White-Lipped Tree Frog
Indonesian Giant Green Tree Frog
From essentially the same locales as the White’s Tree Frog, young White-Lips are often confused for young White’s Tree Frogs. Not surprisingly, a White-Lipped Tree Frog’s most notable feature is its pronounced white or cream colored lower lip. Their dorsal colors range from pale green to lime green to blue-green to brown. They are often flanked with white or pale yellow, blending to a lime green as it meets the dorsal area. In adults, the dorsal skin is relatively smooth with the flanks and to a lesser extent the underbelly, being granular and rough. They are a large, heavy bodied tree frog, with most specimens being larger than White’s Tree Frogs, but, unlike the White’s even in captivity with an abundance of food they rarely seem to appear obese. Females of this species can be over 5 inches (12.5 centimeters) in length, with males being slightly smaller. It is the second largest tree frog known (the largest being the Vietnamese Goliath Gliding Frog). In captivity they have lived up to 16 years.
The White-lipped Tree Frog has a similar distribution to the White’s Tree Frog, but within this distribution it is more specialized. White-Lips are distributed along the coastal areas of Cape York Peninsula and the wet tropical regions of north-eastern Queensland in Australia. It is the most widely distributed tree frog in the New Guinea region—ranging from eastern Indonesia through the New Guinea mainland, to the Admiralty and Bismarck Islands in the north. Within this range it inhabits rainforest and surrounding ecotones, coastal areas adjacent to cultivated or disturbed land, and is generally found below 4000 feet in elevation.
White-Lipped tree frogs require similar care to White’s Tree Frogs, except that they prefer a slightly more tropical environment. For the most part this means they prefer a higher humidity level and are generally less tolerant of cooler temperatures. Like most tree frogs, they benefit from a vertically oriented enclosure (one that is taller than it is wide) with ample foliage, branches or similar climbing surfaces. Like the White’s Tree Frog, given an adequate food supply, large water bowl and basking spot, White Lipped Tree Frogs will live a long and happy life. Because of their greater propensity to jump, an adult White-Lipped Tree Frog should have at least a 20-gallon enclosure, with 40+ being more desirable. Although White-Lipped tree frogs enjoy humidity, they do not like to be in perpetually damp surroundings. An enclosure kept at a 50+ percent humidity level (usually achieved by daily misting) is ideal. All enclosures should incorporate a temperature gradient with a warm basking spot at one end and some form of shelter and/or cooling off area at the other. A basking temperature of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Ambient temperatures should remain within the upper 60s to upper 70s Fahrenheit. White-Lipped Tree Frogs will spend much of the day sleeping, so provide adequate surface area for them to perch upon. Big, leafy plants such as pothos, philodendron, and some bromeliads are good choices.
White-Lipped tree frogs are insectivorous and eat most types of bugs. In captivity crickets, earthworms, moths and flies are good sources of food. As with most captive-kept frog species insects should be dusted with a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure adequate nutrition. White-Lips will also enjoy an occasional pinky (baby, hairless) mouse in addition to their regular diet. Unlike White’s Tree Frogs, White-Lips do not seem to become obese, but still benefit from exercise associated with chasing prey. With adult White-Lips, unconsumed food should be removed an hour or two after feeding.
In spite of the similarity in appearance and geography to White’s Tree Frogs, White-Lipped Tree Frogs are not as readily handled as White’s (no frog species is). White-Lips will tolerate gentle and deliberate handling, but are generally more quick to take flight than a White’s Tree Frog. This fact coupled with the frog’s large size and ample dexterity means that handling should be approached with caution.