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Reptiles/tree frog hibernation


I live in Idaho and have 4 tree frogs that we caught this summer.  I am trying to hibernate them in the refrigerator since it is now winter. I put them in a container with a dirt mixture so they could bury themselves since that is what the information I could find said to do.  They have been in the refrigerator for about 2 1/2 weeks and still haven't buried themselves in the dirt. The refrigerator is between 36-38 degrees.  Do I need to cover them with leaves or something so they don't dry out?  I have a small lid in there with them that I keep water in to try to keep the humidity up. They will move if I touch them so I know they are alright so far but it will be at least 4 months before the weather is good enough to put them out. Thank you for your help and advice!

Hi Dianna,

I'm assuming that you have Pacific tree frogs. Your temperatures sound fine and should trigger them to bury on their own. You might try adjusting the consistency of the hibernation medium by mixing in some spagnum moss to give it a looser, less dense texture. More like loose vegetation/leaf litter rather then soil. You can dampen the moss slightly as well to mimic the higher humidity found below the surface level.

Ideally they should burrow on their own. If they don't and you are intent on hibernating them then I would suggest placing a layer of medium over them.

I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful. I don't actually have personal experience with fridge hibernation because I work with tropical species. Their cooling requirements are far more easily met. :) Turning off the heat source and a cool room is sufficient for them.  


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I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.


I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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