They’re petite. They’re blue. And if you look closely, you may even spot all ten. Yes, there are ten new residents in the Aquatic & Reptile Center: Amazon milk frogs!
Also commonly known as “mission golden-eyed tree frogs,” they have bumpy brown and blue skin. This is due to high levels of the bile pigment biliverdin, and their translucent skin shows off their blue blood, bones, and muscles. Their small size (anywhere from 2.5-4 inches long) is handy for blending in with their surroundings, although the frogs here at MCZ aren’t yet fully-grown and will likely double in size.
In the wild, Amazon milk frogs are indeed found in the Amazon rainforest of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela, living up to 15 years. They’re one of the few frogs that breed in water-filled tree holes, enabling them to spend their entire lives in the rainforest canopy, never needing to descend to the ground. Their diet in the wild consists of insects, small invertebrates, and other small amphibians.
“Milk frog” refers to the poisonous, white secretions they release for protection against predators when threatened or stressed. They’re no threat to humans though, and no special handling is required by the Zoo’s animal care team.
These amphibians — all siblings — arrived from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Because they’re difficult to tell apart from each other, and because frog genitalia are housed within a frog’s body and not obviously identifiable, they won’t be named.
Amazon milk frogs previously resided at the Zoo in 2019, and we’re delighted to welcome this new group to the Aquatic & Reptile Center. Stop by their habitat and find all ten of the frogs!
Fun fact: Their sticky toe pads — great for climbing trees — can hold up to 14 times their body weight.