Green and Golden Bell Frog
Care sheet / Guide for the: Green and Golden Bell Frog.
By Matt Maney
Scientific name: Litoria aurea. Also have Litoria raniformis the Southern bell frog in NZ (very similar).
Distribution: Litoria aurea mainly found in the upper North Island. Litoria raniformis lower North Island and South Island.
Description: Green and golden through to brown. L. Raniformis often has bumpier skin and at times a green stripe down the centre of its back.
Mix between arboreal/tree frog and aquatic/ground dwelling frogs. These are good at both climbing and swimming making these frogs rather unique.
Like to bask in sunlight. Generally hang out near the waters edge or slightly above ground level in low branches or foliage.
Status: Abundant in North of NZ. Endangered in Australia.
Size: Males up to 8cm and generally slim build. Females up to 11cm and often more plump especially when in season and full of up to 10,000 eggs. Largest recorded spawn is 11682 eggs. Average a few thousand eggs at a time and can do this many times a season.
Metamorphs: 1.5-3.7cm. Average size 2.4cm
Food: Live crickets, locusts, flies, mealworms, slaters, moths and so on, also known to predate other frogs including its own kind, but generally only if food is scarce. Tadpoles graze on decaying plant matter.
Tip - place crickets in a container with raised sides (5-10cm will suffice) and the frogs will come to. Thus keeping most of the crickets contained and you can monitor who is eating. Crickets can also be released weekly throughout enclosures however you ought to take careful consideration of the terrariums landscape. For example works best with minimal water and easy access out of water to achieve best results with this method. No nibbling on frogs ever witnessed and Insect Direct has raised hundreds if not thousands now.
Mealworms ok occasionally - place in a dish.
Locusts just release and or hand feed (watch to make sure they don't drown).
I try and feed them at least every other day. If a frog is skinny, offer food daily. If getting fat, flies are good exercise.
Enclosures: Aim for about 1/3 water area and at least deep enough for them to fully submerge. Easy access out of water is essential - especially for young frogs - also helps any stray live food escape.
60x30x30cm MINIMUM (ok for two frogs)
100x45x45cm GOOD (upto 5/6 frogs?)
120x60x60cm GREAT (Colony of frogs 10+)
Bigger the better when comes to frogs / most reptiles.
Lighting & Heating: Reptile bulb or tube to replicate the sun UVB 10.0 or 7% T5 help them absorb vitamin D3. Heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter to encourage basking. Basking temp 25-30C, I aim for 26C. At 30C it’s a bit like they are on steroids and become very active, almost bouncing off the walls, with a ravenous appetite.
Nighttime these can handle down to 15C possibly less however I aim for no less than 20C. Can heat the water area with an aquarium heater or heat mat placed under the tank. Southern bell frogs more cold tolerant.
Substrate: River sand and or river stones work well. Hardwood branches add to the aesthetics. Bare bottom tanks full of driftwood work well for breeding and or general living - really makes for simplistic upkeep also.
Filtration: Makes vivarium maintenance much easier, more stable water conditions equating to happy frogs.
Canister filters are great. Under gravel filters (UGF) are OK as to are small internal filters. However small internal filters will likely need to be rinsed every week or two. Do so in old tank water not chlorinated tap water. Never clean thoroughly as will kill off the good bacteria that helps the filter keep the water clean and stable.
Water changes: At least 20% once a week is probably a good base line.
Temperature: 22-26C seems to be a good temp.
Breeding Bell Frogs: Rewarding - easy to breed..
Breeding is stimulated by a raise in temperature and an abundance of food. Much like the frogs experience in the wild when spring and summer come to town. Rainfall is also a cue however not necessary. Winter shut-down is helpful for breeding and fertility however not needed for this species. Would only advise if having problems with fertility.
22-28 degrees Celsius is suitable for breeding.
Lower temperatures are OK for winter shut-down. Careful consideration and planning is a must if opting for winter shut-down/brumation.
Recordings of bell frogs croaking (available online) can be played back to the frogs to help start the breeding process but generally not needed if frogs are fed good food and kept in ideal conditions.
Males will call until females submit and are mounted then the female will deposit upto 10,000 eggs (2000-3000 more typical in captivity) in the water whilst the male fertilises them. This amount of tadpoles will require some serious room and quality water to have any chance of success. Breeding is the easy bit - good luck and happy herping from Insect Direct!