Frogs and other Amphibians

(Ornate Horned Frog, Wide Mouth Frog, Pacman Frog, Bell Horned Frog)

Erica Mede, CVT

Enclosure Style
Semi-Aquatic
Natural Habitat
Grasslands near shallow fresh water in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil
Diet Style
Insectivores and opportunistic carnivores
Life Span
7-10 years
Size
4-6 inches
Temperature Range
Ambient: 76-82 F, Basking/Hot Spot: 84-88 F, Water 74-78 F
UVB Requirement
Yes
Permits Required
None in Illinois

Disclaimer:  This information is intended to be used as a care guide.  This is not a definitive source on the care for this species and should be used in conjunction with the experience of knowledgeable keepers, professionals, and further research.  Ranges mentioned are for reference and are not absolutes.

Factoids: 

  • The mouth accounts for roughly half the body size!
  • This species was discovered in 1824 by Alexander Maximilian, a German naturalist.
  • Horned frogs do not have the traditionally long tongues that most people think about when they think of frogs.

Enclosure:

  • Aquariums:  An adult can also be kept comfortably in a 20 gallon enclosure. It is recommended to utilize front opening enclosures whenever possible.
  • Hatchlings and Young Frogs:  5 gallon enclosure or similar sized enclosures are a great start for young frogs.
  • Ventilation:  Humidity is important and so is appropriate ventilation for this species!  Air circulation will not only improve humidity cycles but will prevent health issues from stagnant air and oppressive humidity.
  • Co-Habitation:  Pacman frogs will attempt to eat one another generally if not fed enough or the size difference is too large.

Water Quality:

  • Water Changing:  Change water daily!  If water is standing in the enclosure, a filtration system is warranted.
  • Water Quality:  Use chlorine free water (a dechlorinator or water that has been sitting open for 24 hours), infant water, or spring water.  Avoid distilled water.
  • Water Depth: This species does not swim well!  Keep the water shallow enough that your frog will not be required to swim in it.  Room temperature water.

Substrate: 

  • Spartan Tank:  Recommended to prevent build up of organic debris and accidental ingestion of substrate.  Soaked terry cloth towels or paper towel.
  • Aesthetic Substrate:  Top soil, coconut husk, damp peat moss, untreated soil, bark substrates, coir, or sphagnum moss make exceptional substrates. These must be spot cleaned daily, agitated daily, and changed weekly.  If particulate bedding is used, it is advisable to feed in a separate container or offer insects in a dish to avoid accidental ingestion of bedding.  Mosses are an excellent way to control humidity.  They do require diligence but will offer beautiful enclosures and exceptional humidity retention.  The substrate should be wet but not so wet that you can wring water from it.  These must be spot cleaned daily, agitated daily, and changed weekly.  If particulate bedding is used, it is advisable to feed in a separate container or offer insects in a dish to avoid accidental ingestion of bedding.  Mosses are an excellent way to control humidity.  They do require diligence but will offer beautiful enclosures and exceptional humidity retention.  Clay balls at the bottom of an enclosure covered by a particulate substrate will also dramatically increase the humidity of an enclosure.

Temperature & Lighting:

  • Thermometers:  One thermometer should be placed on the warm end an inch above the substrate and the other an inch above the substrate on the cool end of the enclosure.
  •  Infrared Temperature Gun:  These are strongly recommended and encouraged for keeping any animal.  It is strongly recommended to purchase these inexpensive hand held tool to identify actual temperatures at various locations in the enclosure.  A thermometer at the height of a basking platform may say 95 degrees and the temperature gun will indicate that the glass the thermometer is on is 95 degrees but the basking platform directly under the light is 130 degrees!  Likewise, this can help you monitor your pet’s POTZ, preferred optimal temperature zone, and help watch for trends in behavior that correlate with temperature variation.
  • Thermostats:  Thermostats save lives and money.  Always use a thermostat when a heating element is used.  We recommend HerpStat by SpyderRobotics.  Under tank heaters, heat cable (outside the enclosure not in the enclosure), heat tape, heat bulbs, and ceramic heat emitters can all be utilized to maintain air temperature.  A mesh screen can be added around light fixtures to prevent accidental exposure.  Never use heat cable in enclosures or hot rocks.
  • UVB Lighting:  A Zilla Pro-Series Tropical 25 or ZooMed 5.0 is recommended.

Enrichment:

  • Hides:  A hide can be made with a half log, clay flower pot, PVC, etc.  Get creative!
  • Adjusting the cage furnishings once in a while is recommended for enrichment.
  • Live plants can be easily uprooted by these powerful diggers and should be potted separately if placed in the enclosure.  Fake foliage such as silk leaves can be used without problems and pose the benefit of being easily cleaned.
  • Leaves from outside should be avoided to prevent accidental introduction of fungus into the enclosure.
  • Adjusting the cage furnishings every 2-3 months is recommended for enrichment.
  • Target Training:  Many reptiles are target trainable and arguably all animals can be target trained.  YouTube proves invaluable here for learning!  Visit a local zoo and talk with the docents or keepers as well about their target training!
  • YouTube, reptile forums, and sites such as Pinterest offer suggestions and great ideas on different enclosure decor and enrichment options!

Feeding
·         Dietary guidelines are just that, they are not hard and fast rules.  Offer a variety of food items to provide enrichment, maintain ideal nutrition, and to learn more about the species you are keeping!
·         Free Range (Wild) Diet:  An opportunistic ambush predator that will consume rodents, small reptiles, large spiders, and locust.
·         Captive Diet:  A varied diet rich in crickets, meal worms, roaches, earthworms, horn worms, and silk worms is recommended.  Earthworms should make up the majority of your pet’s diet.  Occasional pinky mice can be offered as well.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • The Horned Frog Family and the African Bullfrogs, Richard Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett
  • Horned Frogs, Ray Hunziker, Raymond E.Hunziker, R. Hunziker
  • Quick & Easy Horned Frog Care, Allen R. Both

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

​Erica Mede, CVT

American bullfrogs are part of the family Ranidae (the “true frogs”) and are frequently kept as pets.  Many times people will catch small frogs or tadpoles and raise them to adults.  Keeping wild caught amphibians is never recommend due to the stress of captivity, parasite infestations, and other diseases that can be spread to humans and/or other pets.  People interested in these pets can find them easily at most pet stores and there are many breeders who breed for specific colorations such as albino.

Reptile rescues and nature centers are constantly asked to accept relinquished Bullfrogs and most no longer accept these animals.  Because of the large volume of amphibians requiring homes and inadequate room at rescues, many people release these animals back into the wild.  Never release a captive amphibian!  Bullfrogs in most areas are invasive and can have serious detrimental effects on the ecosystem.  Introduced populations compete for food with native species and their populations can spiral out of control.  Please, if you are considering this kind of pet consider adopting one from a herpetile rescue.

Natural History

The original distribution of the American bullfrog was along the eastern seaboard from Florida to New England .  The species was introduced into the west 19th and 20th century for cooking purposes and are now common in many streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and wet lands across the nation.  The tell tale bellowing call of the male at night can be heard in late summer into early fall.

Description

This is North America ’s largest species with a broad flat head and a total length reaching up to 8 inches.  These frogs have green backs with netlike patterns of brown or gray.  The underside is white with gray mottling and a yellow color on the chin and hind legs.  The back legs are powerful and long; made for jumping large distances between 3 and 6 feet!  Most bullfrogs will live 3-5 years.

Sexing

Males are easily identified by their yellow throat and large tympanum (ear drum).  The tympanum of the male is twice as large as its eyes.  During breeding season the nuptial pads are seen on the front limbs as an engorgement of tissue.

Enclosures

This species requires lots of space, especially wild caught individuals, as they tend to jump repeatedly into glass.  Visual barricades such as newspaper or decorative back drops for aquariums can be used to reduce stress and rostral abrasions (skinned noses).  The minimum cage provided for this species should be a 20 gallon aquarium with an additional 5 gallons per additional animal.  This ensures there is plenty of room and hiding spots to prevent territorial aggression and subsequent cannibalism.

A semi-aquatic environment works best.  The aquatic portion should occupy a large portion of the cage and be permanently partitioned off by sealing a piece of Plexiglass with aquarium grade silicone.  Tap or spring water can be treated with a dechlorinator or left to sit uncovered for 24 hours.  Never use distilled water as this will cause bloat and eventual death due to lack of minerals.  Feces and uneaten food will need to be removed daily from the water.  An appropriate size filter is invaluable for the aquatic portion of the enclosure but may aggravate wild caught bullfrogs.  If a filter isn’t used, a 50% water change should be performed twice a week and a full cleaning once every 3-4 weeks.  Aquatic vegetation such as Salvinia auriculata will help to maintain water quality.

Hide areas in the water and on land are essential to minimizing stress and allowing this high strung species to relax.  A basking log or rock should be made available.  Driftwood is a great transition from water to land and makes for an excellent basking spot.

Air temperatures in the cage should range between 77 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fluorescent lights or ceramic heat emitters should be used for basking spots.  Under tank heaters can be used for substrate and water.  If the aquatic portion is too large or deep, a submersible heater can be used but isn’t generally needed.  The water temperature should be maintained in the mid 70’s.  Two thermometers are recommended; one for the warm basking spot and one for the water.  It is also recommended that the enclosure has a 5.0 UVB bulb.

Handling

Handling should be kept to a bare minimum.  When catching the animal from the cage you can use a soft net.  Make sure to always have control of the back legs! Gently grasping behind the head and the front legs with one hand and around the rear legs with the second hand is an appropriate method of restraint and safe handling.

Feeding

Adults have a strong sense of sight and will eat anything that fits in their mouth.  Captive adults are frequently fed earth worms, crickets, meal worms, goldfish (this should be limited), crayfish, and mice (feed sparingly).  Bullfrogs are prone to obesity.  Large adults should only be fed 2-3 times a week in moderation.  Younger frogs can be fed size appropriate food every other day.

It is not recommended to feed bullfrogs from your hand as they can have a painful bite.  Placing the food in a dish or on a rock is a better option.  eeding with forceps is a very popular method as well.  Calcium supplementation without phosphorous can be added to the food weekly and a multivitamin supplement every 2 weeks.

Common Medical Problems

Good husbandry is the best way to prevent many problems.  Bullfrogs should be quarantined for at least three to six months before being added to an established collection.

Red Leg is a generic term for a condition that can be caused by bacterial infection, fungal infections, or environmental issues.  This condition will cause an increase to the blood circulation in the limbs.  This causes redness on the bottom of the arms and legs often leading to open sores.  If these symptoms are seen, please make an appointment with Chicago Exotics.

Vomiting/Regurgitating are common signs of gastrointestinal obstruction.  If these are noted, an appointment with Chicago Exotics’ should be made immediately, especially if accompanied by swelling or loss of appetite.

Internal parasites are diagnosed by a fecal test by a Chicago Exotics’ veterinary professional.  A fecal test for internal parasites is recommended at least yearly.

Other common signs of problems include loss of appetite, loose stools, difficulty shedding, and lumps/bumps.  Please make an appointment with your veterinarian to diagnose and treat any of these problems.

Speak with your Chicago Exotics’ veterinarian or technician about Salmonella and what measures are recommended to limit the risk or transmission to people.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • Reptiles Magazine
  • Exotic DVM  Magazine
  • Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region, James H. Harding
  • Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry, Wright and Whitaker

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

by Susan Donoghue, VMD, Dipl ACVN

Anatomy tells much of the story about frog and toad nutrition: large eyes for spotting prey that moves in the night, thick tongues for securing wiggly critters, and short simple intestines for speedy hydrolytic digestion.  Frogs and toads, quite simply, are meat eaters.  Their dinners may take the form of tiny fruit flies or large mice.  Either way, they depend on high-quality protein, animal-source fatty acids and minimal carbohydrate to flourish.

For every generality there are exceptions, and the adapted anatomy of frogs and toads is no different.  Some frogs lack teeth and even tongues; a few are suction feeders.  Many are wide-mouthed models capable of ingesting oversized meals.  Still others have narrow mouths, or are tiny in overall size, which limits the types of prey that can be swallowed.  However, the most problematic nutritional issues in frog culture today, in this author’s opinion, are the repeated failures to sustain successful breeding colonies for many species beyond F1 or F2 generations.  The nutrition and feeding management of specialized or rare species and the problems facing breeding groups, including tadpoles, are beyond the scope of this article.  We’ll focus instead on pets.

Frogs and toads are robust feeders when healthy and maintained in appropriate habitats, which provide consistently optimal light, temperature, and humidity cycles.  When working with frog and toad patients that appear thin and underfed, check every aspect of husbandry from water quality and substrate conditions to light and temperature.  Make certain that the client’s husbandry matches the needs of the patient.  Common problems include cool temperatures, disrupted light/dark cycles and foul water.

Wide Mouths (and Bodies)

Wide-mouthed frogs and toads include the ever-popular (and deservedly so) White’s or Dumpy) Tree frog (Pelodryas caerulea), bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), horn frogs (Ceratophrys or Megophrys spp.) and the charming American toad (Bufo Americanus).  These specie readily take to invertebrates, such as crickets, and as adults may also eat small vertebrate, such as pinky (newborn) mice.

A variety of pet shop and backyard invertebrate suffice for these species.  Prey can include crickets, Zophobus worms, mealworms, nightcrawlers, red wigglers, cockroaches, silkworms, locusts, grasshoppers, slugs and isopods.  Not every frog or toad will take every prey species listed, so owners should note which prey items seem best for their pet.  Except for snails and perhaps nightcrawlers, invertebrate prey need supplementation (“dusting”) with calcium as well as other minerals and vitamins.  Invertebrates from the pet shops benefit from a few days on a good diet before feeding out.  Backyard prey should be taken from areas free of pesticides and herbicides.

Many of the wide-mouths become tame and will feed in the presence of their owners.  Many can be hand fed large crickets, locusts and cockroaches. Some can learn to take prey from a skewer, enabling simulation of movement and the acceptance of frozen thawed vertebrates that otherwise won’t be recognized as food because of lack of movement.  Vertebrate are generally good sources of calcium (from bone), iodine (from thyroid), trace minerals (from liver and other organs), essential fatty acids (from brain), and vitamins (from ingesta and organs) and require no further supplementation or dusting.  Concerns have been raised about the potential for vitamin A, present in rodent livers, interfering with vitamin D metabolism and the subsequent risk of metabolic bone disease in frogs (see Wright & Whitaker, 2001, p 67 for a succinct review).

Narrow-mouths and Wee Ones

Certain toad species have plump bodies but narrow mouths.  Gastrophyrne carolinensis and G. olivacea are eastern and western narrow-mouthed toads, respectively, from the US and may be wild caught and kept by children.  The narrow-mouthed species are somewhat specialized feeders taking termites, ants and small flies in the wild.  Owners can provide good care for these species once the need for small prey (relative to body size) is recognized.

Most smaller species can be fed fruit flies and springtails.  The larger narrow-mouths take small crickets (under ¼ inch)  and other small insects.  In warm months, sweeping fields with a net collects “meadow plankton,” a variety of small invertebrate that these toads will relish.  Another useful prey is the larvae of rice flour beetles.  A small colony of rice flour beetles can be kept for months, providing back-up prey for owners without fruit fly cultures. Some owners may impulsively buy a small amphibian requiring fruit flies; alternatively, fruit fly cultures can die off suddenly, leaving owners without prey.

With their diurnal habits, bright colors and ability to thrive in well planted, naturalistic vivaria, the small Dart and Mantilla frogs are true jewels of herpetoculture.  The New World Dart frogs (Dendrobates spp. and Phyllobates spp.) thrive in spacious vivaria that meet their habit needs.  These species readily eat fruit flies and other small prey such as springtails.  Newly hatched pinhead crickets are favored prey as are rice flour beetle larvae.

Assist Feeding

When I began the study of nutritional support in amphibians, I had no idea what to expect.  What I learned was that pet frogs and toads are among the easier species to assist feed.  They survive and maintain or gain weight on diets designed for carnivorous reptiles and tolerate frequent handling and feeding needles.

For dart frogs and mantillas, I use a 22-gauge, stainless steel, ball-tipped feeding needle.  For mid-size frogs (for example, Wood frogs, (Rana sylvatica), and juvenile White’s tree frogs), 18-gauge feeding needles work well.  Larger amphibians tolerate large needles as well as oral tipped feeding syringes.

Common Nutritional Problems for Amphibians

  • Underfeeding from husbandry errors
  • Gastric obstruction from ingestion of substrate (especially pebbles)
  • Metabolic bone disease from feeding unsupplemented invertebrates
  • Obesity from overfeeding
  • Hypervitaminosis D3
  • Thiamine deficiency
  • Steatitis
  • Renal calculi
  • Gastric overload from excess food intake
  • Vitamin A deficiency

Resources for Frog and Toad Food

  • Quality pet store carry fruit fly cultures and crickets of various sizes
  • For mail order sources, check out the classified ads for feeders at www.kingsnake.com
  • Reputable cricket companies include Southern Cricket and Armstrong Crickets
  • Specialty companies (such as www.flyculture.com) sell starter kits for raising wingless fruit flies as well as less common prey such as rice flour beetles.
  • Large mail-order stores (such as www.bigappleherp.com) sell a variety of prey in smaller (more expensive) quantities.
  • Springtails and meadow plankton can be found in forests and fields respectively.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

by ​Erica Mede, CVT

Natural History

Fire Bellied toads, also called Tuti toads, are found throughout southern and south east Asia and are commonly collected from Korea and China .  Most of the individuals available in the pet trade are wild caught.  These animals are found in the woodlands near water (generally shallow water as they are poor swimmers).

Description

This is a hardy species of amphibian but not one that is meant to be handled.  Females are slightly rounder and males tend to be more slender in body shape.  These toads are typically kept together without incident but are aggressive with smaller tank mates.  A beautiful and active diurnal species, the Fire Bellied toad is quickly regaining status as a favorite in the world of reptile and amphibian keeping.  Fire Bellied toads are typically 2 inches in length and bright green and black with brilliant orange throats.  The small tubercules covering their back gives them a typical “toad” appearance.  Caution should be used while handling this species as the glandular secretion is toxic.  Generally, these animals live 10-15 years with good husbandry.

Feeding

Fire Bellied toads have a strong sense of sight and will eat anything that fits in their mouths and attempt to eat items that do not.  They also do not have an extendable tongue but will stuff food into their mouth with their front legs.  Captive adults are frequently fed cut up earth worms, crickets, meal worms, small roaches, and silk worms.  Young toads should be fed every other day generally what they can eat in 10-15 minutes (usually 3-4 good sized prey items).  Sub-adults and adults should be fed every 2-3 days in the same manner.

Placing the food in a dish or on a flat rock is a better option.  Feeding with forceps is a very popular method as well.  Calcium supplementation should be added to the food weekly and a multivitamin supplement every 2 weeks.

Enclosures

​These toads should always be housed alone or in a small group of three similarly sized animals due to their tendency towards aggression of smaller cage mates.  All females or one male with two females is acceptable.  A 10-15 gallon aquarium or equivalent sized container such as a Sterilite or Rubbermaid bin is generally acceptable for 2-3 toads. Many keepers find that using non-conventional enclosure such as plastic storage boxes is not only easier to maneuver in their homes but also less stressful for the animal due to the opaque nature of the sides.  Floor space is important in this semi-aquatic species as a large water bowl will be required.

Ideally, 1/3 of the tank should be aquatic or at the very least a large shallow water dish should be offered with 2-4 inches of water.  Smooth rocks should be placed near the edge of the water bowl and in the water bowl to allow for easy access and escape.

Substrate

Paper towel is by far the easiest to clean and cheapest substrate to use.  However, it must be changed daily and doesn’t offer any aesthetics.  Top soil is a common substrate providing a naturalistic look to the enclosure as well as offering the toad a chance to burrow under leaving only their eyes exposed in some cases.  Soil must be spot cleaned daily and completely changed out every 2 weeks to prevent bacteria and fungus build-up.  Moistened terry cloth towels are also utilized for substrate since they can be easily changed out.  However, a few back ups will be needed and the towels must be washed and dried WITHOUT fabric softener preferably.  The substrate needs to be moistened at all times with dechlorinated water.  Tap water that has been dechlorinated chemically or “aged” is perfectly fine.  Avoid distilled water due to the lack of minerals in the water.

Temperature

Fire Bellied can be easily maintained in 75-78 °F ambient temperatures with a warmer site available in the 78-80°F range.  At night, the temperature can drop as low as 72°F.  Heating the enclosure is easily achieved using under tank heaters mounted on the side of the tank.  Heat cable, heat tape, and other methods of heating can be utilized as well.  Basking lights are contraindicated.  The temperature should be maintained with the use of a thermostat and monitored with a thermometer at the level of the substrate.  Moss is an excellent way to keep toads moist but care must be taken that it is changed frequently and is in a place where the toad will not accidentally ingest it attempting to eat.

Humidity

Humidity is extremely important to the health of Fire Belly toads.  The humidity in the enclosure should be maintained around 50-70%.  This is easily checked with a hygrometer and maintained with a hydrostat.  Frequent misting, moistening of the substrate, large water bowls, and foggers can all be used to maintain higher levels of humidity.

Lighting

Fire Belly toads do not have many lighting requirements.  They require a light cycle of 10 hours of light and 14 of darkness.  An ultraviolet (UVB) light such as a ReptiGlo or a ReptiSun 5.0 can be utilized and is recommended.

Enrichment

Water bowls should be kept shallow to prevent accidental drowning as these frogs are poor swimmers.  Water should be changed at least daily and only clean, dechlorinated water should be used.  Never use distilled water as this will cause health problems in frogs!  A hide box created from things as simple as a half a plastic flower pot, should be offered to provide a secure place for the frog.  Live plants can be easily uprooted by these powerful diggers and should be potted separately if placed in the enclosure.  Fake foliage such as silk leaves can be used without problems and pose the benefit of being easily cleaned.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • Frogs and Toads, Devin Edmonds
  • Fire-Bellied Toad Care, Tom Mazorlig
  • Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs, Philip Purser

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

​Erica Mede, CVT

Natural History

African Giant bullfrogs, also called “pixies” or “pixies”, are found throughout southern Africa in sub-Saharan regions.  These areas are extremely dry most of the year which forces the frogs to aestivate in order to conserve water.  Pyxies tend to live in areas that during the rainy season flood and retain water.

Description

This is the world’s second largest species of frog with males reaching up to10 inches in length!  Females generally reach 3.5-5.5 inches long while males range from 6-10 inches long.  Pyxies generally live 15-25 years with proper care and males have been known to way up to two pounds.  Powerful limbs and large skulls make these frogs appear thick and stocky.  Both genders have teeth like projections called odontoids in their mouth which help them capture prey as they are ambush predators.

Colors range from olive green to dark green with a pale to cream underbelly.  Where the limbs meet the body there is a bright orange coloration.  Many of these frogs will also have a yellow color along the sides of the body.  Pyxies have large broad ridges down their backs as well.

Feeding

African bullfrogs have a strong sense of sight and will eat anything that fits in their mouths.  Captive adults are frequently fed earth worms, crickets, super worms, roaches, and mice (feed sparingly).  In the wild, these animals are known to eat other amphibians and small reptiles.  Bullfrogs are prone to obesity especially those fed large amounts of rodents.  It is recommended to feed rodents to Pyxies only once every 2 or 3 weeks.  Pyxies under three inches long should be fed daily what they will consume in 15 minutes.  Sub-adults and adults should be fed 2-3 times a week in the same manner.  Some owners advocate the use of trout and salmon pellets in place of live prey and have success.

It is not recommended to feed bullfrogs from your hand as they have a powerful, painful bite.  Placing the food in a dish or on a flat rock is a better option.  Feeding with forceps is a very popular method as well.  Calcium supplementation should be added to the food weekly and a multivitamin supplement every 2 weeks.

Enclosures

These frogs should always be housed alone due to their tendency towards cannibalism.  A 15 gallon aquarium or equivalent sized container such as a Sterilite or Rubbermaid bin is generally acceptable for both genders.  Large males can sometimes require a minimum of 20 gallon aquarium whereas smaller juvenile males and adult females can be kept comfortably in a 10 gallon aquarium.  Many keepers find that using non-conventional enclosure such as plastic storage boxes is not only easier to maneuver in their homes but also less stressful for the animal due to the opaque nature of the sides. Juveniles under 3 inches can easily be maintained in a 5 gallon aquarium.

Substrate

Paper towel is by far the easiest to clean and cheapest substrate to use.  However, it must be changed daily and doesn’t offer any aesthetics.  Top soil it a common substrate providing a naturalistic look to the enclosure as well as offering the frog a chance to burrow under leaving only their eyes exposed in some cases.  Soil must be spot cleaned daily and completely changed out every 2 weeks to prevent bacteria and fungus build-up.  Moistened terry cloth towels are also utilized for substrate since they can be easily changed out.  However, a few back ups will be needed and the towels must be washed and dried WITHOUT fabric softener preferably.  The substrate needs to be moistened at all times with dechlorinated water.  Tap water that has been dechlorinated chemically or “aged” is perfectly fine.  Avoid distilled water due to the lack of minerals in the water.

Temperature

Pyxie frogs can be easily maintained in 77-82°F ambient temperatures.  At night, the temperature can drop as low as 68°F.  Heating the enclosure is easily achieved using under tank heaters either under the tank or mounted on the side of the tank.  Heat cable, heat tape, and other methods of heating can be utilized as well.  Basking lights are contraindicated.  The temperature should be maintained with the use of a thermostat and monitored with a thermometer at the level of the substrate.  Moss is an excellent way to keep frogs moist but care must be taken that it is changed frequently and is in a place where the frog will not accidentally ingest it attempting to eat.

Humidity

Humidity is extremely important to the health of African bullfrogs.  The humidity in the enclosure should be maintained around 80-90%.  This is easily checked with a hygrometer and maintained with a hydrostat.  Frequent misting, moistening of the substrate, large water bowls, and foggers can all be used to maintain higher levels of humidity.

Lighting

African bullfrogs do not have many lighting requirements.  They require a light cycle of 10 hours of light and 14 of darkness.  An ultraviolet (UVB) light such as a ReptiGlo or a ReptiSun 5.0 can be utilized and is recommended.

Enrichment

Water bowls should be deep enough for the frog to submerge itself if desired.  Water should be changed at least daily and only clean, dechlorinated water should be used.  A hide box created from things as simple as a half a plastic flower pot should be offered to provide a secure place for the frog. Live plants can be easily uprooted by these powerful diggers and should be potted separately if placed in the enclosure.  Fake foliage such as silk leaves can be used without problems and pose the benefit of being easily cleaned.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • The Horned Frog Family and the African Bullfrogs, Richard Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett
  • Horned Frogs, Ray Hunziker, Raymond E. Hunziker, R. Hunziker
  • Quick & Easy Horned Frog Caren, Allen R. Both

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

Kristin Claricoates, DVM

Overview
Ranaviruses are viruses belong to the Iridoviridae family and the genus Ranavirus.  Occasionally, amphibian ranaviruses are called iridoviruses rather than ranaviruses (which are different from the insect viruses called Iridovirus; insect iridovirus is not a ranavirus). Some of the isolates of amphibian ranaviruses have been named.  It is thought that the viruses are passed by direct contact or cannibalism or through the water.

Ranaviruses cause massive die-offs of amphibians.  These occur most commonly in mole salamanders (Ambystoma spp.), true frogs (Lithobates spp. and Rana spp.) and chorus frogs (Pseudacris spp.).  Ranavirus infections in turtles occur mostly in captive colonies of eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) and true tortoises.  At present, ranavirus infections appear to be limited to ectothermic vertebrates.  That is to say, any species of fish, amphibians (frogs & salamanders) and reptile (turtles & snakes) could be susceptible to the virus, although not all species have been documented with ranavirus.  It appears that larvae and metamorphs are most affected.  Adult morbidity and mortality occur less often.  It is unclear how many strains or species of ranavirus are infecting and killing amphibians and turtles.  As of 2013, ranavirus was known to infect more than 104 species and subspecies.  The virus generally cannot be cultured at temperatures above 30ºC, so it probably is not infectious to domestic mammals and humans.

Symptoms

Clinical signs of disease can often be nonspecific, but affected individuals usually present with subtle to severe hemorrhages in the ventral skin, especially at the base of the hind limbs and around the vent opening and swelling of the legs and body. Hemorrhages may be present from tip of chin to tip of tail ventrally and may be pinpoint or irregular patches.  White plaques in mouth, wheezing and swollen eyes may also be present in reptiles. Behavioral changes may include lethargy, anorexia and erratic swimming.  Turtles with ranavirus infection show weakness, swollen eyelids, discharge from the nose and mouth, and the tongue and palate may show dull white or thick yellow plaques. Occasionally, turtles may show ulcers on the bottom of their feet.  In general, the occurrence of an explosive mortality outbreak with signs of systemic hemorrhagic disease, or signs of chronic disease with skin ulceration and/or distal limb necrosis are potential indicators of infection with a ranavirus.

Prognosis

Ranaviruses are commonly lethal to larvae or young individuals, quickly spreading through populations that tend to congregate in large groups. Some amphibian populations can suffer up to 90% mortality. Adults can also become infected, but many are likely to survive the illness. However, once infected with ranavirus, the overall health of the amphibian may suffer and they can become more susceptible to other diseases and to depredation in the wild.

Transmission

The virus is primarily transmitted by contact between carriers of the virus and uninfected individuals. Humans may be the number one long-distance transmitters of ranavirus, due to our ability to travel great distances and visit many wetlands. Any animal or object that enters a wetland could potentially pick up and transmit the virus. The virus can then be passed to other individuals in the same wetland or be transported to other wetlands via the host’s movements. Depending on environmental conditions, the viruses can survive in water for several weeks outside the host, and for shorter periods of time under dry conditions. The virus is also transmitted through direct contact, cannibalism, and through the water skin ulceration.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made through any of the following diagnostic tests: PCR, real-time PCR, virus isolation (followed by immunofluorescence or immunohistochemistry), and/or histology (followed by immunofluorescence or immunohistochemistry)

Quarantine

If Ranavirus is diagnosed, the affected aquarium/terrarium should be quarantined and all amphibians affected should be isolated.  Treatment should be initiated to prevent secondary bacterial infection and stress minimized. Tanks that have a quarantine and healthy tanks should have separate water sources.  To clean these affected tanks, remove debris from the tank surfaces, then disinfect.  Suggested disinfectant for housing facilities include Nolvasan (2%) and bleach (3%) for at least 1 minute. Rinse facilities well following disinfection.

Treatment

Medical management of the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infection and stress is the best treatment for a ranavirus; there are no specific drugs to kill a ranavirus nor is there a specific vaccination to protect against it.  Euthanasia of particularly ill animals may be considered.

Should you wish to know more about ranaviruses, there is an international symposium on ranaviruses that occurs.  Please check listings.

Works Cited
​European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. EAZWV Transmissible Disease Fact Sheet Ranavirus Infections in Amphibians. 2011. 5 March 2015. <http://www.eaza.net/activities/tdfactsheets/050%20Ranavirus%20Infection%20In%20Amphibians.doc.pdf>.
Green, D. Earle. “Pathology of Amphibia.” Wright, Kevin M. and Brent R. Whitaker. Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry. Malabar: Krieger Publishing Company, 2001. 418-419.
James F. X. Wellehan, Jr. “Iridovirus Infection.” Mayer, Jorg and Thomas M. Donnelly. Clinical Veterinary Advisor Birds and Exotic Pets. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2013. 114-115.
Miller, Debra Lee. “Ranavirus.” Mader, Douglas R. and Stephen J. Divers. Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine & Surgery. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2014. 277-280.
National Wildlife Health Center. “Ranavirus.” 21 May 2013. National Wildlife Health Center. 5 March 2015.
Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Ranavirus Frequently Asked Questions. January 2014. 5 May 2015. <http://www.northeastparc.org/products/pdfs/NEPARC_Ranavirus_FAQ.pdf>.
OIE. “Infection With Ranavirus.” 2007. World Organisation for Animal Health. 5 March 2015.

by Erica Mede, CVT

Natural History

These arboreal frogs with bright red eyes, green bodies, blue limbs, and orange toes are one of the most popular frogs in the pet trade for obvious reasons but colors do vary based on origins.  These stunning nocturnal frogs are native to the rainforests of the Pacific and Atlantic lowlands and foothills of Central America and have become the poster child for the rainforest!  Most of the animals in the pet trade are exported through Nicaragua.  The calls from the males are heard echoing through the rainforest and homes of keepers through May and December.  These 2-3 inch long frogs (females are generally the larger of the species) live 4-10 years.

Feeding

Red eyed tree frogs are insectivores and tend to become obese with over feeding like most frogs.  Adults are frequently fed earth worms, crickets, roaches, horn worms, and silk worms.  Tree frogs under 3 inches should be fed every day to every other day.  Frogs over 3 inches in length should be fed every 2-3 days.

Placing the food in a dish or on a flat rock is an appropriate option.  Feeding with forceps is a very popular method as well.  Calcium supplementation should be added to the food weekly and a multivitamin supplement every 2 weeks.

Enclosures

These frogs can be housed in pairs or small groups of females with one males.  A 10 gallon aquarium or equivalent sized container such as a Sterilite or Rubbermaid bin is generally acceptable for two adults.  These are arboreal frogs and vertical space is important to consider.  Many keepers find that using non-conventional enclosure such as plastic storage boxes is not only easier to maneuver in their homes but also less stressful for the animal due to the opaque nature of the sides.  Juveniles can easily be maintained in a Critter Keeper style enclosure, a 2.5 gallon aquarium, or similar sized plastic container.

Substrate

Paper towel is by far the easiest to clean and cheapest substrate to use.  However, it must be changed daily and doesn’t offer any aesthetics.  Top soil it a common substrate providing a naturalistic look to the enclosure.  Soil must be spot cleaned daily and completely changed out every 2 weeks to prevent bacteria and fungus build-up.  Moistened terry cloth towels are also utilized for substrate since they can be easily changed out.  However, a few backups will be needed and the towels must be washed and dried WITHOUT fabric softener preferably.  The substrate needs to be moistened at all times with dechlorinated water.  Tap water that has been dechlorinated chemically or “aged” is perfectly fine.  Avoid distilled water due to the lack of minerals in the water.

Temperature

Red eyed tree frogs can be easily maintained in 76-82°F ambient temperatures.  At night, the temperature can drop as low as 72°F.  Heating the enclosure is easily achieved using under tank heaters mounted on the side of the tank.  Heat cable, heat tape, and other methods of heating can be utilized as well.  Basking lights are contraindicated.  The temperature should be maintained with the use of a thermostat and monitored with a thermometer at the level of the substrate.  Sphagnum moss is an excellent way to keep frogs moist but care must be taken that it is changed frequently and is in a place where the frog will not accidentally ingest it attempting to eat.

Humidity

Humidity is extremely important to the health of tree frogs.  The humidity in the enclosure should be maintained around 60-80%.  This is easily checked with a hygrometer and maintained with a hydrostat.  Frequent misting, moistening of the substrate, large water bowls, and foggers can all be used to maintain higher levels of humidity.

Lighting

Tree frogs do not have many lighting requirements.  They require a light cycle of 10 hours of light and 14 of darkness.  An ultraviolet (UVB) light such as a ReptiGlo or a ReptiSun 5.0 can be utilized and is recommended.

Enrichment

Water bowls should be kept shallow to prevent accidental drowning as these frogs are extremely poor swimmers.  The water ideally should only be high enough for the frog to submerge itself if desired.  Water should be changed at least daily and only clean, dechlorinated water should be used.  Never use distilled water as this will cause health problems in frogs! Fake foliage such as silk leaves can be used without problems and pose the benefit of being easily cleaned.  Branches should be set in a way that allows climbing for these arboreal frogs.  Large pieces of cork bark provide excellent hiding places that help Red Eyed tree frogs feel more secure.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • Frogs and Toads, Devin Edmonds
  • Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs, Philip Purser

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

by Justine Hammond, DVM
for Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital

Frogs and toads are susceptible to a number of nutritional imbalances based on inadequate or excessive levels of vitamins and minerals in their diets.  One recently recognized disease is hypovitaminosis A or low levels of vitamin A.  In 2002, a report was published by Pessier et al. describing a population of captive Wyoming Toads.  These toads are endangered and were enrolled in a captive propagation program with the intent of re-release into the wild.  The toads in captivity seemed to be unable to reach their prey items with their tongue. They would posture and open their mouth and extend their tongue but left the prey item unharmed.  This disease became known as “short tongue syndrome.”  As this syndrome was further studied it became evident that the problem was not that the tongue was deformed or too short but that the mucus glands were being clogged with an overgrowth of cells in the ducts and therefore their tongues actually were not sticky enough to catch prey.  This overgrowth of cells lining the mucus gland ducts is called squamous metaplasia and is due to a vitamin A deficiency.  Vitamin A is necessary for bone metabolism, skin integrity and eyesight among other functions.

Hypovitaminosis A in frogs and toads can also cause eyelid swelling, weight loss, fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity, increased susceptibility to infection and sudden death, in addition to the signs found in short-tongue syndrome.

There has been evidence that oral vitamin A, topical vitamin A and dietary supplementation of vitamin A all may increase levels in deficient animals.  However, ongoing research is focusing on which method of treatment is most effective in increasing these levels quickly and consistently.

Preventing this syndrome focuses on appropriate captive diets.  Understanding captive amphibian dietary recommendations can be confusing and most owners feed one or two types of prey items.  This type of feeding cannot provide all of the nutrients that these animals need.  Imagine if you only ate two food items, like potatoes and grapes, for your entire life.   Despite the fact that these are both fairly healthy food items, you would be terribly nutritionally deficient over time.  Based on this scenario and the fact that feeding a wide variety of insect prey to our amphibians can be logistically difficult, supplementation with vitamins and minerals is suggested (see amphibian nutrition sheets).  Crickets and mealworms are not adequate sources of vitamin A alone.  Mammalian prey items have high vitamin A content but only larger amphibians can ingest these items.  There are also considerations to be made when supplementing animals with vitamin A.  Vitamin A is only active within the first 6 months of opening powdered supplement jars and only if stored in a cool, dry environment.  To the authors’ knowledge, there is no evidence (yet) that amphibians can metabolize and use the precursors of vitamin A (carotenoids) so use a product that has vitamin A in it and not just beta- carotene.  For specific dietary suggestions for your amphibian, see our care sheets (here).  We always recommend annual wellness exams for amphibian pets.  The veterinarian can help to ensure that you are on the right path in terms of diet, housing and environment for your pet, in addition to checking for current medical problems.

References

  • Densmore, CL, Green, DE.  (2007) Diseases of Amphibians.  ILAR: Vol 48, No 3, pp. 248.
  • McWilliams, DA.  Nutritional Recommendations for some Captive Amphibian Species (Anura and Caudata), 2008. Accessed by the internet at: http://www.caza.ca/media/Pdf/Conservation/
    member%20resource%20page/amphibian_
    nutrition_report_april_2008.pdf
  • Sim, RR, Sullivan, KE, Valdes, EV, et al. (2010) A Comparison of Oral and Topical Vitamin A Supplementation in African Foam- Nesting Frogs ( Chiromantis xerampelina). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine:  September 2010, Vol 41, No 3, pp. 456- 460.
  • Wright, K. Overview of Amphibian Medicine In: Mader, D. Reptile Medicine and Surgery, St Louis, 2006, Elsevier Publishing.If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

Housing Adults

Adults can be maintained in a variety of enclosures depending on the keeper’s wishes. The simplest enclosure is a large plastic storage box. Alternatively, the salamander can be housed in an aquarium or other enclosure that allows better viewing.

Substrates in tiger salamander enclosures should be moisture retentive to provide for adequate humidity to prevent desiccation of the salamander. There should ideally be a moisture gradient in the enclosure to allow the salamander to osmoregulate. This can be accomplished by sloping the substrate from one side of the enclosure to the other. All substrates used in terrestrial salamander enclosures should have the pH of the substrate checked prior to placing the salamander on the substrate. It has been shown that substrates with a low pH, like peat moss, may cause ion loss and eventual death of the animal. One option is moistened unbleached paper towels, with crumpled pieces of moist paper towels provide hiding areas to minimize stress. These bare enclosures are excellent for quarantine purposes and collection of fecal samples for parasite checks. To prevent accumulation of bacteria, paper toweling must be changed every few days, or when soiled. More natural substrates include moist topsoil, coconut fiber bedding, or commercially available “forest floor” soil mixes. Soil should be changed every one to two months, and feces removed daily. Warning: Do not use rocks or gravel of a size that can be swallowed; ingestion of gravel can occur during feeding, with fatal results.

If the salamanders have a substrate that does not allow them to burrow, then alternative hideouts need to be provided to relieve stress. If the keeper desires to observe the salamander in its burrow, then pieces of PVC tubing can be cut in half and placed with the cut side against the window with an entrance above the soil level. If the side of the tank is covered with dark paper, the salamanders will adopt the burrows, and the paper can be removed when observations are desired. A water bowl may or may not be necessary depending upon the moisture gradient in the soil. However a water bowl will help prevent deaths due to accidental desiccation, as the salamander will retreat to the water bowl if the soil becomes too dry. If a water bowl is included in the enclosure, then the water should be changed either when it is soiled or every few days with dechlorinated tap water.

As with the larvae, excessive temperatures should be avoided. Temperatures over 78°F (25.6°C) for extended periods of time are potentially life threatening. The best temperature range would be the same as for the larval salamanders.

Feeding Adults

The temperature of the enclosure will determine the frequency of feeding the salamander. If the temperature is 65°F (18.3°C) or cooler then the salamander may be fed once a week. At temperatures over 65°F (18.3°C), the salamander will need to be fed at least twice a week. The amount of food offered will also differ depending upon the temperature, with more food items being offered at warmer temperatures. Adult tiger salamanders will readily eat crickets, freshly shed mealworms, earthworms, caterpillars (e.g., hornworms, silk moth larvae), and pinky mice. Other than pinkies or wax worms, a good rule of thumb is to offer the salamander as much as it can eat in several hours or overnight. With pinkies or caterpillars, these can be offered as an occasional treat or to fatten up a thin salamander, but because these food items contain high levels of fat, they should not be used as a steady diet. As a final caution, remove all uneaten crickets after 24 hours, as the crickets will bite and potentially harm or kill the salamander if left in the enclosure too long.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

by ​Erica Mede, CVT

Natural History

White lipped tree frogs, also called Giant tree frogs are native to Australia, New Guinea, and the Indonesian rainforest.  This species has become very popular in the herptoculture community because it is the world’s largest tree frog at 3-5 inches in length, sometimes reaching slightly over 6 inches with the females being the largest!  These frogs have a distinctive creamy or whitish stripe along the lower lip that contrasts with their bright green bodies. Giant tree frogs typically live 10-15 years in captivity with some reaching 20.  They are most known for their unique vocalizations of cat like “meows” when they are on startled and their dog like bark while seeking a mate.

Feeding

White’s Tree frogs are insectivores and tend to become obese with over feeding like most frogs.  Adults are frequently fed earth worms, crickets, roaches, horn worms, silk worms, and pinkie mice (feed sparingly once or twice a month).  Giant tree frogs under 3 inches should be fed every day to every other day.  Frogs over 3 inches in length should be fed every 2-3 days.

Placing the food in a dish or on a flat rock is an appropriate option.  Feeding with forceps is a very popular method as well.  Calcium supplementation should be added to the food weekly and a multivitamin supplement every 2 weeks.

Enclosures

These frogs can be housed in pairs or small groups of females with one males.  A  30 gallon aquarium or equivalent sized container such as a Sterilite or Rubbermaid bin is generally acceptable for two adults.  These are arboreal frogs and vertical space is important to consider.  Many keepers find that using non-conventional enclosure such as plastic storage boxes is not only easier to maneuver in their homes but also less stressful for the animal due to the opaque nature of the sides.  Juveniles under 3 inches can easily be maintained in a 10-15 gallon aquarium or similar sized plastic container.

Substrate

Paper towel is by far the easiest to clean and cheapest substrate to use.  However, it must be changed daily and doesn’t offer any aesthetics.  Top soil it a common substrate providing a naturalistic look to the enclosure.  Soil must be spot cleaned daily and completely changed out every 2 weeks to prevent bacteria and fungus build-up.  Moistened terry cloth towels are also utilized for substrate since they can be easily changed out.  However, a few back ups will be needed and the towels must be washed and dried WITHOUT fabric softener preferably.  The substrate needs to be moistened at all times with dechlorinated water.  Tap water that has been dechlorinated chemically or “aged” is perfectly fine.  Avoid distilled water due to the lack of minerals in the water.

Temperature

White lipped tree frogs can be easily maintained in 80-86°F ambient temperatures.  At night, the temperature can drop as low as 72°F.  Heating the enclosure is easily achieved using under tank heaters mounted on the side of the tank.  Heat cable, heat tape, and other methods of heating can be utilized as well.  Basking lights are contraindicated.  The temperature should be maintained with the use of a thermostat and monitored with a thermometer at the level of the substrate.  Sphagnum moss is an excellent way to keep frogs moist but care must be taken that it is changed frequently and is in a place where the frog will not accidentally ingest it attempting to eat.

Lighting

Giant tree frogs do not have many lighting requirements.  They require a light cycle of 10 hours of light and 14 of darkness.  An ultraviolet (UVB) light such as a ReptiGlo or a ReptiSun 5.0 can be utilized and is recommended.

Enrichment

Water bowls should be kept shallow to prevent accidental drowning as these frogs are extremely poor swimmers.  The water ideally should only be high enough for the frog to submerge itself if desired.  Water should be changed at least daily and only clean, dechlorinated water should be used.  Never use distilled water as this will cause health problems in frogs! Fake foliage such as silk leaves can be used without problems and pose the benefit of being easily cleaned.  Branches should be set in a way that allows climbing for these arboreal frogs.  Large pieces of cork bark provide excellent hiding places that help White lipped tree frogs feel more secure.

Sources and Suggested Reading

  • Frogs and Toads, Devin Edmonds
  • Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs, Philip Purser

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

by Teresa Bradley, DVM, Kevin Wright, DVM

Caging

  • A tall or high (15-20gal) aquarium is recommended for housing one adult frog. Larger enclosures are needed for additional frogs, not to exceed five adults frog in 100cm x 50cm x 50cm(40 in x 19 in x 19 in) enclosure.
  • Perches should be as wide as the frog’s body and placed primarily in a horizontal position. If diagonally inclined perches are utilized, they should be placed at only slight angles to decrease difficulty of climbing for the larger, heavier frogs.
  • Although not necessary, plants with stout branches and leaves may be provided (snake plants, Sansevieria spp., or philodendron, Monstera spp.) Avoid use of silk plants.
  • Substrates may include brown paper towels, butcher paper, or “carpet” type artificial grass with sealed edges.
  • Chlorine and chloramine-free water should be used in the water bowl and for misting the frogs each evening.
  • A tight-fitting screen top with a locking mechanism is necessary to provide adequate ventilation and prevent escapes.
  • The enclosure temperature in the daytime should range from 24-29°C (76-85ºF) with basking area that does not exceed 32ºC (90ºF). Nighttime temperature should not fall below 18ºC (65ºF).
  • A 12 hour day and 12 hour night cycle should be provided. A pure red incandescent bulb or a thermostatically controlled, under the tank heating pad may be used to heat the enclosure at night.
  • Ultraviolet-B emitting bulbs should be used such as Reptisun 5-0 bulb.

Water

  • Use chlorine- and chloramines-free water such as bottled spring water, charcoal-filtered tap water or tap water that has been aerated for at least 48 hours.
  • Provide water at all times.  The depth should be less than the height of the tree frog resting with its legs folded.
  • Place small rocks or other ramps in the water to prevent drowning of the frogs or prey items.
  • Clean water bowls daily or provide filtration.
  • Slightly alkaline, moderately hard water is recommended. Guidelines for freshwater cichlids (a type of tropical fish) are acceptable.

Diet

  • Froglets up to four centimeters (one and a half inches) may be fed one to four pinhead crickets, daily. If few or no crickets remain in the enclosure within 30 minutes of feeding, add a few more crickets at the next feeding.
  • Sub adult frogs up to eight centimeters (three inches) may be fed one to two, three to four week old crickets, two to three times each week. Once a month the crickets may be replaced with small earthworms or one pinky mouse. If few or no crickets remain in the enclosure within 30 minutes of feeding, include a few more crickets at the next feeding.
  • Adult White’s tree frogs may be fed three to four adult (large) crickets twice weekly. Once each month large earthworms, night crawlers or one fuzzy mouse may be fed instead of crickets.
  • Crickets should be fed a gut-loading diet (commercially prepared cricket diets that contain at least eight percent calcium) for 48 hours prior to being used as a food source. Dust cricket with a calcium carbonate powder (oyster shell or cuttlebone) three to four times weekly. At least one feeding each week should include crickets dusted lightly with a multi-vitamin-mineral mix recommended by your veterinarian. Feed the dusted crickets to the frogs immediately after dusting.
  • Dusted prey items should be offered in the early evening when the frogs are active, to ensure that the food is found and consumed within 60 minutes.

Medical Problems

Amphibians may become very ill quickly if they do not receive prompt medical attention. You should consult with your veterinarian if any of the following problems are noted with your White’s tree frog:

  • loose stools
  • little or no stool production
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • listlessness or inactivity in a normally active frog
  • cloudy eyes
  • reddish discoloration of the belly skin or legs
  • swelling on the head, body or legs
  • swollen abdomen
  • difficulty breathing

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (502) 241-4117.

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