Where In The Food Chain Is The Red-eyed Tree Frog?


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Melinda Moore answered

The red-eyed tree frog's prey, and predators

Although red-eyed tree frogs are carnivores (and skilled hunters), they are by no means at the top of the food chain, being preyed upon by snakes, alligators, owls and bats, amongst other, larger creatures.

Also, while red-eyed tree frogs are not themselves considered threatened, their habitat certainly is endangered.

The habitat of the red-eyed tree frog

The red-eyed tree frog inhabits the rainforests of places like Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica, and further afield into Columbia, in South America.

These cute little tree frogs like a warm environment all year round, with high levels of humidity - because, as is the case with most amphibians, they are very dependent on water.

Why is the red-eyed tree frog so highly-coloured?

The beauty of the red-eyed tree frog's colouration is probably one of the reasons that it is so often kept as a pet in captivity.

Its back is emerald green, its inner legs are sky-blue, and white or yellow and blue striped sides. It even has colourful orange toes!

To add to this display, the colour of the red-eyed tree frog's upper back changes at different times of day - changing between an almost-fluorescent green to a darker, emerald shade.

Why are its eyes red? Predators of the red-eyed tree frog.

The red-eyed tree frog's eyes bring us back to the original question about its predators.

It's thought that the frogs rely on their eyes to give them time to escape from animals who would otherwise catch them, due to something called "startle colouration".

This means that predators - who might inadvertently come across the tree frog camouflaged by the foliage in the forest - are then likely to be so stunned by the frog's red eyes for a few seconds, that they will pause in shock - allowing the frog to make its escape.

Apparently, the red eyes can also have a "ghost effect" on the retinas of snakes, birds and other predators who rely mainly on the visual detection of prey, confusing them.

The red-eyed tree frog as predator - and its prey

These frogs are strictly carnivorous, and usually eat insects, such as moths, beetles and crickets - which they catch with their long, sticky tongues.

They are skilled hunters, and will also eat other small invertebrates and, sometimes, other frogs. They normally eat only at night.

Are red-eyed tree frogs poisonous?

According to National Geographic, they aren't venomous - which is probably a good thing, at least for those people who insist on keeping them as pets!

Here's a great, time-lapse video of the red-eyed tree frog, which might explain why they're so popular.

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