Red-eyed tree frogs live as far north as southern Veracruz and northern Oaxaca in Mexico, throughout the Central American countries of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, and as far south as the Caribbean coast of northern Columbia. They inhabit tropical forests near freshwater ponds, rivers and other bodies of water from sea level up to almost 4,000 feet.
Both foliage and water are essential to red-eyed tree frogs. They spend most of their lives in trees and have pads on their toes that enable them to leap, climb and cling easily to branches and leaves. At night, they lurk in foliage and hunt flies, moths, crickets and other insects, snagging their prey with long sticky tongues. During the day, they hide their bright body markings by curling up and closing their eyes while clinging to the bottoms of leaves.
Their habitat is integral to their reproductive process. During breeding season, males sit on tree branches, causing them to vibrate and croak to attract females. When a female approaches, the male climbs onto her back. She goes down to a pond or river with the male still attached, takes in water, selects a site and deposits her eggs while the male fertilizes them. After about a week, the eggs hatch, and the tiny tadpoles drop into the water below. Those that survive predation metamorphose into frogs and move onto land to seek hiding places among the foliage.