Green and Gold Bell Frog
Green Bell Frog
Green and Gold Swamp Frog
Green and gold bell frogs are beautiful, relatively large sized tree frogs with brilliant green, brown, bronze, copper and gold coloration. They are generally lime or bright green with spotting, speckling and blotches of gold, copper, brown and bronze. They have bright blue or blue-green hindquarters with a cream colored belly. Recently albino individuals have become available. They are a tree frog, but have the general body shape of a leopard frog and have poorly developed toe pads. The “bell” part of its name comes from its rhythmic honking call (apparently sounding to some like a bell). They grow up to 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) long and can live up to 10 years.
Green and gold bell frogs are native to the southeastern coast of Australia, where they used to be distributed from the New South Wales north coast near Brunswick Heads south coastally into Victoria and west coastally to Melbourne. Within this range they are found around creeks, ponds, wetlands, estuaries and swamps, especially where bulrushes are common. In the 1960s they were considered wide-spread and common, but a noticeable decline occurred in the 1970s and today they are threatened in Australia. Presently they are known only in a few isolated coastal locations in Australia. It was introduced to New Zealand, New Caledonia, and New Hebrides. Ironically, it is so common in New Zealand where it has become established on the greater upper half of the north island, that it is considered a pest.
Though they have been variously described as terrestrial and aquatic in popular literature, our experiences with the green and gold bell frog suggest that it is semi-arboreal, preferring to bask in plants and shrubs three to four feet off the ground. Juveniles tend to be slightly less arboreal, spending much of their time at water’s edge, presumably ready to take flight into the water at the approach of perceived threat. Subsequently, a green and gold bell frog’s enclosure should be vertically oriented and utilize large-leafed vining plants such as pothos or philodendron. Where space permits, papyrus, cat tail, horsetail, bulrush and other straight vertically-growing plants can be utilized. Green and gold bell frogs are frequently active during the day and like to bask. As such, they should be provided with a basking spot and UV lighting. The best solution for this is one of the many commercially available basking lights that also incorporate UV light. A large deep water dish or portion of the habitat should also be provided for swimming/soaking. They are tolerant of a fairly wide range of temperatures, but should be provided with an 85-90 degree Fahrenheit basking area with a 15-20 degree drop elsewhere in the enclosure. Nighttime temperatures should not fall below 60 for long periods of time.
Green and gold bell frogs have a typical frog diet consisting mostly of insects. They can be fed earthworms, crickets, roaches, wax worms, horned worms, and other small vertebrates and invertebrates. Larger adults will also eat small rodents. We have not noted them being overtly cannibalistic, but care should be taken to house similarly sized frogs together. As always, prey items should be gut-loaded prior to feeding and should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement once or twice a week.
Green and gold bell frogs are very intolerant of pollution and care should be taken to ensure that their caging, and particularly their water, is kept clean. They also exude a milky acrid mucous from their skins when handled, so wash your hands both before (for the frog’s benefit) and after (for your benefit) handling. Although this substance is not known to cause harm to humans, it is a good idea not to handle your frog if you have open sores or wounds, and care should be taken not to touch your face or mouth before washing your hands. Some sources refer to cannibalism, but we have not noticed this to be common. Nonetheless, care should be taken to keep similarly sized frogs together.