How to Care for Your Amazon Milk Frog
Amazon milk frogs (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) are small to medium-sized, nocturnal, arboreal amphibians native to the Amazon Basin of South America. They prefer forest canopy for habitat, with access to water-filled tree holes.
Amazon milk frogs are soft, 2.5-4” long frogs with bumpy skin and round, sticky toe pads. They typically have a pattern of brown and turquoise-gray bands, with some spotting. Their eyes are gold, with a black mission cross through the pupil, earning them the common name “gold mission frogs.” They have a loud call at night.
Amazon milk frogs are known for being an exceptionally tolerant species, making them good beginner-level amphibians. With good care, they can live 8+ years.
How much space do Amazon milk frogs need?
An 18”L x 18”W x 24”H enclosure is a good starting point for housing one or two Amazon milk frogs. Of course, larger is always better!
Cohabitation (keeping multiple Amazon milk frogs in one enclosure) is not required, but they do do well when housed in groups. If you wish to house a group of frogs larger than two, you will need a larger enclosure to make sure they have enough space.
Do Amazon milk frogs need UVB?
They can certainly survive without it, but research has proven that in order to promote optimal growth and health, UVB lighting is required. The best UVB bulbs for Amazon milk frogs are:
- Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 5.0
- Arcadia ShadeDweller
The UVB bulb should be housed in a reflective fixture, and the frog should not be able to get closer than 6” below the lamp. If necessary, you can increase the distance between the basking branch and UVB lamp by lifting the lamp up on spacer blocks. UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so you can’t give your frog UVB by placing its terrarium in front of an open window. UVB bulbs decay over time, so don’t forget to replace your bulb every 12 months to maintain good performance.
Lights should be on for 13 hours/day during summer and 11 hours/day during winter to replicate natural seasonal cycles. This can promote healthier hormonal rhythms and better long-term health.
What basking temperatures do Amazon milk frogs need?
Amazon milk frogs are ectotherms, which means that they rely on the temperature of their environment to help regulate their metabolism and stay healthy. If they’re too cold, they won’t have enough energy to stay active and digest their food. If they’re too warm, they can die from heat stress.
Although Amazon milk frogs are technically nocturnal, they still benefit from having access to both warm, “sunny” areas and cool shade areas. There should be a basking area of 80-85°F air temperature, with shaded areas between 70-75°F available. Temperatures may drop as low as 65°F at night. Measure air temperatures with digital probe thermometers, with the probes placed in relevant areas.
To create the basking area, use a dome-style heat lamp with a low-wattage, white incandescent heat bulb. This simulates a sunbeam coming through the canopy, and provides an area of warmth for the frog to use as desired. If it’s too hot, use a lamp dimmer to dial it down. If too cool, you’ll need a higher wattage bulb.
What humidity levels do Amazon milk frogs need?
As amphibians, Amazon milk frogs are very dependent on water. Air humidity should average between 50-90%, with occasional spikes up to 100%, as measured by a digital probe hygrometer. Humidity will naturally be lower during the day than at night. Misting your frog’s enclosure 2x daily with a sprayer will help create the right humidity levels. Using an automatic misting system and/or fogger can also be helpful.
Because Amazon milk frogs’ native habitat includes water-filled tree holes, it’s important to include this feature in their enclosure. Provide a large water bowl at the bottom of the enclosure for this purpose. To replicate the feel of a tree hole, place the water bowl inside or around a vertically-placed cork round.
Do not use distilled or reverse-osmosis water for misting amphibians, as this can be harmful to their skin. Instead, use dechlorinated tap water or spring water. This same rule applies to any drinking water that is provided. However, distilled is fine to use with foggers.
What substrate is good for Amazon milk frogs?
Because they’re strictly arboreal, substrate isn’t super important for keeping Amazon milk frogs, but it is helpful for maintaining healthy humidity levels and nurturing plants, especially if you’re maintaining a bioactive setup.
Here are some popular options for Amazon milk frog substrates:
- Zoo Med ReptiSoil
- coconut fiber
- sphagnum moss
- paper towels
If you are not using a bioactive setup, substrate should be replaced monthly in order to maintain good hygiene. Paper towels should be replaced as soon as they are soiled.
What décor can you use in an Amazon milk frog terrarium?
It’s terribly boring for a frog to be stuck in an enclosure with nothing in it. It doesn’t matter how big the enclosure is if you don’t put things in it for your pet to use and interact with.
Décor options for Amazon milk frogs include:
- cork tubes
- live or artificial plants
Whatever you choose to use, make sure that the frog has cover to hide in so they can feel secure in their environment.
What do Amazon milk frogs eat?
Amazon milk frogs are insectivores, which means that they need to eat insect prey in order to get the nutrition that they need. Young frogs should be fed daily, but adults should be fed 1-2x/week to prevent obesity. Offer as many insects in one feeding as the frogs will clean up in about 10-15 minutes.
Insect options for Amazon milk frogs:
- Black soldier fly larvae and flies
- Discoid roaches
- Dubia roaches
- Mealworm beetles
For best results, offer as much variety in your frogs’ diet as possible. Feeders should be offered live and measure no wider than the space between the frog’s eyes.
Amazon milk frogs need vitamin and mineral supplements to enjoy optimal health. Dust their feeder insects with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD once a week.
Do Amazon milk frogs like to be handled?
Very few amphibians actually “like” to be held, and juvenile Amazon milk frogs should not be handled, but adults can be held occasionally with the right precautions. To handle your frog, put on a pair of disposable gloves, grasp it firmly but gently, and keep handling time to a minimum.
If you would like to interact with your pet more frequently, a better method is to offer food via soft-tipped feeding tongs.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please do further research with high-quality sources to obtain additional information on caring for this species.