Care of Pacific Chorus Frog - Pseudacris regilla
(Baird and Girard, 1852)
© Paul Rust - NorthWest Amphibian Rescue
A very special thank you to Jo-Anna Brown "Jace"
for her expertise and patience
Family - Hylidae -Treefrogs Genus - Pseudacris - Chorus Frogs
Species - regilla - Pacific Chorus Frog
Pseudacris - Greek - pseudes, deceptive
regilla - Latin - regal, splendid
The Pacific Chorus Frog is commonly and incorrectly referred to as the Pacific Treefrog, Pacific Chorus Treefrog, Northwest Chorus Frog, Northern Pacific Treefrog, Sierran Treefrog, and several others which make it confusing for people trying to find care information. It is not a treefrog, it is a chorus frog, and more correctly it is the Pacific Chorus Frog! Many organizations still use the traditional name of treefrog while conceding that the vernacular doesn't have to be an accurate reflection of phylogeny.This article is intended to make the distinction for care purposes and is only for the Pacific Chorus Frog.
RCW 1.20.150 legally designates the Pacific Chorus Frog as the official amphibian for the state of Washington.
- A small frog that reaches a maximum of 2" in length.
- Pacific Chorus Frogs can be immediately identified by the dark brown or black eye-stripe that disrupts the outline of the eye.
- Body coloring ranges from green, tan, brown, gray, reddish and cream, but it is most often green or brown.
- Body color and the eye stripe do not change, but the body color can quickly change from dark to light in response to environmental conditions. This change is involuntary and has to do with temperature and humidity, not background color.
- It has round pads on the tips of the toes and small webbing between them.
- These frogs live on the ground and in low bushes and branches so you will want a multi-leveled habitat consisting of ground area, plants, sticks, and water. They are chiefly nocturnal but often become active during the day in captivity. A 20 Gallon aquarium is both long and high enough to accommodate about 5 safely. These frogs are social and show little or no signs of aggression or territorial behavior in captivity. The males like to sit at the edge of the water and call in the evenings so a water feature 4” or so deep and about 1/3 the length of the enclosure will be appreciated by all as they like to swim also. The advertisement call is an extremely loud two part call that sounds like “crick-eck”. It is very pleasant after you get used to it.
- If you want them to breed they prefer deeper pools up to 19” deep but I have bred them in 6” of water. The water must be filtered and have sticks and rocks in the pool for the female to attach her eggs to. Males have a dark patch on their throat that is wrinkled, this is the vocal sac. Females have a white, light colored smooth throat.
- The top of the enclosure must be escape proof and can be half glass and half screen or all screen. These frogs can climb exceptionally well and will test the security of your setup.
- The Pacific Chorus Frog ranges from British Columbia, Canada to Baja California and eastward to Montana and Nevada. In Baja California it is restricted to desert oases. It is the only native frog species on the Channel Islands.
- It is the most abundant frog within its range.
- Breeding takes place from November to July in a wide range of habitats. Provide a water area that is around 5" to 19" deep with some form of structure in the water.
- Females will lay egg clusters on vegetation, sticks, rocks and anything they can stick them to. Clusters can contain as many as 70 eggs each.
- Tadpoles hatch within one week and metamorphosis can take up to 2 ½ months.
- Once the froglets emerge they will seek hiding places in the moss and vegetation and should be fed daily with fruit flies. They grow fairly fast and the adults do not prey on the young so they do not require being separated.
© Jo-Anna Brown (jace)
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MALE CALLING
- Additive-free top soil or potting soil from a garden center or hardware store is ideal. You can use your garden's soil provided it has not had chemicals sprayed or added to it in at least 6 months.
- Coconut fibre (sold under various brand names as a compressed brick that you soak in a bucket of water overnight to expand).
- Regardless of what you use provide at least 2 inches. These frogs will burrow to some extent to make homes.
- Cover the substrate with moss, leaf litter, sticks etc. This helps give them places to hide and makes them feel secure. It also keeps the substrate from sticking to them.
- Hollowed out logs, seed pods, coco huts, anything they can get into or under.
- Try to provide at least one hiding spot for each frog. Breaking up the line-of-sight from hide to hide will help them feel more secure.
- Plants need to be sturdy and well rooted as this species will climb and jump from plant to plant and will trample and destroy frail plants.
- Provide several long sticks that are at least as thick as the frogs are wide. They like to sit on these and sleep. They also pick out spots on them to attract mates.
- These are a fairly small species and food items need to be small or medium sized.
- Crickets should be the staple diet. Be sure and gut-load them before feeding.
- Flightless fruit flies are a good food also and help provide something to eat between feedings.
- Feed a couple of crickets per frog every other day or so along with 50-70 fruit flies. You don’t need to hand feed them, just drop the food into the enclosure and let the frogs hunt them.
- A good rule of thumb is to provide food smaller than the frog’s mouth is wide.
- Dust the food items with good quality vitamin and calcium supplements weekly.
Temperature and Moisture:
- This species comes from a temperate climate and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Keeping the enclosure between 65 and 75 degrees F seems to be a good balance.
- Don't keep in direct sunlight.
- Don't keep near heat sources, they don’t require additional heating.
- If you decide not to build a pond in the enclosure then you need to provide a source of fresh clean water. A small bowl or container will work fine. It must be kept clean as they will jump in and swim in it, evacuating waste as they do so.
- Ventilation is a must. They do not like being wet all the time. Covering half of the enclosure with a screen top and misting a few times a week is sufficient.
- Keeping the temperature in the above mentioned range will prevent them from hibernating.
- Provide a 12 hour photo period using lights on a timer.
From an experienced point of view, they do not like other species of any kind in the enclosure with them. They will not lay eggs if there are fish or newts in the water feature. They can be handled for short periods of time and don’t seem to mind it. Keep in mind that they are frogs, they can and will jump a long ways and are difficult to catch when they are scared. It should be noted that Pacific Chorus Frogs have a natural immunity to the Chytrid fungus so you should always assume that they are carrying it. Do not share anything that you use for them with any other amphibians that you may have. Wash your hands before and after any contact with them. This species is very rewarding to keep and you will get many happy years of enjoyment with your Pacific Chorus Frogs.