Can anyone help with a tree frog inadvertently brought in for the winter
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  #1  
Old 01-11-2023, 07:04 PM
MN Tomato MN Tomato is offline
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Default Can anyone help with a tree frog inadvertently brought in for the winter

Hi, this is neither technically terrarium nor orchid,* but from looking at your fabulous setups I know some of you have experience with frogs indoors.

Despite my best efforts in the fall to gently evict the fauna living in and round our large potted plants before they came inside in the fall, it seems a tree frog managed to come inside, and I wonder if anyone has any tips so that I can help it get through the Minnesota winter indoors.

Although I have not seen it, I have heard it calling the last two weeks. It is a grey tree frog (Hyla versicolor), because that is what hangs around our house, and that is their call.

It is inside a large staghorn fern ball that has a sort of hollow in the center that collects fallen leaves and things (the fern ball is in a wire basket propped over a tub for drainage). I don't remember when I brought the fern in this year, but it was before THanksgiving at least. I dunked all the large plants and pots fully into a tub of water for 20 minutes, which usually flushes all the critters out, but I guess it didn't work this time. The temperature in the room is a pretty steady 65-68 degrees, so it has probably not been hibernating, but I haven't seen any poop around (we are used to seeing it on the deck under the outside light) so it seems not to have ventured out. The humidity can get pretty low, down to 30% when it's very cold outside, so maybe that is why it is staying inside the more damp fern ball.

How can I help it to survive the winter? It will be at least March until it is warm enough to let out -- that's usually when we hear the frogs start singing.

The only bugs around in the house are a few fungus gnats and some box elder bugs, which are mostly dried up by now. I went to Petsmart and after consultation with the nice folks there, bought a dozen "crickets, small" and dropped four of them in. I'm not sure how I will know if it works, but hopefully at least the crickets (and the frog) will not be inclined to wander too far.

So my questions: Was that a really bad idea? How do I keep the rest of the crickets? How many crickets do they need to eat? Do you think it would eat bait/compost worms (Esenia fetida)? I could get some of those.

Thank you in advance for your help.

*I can post a picture which includes a cymbidium plant so it is technically "orchid-adjacent."
---------- Post added at 05:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:53 PM ----------
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Old 01-11-2023, 07:09 PM
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I don't know enough about that frog to opine. I would try to find out whether winter dormancy is necessary for their survival.

Crickets need to be kept very dry. At the same time they need food and water sources, and they are exceptionally stupid. If you put a bottle cap with water in there they will drown themselves.

One way cricket keepers provide water is by putting several soaked and expanded polyacrylamide gel granules into a bottle cap. The crickets will suck out the water. Provide mostly dry food, like shredded leaf vegetables and bread crumbs.

I would worry greatly about establishing a breeding cricket colony in your home. Be careful.
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Old 01-11-2023, 08:44 PM
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Crickets are shipped with pieces of potato in the box to provide a source of food, and water that the crickets can't drown in.
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Old 01-11-2023, 10:09 PM
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You could also contact your local university and see if they have anybody there that can give you tips.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:05 AM
MN Tomato MN Tomato is offline
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Thank you both for the very helpful cricket information! The leftover crickets are now comfortably ensconced in a jar with a bit of cantelope and lettuce leaf, and a small wad of wet paper towel.

Estacion, I was worried about the escaping cricket problem too, although we do already have the occasional cricket in the basement along with the box elder bugs and Asian ladybugs and spiders and occasional field mouse ... and of course a tree frog. (We live in a rural area.) That's why I only put in the four. And it is very handy to know that crickets can't swim, so if I make sure to keep a bit of water in the tub under the fern, that will make a sort of moat to keep them getting out.

While I was googling this evening about how to feed tree frogs, I did find a wonderful article on grey tree frog care that had a bunch of comments on it, and it turns out I'm not the only one who has had a tree frog hitchhiker:
Gray Tree Frog Pet Care Sheet >> Amphibian Care And the article writer gave many helpful tips, so I am going to try some of those. (Like putting a bucket next to the plant with the crickets in the bottom so they can't climb out.)
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Old 01-12-2023, 02:24 AM
dbarron dbarron is offline
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I live farther south, and I hear tree frogs or toads outside like right now. In the past when I had hitchhikers, I just waited for a warmer period and put them outside to take their chances, but my weather patterns tend to give me a 70 degree day in any month.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:37 PM
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I've had tree frogs living amongst my orchids for years and years. When I had my grow space in the basement, they would sometimes go into hibernation and burrow down into the LECA. (I grow mostly in semi-hydro).

Now grow space is a second floor sunroom, also known as a sleeping porch (old house). I've not seen any hibernate, but that doesn't mean much, as it's hard to spot them. I've spotted as few as one, as many as six in a day, when watering, moving or repotting plants. They're not always easy to spot.

When they were in the basement there would always be a few random crickets around (stone foundation). Now that they're upstairs year round, when winter hits I sometimes give them a few meal worms.

The grandkids are old enough now that catching them outside and releasing in the grow space is great entertainment for them in summer months. In winter months, it's trying to find them hiding amongst the orchids. Tree frogs are easy keepers.
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Old 01-12-2023, 01:37 PM
Relemitty Relemitty is offline
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I have a lot of grey tree frogs here in warm temps.
I see the young ones when I water my purple hearts (Outside) in late spring.
Later in the summer, they are eating moths on the outside of my windows at night when I turn on the light.
I haven't had any inside that I know of though you'd think my Hibiscus or Mandevilla would have a few since they vacation inside for the winter.
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Old 01-15-2023, 08:20 AM
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Can anyone help with a tree frog inadvertently brought in for the winter Male
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I've had one take up residence in one of my billbergia (bromeliad) plants when I had it outside on the deck for the summer. Made sure he was evicted before bringing it in for the winter, though.
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Old 01-31-2023, 02:50 PM
MN Tomato MN Tomato is offline
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Default Frog update!

After much anxious reading of frog forums, the frog has been containerized! In a sort-of terrarium made from one of our large (15") outdoor pots. It has a top made from a large clear plastic catering service salad bowl to keep him inside and safe from wandering, which he was starting to do at night. We choose the pot because it is one of the ones the frogs favor when they are out on the deck where they are supposed to be. In accordance with frog forum research, it has been furnished with some dry leaf litter, a water bowl, a bowl for crickets, and some appropriate plants. He has already found a favorite one to snuggle into during the day, and is eating crickets during the night from his bowl. We hope this will suit him till the end of March or so when he can go back out on the deck.

We know from experience that grey tree frogs are creatures of habit, who tend to settle on a particular place to spend their days (the large outdoor watering cans on the patio are another favorite) so we suspect he was a bit annoyed at being moved from his special place and confined. The second morning in the "terrarium" we found that he had pushed off the cover(!) and escaped(!!) but fortunately he was apprehended clinging to a jug of rainwater halfway back to his fern. The salad bowl is now attached more securely with two pieces of duct tape. He seems to be content and is singing right now.

I attach two pictures as proof of life.
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