A video of an overweight tree frog has gone viral, highlighting the cruelty in the reptile pet trade

A video of an overweight tree frog has gone viral, highlighting the cruelty in the reptile pet trade

There are numerous reasons to adopt rather than buy an animal, and one of the most important is animal cruelty in the pet trade.

Many consumers in the United States go into legitimate pet businesses to buy an animal, entirely unaware that the pet store may be supporting the illegal wildlife trafficking and other unethical practices.

Pet stores depend on a variety of exotic creatures, including reptiles and rodents, in addition to dogs and cats.

And sometimes, those exotic “pets” are stolen directly from the wild to live in tiny cages.

It’s harsh and unethical, and it frequently results in health problems and a low quality of life for the animals involved. Cousin, an Indonesian white tree frog, is a good example of this.

Cousin has become a bit of an Internet star, with many people “obsessed” with his unusual appearance.

However, his “cute” face is a result of a poor diet and lifestyle and shouldn’t be praised.

Cousin is believed to have been taken from the wild in Indonesia and sold into the U.S. pet trade.

Like many animals in the pet trade, Cousin’s needs were not being met and he became deficient in calcium, resulting in his limbs curving.

Because of his curved limbs and poor diet, Cousin couldn’t hop and climb like most frogs and he began to put on some weight.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BeWild Reptile Rescue (@bewildnc)

While most white tree frogs max out their weight around 50 grams, Cousin grew to be a staggering 144 grams. He was so big, his owner gave him away because she feared for her other pet frogs who lived in the same enclosure.

Cousin bounced around from home to home until he finally landed at the BeWild Reptile Rescue in North Carolina. The rescue rehabilitates pet reptiles that were improperly cared for, and Cousin fit right into that category.

The rescue worked with Cousin for over a year, and successfully got him to lose 20 grams, leaving him around 70 grams overweight.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BeWild Reptile Rescue (@bewildnc)

For some reason, the rescue is struggling to help him lose additional grams, so he remains at an obese weight.

Because of his size, Cousin will likely spend the rest of his life (white tree frogs live 15-20 years) in a small enclosure without other frogs. Tree frogs thrive in a group setting, but Cousin will never get to experience socialization, and the rescuers admitted to GeoBeats Animals that they mostly leave him alone in his cage.

Cousin could’ve spent his life as a free frog in the wilderness of Indonesia, living a full and happy life.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BeWild Reptile Rescue (@bewildnc)

But because of the exotic pet trade and people and pet shops in the U.S. supporting that trade, he’ll live out his days at an unhealthy weight, in a small enclosure by himself.

It’s no life for a frog to live, and it highlights just how cruel and unethical the exotic pet trade is.

These animals are taken from their natural habitats -with many of them dying during transport or capture -and forced to live with humans, who often don’t understand what they need.

Then they are discarded or ignored when people grow tired of them.

Sign this petition to end the exotic animal trade worldwide.

petition button 350px 1 1

This article by Malorie Thompson was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 7 February 2022. Lead Image Source : Cathy Keifer / Shutterstock.

What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.


Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

Dive in!

Discover hidden wildlife with our FREE newsletters

We promise we’ll never spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more info


Founder and Executive Editor

Share this post with your friends

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment