Despite the importance of ex situ conservation programmes as highlighted in the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan, there are few empirical studies that examine the influence of captive conditions on the fitness of amphibians, even for basic components of enclosure design such as cover provision. Maintaining the fitness of captive amphibian populations is essential to the success of ex situ conservation projects. Here we examined the impact of plant cover on measures of fitness and behaviour in captive red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas). We found significant effects of plant provision on body size, growth rates and cutaneous bacterial communities that together demonstrate a compelling fitness benefit from cover provision. We also demonstrate a strong behavioural preference for planted rather than non-planted areas. We also assessed the impact of plant provision on the abiotic environment in the enclosure as a potential driver of these behavioural and fitness effects. Together this data provides valuable information regarding enclosure design for a non-model amphibian species and has implications for amphibian populations maintained in captivity for conservation breeding programmes and research. © 2014 Michaels et al.