Are Red-Eyed Tree Frogs Dangerous?

Despite their dazzling colors and penchant for camouflage, the red-eyed tree frog is not poisonous and offers no threat to humans. 


Where are Red-Eyed Tree Frogs Found?


The red-eyed tree frog (known as Agalychnis callidryas in scientific circles) are found in the mountainous regions of Mexico and Central America. They are prolific creatures and they are listed as least concern – meaning their distribution is under no jeopardy from being extinct. The red-eyed tree frog thrives in humid, moist conditions. They are also small in stature, who weighs in at less than one ounce. Typically, the female weighs more than the male. 

Trees are the red-eyed tree frog’s favorite location – they blend in perfectly there and can keep a panoramic view of the rainforest floor beneath them. They are also free from predators high up. 


Red-Eyed Tree Frogs Look Poisonous – Why Aren’t They?


Simply put, the red-eyed tree frog doesn’t need to be poisonous – its mastery of camouflage keeps it safe enough. Their camouflage skills have been refined over millions and millions of years and the red-eyed tree frog is a master in its field.

Their bright, dazzling colors cause potential predators to freeze, giving the Agalychnis callidryas a fraction of a second to make a quick getaway.  There is no need for the red-eyed tree frog to be poisonous, as it can jump quickly and hide on tall trees for protection. They have perfectly adapted to their surroundings and are sure they use them to their full advantage. 


Red-eyed tree frogs facts


The majority of the red-eyed tree frog’s time is spent living in trees. Their bright green skin, complete with yellow dots that resemble leaf imperfections, makes them blend into the foliage seamlessly. Bu tucking its hind legs in, potential predators are oblivious to the red-eyed tree frog’s presence and it manages to, most of the time, survive the day unscathed. Their small size and low weight help keep them nimble, fast, and hard to spot – when danger does arise, they can get out of harm’s way in mere seconds.

During night time, the red-eyed tree frog comes out to play. Most predators are either asleep or resting, so it is free to survey the landscape in hopes of a tasty meal. Their preferred diets largely consist of small insects and sometimes even smaller frogs.

Despite not being poisonous, the red-eyed tree frog’s skin is hardly a delicacy. It contains mild toxins that taste unpleasant to predators and humans alike. If you’re ever in the mountains of Mexico and need a meal, a red-eyed tree frog may not be the tastiest snack – but, in terms of frogs, maybe one of the safer options. 


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Are they aggressive?


They also do not bite and are not known to be particularly aggressive to humans. If you’re thinking of getting one as a pet, you’ve made a wise decision. Although not endangered themselves, the Amazonian rainforests that they thrive in are shrinking at an alarming rate. Keeping a red-eyed tree frog in captivity will help preserve its short lifespan – which is about five years in the wild on average. 

Although red-eyed tree frogs are not poisonous or volatile, males can be quite territorial when it comes to other males. When their space is perceived to be invaded, they will shake the branch they are on quite powerfully, especially for creatures of their size.

This is done to ward off a potential invasion, particularly during mating times when males are at their most aggressive. Mating season almost always occurs near bodies or pools of water, where eggs are deposited. The male’s call is answered by the female high up in the trees, and copulation begins. It takes a while for the red-eyed tree frog to reach maturity, and most are ready to reproduce after only two to three years. 

If you’ve decided to bite the proverbial bullet and get a red-eyed tree frog companion, you needn’t worry about getting hurt. If you feed it plenty of insects and give it space, it will not cause you any problems in your home. They may bear resemblance to some of their more venomous contemporaries,  but red-eyed tree frogs are merely misunderstood animals.

They are neither dangerous nor volatile and are masters of disguise and escape. It’s a shame they don’t get more credit for their brilliance and are now seen as icons of a landscape much in decline. Whilst their distribution numbers will remain strong for many years, their habitat continues to shrink every day. 

Whilst red-eyed tree frogs won’t kill you or even make you seriously ill, it’s probably for the best that if you ever come across one, you sit, and admire its colors rather than attempt to eat one. By all accounts, they taste rather bad – and you’ll be better off looking elsewhere for a bite to eat.


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