The Golden treefrog, Polypedates leucomystax, is a medium to large treefrog species with a large range within tropical and sub-tropical Asia. It is a very common frog in its natural habitat, which in itself is very varied, from tropical forest through to agricultural and urban areas. It’s fair to say this species is very adaptable and will thrive in many terrains. This makes it an ideal species of treefrog to keep in the home terrarium.

A glass terrarium is really the only cost-effective method of housing a species that comes from damp, warm, tropical climates. A tall vivarium, of around 60-90cm is ideal, with good ventilation. They will do fine in a simple, minimalistic set-up; with plastic plants etc. However, with the surge in popularity of planted natural terraria this species begs to be kept in something a little more ecologically similar to its natural home. The topic of natural planted terraria is vast, but needless to say this type of terrarium aims to provide a perfect balanced home for plants and animals alike. It seems a complex topic, but in reality, a planted terrarium isn’t difficult to build nor maintain. Simple parameters for this species are to provide an ambient temperature of around 26C in the warm end of the terrarium, with a slight drop at night. Lighting is best provided during daylight hours by a light designed for forest dwelling, my “go to” light would be the Arcadia Shadedweller T5 tube.

Day to day maintenance would vary, depending on whether you have a minimalistic or natural planted terrarium. A simple minimalistic terrarium may consist of the bottom of the terrarium being filled, to a depth of around 5-10cm, with water. Branches and plastic plants will provide climbing and hiding opportunities. Spot clean and change the water daily. Strip down the full terrarium and disinfect once every few weeks, but this can’t be stressed enough; carefully rinse everything with fresh water to avoid absorption of chemicals through the frogs skin. Use either dechlorinated tap water, or rainwater. A natural planted terrarium will require less maintenance once the balance of the terrarium is achieved. The plants and the added woodlice, springtails etc (often referred to us a clean-up crew) will naturally clear away the faecal matter of one or two frogs in a terrarium. However, one thing is the same for both styles of terraria, do not use chemical disinfectants for day to day cleaning. Only use for full strip downs and then rinse everything carefully.

This is a greedy species and will eat a wide variety of insects. Commercially available species of livefood include crickets, cockroaches, locusts, waxworms and earthworms. Livefood will benefit from being fed correctly prior to being fed to the frogs, this is known as gut loading. This will balance the frogs diet by adding essential minerals and vitamins into the gut of the livefood prior to being eaten by the frog. A supplement dust should also be used prior to being fed to the frogs.

A beautiful species, which lends itself so well to a “slice of the jungle” decorative terrarium in anybody’s living room.

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