Cinnamon Tree Frog

The Cinnamon Tree frog, (Nyctixalus pictus) is a native to the lowland forests of Borneo, part of the island nation of Malaysia.  These frogs are only about 1.5 inches in total length, and are quite flattened in shape.   They are usually a light to intense reddish orange color, but can also appear brick red and tan.  The frogs change color both from hour to hour, as well as over their lifespan, and seem to be brightest as juveniles and sub adults.  The most striking physical feature are the bright white spots which occur over the frogs body and particularly on the eyes. This eyespot overlaps the skin and eye, and obscures the true outline of the eye, and also makes it difficult to tell if the eye is open or closed until closely examined.

In captivity the frogs appear to prefer an aquatic or semi-aquatic habitat, and while they often pull out of the water during the day, for sleeping, in many cases they spend most of their time either in the water or at the water’s edge for hours each day.  Since this is the case, it makes terrarium design either a bit complicated, or very simple.  I prefer to go the simple route, so I’ll describe my typical setup here, but a more elaborate setup with a large pond is quite appropriate, and since the frogs are relatively small, it makes it possible to do this without too much concern about water quality.  This topic will have to be the subject of another care sheet, I’ll focus on the simple habitat here. 

So, our breeder setup here is a 20 gallon translucent tub, with a solid clip on lid.  These tubs can be bought at all the usual stores, Wal Mart, Target, etc.  We create a couple of “islands” in the tub, by taking, for example, a one quart sandwich box, again plastic, and putting plant cuttings in them, rooted in gravel.  Two or three of these islands is a nice touch. Then a long piece of driftwood is put in the tank, running into the water on one side and propped on the wall of the tank on the other end of the tank is placed in the tank, so it runs through the vegetation.   We put about two to three inches of de-chlorinated water in the tub.  Temps are kept at around 72 at night up to around 80-84 during the day, although they probably only spend two or three hours over eighty degrees each day.  I doubt they are too terribly particular in regards to temps, but temps below 60 and above 85 are probably not a good idea.   The solid lid keeps humidity very high, (95% plus) and they seem to be fine with this. 

Food is provided in a feeding station. The feeding station is a floating container that is placed in the tank. The sides are smooth so that the food cannot escape and get into the water.  We use the 48 oz size clear deli cup for this, but any similar container will work fine.  Crickets should be appropriate size, and this will range from something on the small size of a quarter inch cricket to quarter inch crickets.  These should be dusted in a good quality multi vitamin and calcium supplement, (Rep Cal and Herptivite) and put in the feeding station at night time.  The container can be left in for two to three days, although check for it becoming contaminated with water from the frogs activity.  If this happens, simply remove, clean and replace.   We keep food available most of the time, by replenishing the feeding station twice a week. 

In this setup, eggs will typically be laid on the wood overhanging the water.  Eggs, and the deposition site, are remarkably similar to those of Mossy Frogs, (Theloderma corticale).  Eggs are adhered to the wood, and can be removed with tweezers or a razor blade.  The eggs are placed in a Petri dish, or similar container, and sufficient water is added to surround the eggs, but not cover them.  Tadpoles are fairly easy to care for and seem to do well under the same husbandry as the Mossy frog tadpoles, so you can review this information found elsewhere on the site.   Tadpoles take around sixty days to metamorphose, and are fairly large and robust froglets. These are transferred to a five or so gallon tub with a feeding station.  The froglets are able to eat a large eighth inch cricket, give or take, and grow rapidly.  I’ve heard calling here from what must be sub-adult frogs as young as three months out of the water.   Adult hood is reached at approximately six to eight months of age. Females are distinguished by their slightly larger size, and most definitively, the presence of eggs within the abdomen.  These can be seen as a whitish mass on the outside edges of the flanks, just at the spot where the thigh would contact the body.  Males are prevalent, but a ratio of four to six males to a single or two females should be fine.  Females lay eggs repeatedly, in clutches of two to four eggs, about every two weeks.  No particular season has been determined here, and no particular stimulus for egg laying is needed, they seem to lay most of the year round.

If you are reading this to gather information on how to care for your juvenile frogs you are purchasing from us, I definitely recommend the plain and simple approach for your juveniles. As mentioned above, the juveniles only take a few weeks to reach sub adult hood. At this point you can set them up in a permanent terrarium, with live plants and water features.   On arrival from us, please house the juveniles in a plastic tub or ten gallon aquarium, and keep it simple!