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12 Eye-Popping Red-Eyed Tree Frog Facts!

Hop on over to read all about these fascinating tree-dwelling critters! You're in for a whole rainforest of amazing trivia!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  December 10th 2023

Red-eyed tree frogs are kind of symbolic of the rainforest. If you've ever been to a Rainforest Cafe, you might have noticed that their mascot is a red-eyed tree frog! They live in the tropical forests of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, and here's some good news - these ruby-eyed beauties aren't endangered! Hooray! Read on to learn all sorts of things about the humble red-eyed tree frog - from their food, to their sleeping habits, to the strange thing they do to keep predators away! And don't forget, we're the place to be if you love animal facts! Learn all about albatrosses, capybaras, and creepy crawlies!

1. They're carnivores

Red-eyed tree frogs are meat-eaters, but you won't find them tucking into a juicy steak! They prefer to eat crickets, flies, worms, grasshoppers and moths, but they have been known to eat smaller frogs!

2. They have a cool defence mechanism

A defence mechanism is something that an animal does to protect itself from predators, and red-eyed tree frogs have a special one. Their green and blue bodies blend into their leafy environment, and they have green eyelids, which means they are almost invisible when they close their eyes. When a predator approaches the frog will open its eyes very quickly, startling the predator and giving the frog a few seconds to escape! This defence mechanism is called "startle coloration".

3. They're arboreal

This means they spend most of their time living in trees! Koalas, squirrels, monkeys and sloths are also arboreal, and so are some species of leopard and goat, as they're so good at climbing trees! Red-eyed tree frogs have to stay close to bodies of water as well, as their skin needs to stay damp at all times.

4. They take a long time to grow up

Many species of animal become adults quite quickly. Humans are unusual because we take at least 18 years, which is quite a large percentage of our lifespan! Tree frogs are also slow developers. In the wild they live for about five years, but it takes two years for them to reach full maturity, which is about 40% of their whole life! Captive tree frogs can live longer though, so they get to be grown ups for a bit more!

5. They only come out at night

Red-eyed tree frogs are nocturnal, which means they're awake and active at night time! It's a good time for them because there are fewer predators about, and more delicious bugs to snack on!

6. Their eggs hatch fast

Even though they take a while to reach adulthood, red-eyed tree frogs hatch very quickly when they're babies! Tadpoles usually emerge from the eggs just four or five days after they're laid. This is because the eggs are a particularly tasty treat for predators, so they have to hatch quickly to give the frogs a fighting chance to survive!

7. They're not worth eating

Not that you'd ever try munching on a red-eyed tree frog, but if you tried to snack on one they wouldn't taste very good! They have toxins in their skin that won't kill you but will probably make you feel quite ill.

8. The girls are bigger than the boys

In humans, women are smaller on average than men (though of course there are exceptions). In the animal kingdom this isn't always the case - it's thought that larger females are more of an advantage in the animal kingdom, because very often the female will raise the young by herself and will need to fight off predators and catch larger meals. Tree frogs are another species where the girls are bigger than the boys. Female tree frogs grow to be about three inches long, while males are usually about two inches long. Yep, they're still pretty tiny!

9. They're fantastic climbers

As they spend most of their time in trees, it's not surprising that red-eyed tree frogs are wonderful climbers! Their secret? They have suction cups on their toes that allow them to scale trees and clamber on leaves! They also leave a trail of slime behind that lets them climb more easily!

10. They're old!

According to fossil records the red-eyed tree frog has remained mostly unchanged for about 100 million years! That makes them a seriously old animal!

11. The boys are very territorial

Animals mark their territory to protect themselves, and red-eyed tree frogs are no exception! They have to clear a special spot to raise their young, and when a male tree frog finds the perfect place he has to let other male frogs know. They do this by shaking - they'll sit in the tree and shake to create vibrations, which will travel for about two metres and let other boy frogs know that they need to look elsewhere!

12. They eat quickly

Those big red eyes aren't just for decoration! Red-eyed tree frogs like to eat very quickly so they can move on to their next catch, and blinking those eyes helps them to swallow quicker! Yep, animals are weird!