Green mantella, Mantella viridis

Green mantella are a stunning small Madagascan frog

At a glance...
  • Green mantella are not a bad choice for beginners
  • Opportunity to create a stunning display enclosure
  • Beautiful colourations and active personalities
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Do Green mantella make good pets?

The Green mantella is a colourful and stunning species of frog endemic to extreme Northern Madagascar that is extremely popular in the pet trade. They are diurnal and quite active, similar to other species in the genus Mantella, so make great display animals, although they tend to be a little timid when you go into the enclosure for maintenance.

Their striking colouration is a form of aposematism, meaning it is a warning to potential predators of their toxicity which is lost in captivity due to dietary changes. They are characterised by a green-yellow back, a black mask with a white band on their top lip and a black underside with blue speckles, making them beautiful little frogs to look at.

Green mantella are classed as endangered and are threatened by habitat loss in the dry lowland forest they call home. At Swell Reptiles, all of our Green mantella were captive bred in the UK, meaning you can rest assured that getting your new pet caused minimal negative impacts on their native environment, whilst dramatically reducing the risk of parasitism and disease.

Which enclosure should I choose for my Green mantella?

Green mantella have high humidity requirements (70-80%), so are best kept in glass or PVC enclosures as wooden vivariums are likely to warp and become damaged in the consistent moisture. We recommend a minimum enclosure size of 60 x 45 x 45cm (24 x 18 x 18”) for 3-4 adult Blue-legged mantella, such as the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 60x45x45cm.

Do Green mantella need to be heated?

Like Dart frogs, Green mantella are not very tolerant of high temperatures, rather they do better with a warm area no hotter than 26°C (78°F) and cooler areas between 15-18°C (59-64°F). Depending on the temperature of your home, extra heating may not be needed, but if it is, a heat mat stuck up the side or back of the terrarium and attached to a mat stat will do the trick.

Do Green mantella need UVB?

Green mantella do best with a low-level UVB, giving them a UVI between 1-2. This is usually achieved using an Arcadia ShadeDweller ProT5 Kit placed between 25-40cm (10-15”) above the basking zone, or an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% positioned between 40-45cm (15-18”) above the basking zone.

How can I maintain the humidity for my Green mantella?

To begin with, a loose, moisture-retaining substrate should be used, for example coco soil or Arcadia EarthMix if you would like to add live plants. The substrate layer should then be topped with mosses such as Sphagnum moss, carpet or cushion moss which helps to raise humidity levels whilst enhancing the overall look of the enclosure.

You may also wish to add a drainage layer of Hydro Rocks and Hydro Matting before adding the substrate, which is particularly important for live planted set-ups as it will prevent the soil from becoming water-logged, protecting the roots of your plants. This layer can also act as a water reservoir, wicking water back up into the substrate as it begins to dry out so it is still worth doing even in non-bioactive set-ups.

Substrate and a drainage layer alone is unlikely to maintain the required humidity levels without the regular addition of moisture. This can be done manually with a hand-held spray bottle, or using an automatic fogger or rain system, both of which are particularly helpful if you need to be away from your Green mantella when going to work for example.

Green mantella are not great swimmers, so although a water dish is essential, it should not be deep enough to submerge the frog fully, or at least should not be filled deep enough for this. All water provided to your Green mantella must be treated with a dechlorinator as chlorine is harmful to them, although if you can provide RO water, this is even better.

How do I decorate my Green mantella's terrarium?

Green mantella are ideal candidates for a heavily planted bioactive terrarium, as their husbandry requirements are ideal for many tropical plants. Not only will this create a beautiful display, but it will provide these shy frogs with lots of cover to help them feel secure. Artificial plants can still be used, however, if live plants aren’t your thing. Other pieces of decor such as hiding caves, cork bark, logs and leaf litter should also be considered.

What do Green mantella eat?

Your Green mantella are insectivores and feed primarily on live fruit flies and live springtails. All livefood offered to your mantella should be dusted with supplements to ensure all of the required nutrients are provided. We recommend using a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3 and finally, a vitamin a reptile supplement on every 12th feed, which is particularly important for most amphibians.

Can I Handle my Green mantella?

Like all amphibians, Green mantella have a semi-permeable skin membrane which they absorb water and other substances over. Our skin is often contaminated with a number of substances from salts to oils, all of which can cause discomfort to your frog when handled, so handling should be avoided wherever possible. If you do need to handle your Green mantella, perhaps to rehouse them, this should be done using clean and damp hands, or even using clean gloves.

How do I buy a Green mantella?

We do not ship livestock, so if you would like to purchase one of our UK captive bred Green mantella, please come into our store and see us.

To ensure all animals that pass through Swell Reptiles go to suitable homes, we will ask you a few quick questions and also to see some images of your set-up, which should be completely ready for the frog(s) to go into. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

Common names Green mantella, Green golden frog, Lime mantella
Scientific name Mantella viridis
Country Madagascar
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 2-3cm (0.7-1.1”)
Natural habitat Forest floors and rocky crevices close to streams
Housing 60 x 45 x 45cm (24 x 18 x 18”)
Ideal temperature 24°C (75°F) (warm end); 18°C (64°F) (cool end)
UVI 1-2
Ideal humidity 70-80%
Diet Insectivorous
Average lifespan 10-12 years
Personality Timid
Ease of handling Handling should be avoided
Cohabitable Yes
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