the white-lipped tree frog?

The white-lipped tree frog, scientifically known as Litoria infrafrenata, is characterized by its vibrant green colouration, large size, and prominent white markings around its mouth, giving it its name. This arboreal amphibian possesses large toe pads adapted for climbing trees. It is native to the rainforests of Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

What is the natural habitat of the white-lipped tree frog?

The white-lipped tree frog primarily inhabits the lush rainforests of Australia, New Guinea, and parts of Indonesia. It is commonly found near bodies of water, such as streams, ponds, and swamps, where it spends much time foraging for insects and other small prey. These frogs are nocturnal, often resting on vegetation near water sources during the day.

How large do white-lipped tree frogs typically grow?

White-lipped tree frogs are considered one of the largest species of tree frogs, with adults reaching lengths of up to 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 centimetres) from snout to vent. Their robust size and striking appearance make them a popular choice among amphibian enthusiasts and collectors.

What is the diet of the white-lipped tree frog?

White-lipped tree frogs are carnivorous creatures, primarily feeding on a diet of insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. Their diverse diet includes crickets, flies, moths, and even smaller frogs. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of live prey items, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Are white-lipped tree frogs suitable as pets?

White-lipped tree frogs can make fascinating and rewarding pets for experienced amphibian keepers. However, it’s important to recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible within their enclosure. This includes ample climbing surfaces, live plants, and a shallow water dish for soaking. Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels is crucial for their health and well-being. It’s essential to research their care requirements thoroughly before bringing one home.

How do white-lipped tree frogs reproduce?

White-lipped tree frogs reproduce through a process known as amplexus, where the male clasps the female from behind to fertilize her eggs externally as she lays them. After mating, the female typically lays eggs in a foam nest constructed above water, such as on vegetation hanging over a pond or stream. Once hatched, the tadpoles drop into the water below, undergoing metamorphosis into froglets.

What are some common health issues affecting white-lipped tree frogs?

Like all amphibians, white-lipped tree frogs are susceptible to various health issues, including skin infections, parasitic infestations, and metabolic bone disease. Proper husbandry practices, such as maintaining clean and appropriately humid environments, providing a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups, can help prevent many of these health concerns. It’s crucial to closely monitor their behaviour and appearance for any signs of illness and seek veterinary care if needed.

Can white-lipped tree frogs be housed together?

While white-lipped tree frogs are not typically territorial or aggressive towards their own species, it’s essential to provide adequate space and resources if housing them together. Overcrowding can lead to stress, competition for food and territory, and potential aggression. Additionally, always monitor them closely for any signs of bullying or dominance behaviours. Providing plenty of hiding spots and vertical space within the enclosure can help mitigate potential conflicts.

What should I consider before acquiring a white-lipped tree frog as a pet?

Before acquiring a white-lipped tree frog, potential owners should consider several factors, including their specific care requirements, space limitations, and commitment to long-term care. These frogs have specific temperature and humidity needs that must be met to ensure their health and well-being. Additionally, they can live for several years in captivity, so it’s crucial to be prepared for the long-term commitment involved in caring for them.

Are white-lipped tree frogs endangered?

While white-lipped tree frogs are not currently listed as endangered, they face threats from habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change, which can impact their populations in the wild. Responsible captive breeding programs and conservation efforts play a crucial role in maintaining healthy populations of these frogs and preserving their natural habitats. Individuals must support conservation initiatives and responsible pet ownership practices to help protect these fascinating amphibians for future generations.