Home | Amphibians | My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps American Toads, Bufo (Anaxyrus) americanus and Related Species, Part I

My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps American Toads, Bufo (Anaxyrus) americanus and Related Species, Part I

American Toad SetupHi, Frank Indiviglio here. 

Today’s article is the second in a series concerning animals in my own collection.  For additional information concerning this line of articles, please see My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps Barking Treefrogs (Hyla gratiosa) and Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor).

Note: the following information is also largely applicable to other toads that commonly appear in the pet trade, i.e. the Great Plains toad, B. cognatus, the Gulf Coast toad, B. valliceps, the southern toad, B. terrestris, Woodhouse’s toad, B. woodhousei and the Texas toad, B. speciosus.  Fowler’s toads and the various Spadefoot toads prefer arid substrates…I’ll cover the care of both in the future.

Most North American toads in the Genus Bufo have been recently reclassified within the Genus Anaxyrus, but not all herpetologists agree on this point.

An Ideal Terrarium Pet

As with many of the animals I favor, American toads have much to offer the hobbyist but are not as popular as some of their more colorful relatives (actually, they vary greatly in color – I have run across yellow, reddish and nearly black specimens in the field).  

Perhaps because they are so well- protected by virulent skin toxins, American toads are calm and confiding in captivity.  They usually take on diurnal habits, and even wild caught adults will feed from the hand in short order.  Pardon the stretch, but their behavior brings to mind that of the striped skunks I have kept.  Skunks seem to know that they are “untouchable”, and hence are very approachable (even in the wild)…toads are much like that, at least in my mind! 

They are also quite intelligent and responsive – please see my article entitled “Amphibian Learning Abilities – the Southern Toad, Bufo (Anaxyrus) terrestris and Bumblebee Mimicsfor further details.

Designing the Terrarium

I currently keep 2 yearling American toads in a Tom Aquarium Jumbo PLA-House Plastic Terrarium.  This terrarium’s ventilation ports assure adequate air exchange (despite favoring moist habitats, toads and other amphibians fare poorly in stagnant air) yet are small enough to prevent small feeder insects from escaping.  This set-up is dismantled and cleaned weekly – the terrarium’s light weight simplifies this chore.

Substrate

The substrate pictured in the photo is R-Zilla Compressed Frog MossAmerican toads prefer a drier environment than do most frogs, so I use only ½ to ¾ of the amount of water called for in the instructions when preparing the moss (the moss is packaged dry, and must be reconstituted).  Hagen Exo-Terra Plume Moss and Zoo Med Terrarium Moss are also good choices for toads and other amphibians.

In this terrarium, the substrate is rinsed or spot-cleaned once mid-week and replaced weekly.  As with most amphibian terrariums, I use only hot water to clean, with bleach or table salt added when something stronger is called for.

Water

The terrarium is sprayed once daily with de-chlorinated water.The toads also frequently soak in their water bowl…just bear in mind that they are poor swimmers, so provide an easily-exited container for their pool.

Terrarium Decorations

I set up the terrarium in manner that encourages easy visibility and feeding- time interactions.  This is not always possible with amphibian pets, of course, as secretive species will languish and die if unable to hide.  American toads take to it readily however, and so observations, feeding and cleaning are much simplified.  In this terrarium the toads have become quite tame – noticing when I enter the room hopping forward in anticipation of a meal.

I provide a Zoo Med Turtle Hut or a Cork Bark Hollow as a retreat, but the toads are more often to be found on top of it, scanning the moss for insects or, it seems, watching the room in general.

Light

The PLA-House Hood Light fits right onto the terrarium’s lid, and is useful for providing additional illumination without excess heat.

In planted terrariums, a Reptisun 2.0 Florescent Bulb will provide sufficient light for plants without exposing the toads to harmful levels of UVB – most amphibians have UVB “filters” in their skin, and actively avoid the sun.

Click: My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps American Toads, Bufo (Anaxyrus) americanus and Related Species, Part II to read the rest of this article.

Until than,

Frank

339 comments

  1. avatar

    Hi, Thanks for past advice, my oscar really does enjoy canned insects , maybe more than the toads- the toads eat silkworms if I patiently move them, but the oscar eats the whole large grasshoppers ane snail pieces and silkworms as they land in the water. I use large pellets for him also, and sometimes fish – is there something welse I can feed him to fill him up?

    I have read that American toads burrow in nature. They cannot really do this in the terrarium I have , is this necessary and will they be un der stress if they can not dig? (they hide below dead leaves and a fake plant? Thank you.

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback, I’m glad to hear that the information proved useful and that your animals are doing well.

    American toads do not need to burrow; they will, but actually seem to prefer naturally occurring hollows and caves if these are available. Around gardens and homes they readily occupy old flowerpots, spaces below sheds, etc. – in fact, some gardeners provide small artificial “toad houses” to encourage their presence.

    Our medium-sized Rock Dens http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/235238/product.web are ideally suited for American toads. Provide 1 for each animal if possible. Their use of dead leaves and such is fine, but field studies have shown that they tend to occupy permanent retreats, sometimes for years on end (wild individuals have reached 20+ years of age). A structure such as a plastic cave is more in tune with their needs – it is best to place the caves back in the same locations within the terrarium after you have changed substrates, etc.

    I’m glad that your oscar is enjoying his new foods…providing dietary variety is key to maintaining good health and a long life. I have collected oscars in the Florida Everglades, where they have been introduced. The color of wild individuals, which I assume are eating a very varied diet, is simply spectacular – unmatched by any I’ve seen in the trade.

    Following are some other of the foods we stock that are sure to find favor with your fish. Those containing marine animals (squid, krill) are fine to use on a regular basis, i.e. twice weekly. All are large and easily handled by medium to adult sized oscars.

    Jumbomin Shrimp and Krill Sticks
    Cichlid Jumbo Krill and Squid Sticks
    Jumbo Freeze Dried Krill
    Massivore Delight
    Frozen Silversides, Sand eels
    Beef Heart .

    Live earthworms are a great favorite and good source of nutrition as well.

    Please keep me posted, and thanks for updating me – it’s very helpful to learn of your results and ideas!

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    do they have ainything to dig or hide in.

  4. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    American toads will dig into soil and moss or will use Artificial Caves.

    They stay within very specific home ranges in the wild, and return to the same shelter each day. Therefore, in captivity their shelters should be returned to the same location after cleaning and substrate changes.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    Hello!
    i am so pleased to find other toad lovers on the web. i have been keeping toads for a long time and only one pressing question is on my mind. one of the american toads which i have had for a long time which i have sexed as female due to its large size, has been chirping at night ever since i caught her in the wild. i have read that only males can vocalize and will do so when piked up to make their gender apparent. my toad has never chirped during handling, but at night she chirps frequently and not just in the spring.

  6. avatar

    Hello Max, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog; glad you enjoyed the article.

    Both sexes can make a short “release call” when grabbed, but only the males produce the nighttime mating call that you are hearing. Their throats will darken as well, although in normally dark populations this may not be evident. Males in breeding condition also develop a small, thickened pad on each “thumb”…known as nuptial pads, these help them retain hold of females during amplexus (if you can locate a breeding pond, try to observe some night…males are difficult to dislodge from females, and will kick at you!).

    Captive conditions can alter normal breeding behavior, and so the toad may call after the breeding season has ended.

    Please let me know if you need any further information.

    Enjoy, best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    thanks for the information frank!

    i have another question for you regarding 5 lined skinks. i live in michigan and i decided to keep a young 5 lined skink i caught in the wild. the skink did well through the summer and fall but during winter when the nights got cold he did not show for several days at a time. i decided to turn off his light for the winter and let him hibernate as he would in the wild.i replenished the water ever so often but i could not tell if its absence was due to my skink or simply evaporation.

    when i checked it out in early spring he was dead on the top of the substrate. what did i do wrong?

  8. avatar

    Hello Max,

    Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for the feedback, you’re quite welcome. You raise a very important point, thank you for bringing it up.

    Putting animals into hibernation, especially those recently collected, is a difficult prospect in most cases. Wild-caught animals often maintain a cycle of activity and dormancy years after being collected, even if temperatures remain warm. A group of gharials (fish-eating crocodilians) that cared for at the Bronx Zoo became dormant seasonally even after 17 years in captivity. Interestingly, animals born to wild-caught parents usually remain active year-round if kept warm.

    The problem arises when the animals cease feeding, but temperatures are different from what they experience in the wild. Five-lined skinks usually over-winter below the frost line, but in Michigan would still be subjected to very low temperatures. The animal’s metabolism likely could not adjust to indoor temperatures…it may have used up its food reserves or dehydrated. A suitably long fasting period prior to hibernation is also critical. If you’d like to try again, please let me know…there are a few proven techniques you can try.

    Enjoy and best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    thank you for the information.
    if i find a skink again i may try but they are fairly rare so who knows.

  10. avatar

    Hello Max,

    Frank Indiviglio here. You’re very welcome.

    I was interested to hear that you found a five-lined skink in Michigan… you’re right near the northern limits of their range, which may explain their scarcity. They are not easy to find in NY either.

    In Florida, the southern subspecies scampers about on boardwalks along Lake Okeechobee in the manner of an anole, often climbing into bushes and trees as well. I was quite surprised to see this, as the northern race seems fairly secretive.

    Please keep me posted,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    there are actually toe species of lizard in michigan. the five lined skink which can be found as far north as traverse city (45th parallel) and the six lined race runner which lives in central michigan in small populations. i had never heard of lizards in michigan untill i came across the skink while looking for eastern hognose snakes. it was possibly the hardest animal ive ever caught!

  12. avatar

    Hello Max, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the locale information, much appreciated.

    If you captured the skink with tail intact, you’ve done better than most!

    I’m always surprised to encounter lizards in the north. Here in NY we also have 2 native species – the five-lined skink and the coal skink, and two introduced species – the eastern fence swift and the Italian wall lizard.

    The swifts were introduced to the Pine Barrens of Staten Island by none other than former Staten Island Zoo director and legendary snakeman Carl Kauffeld, as a food source for snakes in his collection. The wall lizards originated as escapees from a broken shipping crate, and have spread throughout much of Nassau County, Long Island. Subsequent purposeful introductions have led to their establishment in several locations within NYC, including the grounds of the NY Botanical Gardens and the Gelada Baboon Exhibit at the Bronx Zoo (not my doing!). A related wall lizard thrives in Cincinnati, Ohio and, I believe, elsewhere.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Your website is very interesting and I learned alot about toads. I have caught many toads but I just cannot seem to get them to eat and end up letting them go after a few days in fear of killing them. I believe that I have the correct enviornment for them. I have had very good luck with lepard geckos, painted turtles, gray tree frogs, and garter snakes, but I just can’t get my toads to eat is there anything I could do to encourage them to eat or do i need to wait longer for them to get hungry?

  14. avatar

    Hello Taylor, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog and your kind words. I apologize for the long delay in responding to you…an emergency surgery put me out of commission for a time.

    I applaud your thoughtfulness in releasing the toads that would not feed – that is the proper approach, but sadly not taken by some people. Toads vary a bit by species, but here are some general tips:

    Adults are hardest to adjust to captivity – they may live for 20 years or more in the wild, and have very specific home territories. Change can be difficult for many. Try with a younger animal or, if you have access to tiny insects such as pinhead crickets (for newly transformed toads), perhaps consider collecting some tadpoles (do not collect adults from breeding ponds – males will not feed, and females invariably become egg bound). Please write in if you need tadpole care information.

    Provide your toads with as large an enclosure as is possible; the bottom should be lined with soil that is deep enough to allow the toad to burrow completely out of sight. Mix a bit of sphagnum moss into the soil to retain moisture, and pile this about the terrarium as well to provide more cover, and add a shallow water bowl. Spray the tank daily but it is best not to dig the toads up to check on them – as long as the soil is slightly moist, they will be fine. In general, toads, even long term captives, prefer not to be handled. You can switch to a different type of enclosure as they adjust, but the above is best for wild caught animals at first. They will also use artificial caves, but deep earth should be available early on.

    Feed your toads in the evening, and leave the insects in with them overnight. Observe them from a distance as the sun sets, or perhaps add a night viewing bulb, (you’ll need to monitor the temperature if you choose this option) and you may very well be able to adjust them to captivity.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    Hello, I am so glad to have found such an informative and delightfully written blog regarding american toads. I have been keeping two toads for just over a year, and they have both been happy and healthy until recently. Yesterday I noticed that the smaller of the two seems to have lost the function of his back legs. He is currently still eating, making waste, and having his run of the tank by dragging himself around using his front legs. He appears to still be able to move his hip girdle, but the “knee” joint is straight, and the bottoms of his hind legs are straight back as I have seen in other paraplegic animals. I feel terribly for him, and would love to know any information you have so that I can both make him as comfortable as possible and care for him to the best of my ability. Thanks in advance for your time! Best Regards, Katie.

  16. avatar

    Hello Katie, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks so much for your kind words and for your interest in our blog.

    Unfortunately, the condition you describe is fairly common in captive American toads. Although only blood tests can provide an accurate diagnosis, in my experience a calcium and/or D3 deficiency is typically involved. An injection of Calcium Gluconate is sometimes effective in reversing the condition, but the prognosis is not promising once the animal exhibits severe symptoms. Please let me know if you’d like me to try to provide a reference to a veterinarian in your area. In the meantime, you’ll probably need to assist the animal in feeding…removing it to a bare bottomed terrarium and debilitating the food insects somewhat (i.e. removal of some legs) might be necessary. You may
    need to force feed it in time as well.

    American toads consume a great many species of invertebrates in the wild, more so than many other frogs and toads…young ones seem particularly prone to nutritional problems when given typical captive diets (adults are not often affected as seriously). If you’ll write in with some specifics re your animals’ diets and your use of vitamin
    /mineral supplements, I’ll be happy to provide some suggestions that might be beneficial to your other toad.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    hello frank

    i havent talked to you in a while but as you may remember i was trying to capture a wood frog. today while on a walk in the woods i unexpectedly came across a young wood frog. it is verry small perhaps a little larger than one centimeter. it is very energetic but i was just wondering since it has a verry small worm currentlyy wriggling in front of him and hes not eating it, how should i feed this little guy? should i let him get aclimated to his new set up? or should i feed him small insects instead of worms?

  18. avatar

    Hello Max, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Yes, I do remember…nice to hear from you again.

    Young wood frogs are quite shy and usually will not eat while being observed. Earthworms are a good food source but, until he takes them immediately upon being offered, most will burrow out of reach. While he’s adjusting to captivity, it will be easier to provide him with invertebrates that will move about on the surface.

    Some pet stores carry ¼ inch crickets, or these can be ordered via inter net dealers. If possible, you can also collect small sow bugs, millipedes, aphids and leaf litter invertebrates…please see my articles Collecting Leaf Litter Invertebrates and Collecting Insects: an Entomologist’s Technique, for additional ideas. Small moths and midges can be collected around outdoor lights, or you can use a Zoo Med Bug Napper Insect Trap.
    Provide the frog with lots of hiding spots and disturb it as little as possible for the time being. Wood frogs tend to be a bit hi-strung, but most calm down in time. Remember, at his current size your frog is on the menu of predators as small as fishing spiders, so it pays for him to be cautious.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    At what temperature should a toad go into hibernation? I have a toad who has adopted my house. He has been hanging around the back door and nearby steps for months. But now that it’s mid-October and temperatures are dropping at night into the low 40s and high 30s, with highs only in the 50s, I am concerned. He has dug himself into a window box- type flower pot and I have scattered some leaves over the area. But it is only about six inches deep and I am worried he will freeze to death if he doesn’t move to a deeper spot to hibernate. I don’t want to necessarily remove him from the wild because I am not sure that would be best for him. Please advise and thanks.

  20. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Interesting situation, and very kind of you to be so concerned. Toads may use the same home territories for over 20 years, so you may have a long term guest on your hands!

    Amphibians produce a unique natural anti-freeze that keeps individual cells from freezing, despite the fact that the animal appears, to the eye, “frozen”…I’ve found gray treefrogs hibernating just below a few inches of leaf litter in southern NY.

    Toads have this protection, but they do dig deeper in response to cold temperatures as well…much depends on where you are located. In southern NY, they burrow down for 6-10 inches, while in southern Canada depths of over 2 feet have been recoded. Normally I would advise you to leave the toad, but since it has chosen an artificial site, which will not allow him to go deeper as the temperatures drop, it might be better to place him in a hole of similar depth in a well-drained location; leaf cover is useful also. As the pot is, I imagine, free-standing, the dirt will also be unusually cold as it lacks the insulating effect of surrounding earth.

    It would be best to move the toad soon, so that it can adjust the depth of its burrow as necessary.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    Thanks so much for your reply Frank. I have never handled the toad before now, just enjoyed his company hanging around my house. There is an ivy-covered spot I could place him in that is right next to the door where he spent so much of the summer. The last time I was able to have a look at him in the pot was last night — it was already dark, but he seemed to be awake, eyes open, etc. This morning, his eyes appeared to be closed. He is burrowed down, with only his face somewhat exposed under some leaves I placed over where he is dug in, so I’m not getting a real good look at him, however. Last night I placed a cotton/polyester cloth very loosley over the pot, with lots of ways for him to get out if he wanted to try to provide some insulation as it was dropping to 39 degrees overnight. It will only be in the mid-40s today and there is a nor-easter coming our way, so I place some pastic sheeting above the pot to try to prevent it from getting too drenched. Again, he can easily leave the pot if he wants, the plastic would not prevent that. I think your proposal is a good one, I am just concerned about handling him and potentially stressing him out, if I move him. Please advise about this issue and again, thanks so much.

  22. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    They really are quite personable…some learn to hang around lights in order to catch the insects that are attracted.

    You can move the toad – it will be partially dormant now and not easily stressed. Place him in a similar situation, depth wise, as he is currently in – leaf litter and plant cover is okay, but once moved don’t worry about rain and such, the toad should be fine. Mainly you want it to be able to burrow down further if need be…toads will become active, within the burrow, through the fall, at which times they sometimes dig in further.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Is it dangerous to the toad that the flower pot he is dug into has potting soil in it? I am considering just moving this long pot into a tank (with a screen) large enough to hold it until the weather improves and gets warmer (it’s been in low 40s daytime, dipping to 39 degrees at night for the past few days). Then I could release him. Is that a bad idea?

  24. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    I would probably be better not to bring him indoors – temperature there will be much higher than outdoors, which will affect his metabolism, then it would have to re-adjust when put back out. The outdoor temperatures you mention will not harm him; he would have tried to get deeper down in the pot if that were necessary. Best to relocate him into a new hole, where he can dig deeper if need be, unless you want to keep him indoors for the entire winter.

    Potting soil is fine…pesticides/ fertilizers can be a problem, but the vermiculite in pottig soil, if any, is harmless.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    Hi Frank _ thanks as always for your prompt and very helpful replies. This blog is so imformative. Well, before I got your reply I let my anxiety get the best of me and brought the pot inside last night. I put it in a 36 inch by 20 inch screened tank. The pot had been under a plastic tarp against the cold rain, so I had not been able to see what was going on inside that pot. Once inside, I could see the toad was fine inside his burrow, wide-eyed and before long he emerged from his hole and looked around. Now he is out of the pot on the floor of the tank. So it looks like I’ll have a new winter housemate! I have two types of substrate to add to the tank, around the pot, which I’m leaving in there for now — it’s 30 inches long, so fills a good portion of the tank. One is natural coconut fiber that is mixed with water to expand, and the other is something called “Jungle Mix” fir and sphagnum peat moss. I couldn’t find what you mentioned you used in your blog — I hope these will work and appreciate any other suggestions. I’m going to get some small crickets from the pet store to feed him/her. (The neck area appears light, btw, but I haven’t really seen the dew lap.) Any other feeding or other instructions. The water in the inch-high bowl in the tank is bottled spring water. I know to spray only with spring water, but does the coconut fiber have to be reconstituted with spring water? Thanks as always for all your help. Mary

  26. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to amphibian-keeping!

    I find that Coconut fiber tends to cake onto insects, and may be ingested…I’ve not seen any problems, but usually reserve it for spiders and scorpions. Plain, soaked (wring till damp) sphagnum moss might be easiest for you to use, especially in a temporary situation – simply remove and replace once weekly. It won’t appear fouled, but ammonia will build up….some toads defecate solely in the water bowl, but it’s difficult to be sure about this. You can order direct from ThatPetPlace if you have trouble finding it locally.

    The toad may not feed, but they sometimes adjust to the warmer temps and do. Crickets are fine for the winter, as the toad will get enough variety when released, but try to add some waxworms if available. 1-3 weekly feeding will suffice, depending upon its metabolism…lease write back once you see a pattern. Powder 1 of the weekly meals with Reptocal.

    You can use tap water to spray and for the bowl, as long as you remove chlorine/chloramines with an instant water conditioner. Spring water is fine as well, but do not use distilled water.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  27. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    You are so kind to keep me in your blog-reply group! It makes things so much easier for someone like me, who is always worried I will do something to harm this little creature.
    Well, unfortunately, I had put down the reconstituted coconut fiber before I was able to read your response. I can definitely remove it when I next clean the tank (when should that be??) and stick only with the sphagnum moss, which, fortiutously, I purchased today on my pet store run to get the crickets. I saw it there, and it just seemed right. the way you described it, it does seem easier. The instructions sat it can be rinsed and reused a few times _ is that true?
    Anyway, the tank is currently filled in around the long planter with the reconstituted coconut fiber and some moss laid on top of it. (I used tap water to soak both, because the pet store said that was OK — Please let me know if this is a problem. I did not use the solution that makes it dechlorinated, but I will in future, if need be.) I’m using only spring water for the water bowl and spraying (how often?)
    I also purchased a 2.0 Florescent bulb and lamp as you suggested in your blog, because there are still herbs (chives and oregano) growing in that pot.
    The toad has been hiding behind the pot, but when I put in six small crickets, I do believe he ate at least one. He went for it and seemed to catch it, but I was watching from a distance, so ‘m not certain. I saw that you recommended crickets of no more than 3/4-inch length, so I decided to go small because I didn’t know what his prior feeding habits were. These were quite small — maybe a quarter inch — and they are easily able to hide in the substrate. I’m wondering if I should go with the larger ones? — the other size is about half to 3/4-inch. Please let me know.
    Last thing, this toads “throat” is light with darker stripes — does that say anything about whether it is male or female? Just wondering.
    Again, thanks so much for your time.
    Best regards,
    Mary

  28. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Recently some green toads(Bufo debilis) appeared at a local petstore. They are small(and apparently stay that way), cute, colorful, and surprisingly active. Have you any experience with these guys? Also, any experience with breeding captive bufonids?(I heard of someone breeding spadefoot toads S. holbrooki by forgetting to change the water dish…perhaps debilis which is also an oppurtunistic breeder will be easy to convince to breed?)

    Thanks much!
    btw, would you have guessed this article to have become so popular?

    ~Joseph

  29. avatar

    Hi there Frank, I just had to report the toad’s latest success! He has eaten three crickets today — two large ones and a small one that I’m sure of. I released a number of small crickets into his terrarium, so he may eventually run into them. Anyway, it seems the larger size crickets work well for him — I tried to specify under 3/4 inch at the pet store. One that he ate was probably half an inch and the other 3/4 or a bit larger. So this toad is definitely hungry! He’s hanging around one corner of his spacious terrarium so far, but he was kind of like that when he was outside my house, pretty much sticking to a spot, so I think that is just his nature — to pretty much hang in one place. He has two water pools (I put a second one in closer to the corner where he stays) but so far he hasn’t used them as far as I am aware. The substrate is damp, so I am not sure how often to spray the tank — that would be good to know if you don’t mind.

    Anyway, the one thing that can get this toad going is food! I did buy some was worms from the pet store, but when I got them home I realized they were all black and shriveled and dead. So I’m not sure whether I will be able to find a good source of wax worms.

    As always, thanks for you help!
    Best regards,
    Mary

  30. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Good news…thanks for the update.

    A light misting once daily is fine; the toad will soak if needed, they are very good at regulating moisture needs; they can even absorb water from the substrate via a porous patch of skin on the chest.

    Waxworms need only be used on occasion, be sure to remove any wood chips clinging to them; they take some time to move about after being in the frig best way to store them), but black ones are dead. If you supplement the crickets as mentioned earlier, then not so critical to use waxworms or other insects unless you plan on keeping the animal long-term. If you have a bait store available, earthworms are one of the best foods to use.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

  31. avatar

    Hello Joseph, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Nice to hear from you again.

    Green toads, Bufo debilis, are very well suited to terrariums; daily spraying encourages them to move about, as in the wild they are usually associated with dry habitats and limit activity to damp weather. I’ve bred a few toads – those from dry habitats are usually opportunistic breeders, unrestricted by season unless it is very cold. I’ve had Colorado River toads breed in summer, but they begin calling nearly any time extra water is provided. Green toads are reported to do the same in the wild – breeding during spring rains, but also in late summer; same with the spadefoot toads you mention. Eastern spadefoot toads in southern NY will breed from April-August.

    One group of giant sideneck turtles, Podocnemis expansa, that were kept together for 60+ years in a zoo in Central America bred for the first time when there pool was dropped accidentally and re-filled – the 1 day drought/rain cycle being enough to stimulate them after all those decades of unchanging conditions!

    It is as you say hard to predict what articles will become popular (isopods, for example, which you commented on often)…thanks as always for your interest.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  32. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    You can rinse the sphagnum and re-use; With 1 toad in a large tank, can use 3 times at least, rinse 1x/week. Change the water every 1-2 days. Spray daily, lightly (toad will soak in bowl\ when necessary, ambient humidity not so much of a concern.

    Tap water on occasion is okay, chlorine dissipates in 24 hours when exposed to air; more critical for aquatic creatures.

    Lager crickets, to ¾ inch are fine for adult toads; adult crickets okay on occasion…steady diet of adults can be rough on their digestive system, however.

    Sexing via throat color is not reliable, varies with age; also the ranges of several similar species overlap, so you may not have an American…hybrids occur as well.

    Well, you’re going about this very conscientiously…that toad certainly picked the right flowerpot!

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  33. avatar

    Hi Frank _ Thanks for all your wonderful advice over the weekend! Being able to ask and get questions answered from an expert such as yourself has been such a blessing.

    Little toad _ that’s what I called him when he was hanging around my back door _ seems to be doing just fine. I do have two more quick questions, though. On the UV lamp — I purchased a 2.0 Florescent bulb as you suggested, for the plants. It’s just a regular light bulb-type bulb that is attached to a circular lamp which I rest on the terrarium screen. This means that it can be placed in various locations and doesn’t have to be trained on the spot where the toad likes to hang out. Or it can be on him sometimes and other times at the other end of the tank (where the plants are.) Anyway, I noted your comment about toads being sensitive to UV light, so I’m wondering if or for how long I should place the light above where the toad is?

    Regarding spraying, should I just mist the terrarium in general or spray the toad with a light mist or both? (In other words, should I spray the toad?)

    Thanks as always for all your help!

    Best,

    Mary

  34. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad that the information was useful.

    You can keep the light over the plants, for however long they may need it each day. The toad doesn’t actually need any exposure and any that it gets incidentally will do no harm.

    No need to specifically try to hit the toad while spraying, but fine to do so if the toad is out while you spray.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  35. avatar

    Hi again Frank,

    The toad seems to love crickets, but I am trying to get some variety into his diet. I don’t know of any bait shops in my area, but there is a pet store that advertises it carries night crawlers. Would that be appropriate for the toad?

    Thanks much,

    Mary

  36. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Nightcrawlers might be too large, but check if you have a chance as they vary… a single worm can be broken into smaller pieces, if you don’t mind doing that.

    One way to improve the nutritional value of the crickets (in addition to powdering them with supplements) is to feed them a healthful diet for a day or 2 before offering them to the toad. Please see my article on Cricket diets for further info.

    A mealworm colony can also be set up to provide newly molted grubs and beetles…please see Making the Most of the Mealworm.
    Canned insects are another option…toads usually take readily to tong-feeding. Silkworms are just the right size…please see Feeding Canned Insects to Amphibians for details.

    Ask your store when the waxworms arrive…they will be in better condition at that time.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  37. avatar

    Hi again Frank _ thanks for your advice on feeding. I will definitely read those articles. I haven’t yet seen the night crawlers because that store is only open until 6 p.m. on weekdays, but the manager said they are European night crawlers, making them smaller and a good size for the toad, he says. I will check them out on Saturday — what would be a good length to feed?

    In the meantime, the toad seems to have a good appetite — he ate two crickets last night. I did note, however, that while the coconut fiber doesn’t coat the crickets, he does get a bit in his mouth when he goes after the crickets with his tongue, and he doesn’t seem to like it. I plan to remove the coconut fiber when I clean the cage over the weekend and was wondering if the fir and sphagnum peat moss I bought would work? I can return the bag if not. I have
    the sphagnum moss as well, but thought it would be good to lay down something more soil-like in some spots because the crickets would be hard to see in all that moss and this toad is really an opportunist when it comes to catching them. He doesn’t like to move about in search of them!

    (One last thing _ last night one cricket was standing near the terrarium glass and the toad hit his tongue against the glass a few times. Can that be harmful to his tongue? I assume it’s because he doesn’t realize the glass is there because he can’t see it?)

    Again thanks. If the weather continues to be so nice, maybe I can find some earthworms in the yard this weekend! I wonder if the toad would have left that pot on his own in search of worms if I hadn’t brought him in, now that it’s supposed to reach almost 70 degrees today. Oh well.

    Best,

    Mary

  38. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Assuming the toad is an adult, it could handle a worm of 2-4 inches.

    They deal with soil in the wild, and often in terrariums, moss is just a bit safer, just in case. You can leave a clear spot when feeding, but the toad will catch them either way. Its metabolism is fairly slow now, even though it is at room temperature, and so it will not feed as vigorously as it will once spring arrives.

    Their tongues are very tough…in the wild toads take stag beetles, millipedes and all sorts of invertebrates that would seem hard to handle.

    A toad might move about on a warm day, but don’t worry about food intake and all – in the wild, it would not likely be stimulated to feed by a short period of warm weather.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  39. avatar

    Frank – great information, thanks!

    I have an American Toad that we found in my sump pit – we have had two American Toads winter in my basement for the last 4 years (1 for 3 years, then 1 last year). They hibernate under my dryer!

    This year proved to be no different, except we are going through major construction and I was concerned about his welfare with all the work. Plus, we actually have doors without escape routes now :). So I brought him in and he is currently in a 10gal tank with paper towels (I want to make sure he is pooping ok before I change the substrate), he has a dish of water and a dish of roaches. These are dubia roaches I use for feeder insects for all my reptile/amphibians (not the house roaches people normally think of).

    My questions are about burrowing and brumation. I was planning on using a mixture of eco-earth(coco-fiber product) and organic soil so he can burrow – I feel more comfortable with that then moss, since that would be closer to what he would find in my area. Do I need to keep him in a cooler area – or just not add heat/light? Do they NEED to go into a brumation period? Is it better to just put him back out and hope for the best?

    With feeding the dubia roaches – the roaches can’t climb out of the bowl, so I don’t have to worry about him eating dirt while catching his dinner. And I guess I need to supplement his food with calcium (with or without D3)? He has already eaten a few roaches and has been soaking.

    I’ve had a couple people tell me to just put him back outside – but again I’m worried about the construction.

    If I winter him inside, I can’t put him back outside in the summer can I? I’d be afraid he wouldn’t be able to find food after spending the winter having dinner handed to him. And if I keep him – what size tank should I get him? I know the 10 gal is too small, it just happens to be the only size I had left!

    Sorry for all the questions — thanks for your informative blog, and your assistance with my questions!

    stephanie

  40. avatar

    Hello Stephanie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words…glad you find the articles useful.

    It is as you suggest a bit late to release the toad, as they are usually settled in or at least near their hibernation sites by now.

    Coco-soil can work, I’m just concerned about other foods – crickets and such, that might be used; the coco fiber is quite fine, and sticks easily to insects; toads deal with this in the wild, but it doesn’t always work as well at home. Sphagnum is safe, and toads take very well to it – burrow below or they will use a small cave. Easy to clean as well, just rinse or replace once weekly.

    Dubia roaches are an excellent as a basis of the diet, but add in some crickets, newly molted mealworms, mealworm beetles and/or waxworms on occasion

    Room temperatures are fine…they will eat even in low 60’s; some amphibians keep a brumation cycle even if kept warm, but toads usually remain active; As regards actually cooling the animal down, it’s hard to hit just the right temperature; one season of year-round activity will do no harm.

    You can release the toad in the spring – they use the same territories for years and it will re-adjust right away; it’s ability to catch food will not be impacted by the little “vacation” you are providing.

    A 15-20 gallon tank would be fine.

    Powder every other meal or so with a vitamin/mineral supplement (with D3) such as Reptivite.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  41. avatar

    Hi there Frank _

    Just wanted to give you a quick update on the toad, who is adjusting nicely. I was able to remove all the coconut fiber mulch over the weekend and replace with sphaghum moss only _ what a great idea! I put in a few more flat stones as well, because the toad has plopped himself onto the one stone that was already in the tank. So he has various “tables” to feed from, ie these stones.

    As soon as I put in crickets, he went right after them on the moss as though it were grass _ and got no coconut fiber dust on his tongue, which he definitely did not like. So it’s actually quite a natural environment for him. Thanks so much for suggesting it!

    I also was able to find a good source of wax worms — nice and white, wiggly and juicy. So he ate five crickets on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as four or five was worms both days. This little fella has a good appetite! He probably would have eaten more if I had offered it. Is there ever a danger of overfeeding?

    I do have a question about the calcium supplement — I’ve dusted once a week at this point. (The instructions say 1-2 times a week.) Meaning, on Saturday he ate five supplement-dusted crickets. He definitely will eat them, though he doesn’t like them as much as the “plain” ones. So here’s my other question: some of the powdery supplement got onto his flat stone and I remembered what you said about toads taking in moisture through their skins. Therefore I wasn’t sure whether I should spray that stone — would it be good for him to take in supplement that way, through moisture, or not? Is it OK if the dry powder remains on the stone he spends all his time sitting on?

    That’s it, except to add that I was looking for earthworms as I raked leaves in the yard yesterday after the rain the day before, but none appeared. Then this morning, as I was outside with the dogs, voila, a worm was right outside my door. So I brought it in — it was about four inches long — and dropped it into the tank. The toad perked right up and tried to catch it with his tongue, but it seemed to be too long. So I cut it in half as you had suggested, and he immediately ate one wiggling half. He delayed with other until it stopped moving, so I eventually removed it. Bottom line — wax worms seem to be the perfect size; night crawlers (there’s a pet store that carries them) may be too long for him to handle.

    This toad smart — he has learned to expect something yummy when I approach his tank — he perks right up in anticipation. I am offering live food with tongs, to get him used to accepting food that way, and he goes right for it, as long as it moves. We’ll see if he might eventually accept canned foods this way in the future. The only things I’ve found so far are grasshoppers and crickets (which I can easily find live). What else is out there?

    Thanks as always — this blog is the greatest!

    Mary

  42. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the update and kind words.

    I’m glad the moss has worked out for you…most amphibians don’t see it in nature, but it’s ideal for all types.

    An adult toad really only needs about 6-8 insects each week; they’ve evolved to eat as much as possible when food is available…in captivity they will always appear hungry. You can spread the meals out over 7 days, or skip days if you prefer. A bit more wouldn’t hurt, however…once released nature will take over. Waxworms are high in fat and chitin, use only 2-3 every 7-10 days.

    Use vitamin/mineral supplements 2x weekly. Probably best to wash powder from the rocks…no info either way available, just something I’ve always done.

    Earthworms are ideal and can be used whenever available, even as a staple food.
    Canned silkworms are a good size and offer nutrients that may be missing from other insects. Try snails as well…toads take small snails and slugs in the wild.

    As you’ve noticed, toads are among the most responsive of all amphibians, and well suited to captivity. You might an article I wrote on Southern Toad Learning Abilities.Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  43. avatar

    Frank -

    Thanks for your assistance, much appreciated. He is settling in, eating and soaking. Before I do anything as far as substrate I want to make sure he goes potty.

    Considering were I found him and being wild caught, I want to make sure I don’t need to take him in for a fecal check for parasites. I have not noticed any poop, is this normal for it to take a few days. He has been eating everyday. I haven’t noticed anything funny in his water when I change it and since he is only on paper towels I would imagine I should see some signs…

    When feeding – he has taken fine to eating out of a dish (the dubia roaches and even mealworms or wax worms – will all stay contained in a glass dish). I worry about him accidentally eating the moss or coco/earth when going for food. This is the main reason I switched from feeding crickets to any of my critters. (plus if left in the tank, crickets may nibble at the toes of the critters if they are hungry) Is the moss safer than coco/earth if he eats it, accidentally? I always thought the stringy stuff was more dangerous if they ingested it.

    Since I haven’t put anything in there yet, I’m open to whatever will make him happier and safer. We have already grown attached to him —

    Thanks again — its nice to be able to find helpful and knowledgeable people when you need them.

  44. avatar

    Hello Stephanie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I’ve never known otherwise healthy toads to have trouble defecating…its metabolism may be a bit slow due to temperatures or the fact that it was collected late in the season. It is sometimes difficult to see fecal matter if in water, but you will likely notice something. Hold off on food for a few days until some feces pass.

    Sphagnum would seem problematical, but it works very well long term with toads – not often ingested in large strings that would cause a problem. You can leave the toad on paper towels if you prefer – they do fine if given an artificial cave or other shelter – only spadefood toads are stressed if unable to burrow.
    The toad will have some sort of parasites but in my experience most are self-limiting in that they need a second host, often a snail, in order to complete the life cycle. Those that directly re-infect toads are rarely a problem if the terrarium is kept clean. Medicating amphibians is quite tricky, and often does more harm than good unless a real problem is noticed. I’ve had a number of toads of several species live into their teens and, with marine toads, their 20’s, without a fecal ever being run. The fact that they adjust so well to captivity may be a factor – stress knocks out the immune system and leaves animals of all types (us included!) open to attack by otherwise rather benign microorganisms.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  45. avatar

    Ok, thanks again, Frank!

    I’ll keep him off food for a few days and watch for defecating. I want to put him in substrate so he can burrow, I just want to make sure he is otherwise ok first.

    I’m pretty sure I have the sphagnum moss as well – so he will get some artificial cover in the tank with just paper towels on the bottom until he potty’s for me. Then he gets a nice comfy set up.

    I was only planning on doing a fecal if he didn’t defecate – if he is impacted because of something he came across down in the sump pit, he’ll get a vet visit. But if he potty’s, then I’m usually comfortable. Just not being familiar with the American Toad care, I was worried. I’ll give it some more time, and keep you updated.

    Thanks again — especially for such a quick response! :)
    Stephanie

  46. avatar

    Hello Stephanie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Sounds like one lucky toad…you’re doing all that you can. I’m sure it will be fine; they almost always go off feed if there’s an impaction/blockage.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  47. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I’ve taken your advice and ordered some canned goodies for the toad –caterpillars, grasshoppers and snails — as well as plastic feeding tongs and cricket supplement to bulk up those crickets before I feed them to the little guy. I would love some advice about feeding the canned stuff. I plan to start using the plastic tongs with live food so he associates them with feeding. (He already does that with the metal tongs I use.) What should I do, though, when I introduce the non-moving food to get him interested enough to flick his tongue at it?

    Also, with the cricket feed, should I just sprinkle some in the jar with the crickets? (I already keep potato chunks in there.)

    Thanks much and take care,

    Mary

  48. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Feed the crickets as much as they will consume (they usually eat quite a bit), for 1-2 days if possible. Potato, orange etc. will supply moisture and nutrients also, just watch for mold, which kills the crickets rather quickly. If this becomes a problem, you can switch to Cricket Drink Supplements, which also provide some nutrition.

    Good idea to habituate the toad with live food…just wiggle the canned insects slightly to attract its attention. You’ll need to break the grasshoppers into smaller pieces, and discard the legs.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  49. avatar

    Thanks much Frank,

    So I just sprinkle the cricket feed you recommended into the jar and add a piece of potato, carrot, etc. for moisture, right? Then let the crickets feed for a few days.

    I’ve noticed the toad now spends much of the night soaking in his pond, then comes out when I turn the light on above his terrarium in the morning. Is that usual behavior for a toad? I never see him sleeping — I’m not there watching all the time, of course, but what is the usual sleep-wake behavior for a toad?

    Take care and thanks as always for all your helpful info,

    Mary

  50. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Yes, just let the crickets eat as much as they want…they’re quite noisy, and call day and nite (and it is not the “musical” tone of our native field crickets!). Give then some empty bathroom tissue rolls or similar to hide in and climb on; best to use a bare-bottomed plastic terrarium (ventilation is important) or cricket keeper, clean with hot water in a sink not used for food prep. when empty.

    The few studies that have been done on amphibian sleep indicate that it is a very different process than in most mammals. Various processes slow down, but they are always more or less alert. In the wild, toads hide by day and likely sleep at then. Captives are invariably active day and night – I’m a bad sleeper myself, but still do not understand how they do it! Leaving the water as you arrive may be in anticipation of a meal.

    Happy Halloween… the whole toad-witch’s brew connection may have some basis in reality – their skin secretions are quite powerful, could very well cause fatalities if consumed!

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  51. avatar

    Hi Frank _ Thanks as always for all the good advice!

    Just a quick update and, as always, a question or two. The toad ate very well over the weekend — he had four small crickets (the very smallest size) dusted with the vitamins, as well as one mealworm also vitamin-dusted. Then on Sunday, I found a three-inch long earthworm while raking. He went right for it when I dropped it in the tank and sucked it in, like, I imagine, a snake does with his prey. He also had two soft-bodied slug-like creatures that look something like the snails on the picture on the can-of-snails I bought. I’m not sure what these are, but I found them in nature so hope that is OK. He sucked them right in too.

    Which brings me to my other question: We have (unfortunately) every fall an infestation of crickets in the baseement. Not tons, but the occasional one or two each day. Years ago, I used to have an exterminator spray to get rid of them, but now I have dogs and I don’t want them exposed to that accidentally. I caught a couple of these (they aren’t that big, but look different from the kind you buy — a somewhat plumper body with a bit longer legs and a high jump.) I fed them to the toad, as well, and he went right for them. I know this is after the fact, but is it OK to feed them to the toad?

    Lastly, it may be that he wasn’t hungry after such a sumptious weekend, but yesterday evening I put in a few of the tiny crickets that had been bulking up on the gut load all weekend, and they skittered away before he could catch them. They are very small and easily hidden in the sphaghum moss, but on the other had, he didn’t even try. I wonder if I should stick to the large 1/2 to 3/4 inch crickets, which he easily catches?

    Thanks as always for your advice, it is truly appreciated!

    Best,
    Mary

  52. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Nice to hear the toad is doing well.

    Slugs are fine; the crickets may be any of a few native “field crickets” or camel crickets, which have a noticeably humped back and long rear legs; all are good food items; the rear legs of large adults may be too big for the toad, but the crickets shed these as a defense mechanism if you pinch the “knee”.

    ½ to ¾ inch crickets are a good size, but give the toad a day or 2 between meals, especially if it shows no interest in food.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  53. avatar

    Hello again Frank,

    Just giving an update. My toad has still not defecated. I gave him a few days without adding food, changing his water daily – and nothing.

    After days of watching him sit and stare at the glass dish that his roaches ‘magically’ appear for him to eat, I couldn’t take it anymore and started feeding him again. He always eats what I give him – which is usually 4 baby roaches. He eats them within a few minutes of dropping them in, and then continues to stare at the bowl ;) It’s cute in a sad way!!

    I am dusting every other feeding using calcium w/o D3 since the roaches are gutloaded – but I can’t remember if I need to use the calcium with the D3 for him or not (I have both).

    His water color has been funky every few days, so maybe he is urinating(?) in it — but nothing I can tell to indicate defecation. Should I be worried? It’s been 11 days since I brought him in from the sump pit.

    I’d love to add substrate and fun stuff to his tank so he doesn’t just sit there and stare at the glass feeding container — but I need to make sure he goes first! I know with some of my lizards we use a luke warm soak — would that help??

    Thanks so much for your continued assistance!!!

    Stephanie

  54. avatar

    Hello Stephanie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Good news…The discoloration you’re seeing in the water indicates that the toad is defecating. They do not pass urine separetely (the liquid they release when grabbed is stored water, not urine), but rather a semi-solid mass of nitrogenous wastes. This breaks down rapidly in water. You may see a solid fecal mass at times, but usually only when the toad has consumed adult insects with thick exoskeletons and other indigestible parts (wing covers, ovipositors, etc.). Also, the toad would have stopped eating some time ago if a blockage was involved.

    If, however, you do have an animal that is not passing feces in the future, please cease feeding as you will do far more harm than good by continuing. Most herps are amazing in their abilities to adjust their metabolisms to food supply – gharials I kept for years at the Bronx Zoo went off feed for 3 months each year but remained very active, as exhibit temperatures were high – yet lost barely any weight; recently its been shown that some snakes continue to grow despite prolonged fasts. An adult toad at room temperatures would be fine for a month or more without food.

    You can use a supplement with D3.

    I think all will be fine, but please write back if you have any other concerns.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  55. avatar

    Hey there Frank, It’s been awhile since I sent you an update! The toad seems to be doing well and has even moved (slowly) to the other side of his tank. He is defintely not the explorer type — seems very contented to sit in one place for hours. He does like to burrow down into the sphaghnum moss, basically sitting ton the bare glass with it all around him. There are places he could hide, but he’s not really doing that, just seems to like to burrow. The question I have is travel — over Thanksgiving, is it OK to leave him for 3-4 days, or would it be better to take him with us in a small tank? He’s never been handled or moved, so don’t know if that would be more stressful than staying put. And if he does stay put, what should we do in prep for that? Thanks as always! Mary

  56. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Glad to hear that the toad is doing well.

    Definitely better to leave the toad home. Just spray the moss heavily before you leave, and perhaps add an extra water bowl. No problem at all if the moss dries out, the toad will soak in the water bowls. Best not to leave any food in with the toad while you are away.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  57. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Is there a reason a toad sometimes appears bloated? Our toad has appeared that way since yesterday. He had two 1/2-inch crickets on Saturday, and I caught him a four-inch earthworm on Sunday. He definitely appeared interested and threw his tongue at it a few times, but then gave up. Rather than let the worm disappear into the moss, I removed it and put it in a jar with some damp moss for “later.” I didn’t feed him at all on Sunday, and this morning he still looked a bit fat. I’m wondering if this is from soaking in water — it does seem to come and go in cycles — or if this is something to be concerned about or a reason to withhold food.

    Thanks as always for taking the time to reply!

    Take care,

    Mary

  58. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I hope all is well.

    Bloating can be a result of gas produced by a bacterial infection, but as it comes and goes, and the toad does not seem otherwise ill, I’m inclined to believe it’s just over-fed. Toads have evolved to eat as much as possible when food is available, due to the vagaries of catching food in the wild…this works well outdoors, but in captivity it usually results in obesity, blockages, etc.

    Feed every 3rd day (M-TH-Sun), and skip 3-4 days on occasion. The toad will always “act” hungry, but don’t worry; they simply slow down their metabolisms to cope with reduced meals. Remember, its system may be thrown off, as internal controls are on a winter cycle, so err on the side of less food. If the toad stops feeding and appears ill, please let me know.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  59. avatar

    Thanks, Frank, for this advice.

    I haven’t fed the toad since Saturday, so hopefully we can get him on a nice every other day feeding schedule now. When I feed today, I was planning to give him just one half-inch cricket. What is an appropriate size “meal” on the schedule you suggest? Also, you had said earthworms were a really good food item for toads. I still have that 4-inch worm, who’s still very much alive in the jar I put him in. Should I offer it to the toad again, and when? Or should I just release it and let it get on with its life outdoors? (The worm, not the toad, of course.)

    Lastly, I still have quite a few healthy wax worms in the fridge, which the toad always seems to enjoy. They are the easiest food type to dust with the calcium/vitamin powder, but I know you said just three wax worms a week, which is what I’ve been sticking to. Are wax worms still OK, and is it OK to give him two at once?

    Thanks for all your advice. He does look less fat today, so hopefully he’s just been gaining weight and needs to go on a diet!

    Take care and best,

    Mary

  60. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I would go with less frequent feeding, sorry if I wasn’t clear last time – M-TH-Sun –Wed; after a round like that, then skip 3-4 days and start over. Earthworms provide much more in the way of nutrients than crickets – after a 4 inch worm, skip 3-4 days. Stay away from waxworms for a few weeks, they are very high in chitin and fat (toss them outside for the birds, as they will probably die in the frig shortly).

    Remember, the toad will always act hungry, but you will do more harm than good by overfeeding.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  61. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks as always for your quick response. I have not fed the toad since Saturday, making it now four days without feeding. I am a little concerned because he is acting a bit unusual — he has taken up a spot in a corner behind the long flower pot, which is still inside the terrarium. This is the only place where there is still coconut fiber substrate, because I couldn’t easily get it out from there and he never went there anyway. Everywhere else there is moss. I’m not around all the time, but it seems he is not soaking in his ponds or moving around at all. I don’t know if he is actually bloated, because he’s normally been a pretty fat little toad. And he is not one to move around much, just picking out a spot and staying there. So, I don’t know if this is behavior to be concerned about or not. I haven’t tried to feed him at all, so I don’t know if he would refuse or accept food. What would you suggest? Should I try offering something tonight and see if he takes it? If so, what would be best? — I have that earthworm, which is 4 inches and might be a lot for him to handle, as well as half-inch crickets. I know you said not to feed wax worms. Or should I just give him another day or two without feeding?

    Again, thanks so much for your help. I am concerned that he might have an infection as you mentioned. What would be the symptoms, and how would he have contracted it?

    Best as always,

    Mary

  62. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I would leave him for another day or 2 and then offer crickets. He may just be reacting to the season’s progression – his system has changed. Some wild caught toads stay active all winter, others slow down.

    Amphibian medicine is still rather more an art than a science, even in zoos; in any event, it would be difficult to distinguish illness (lethargy, non-feeding) from normal winter behavior. We don’t know much about how toads contract infections – often the change from a wild to captive environment renders normally benign bacteria more serious, or parasites (that are always within wild animals) develop un naturally high populations. But chances are the toad has eaten enough for awhile and is fine.
    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  63. avatar

    Hi again Frank — and thanks again for all your help.

    There is what I perceive, at least, to be a bit of good news about the toad. I prodded him yesterday to move from that spot in the corner behind the flower pot — just tapped his butt and he hopped away to what had been his previous favorite spot in the middle of the tank, dug under the moss. Then, around 2 a.m. I happened to check on him and he was perched on top of one of his hideaways. By morning, he had moved to the other side of the tank, near his previous corner but dug into the moss rather than the coconut fiber, which I consider an improvement.

    He still hasn’t soaked in his ponds as far as I can see. I am spraying the tank more frequently as a result — basically once a day lightly. I still haven’t fed him and will offer a cricket or two on Friday or Saturday as you advised. Regarding that, I wonder if crickets can be a source of bacterial infection if they have been feeding on the gut load? I have four in two separate jars who have been feeding for about 10-11 days. There’s a potato slice in the jars, and the gutload has turned greenish, which I assume is mold? Should I just get rid of these crickets? I was thinking of buying some fresh ones when I do finally feed him again. But are these others a hazard and how can I keep them more safely? I’m not sure I want to get into breeding crickets, which is why these jars have worked well until now. (They’re plastic peanut butter jars with holes bored in the lids, in which I place about four crickets each, with the gutload and a potato slice.)

    As for the toad’s demeanor, he does seem to perhaps be just slowing down his metabolism for winter as you say. His eyes are half open instead of bright and alert as before. He’s obviously moving around less, but he never was that active anyway. The room is kept at 69-70 degrees, which I think you said was a good temperature for American toads.

    Thanks as always for your help.

    Take care,

    Mary

  64. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about his movements, or soaking. A once daily spray is fine and unless he is completely dormant, he’ll move to the water bowl if needed (they can locate water ¼ mile distant in the wild).

    69-70 F is fine, he’s likely just slowing down.

    The crickets are not likely a source of bacterial infection – those that cause problems are everywhere, and largely impossible to eliminate…concern arise when the immune system weakens.

    “Feeder” crickets (in contrast to native species) do not do well in humid conditions, but do need to drink. Small, well-ventilated terrariums are ideal for keeping them, and allow one to stock up. Using water cubes does away with the need for potato, which sometimes molds quickly.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  65. avatar

    H Frank,

    Good news on the toad! He has finally gotten up the energy to jump back up onto his flower pot, where he has been contentedly hanging out for the past few days. That’s the first time he’s gone up there since I put it in his tank.

    Also, finally fed him on Saturday — two crickets after a week break, and he happily lapped them both up. Now I’m wondering if I can feed him that earthwork tmw (skipping two days without feed as you suggest). Or stick with crickets? We are leaving on Wednesday, and he will be alone until Saturday evening. So, what should I feed to tide him over those four days? Also, I assume he will get down and soak in his ponds, because no one will be there to spray him. I don’t think he has been soaking since taking up residence in the flower pot.

    Look forward to hearing from you and thanks!

    Mary

  66. avatar

    Mary

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Glad to hear the toad is doing well. You can feed an earthworm before you leave; no need to provide food for the 4 days you’ll be away, in fact better not to leave live food unattended.

    You can wet the substrate more heavily than usual before you go; the toad will also soak when needed.

    I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  67. avatar

    Thanks Frank — and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

    One last quick queston — do you think the toad will leave the planter he’s nestled in to soak and get water? (It’s about six inches high) Or should I nudge him out of it before I leave so that he’s in the damp substrate and within hopping distance of the water? Also, just that one earthworm today and no crickets? I could give him one cricket before we leave Wednesday and make sure he eats it, if that is a good idea.

    Take care and happy holiday!

    Mary

  68. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks, for your good wishes.

    The toad will leave the planter or burrow down when it becomes to dry. As for feeding, either food will be fine, the toad will adjust its activity levels and metabolism accordingly – really a very different process than with mammals or birds. Actually, although stressful, at room temperatures the toad could go for several weeks without any food at all.

    Good luck and enjoy the holiday,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  69. avatar

    Hi Frank — Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! The toad did just fine while he was left on his own for a few days. Thanks for all your advice.

    I do have one concern, though. It concerns the cricket drink I bought for the feeder crickets. The crickets have been dying out faster since I started using this and the dead ones appear very dry and dehydrated. I have followed the directions on the jar, filling a bowl and refilling with new material every couple of days. Anyway, I’m not concerned about the cricekts, but about the toad, and that he might ingest some of those blue crystals, which do cling to the crickets because they huddle in that bowl. (there’s also gutload in the tank). I assumed the crystals were safe for the toad, but then when I threw out the stuff yesterday when I was cleaning the cricket tank and ran water on it, I realized that it grows and becomes almost plastic-like. So I’m wondering if this is safe and whether I should go back to potato chunks or orange slices and just change them every few days? The toad has not been wanting to eat since he was fed on Saturday (last feeding before that was Wednesday before we left). I don’t know that he has ingested any of the blue crystals, but am a bit concerned.

    Thanks as always for your help, Mary

  70. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the good wishes, I hope your Holiday was enjoyable also. I’m glad that all went well with the toad.

    I’ve had not problems concerning blockages with any of the products mentioned in the article Gel Based Water Sources for Crickets, and I’ve not heard any bad reports concerning others. Crickets are tricky – fine line between enough water and dehydration. Considering that you are keeping only a small number (and, especially, that you are extremely careful and concerned!), you can use orange slices. These contain a good deal of water, plus nutrition…just discard before mold becomes visible. I find that oranges last longer than potatoes or apples.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  71. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    It’s been awhile — hope everything is fine with you!

    The toad has been doing well, though he has definitely slowed down and is not eating much at all. I am following your feeding schedule — feed, skip two days, feed again — and he eats just one 1/2-inch or so cricket each feeding time. If I think he might want more, I drop another in, but he ignores it, so I take it out.

    He also spends most of the time in the long flower pot that’s in his terrarium, where he digs into the soil, sometines with just his nose peeking out. It seems he senses it’s winter outside, even though the “climate” indoors is pretty much always around 68-69 degrees F.

    I also am pretty certain that he is blind in one eye, and probably has been all along. His right eye is bright and green-rimmed, and he responds quickly to anything that goes into that view. The other looks a little dull, not bright, and the socket in that eye looks smaller (from the back view, almost like it’s stunted.) Most importantly, though, he does not respond to stimuli when it is on that side only. Just thought I’d pass that on for your comment — I could be wrong, but it seems in retrospect that even when he was still hanging outside by my door during the fall that he didn’t respond to stimuli on the left side.

    In any case, the reason I am really writing (besides wanted to wish you a wonderful holiday!) is that because he eats so seldom and does not like or eat crickets powdered with the Calcium/D supplement, I have not been coating the crickets with this during the past weeks that he has slowed down. Is this a problem? Is there a way to spray the crickets with something less obvious and less unappealing to him?

    Lastly, and most importantly, we will be going away for up to a week. We were gone over Thanksgiving for four days, and he did OK, but this is a longer period. I plan to really soak the spaghnum moss and leave his bathing ponds full, of course, and the soil damp in his pot. But no one will be spraying him during this period. (He doesn’t bath very often since he has slowed down, so I have been spraying at least once a day). Please advise about what we should do to keep him safe and happy while we are gone. I know not to leave live food in the terrarium.

    Thanks as always for your help — and again, have a wonderful holiday!

    Best always,
    Mary

  72. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the update…you’re doing quite well for someone new to toad keeping!

    Going without calcium shouldn’t be a problem for an adult over a few months, but you can use Calcium Spray if you’d like to be extra careful (and you do, I know!).

    Do as you’ve mentioned for the trip, and cover ¾ of the terrarium’s top with plastic to keep the humidity up. I’m sure he’ll soak, but the plastic will be good insurance. Remove when you return.

    Eye injuries are rather common in wild amphibians; they usually get on quite well, although there is a “learning period” involved.

    Enjoy your trip and a happy and healthy New Year to you and yours,

    Frank Indiviglio

  73. avatar

    Thanks, Frank, for your quick reply.

    One more quick question — we normally have a 2.0 Florescent lamp on during the day over the plants in the flower pot, which are on one side of the tank (the light shines on about a quarter of the tank or so.) I know the toad doesn’t need this lamp, it’s just for the plants. There’s also a lamp with a regular 60 watt bulb high above the tank, just to provide general lighting. At Thanksgiving, I left these two lamps on a timer that came on for about eight hours a day, and was planning to do the same over the Christmas period while we are away. However, if I cover three-quarters of the tank with plastic, this may not be a good idea. I assume the plants could get by without the florescent lamp for a week, and could just leave the regular lamp on the timer. What do you think is best?

    Thanks for taking the time to reply — and Happy New Year to you too!

    Mary

  74. avatar

    Hello Mary, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Yes, good point – better to leave the light off, lest heat build up in the terrarium

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  75. avatar

    Hi again Frank,

    Just when I thought I had asked everything, another quick question! I really appreciate all of your advice, especially over how to keep the toad safe and healthy for the week we will be gone.

    He is absolutely not interested in eating now — I offered a cricket yesterday, and even though it he had not eaten since Saturday, he did not want it and even closed his eyes and let it crawl over him, so I eventually removed it. I hope this is just because he is in some sort of semi-hibernation state. He stays in the same spot in his flower pot, not dug in, but nestled among the plants, which means he is exposed to some degree to the 2.0 florescent light bulb I have over them. When I touch him, he doesn’t move unless I give him a little push. He feels soft and dry to the touch at these times, since he is not soaking. I just hope he is OK and this is just normal winter behavior, even for a toad who is indoors.

    I guess I’m concerned because he will be alone for a week, and probably won’t have eaten anything for days, unless he takes something tonight. We could take him with us in a small tank, but I assume he is better off in his own habitat.

    As always, thanks for your assessment, advice and help! And again, Happy Holiday!

    Mary

  76. avatar

    Hello Mary,

    It’s almost certainly winter behavior – no real way to distinguish t from sickness without veterinary assistance, but the toad is following the pattern of an animal slowing down for winter (cycle will be “off” since he’s indoors, but basic pattern is there). Don’t worry at all about food – even in warm weather, toads can go for weeks without eating, in winter its metabolism is so slow that it’s not a concern at all.

    Humidity is more important, but wetting terrarium down as we discussed and covering the top should be enough. You can create a water reserve in a pebble filled pan and pile moss and the toad on top of that, but not necessary and the toad may move away in any event.
    Have a good trip and holiday,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  77. avatar

    I have a sick American toad. It was under fed. Got trapped and could not get to water dish. it was not moving much and somewhat skinney. I placed it in its water dish and soon it grew in size. Currently it is a little sluggish and It will not eat. the kids had been feeding it spiders. I purchased wax worms and it just turns away from them. Should I continue with the wax worms or try crickets?

  78. avatar

    Hello Wayne, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog (and in the unfortunate toad!);

    Re-hydrating was the most important step; crickets may stimulate it to feed sooner than waxworms, although eventually t should take most any insect. Be sure it has plenty of places to hide and burrow, and leave food in over-night; use immature crickets as adults might nibble on a lethargic toad. Sometimes American toads will not feed in winter even if kept warm; usually this is not a problem and they lose little weight…however I’d keep trying to feed yours as it likely has no fat reserve to draw from.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  79. avatar

    I would love to be able to get any information regarding my az tree frog. After several years he is seams to be hibernating in his habitat. He has not eaten or soaked in water on his own for a while. I took him out tonight and soaked him for 10 min or so. His body was cold and lifeless but soft. He seamed to be waking up for a second than sopped. Any ideas I dont want it to die

  80. avatar

    Hello Butch, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Normally I would say the animal is hibernating and should be sprayed daily with water; however, since this is the fist time you’ve noticed this behavior (assuming temperatures have been the same in other winters) I suspect the frog is ill. A veterinary exam would be needed to make sure ..please let me know if you need a reference.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  81. avatar

    Our American toad seemed to get better after rehydrating. Introduced small crickets, I dont belive its feeding. This morn. Its very lethargic, Dark in color and skinney again. I placed the toad in its water dish again. Fresh water every day. Can I force feed the toad? And How?

  82. avatar

    Thanks for the information. If you mess with a frog thats trying to hibernate will that cause them harm. I’m thinking hes sick as well but I’d like to think not!
    I guess I don’t want to cause more harm than good by disturbing him. Spraying rather than soaking is better?

  83. avatar

    Hello Wayne, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Its risky either way, as he may not digest if in dormant mode, but may be worthwhile based on our last email. Use a small, pre-killed cricket; open the toad’s mouth by gently inserting a plastic spoon and twisting it so that the jaws are forced open…best to use 2 people, so 1 can insert the cricket…usually they swallow once the cricket is well into the mouth – forcing to far manually may cause it to block the trachea. One feeding per week-10 days is all I’d recommend for now.
    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  84. avatar

    Hello Butch, Frank Indiviglio here.

    My pleasure; Spraying is a bit less invasive/stressful; can keep substrate moist as; they are pretty effective at utilizing water in that way. Can soak once weekly, just to be safe, or more often if it appears dehydrated….skin stays up when pinched lightly, drawn tight across body.

    I hope it improves,

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  85. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    I was sucessful in force feeding a cricket to the American Toad. In your post you has suggested feeding only one cricket per week. Is that correct? Thanks for all your help. Were in a wait and see mode.

  86. avatar

    Hello Wayne, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Good to hear. Yes, best to start off slowly, as his digestive system is likely in low gear…he won’t need much food, especially when so inactive. Perhaps up to 2 crickets next week.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  87. avatar

    Greetings! My daughter brought home a very wee toad. He has an aquarium. We provided a layer of grass from the yard he was in, a toilet paper core and some dampened shredded paper towel. I grabbed a very small moth and another wee bug and put them in the aquarium with Toad. We will go to the pet supplies store in the morning and get the appropriate supplies for him. So my question is, when the little guy was sitting there he did this quick little jerking “dance” and then went about exploring his space. Is that normal? or is he frightened or angry? Thank you so much for all of the information here, and for caring for our little friends

    Karen

  88. avatar

    Hi Frank.

    I have read through all the postings on American Toads and I have learned a LOT — but I still need help.

    We have an American Toad that we have had for about three years and everything was great until about a month ago. At that time, the toad starting shaking (seemingly uncontrollably) — almost as if he were having neurological issues. While shaking, he would not eat the usual crickets he has eaten for years. The shaking subsided somewhat after about two weeks, and he ate a couple of earthworms about two weeks ago. Since then, the shaking recurred, and subsequently subsided again, but he still refuses to eat (though he did make a weak attempt at grabbing a worm a few days ago). He has now not eaten for two weeks. He has not defecated for probably at least three weeks, if not four.

    It seems that his vision is fading, if not gone. He used to focus on things around his cage (i.e. people, tongs, prey, etc.), but he does not do that at all now. If you wave your finger right in front of him, he does not even respond (as if he is blind). However, if you re-position his cage, it does seem that he can see the background move (or that he can perhaps see things at a distance.)

    He is now getting skinny and looks dry. He does move around his enclosure somewhat, he can and does occasionally soak in his water dish, and he gets misted regularly.

    I am not sure what to do for him. I feel like I should force feed him, but I do not know if I should do that if we are dealing with a blockage or something. Do you have any ideas on what the issue may be? Neuro, blockage, diet, supplements (we haven’t really used any)? What can we do for him?

    Thank you so much.

  89. avatar

    Hello Art, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Although any number of problems, including some you mentioned, might be involved, the symptoms you describe are typically seen in amphibians suffering from a Calcium deficiency. It’s difficult to provide sufficient Calcium w/o supplements, unless the diet is comprised largely of wild-caught insects. Unfortunately, at this point the toad will need veterinary attention – if a Calcium deficiency is discovered, Calcium Gluconate injections are the usual treatment of choice. You should act quickly, however – please let me know if you need assistance in locating an experienced vet in your area.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  90. avatar

    Thank you very much Frank. Please let me know if you can refer me to a vet in downtown Chicago who can address our needs. We will do whatever we can.

  91. avatar

    Hello Art,

    Here is a list of reptile/amphibian experienced vets in Illinois – it’s a fairly small specialty, so you should be able to get a reference from one if none listed are conveniently located. Failing that, try contacting the herpetology dept/reptile house of your nearest zoo, or a nature center…both are usually in touch with specialist vets.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  92. avatar

    Thanks so much for your help Frank.

    Just as a note, we were feeding the toad store-bought crickets which we then fed cricket food and gels that were high in calcium, but perhaps that was not enough. Lesson learned. I am hopeful a vet can help us.

    Thanks again for your expertise.

  93. avatar

    Hello Art,

    Thanks for the feedback; it’s not easy to reverse, assuming a deficiency is involved, but it is possible. Please let me know how it works out…if the toad recovers, we can go over some steps you can take to increase its calcium intake.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  94. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    I have three American toads. Two are a little bit bigger than an inch, and the third is considerably larger. I found them all together, and now they live in the same tank. They get along marvelously.
    That said, one of the little ones is doing very poorly. It’s gotten to be a lighter grey than the other of it’s size, doesn’t eat much, and has become very lethargic. He doesn’t move unless I pick him up, in which case his eyes become clearer and he kicks at my hand, but he quickly returns to lifelessness. I’m posting right now because I just checked on him and found him bloated and still, but when I went to move him he opened and closed his mouth like he was gasping for air. After a minute of observation, I noted that he appeared to be breathing okay, but when he stopped responding again I’m unsure if he was breathing at all. I’m really scared for him- can you think of anything that might help?

  95. avatar

    Hello Tyler, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. It’s difficult to say without a vet exam, but there are 2 common causes of what you describe. One is a bacterial infection (bloating arises from gases produced by the bacteria); once that far advanced it is unfortunately difficult to treat, but please write back if you need help in locating a vet. Replace the substrate and clean the terrarium to prevent the others from falling ill. Please write back concerning your cleaning schedule when you have a chance.

    Nutritional/ calcium deficiencies are common in young toads…please write in with details concerning the diet and supplements you provide and I’ll make some suggestions if needed.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  96. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the articles and for being such a great resource. Our family has taken in 2 american toads. At first I thought they were both female, but now that it is March, it has become quite apparent that we have one of each gender. Although the idea of watching tadpoles turn into toads seems like a good one, I honestly don’t want the responsibilty of feeding tadpoles or baby toads.

    The female seems plump which makes me wonder if she is gravid. The male has joined in amplexus twice that I have seen but no eggs have been deposited yet. I have read that females will reabsorb the eggs if not layed. Can I assume that it is perfectly safe for her to not lay her eggs?

    If she does lay eggs in their water dish, what can I do with them. Can I put them in the wetlands up the road? These toads were originally wild caught and likely came from that source. Here in Wisconsin, it still gets to freezing temperatures, especially at night. Will the eggs die or go dormant if put in the wetland at this time of year?

    If we decide to keep a small number of eggs to watch develop, will they become food for the adult toads? The female will try and eat anything that even thinks about moving. I’m thinking I would need to set up a separate habitat for the tadpoles and then baby toads .

    I would appreciate any insight you can provide.

  97. avatar

    Hello Rhonda, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words, much appreciated.

    Congrats on doing a good job with your toads…they will not breed unless well-cared for. You’re asking all the right questions.

    Re-absorption is actually a tricky concept; it can occur, but only before a certain point in the eggs development, and it also varies by species. If the female is noticeably heavier, it is likely too late for re-absorption. If she retains the eggs, she’ll likely die from the resulting infection.

    Toads are keyed to breed by several “triggers”. It’s likely that changing temperatures in your home, combined perhaps with day-length changes, spurred them (often, it takes a substantial drop in temperature and actual dormancy to induce breeding, but your toads have not read that!). Water volume/depth is also important…she will likely not deposit eggs in the water bowl. I suggest setting them up in as large a bin/storage tub as possible, with about 3 inches of water. Provide plenty of floating plastic plants of cork bark so they can rest. Leave the toads in there for a few days and hopefully she will lay. If not, you’ll either need to gamble on re-absorption of take the toad to an experienced vet – human growth hormone injections and certain other treatments can induce laying; I can help you find a vet if need be.

    If they do lay, the eggs could not be relocated outdoors yet; your toads are breeding ahead of schedule due to the warmer temperatures indoors. Here in s. NY, American Toads breed in mid-April; I’m guessing it would be later in Wisconsin.

    The tadpoles are easy to raise; you would need a separate aquarium with an inexpensive corner or sponge filter. They’ll feed on tropical fish flakes, kale and other greens. If you raise some, it would likely be warm enough to release them once they are ready to transform. Newly transformed toads are very difficult to feed, as they require huge amounts of newly hatched crickets, aphids, springtails, fruit flies, etc., and are prone to vitamin deficiencies.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted…it would be very useful to learn what happens, as American Toads do not often breed in captivity, even in zoos.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  98. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much for the information. The idea that successfully breeding toads in captivity is a rarity, makes me question the situation even more.

    I guess the first followup question is will male toads join in amplexus if the female is not gravid? I’m pretty sure that what I observed was amplexus. He was seen being carried piggy back on her all over the habitat, while he seemed to have regular muscle contractions (one every couple of seconds) on his sides. He also seemed to care less than I would hope, for the lack of clearance at the entrance when the female carried him back into their hide a few times. He hung on with little regard for any physical discomfort.

    If males do join in amplexus even when females aren’t gravid,
    the next thing to question would be if she is gravid or just plump. Is there a way to assess this? Although I haven’t tried it yet, should I be able to feel little lumps on her sides and abdomen if she is gravid to the point her eggs may be difficult to re-absorb?

    I think your suggestion to set up a pan of water is a great idea. It carries little risk but could have a large benefit. Can they go without food for those few days?

    Thanks again for all your help and your patience.

  99. avatar

    Hello Rhonda, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the interesting feedback.. Unfortunately, male toads will grasp onto females regardless of whether they are gravid; in fact, they have been observed hanging onto dead fishes, tennis balls and other “un-toadlike mates” in the breeding season! Females that are swamped by too many males may be killed. And yes, they become unaware of their surroundings,,…in breeding ponds you can pick pairs up and they will go right on laying eggs with no notice (males may try to dislodge your hand with kicks).

    Short of an ultra-sound exam by a vet, there is no way to detect the eggs; you can sometimes get a sense of the different “look” of heavy toads vs. gravid toads, but only after seeing a great many, and even then it’s not foolproof. If she does not lay within a week, best to separate them, keep her hungry (she may not feed if gravid anyway) and watch her appearance; a vet will be needed if she is carrying eggs.

    Hen you re-locate the pair, best to use a large sweater storage bin or something similar rather than a pan of water; confine them to it for 3-5 days. This should be done soon, as being in amplexus in their regular tank will be stressful, and may lead to abrasion-related injuries from the substrate; these become infected easily. Going without food for a week or more is not a concern at all, assuming they are otherwise in good weight; amphibians easily regulate their metabolism to fit the situation; it’s really amazing what they can do in this regard.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  100. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I have an American toad that will fall forward and freeze still after he has tried to catch a cricket but misses. He will just stay there for about a minute or so. It looks as if he is in pain and can’t move. It happens the first time he tries to eat but the next time he tries he is fine. I have two other toads with him in a large tank. He has never been as active as the others and does not chase after crickets. I noticed today that he was puffed up more than usual. I put him in a smaller container, as I often do, to eat so the others wouldn’t take his cricket but he didn’t eat today. I feed them each one cricket a day. The falling forward and freezing still has been happening for a couple of weeks now. Have you ever seen this before?

  101. avatar

    Hello Chris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Unfortunately what you describe is fairly common, especially, for some reason, among American toads. So far, research indicated that it may be related to a Vitamin A or Calcium deficiency, but we do not understand the phenomenon very well; bacterial infection may also be involved, in which case antibiotics will be needed. Please see this article of mine, as well as Dr. Wright’s article on Vitamin A deficiencies for some ideas.

    Your best option would be to offer as wide a variety of insects as is possible, including wild-caught species, and to powder all meals with supplements (please see articles for suggestions). Vitamin A treatments (Dr Wright’s article) may be effective, but I’ve not had much success so far.

    Please let me know if you need any further information, and please keep me posted…anything you might observe and report – good or bad – will be most useful.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  102. avatar

    Thank you, Frank! I have some calcium and I will look for some vitamin A tomorrow. I will see what else they can eat that is available. Over the summer they eat many different insects. Their favorite seems to be June bugs. They don’t hesitate to eat those. Anyway, I greatly appreciate your advice. Hopefully the vitamins will give him some relief.

  103. avatar

    Hello Cris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks…my pleasure. Glad you are feeding June bugs and other insects. The condition you described is not easy to cure, unfortunately..please keep notes and let me know how it goes.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  104. avatar

    Hi Frank, Cris again
    The toads got grubs and worms today. I have the vitamin powder with vitamin A for them. I gave them some of it yesterday. Do I put it on their food every day since I feed them every day? The toad that is deficient can’t move his front legs but can move his back legs.

  105. avatar

    Hello Cris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback. Probably best to use at every feeding for now; if you can add more variety to their diet in time you can cut back. Just as an aside, it’s a good idea to provide a fast day once or twice each week.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  106. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    The toad with the vitamin deficiency has gotten worse. I forced fed him because he appeared to be unable to catch anything or not interested. The other two are doing well. Now that it’s warm outside I am considering letting the two healthy ones go. We got the toads last summer from the yard when they were very small. They have grown to adult size. Would letting them go be a bad idea since they have been in captivity all winter? I would prefer to keep them but I worry that it would be better for them if I let them go.
    Thank you!

  107. avatar

    Hello Chris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback; unfortunately, what you describe is the usual progression. Force feeding will keep the toad alive for awhile.

    Releasing the others is perfectly fine; their instincts will be intact and they have plenty of time to adjust before the seasons change and they need to hibernate. If they are truly adults (time span seems a bit short, but it is possible) then deficiencies will be less likely from this point on, should you decide to keep them.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  108. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    I have three new american toad friends I am caring for – all started when I found one poor little fellow who was missing one entire back leg and was not able to move well around the yard – and due to recent increase of some natural predators in my yard – hawks, owls, crows, garter snakes and king snakes.

    I was hoping for some of your advice on the following:
    1. How often should a toad poop?
    2. Do you know where I can locate some organic soil, from a reputable source/supplier? My tanks now, have some soil and rock from my yard where these little fellas came from – as I wanted natural surroundings for them (non plastic) and something I knew they have been around and doing fine with for some time.
    3. Do you know of any Herp vets in my area (Saint Peters, MO 63376) – that will treat American Toads? ( I found one very nice Herp Specialist that will treat them, but unfortunately he is clear across the state from me and not an option; and I have tried a couple of Herp vets in my area, but they do not treat native state animals – only exotic reptiles/amphibians)
    4. What is your opinion regarding using a 15watt full spectrum UVA/B light?
    5. I am torn between the two – bottled spring water or purified water with minerals added (Calcium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Magnesium Sulfate)
    6. I am trying like crazy at my local pet suppliers – to locate dens and water dishes – that are not made of plastic but natural elements like Granite Rock – know of any good manufacturers for such; and your thoughts on plastic vs. natural element made items. I have even considered clay pot saucers – but these appear to be painted and I am fearful of them.

    I have just begun to care for these creatures and am quite the novice – I do have some pinhead crickets (that I am gut loading via food and gel drink), I am starting a roly poly colony for food, and also use some earthworms (fishing bait) that I pinch and feed them as well (after they have been washed clean)

    Thanks so very much for all your help.

  109. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Me again, I am gut loading the feeding crickets I purchase – via cricket food. I am not using powder on them. The cricket food I have for them to eat – has both vitamin and minerals; along with calcium, salt, D3 etc.

    I read that someone advised to never use a supplement that contains both vitamins and minerals in it (but rather purchase and use separately); and to avoid calcium supplements that have a calcium to phosphorus ratio greater than 2:1.

    What I cant tell – is if the recommendation was for the powder coating of the cricket feeder process only; or also applicable for the meal I intent for the crickets to instead eat. What I am using for cricket food is Fluker’s High Calcium Cricket Diet – it has all the above I mentioned and the following analysis:

    Crude protein mim 20.00%
    Crude fat, min 5.00%
    Crude fiber, max 9.00%
    Calcium ca min 8.00%
    Phosphorus p, min 0.60%
    Salt NaCI min 0.25% max of 0.75%

    Do you think my feeding the crickets versus coating them as ok, and using the above product along with Fluker’s Cricket Quencher Caclium Fortified – going to be ok for my American Toads.

    I want to ensure they receive enough Calcium, D3 – and also possible 15watt full spectrum UVA/B lighting – to decrease the possibility of calicium deficiency – and its associated shakes, paralysis etc.

    Thank you again.

  110. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Great to see that you are taking the time to carefully research toad care; especially important to spend time with their diet, as you are doing. You may be interested in this article on collecting leaf litter invertebrates.

    The passing of feces is linked to diet type, temperature, age and a variety of other factors; much is semi-solid and not visible. Really no way to easily monitor; animals that are not passing feces will cease feeding.

    No need to be overly concerned with getting organic soil. Usually fine to use what they have been collected on, assuming pesticides are not in use. They can swallow soil while feeding if it is very fine, but not usually a problem with toads. You can mix in some sphagnum moss to retain water; it is fine when used alone as well. There are soils that are designed for use with burrowing amphibs, but again not absolutely essential.

    Please check here for a state-by-state list of herp vets. It’s a small field, so perhaps one in state but far away can recommend someone close to you. A missing leg is not a big concern unless an infection sets in while the wound is open.

    Toads do not need UVB as far as we know. UVA may be helpful, but is not essential. Zoo Med’s 2.0 provides low levels of both, suitable for amphibians. Output varies by company; Zoo Med is well-established/researched.

    Tap water is fine as long as you use an instant de-chlorinator (available as drops in any pet store selling tropical fish). Spring water is often high in minerals, which can be a problem (may diffuse into the toad). Never use distilled water, as it leaches salts from amphibians).

    Plastic bowls sold for use with reptiles/amphibs are perfectly safe…I’ve used in zoos and my own collection for decades. Here is a link to granite bowls if you prefer. Broken unpainted clay flowerpots make nice caves; plastic reptile caves are fine as well.

    Great questions…Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  111. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. Most of what we know concerning vitamin/mineral needs is based on experience; some useful research has been done at zoos and conservation oriented labs, but results are general. People like you, who pay attention to details, are needed to fill in the blanks..please take notes and keep up your interest.

    It’s best to coat crickets with a variety of supplements as mentioned in the article and to feed them as you are doing as well; especially import for growing animals. They eat dozens of insect species in the wild, and we cannot possibly hope to match that in captivity, but a varied diet, supplements and so on often works well.

    Its standard practice in zoos to use supplements that contain both vitamins and minerals; no need to separate. 2:1 is accepted as a good ratio in a food item, but we do not know what happens to that ratio when we factor in foods that the insects eat, special needs of the toads, and so on; so no need to fret too much over that – using the brands mentioned is the best advice we have for now. “powdering” itself is inherently vague – no real way to know what the toad is actually getting; as more species are put at risk, controlled research is being done (perhaps you will contribute?) but experience is our best guide for now.

    UVB radiation is used by many heliothermic reptiles (those that bask) to manufacture D3 in the skin. D3 allows them to use the calcium they consume. Such animals cannot utilize D3 that is taken in with food (or do so inefficiently). Nocturnal lizards, all snakes (as far as we know) and all amphibians (as far as known) can use dietary D3 and so do not need UVB exposure (in fact, too much can be harmful to the eyes). (People can use either method – UVB or diet). Low exposure is likely fine, and UVA may help to encourage natural behavior, breeding, immune system strength.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  112. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so very very much!!! I love this site – and so value your expertise – I also have fish, and use AquaSafe to dechlorinate their water – it is kind of a slime liquid – do you feel this will be safe – or better yet – what dechlorinater do you use? What if I use too much or more of the dechlorinator than they recommend – mine only goes by 5 gallon increment instructions.

    I got some Rep Cal coating material – Calcium and D3; and then their Rep Cal Herbavite Mineral – which uses beta carotene; that they say the animals will convert themselves into Vitamin A – and therefore no need to worry about Vitamin A toxicity.

    Issue with these – is that their directions state to use a tablespoon of each to coat a pound of food – well, I am only providing my toads – 3 crickets, 3 roly poly, and 2 small bites of worm – so mixture amount – I am not sure but definately dont want to put to much of anything on their food for worry of overloading them.

    In addition to coating issue/concern – then I have the below food quantity concerns:

    I have one toad that is about 2 inches, another that is about 3 and then my large boy – who is about 4. It is hard for me to gauge their food – one is very comfortable eating and being about while I am around and usually waits for me to place the food down for him – the others are more shy right now – but also – it is quite hard for me to gauge as I also have large to medium river rocks in their cages and the insects go in and under these – based on their size do you feel the food amounts above are enough; or perhaps more for all of them; and even more for the larger fellas. There are so many websites – and recommendations all vary – one website advised they only fed their toad one cricket a day; others dont advise of an amount but advise they only feed every other day – my fellas are voracious and want to eat everyday – I think theyd eat all night long if they had the food available. What is to much – what is too little? One site advised that for a small toad to feed two bugs, one worm, one minnow or one slug; and for larger toads – 4 bugs, 2 worms, 2 minnows or 2 slugs – and medium toads to fall somewhere in the middle – well my little fella seems to want to eat more than what they state for a large toad.

    The St. Louis Zoo was very helpful and we spoke for a while; they feed only crickets (person I spoke with not sure of the amount) – a Herp Spec at Kansas State Univ was also very helpful – although he has fire bellied toads – he advised he fed them 3 to 4 crickets a night – but when I finally saw a fire bellied toad – the ones I saw were so small and appear more thin or streamlined in body shape than the American Toad – so I fear I am underfeeding them.

    I do prefer to line their cage with soil; my yard has not had pesticides or fertilizer or weed killer used in it for years – guess why I have toads; as I actually have crickets and tons of other feed insects that those products often also kill – can you recommend a soil manufacturer, supplier or brand for me – I am not having much luck looking online; and I know that I wont have this option this winter when the ground is covered in snow and my husband will become tired of my digging the yard up for dirt and my space to do so is extremely limited; but my neighbors also use alot of chemicals on their yards – and on one side if high rain – the water will run from their yard into mine; not to also mention all the times they overfill their swimming pool and that run off also comes in my yard. I thought about organic potting soil – but worry about labeling versus actually what I would be getting – any help with this you may provide I would greatly appreciate it – and owe you for it!!!

    Thanks as always,
    Kelly

  113. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Sorry – Kelly again.

    Not going to use my AquaSafe water conditioner – states it dechlorinates but provides a protective slime coating – so I will look for something else – please do let me know what you use though:)

    Also, I forgot – in addition to my writing above – once with your help I can better gage food and supplement coating amounts for my loves – how often should I coat their food – every feeding – thinking so, as powder may come loose and come off the food items; but then I have never had this type of pet before:)

    Last question – temperature and humidity. As their soil can try out, I do mist their cage 2x a day – I do like to mist right before I feed them, to soften the dirt as I am thinking this will aid in their passing it of their system, if moister rather than dry. I have a temp and humidity gage on the tanks – I was working to keep their humidity in the 50-60 mark, as I heard too much can try them out – but any advice you can recommend regarding best temps and humidity level will also again, be greatly appreciated – thanks so much for providing this site, and for all your help – I wouldnt feel comfortable in my keeping these friends as pets without your help!

    Kelly

  114. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

    De-chlorinators with slime coating are fine; may even help replace mucus lost by toads (we use for that purpose in zoos). I’ve used Stress Coat, also Chlor-out (no slime coat) but any will do. Overdosing seems not to be a concern…estimates fine. Chlorine will also dissipate from water left in an uncovered container for 24 hrs; chloramines do not, however (not all water authorities add chloramines; most commercial products remove them..will be listed on label).

    Powdered supplement amounts are entirely a “shot in the dark”, unfortunately. No real way to guage. In zoos we put insects into a plastic bag and shake…directions on containers are an attempt to quantify, but, as you noticed, there are too many variables. Seems hard to overdose…only in snakes (calcium) has this occurred to my knowledge. Wild insects often very high in calcium; I would powder most of their meals, especially at this age.

    Good that you are paying so much attention to meal size, and as you can see recommendations vary wildly -but I think I can put your mind at ease. Amphibians/reptiles seem able to regulate their metabolisms in accordance with food availability; gharials (fish eating crocs) I kept years ago did not feed for 5-6 months (in tune with n. Indian winter) yet basked and moved about; lost almost no weight; some snakes continue to grow during long fasts. I’ve raised toads by feeding once weekly, daily and just about every variation in-between. Not an excuse to neglect them, but no need to worry too much – underfed animals show hip bones and sagging skin. They are programmed to eat continuously all summer, as they become dormant in winter. You can feed each day, then skip 1-2 days, or every other day. They may slow down in winter, especially if in a cool room (60-65 F fine in winter), variations in appetite normal, some will grow faster than others.

    Do not use minnows; not sure why someone would recommend that for American toads; they are adapted to digest invertebrates.

    Cleaning is a far more important concern…ammonia released with wastes, which is colorless and largely odorless, will kill them if allowed to build up. They tend to defecate in water bowls, so change daily; remove this top layer of soil/moss weekly.

    Repti bark is a good choice…small toads; not really sol but they can push beneath it or you can just provide a cave. Coconut husk-type products, good for burrows; used by many but I feel it is a bit too easy to swallow. You can also store a bag of leaves for winter use as a substrate covering. Sphagnum moss is very good also – not “natural” for toads but good results long term, holds water well.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  115. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Great points…others will benefit; please never hesitate to write in.

    American toads are very resilient to drought- much more so than typical frogs, and will regulate their needs by soaking in a water bowl. Twice-daily misting should be fine; no real need to measure humidity. You don’t want to have the tank sopping wet, but other than that a moist environment is fine and will not cause them any problems. Caves can be stocked with moist moss as a hedge against drying if you wish. Overly-humid conditions do not really cause a drying out of the skin (I’m assuming the writer was referring to diffusion, but it’s not as simple as that) but again they are very adaptable as regards humidity. In the wild they become dormant during droughts to reduce water loss.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  116. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again as always – 2 of the toads, I have only had 5 days now.

    I am not sure if this is normal – hunting activity or possible illness or deficiency; as I have not been able to see this when feeding them in the yard – but I noticed that 2 of them (small guy and tripod fella) – on their back legs, the long middle toe vibrates somewhat – what is that?

    Also, my third fella, I just put in his home this past Friday (9/9/11) – he burrowed with his head out and would eat roly polys and crickets that passed by him – he stayed burrowed up – made sense as he was in a new environment. Next am, he shed his skin – I have seen him do this in the yard prior to captivity – no idea how often they do this, but this is the 2nd time I know of since the 1.5 months I have known him. After his shedding he burrowed up almost completely and kept his eyes closed most the time – not much movement. I couldnt tell if he ate all his food that night – This am – he was out of his burrow going after worms – I was quite happy with that – although he looked thin – could see his hip bones and some sagging skin – then he burrowed up all day long again – just now I fed him and he will sit burrowed and eat if they pass by and his eyes are wide open now – but, seems strange to me that he is burrowed up – the other two, although smaller – are alert all day long and I never see them burrowed or eyes closed – when I look that is, but Buddy is like that every time I look. But again, new environment along with shedding, which I have not seen the other 2 do yet.

    Any help on the above again appreciated – I am not even sure if they shed their skin like snakes, that is going blind as the eye covering is a scale also.

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  117. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    It is normal for the toes to twitch during hunting; I’ve heard it compared to a cat’s tail doing the same, but have never run across explanation.

    Vibrating toes and limbs o a lethargic amphibian that is not hunting is known as tetany, and is symptomatic of a late stage calcium deficiency.

    They vary greatly in individual behavior and responses to stimuli…even in learning abilities; recent research has revealed this to be true even for some insects. Typical behavior in the wild is to remain in the burrow by day, feeding only if a bug strays close; after dark they wander within a specific territory; may use the same burrow for years.

    The eyes do not cloud up as with snakes, and they usually eat the skin as it is peeled from the read over the head.

    The hip-bone rule is difficult to apply unless you’ve looked at a great many; angle and degree of hydration can confuse this. As long as the toad feeds regularly, there’s usually no need for concern.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  118. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Is it dangerous if my Toads do not hibernate? Is it normal for some to do this and others you have not do this?

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  119. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Hibernation is only necessary in situations where they will be breeding (reproduction stimulated by seasonal changes); they need to be chilled to 45F or so…risky in captivity. Otherwise, fine to keep them active at normal room temperatures.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indivigli

  120. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    My stepmom has Parrots, and they are so sensitive to smell – that is teflon pans that are heated to high and the coating burns, stove cleaning vapors; house cleaning chemical vapors, paint, even certain food smells from cooking.

    My Toads are not near the kitchen, but my house is small and such smells may travel.

    Can you provide me insight on such as well as suggestions.

    Thank you so much again,
    Kelly

  121. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Me again – is there a danger of calcium, D3 and rep cal herpative mineral overdose?

    Can I overdose them on anything contained in these supplements – what are signs of an overdose if so –

    How do you recommend the frequency of coating – small guy (2 to 2.5 in) – medium guy (2.5 to 3.5 inches) and large guy (4 to 5 inches)

    Thanks!

  122. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Paint, wallpaper glue, insecticides and such can be harmful to amphibians; cooking fumes are not known to be, but no real research has been done.
    Please let your stepmom know that Teflon fumes in particular are known to be dangerous to birds, and perhaps people. If she’s interested, please have her check this article (I write ThatBirdBlog and answer questions there).

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  123. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Sorry one more question – third today; little Toadie sits and he is not singing but his throat sack is somewhat expanded or droopy – it is like this occassionally – not everyday – and I am not sure why he is doing this?

    Thanks
    Kelly

  124. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Good observation; toads force air in and out of the lungs through throat palpitations, rather than via the diaphragm as in mammals. The throats appearance does seem to change somewhat depending on how fast it is working.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  125. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback; the subject is confusing, and we really do not have much in the way of exact information. This is especially true of Am Toads, which are rarely bred in captivity or kept in zoos.

    Overdosing does not seem to be a problem as far as I know, but there are no real studies. CA and Vit A defie4ciencies are common. For young toads, you can coat each meal with ReptiCalcium with D3 or ReptoCal. Reptivite or a similar Vitamin?mineral supplement can be used 1-2x weekly.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  126. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much for putting my mind at ease regarding the little fella’s throat sak.

    Is that ok – is he getting too little ventilation; only the small toad is doing this. I house them all in a glass aquarium with a screen lid.

    Thank you – yet again!
    Kelly

  127. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    A screen cover is fine; their breathing rates will vary throughout the day. Amphibians that are ill invariably refuse to feed…it’s especially evident in toads, as they are perpetually hungry.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  128. avatar

    Hi Frank – Kelly again.

    Currently I am feeding my toads – earthworms, pinhead crickets, and roly polies (size of each varied due to my Toad sizes – small, med and large) – Large fella – I am feeding 8.5 food items a week, Middle Fella – I am feeding 6.75 items a week, Small fella – at 4.5 items per week)

    Amounts sound ok? – Also, they are only getting roly polies in their diet once a week due to the exoskeleton.

    I am going to enhance their diet and hunting more, but growing my own flightless fruit flies – you find these ok?

    I also wanted to add silkworms too – and found some I can order live; I had no idea until now there are sooo many varities of them – would you mind looking at this site and the small version I plan to order and advise if this variety is ok or not for toads?

    https://www.silkwormshop.com/buyfruitflies/agora.cgi?product=small

    Thanks so much again.
    Kelly

  129. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Your concern is commendable – the amounts sound fine, but there really is no need be quite that careful. They will adjust their activity and growth rates as long as they have a reasonable amount of food. Sowbugs are fine to use regularly; as crustaceans, they are high in calcium and seem readily digestible (in contrast to mealworm exoskeletons, which are not calcium rich but hard to digest). As they are so common in many habitats, and nocturnal, they likely are a common food for many populations.

    Small silkworms are a very good food item. If you order in quantity, order food along with them; gel-based and simplifies their upkeep (unless you enjoy harvesting mulberry leaves!).

    Fruit flies best for tiny poison frogs and similar species; would need tons to make them worthwhile for all but very recently transformed toads. toads.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  130. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much again!!!! I appreciate your looking at the silkworms (I had NO idea there were so many varities of them – so I wanted to make sure I was ok with those I found)

    Another question – can humans transfer disease to Toads; Mine are in my bedroom (away from Kitchen area, other pets, and noisier areas of the house) – if I had a cold or the flu – and sneezing and coughing – can I transfer this disease to the Toads? Or any other known diseases I could accidently infect them with?

    Now that our temperatures are so crazy here – one day in the 90′s very next in the 60′s – this concern just crossed my mind.

    Thanks again,
    Kelly Dorr

  131. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks …more good observations as usual!

    None of our illnesses can be transferred, as far as is known. Handling can remove the protective slime, so best to avoid when possible, use wet hands otherwise. Residues on hands – tobacco, creams, etc can enter through skin. Of more concern is the possibility of (any) animal transmitting a disease or parasite to people. Please see this article on Salmonella (which may be carried by any pet, including dogs).

    Most non-hairy caterpillars are fine; silkworms of any type especially so as lab reared, long history of use as herp food.

    Toads are well adapted to wide temperature swings, given their range; unlike tropical fishes, etc., quick changes are not a problem. Putting them into hibernation takes some preparation (not recommended) by they will remain active over a very wide range of temps.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  132. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I am quite detailed, and do want to watch and calculate their food – I do really like active Toads! But I do not want to over feed either.

    Buddy is large – 4 inches to larger, Earl middle – 3 to 4 in, Toadie smallest but not real little – 2- 3.5.

    Please let me know what you think about the feeding schedule I propose below – I do GREATLY appreciate your expertise:)

    Week 1 – Feed Monday (dust everyones Cal and Vit), Wednesday (Dust Toadie and Early Calcium only), Friday (Dust everyones Cal and Vit)

    Week 1 insect volume =
    Buddy – 7 crickets; 4 roly poly; 2 worms = 13 food items for week
    Toadie – 4 crickets; 4 roly poly; ½ worm = 8.5 food items for week
    Earl – 5 crickets; 4 roly poly; 1 worm = 10 food items for week

    Week 2 – Feed Tuesday (no dusting for anyone), Thursday (Dust Everyones Cal & Vit), Saturday (Dust Everyones Cal & Vit)

    Week 2 Insect Volume:
    Buddy – 8 crickets; 2 roly poly; 2.5 worms = 12.5 food items for week
    Toadie – 5 crickets; 2 roly poly; ½ worm = 7.5 food items for week
    Earl – 6 crickets; 2 roly poly; 1.5 worm = 9.5 food items for week

    When week 2 is over, I then rotate back to week 1 and repeat the cycle.

    I collected the Roly Poly from my yard – not sure when I will no longer have wild caught ones left and only have those that have bred to feed – do you coat your roly polies and earthworms with cal/d3 and vitamins?

    I accidently – hit and killed one of my crickets when he fell on the floor (ok I admit that I meant to kill him, as I wont feed a cricket that has fallen on my carpeting to my toads). The cricket was really wet when I killed him – seems they are really juicy; hope that is a good sign as being a great source of food for them~ Pinhead crickets also seem much more delicate than those I have outside – seem softer bodied.

    I really appreciate your having this blog – I couldnt do this without all your help, youre a great person for doing this for everyone who loves toads and for the toads also – I love my toads so very very much; and want to do all that I can for them.

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  133. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I just noticed something strange today; 2 of my Toads – Toadie and Earl – I will hear them pop their mouth.

    There is no food in the cage – I fed them earlier and watched them eat every offering as soon as dropped. Toadie was out of his den, moved to his den – and before entering it – he made this pop – very strange, and I hope all is ok.

    No idea what this may be or could be; they ate a couple hours ago. I have seen Buddy, open and close his mouth once and a while when feeding – when he is eyeballing a wiggling worm – but Toadie and Earl – there is no food around when they did this – and theirs made a pop sound, whereas Buddy’s did not when he did it.

    Thank you,
    Kelly Dorr

  134. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I can’t say I’ve ever heard that type of noise from a toad; I’ve heard some low sounds when they squabble over food, and there is a “release call” when they are startled/grabbed by a predator. Keep track, perhaps you can link it to something in time.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  135. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

    The general amounts, times per week and supplements sound fine; Unfortunately, there really is no way to accurately comment on the exact amounts for each animal – far too many variables. In any population of wild toads, you will find animals of the same age differing widely in size. Same as to captive hatched animals…I’ve raised batches of several hundred amphibians of many species, and have had the same experience, even when food was carefully controlled. There seems to be a good deal of genetic variation that determines growth rate and so on.

    As long as a reasonable amount of food is available (as thee is here) the toads will regulate their growth accordingly; remember, they will always appear hungry as in the wild they are programmed to feed as much as possible to prepare for hibernation; they will slow down if house temperatures drop during the winter.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  136. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again, as always – I sincerely appreciate all your help.

    Perhaps they were making that noise – due to my moving their den and disturbing them by misting their soil – I wasnt sure if maybe they were gas bloated and that was a release of air – or perhaps that they swallowed a piece of dirt that was too large and causing them issue – and something perhaps horribly wrong~ I do love them so!

    I will continue to monitor and advise; do you think the above scenerios possible?

    Good news – in the list of vets you provided me, I found one that will treat my Toads for me – I have a meet and greet consultation between just myself and the Veternarian this coming Tuesday!

    Thanks again for that also!!!
    Kelly

  137. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Couple questions for you – again –

    1. Repti Bark, I got me some and it states it is made from Fir trees; I had seen a site that stated to stay away from conifer type trees for toads; it said something about them being toxic to toads, but there is so much data on the internet -some not so reliable (like the site that suggested feeding toads minnows); I wondered about your opinion in regards to that statement.

    2. I got some Zoo Med 10in feeding tweezers – greatly helps me in catching my crickets to place in their cage for them; they are made of stainless steel – is metal ok, or is plastic better?

    3.Found myself some waxworms – how often do you recommend this inclusion into their diet – it was nice to see that they are soft, catipillar like, versus what a mealworm is like. Do I need remove their heads when feeding them – will they chew the stomach of the toads? I did see earlier in the blog where you advised the black ones are dead – thank you, I wouldnt have known that otherwise.

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  138. avatar

    Hi Frank!

    Buddy shed again, I saw it today while cleaning his cage – he last shed on 9/10/11 and then again today on 9/18/11 – seem excessive – do you have concern for his health – or am I making him fat:(

    Do you coat your roly poly, earthworms, waxworms and silkworms with supplement/vitamins – or only do so for the crickets?

    Thanks!
    Kelly

  139. avatar

    Hello Kathy, Frank Indiviglio here.

    You must be watching to have seen another shed! No need for concern, they will shed as needed and will probably slow down their feeding as the season changes.

    You can coat all except for sowbugs…they are crustaceans and the exoskeleton is a good calcium source.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  140. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks…good points to raise.

    Resins from some types of conifers are said to cause problems although I’ve not seen anything definitive (avoid cedar, however). Douglas Fir has been used with success; I believe that is what is used in Zoo Med’s product. In any event you can use Zoo med Reptibark per recommendations on the label – that company is reliable and quite thorough in their research.

    Stainless steel is not recommended for tong feeding large aggressive species that hit food hard, due to the possibility of mouth injuries (American and African Bullfrogs, etc.). They are fine to use with American Toads.

    You can use waxworms once weekly, a bit more on occasion. Although soft, the exoskeleton is high in chitin and may be hard to digest if they are used excessively; high in fat as well; not generally a problem in small amounts.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  141. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again, yes I have been watching and now have seen Buddy shed a total of 3x – once outside, and 2x inside!

    I learned that he works off the position of the sun and not a certain time per say; based on our outside feeding schedule – on where he would meet me everyday for worms – it was based off where the sun was in the sky, versus the actual time of day – when we moved to fall, the time changed and I noticed the sun changed too – they are truly amazing. Thanks to you and them, I am learning so much.

    I really am striking out on finding an organic soil – I called Zoo Med, but the only close thing they offer is coconut husk – I do so much want actual dirt – striking out as some use compost that can contain recycled Christmas trees.

    Do you know of an organic soil manufacturer that you can recommend to me?

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  142. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Is this the Zoo Med 2.0 light you recommended for my Toads; the 15 watt maybe?

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=6550&R=1322&Nao=9&

    Their tanks are 20 gallon long; I was thinking about only getting a light that was for a 10G long, and only lighting some area, so they may move in our out of it – your thoughts on that, and lighting schedule recommendations also please.

    Thanks!
    Kelly

  143. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your note. Circadian rhythms/internal clocks and the effects of daylight/seasons is a fascinating topic. Some amphibs are completely controlled by internal clocks…will become active at a pre-set time even if lights are left on, others wait until darkness, no matter how long it takes; many other interesting scenarios.

    I don’t have any organic soil sources, sorry…You’ll probably do just as well with the soil they were collected in. “Organic” is often a misleading term anyway; no federal standards, and wind and rain spread all sorts of chemicals thousands of miles from their source. Good to try and limit exposure, of course, but there’s only so much you can do. Organic greenhouses/farmers may have sources if you are intent on tracking some down. Sphagnum moss is generally easier to clean/replace than soil, little worry about ingestion, can be rinsed and re-used.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  144. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    This bulb is the one I recommend for toads. Using one that is shorter than the tank’s length is fine…toads are largely nocturnal in the wild and do not need UVB to produce D3; UVA may help in encouraging natural behavior, but this is only a theory. You can time the schedule to the natural light cycle in your region.

    Wattage is linked to bulb length in florescent models (i.e. all 18” bulbs are 15 watts, etc.). Wattage not usually a concern as florescent bulbs not emit much heat.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  145. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much again.

    I did call Zoo Med regarding the Repti Bark and they advised they believe it is ok for Toads, they stated my largest concern should be respitory problems that cedar and pine are known to cause.

    My reason for concern, is that when it is opened it smells just like Cedar to me. I did research and found a site that states the following:

    Fir bark does not contain toxins, noxious resins, phenols or sap. (Searcey 2001). Avoid Pine as it has noxious sap and also avoid redwood as it contains bacteria inhabiting properties (Searcey 2001). Avoid eucalyptus for same reasons.

    As it does have a cedar type smell – this additional info does ease my concern greatly – if of course, you agree also with their statements regarding Fir bark and concern mostly for respitory issues.

    Your thoughts greatly appreciated, thanks again,
    Kelly

  146. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Reptibark has been used for toads without incident. Unfortunately, there is always a bit of risk involved; there are no standards that must be met, bark is likely harvested from a wide variety of locales; I commend your research, but [please keep in mind that “fir”, “pine” etc are general terms only – various tree species will differ; processing of the chips will change composition from pure bark and so on. As you know, even where strict standards are imposed, i.e. FDA/food industry, problems abound.

    As mentioned, earth and leaves from where they were collected is fine; sphagnum is likely the easiest substrate to use, and safe. Sheet moss from florists is also used by zoos; I’ve never had problems with bagged soil sold as “fertilizer free” etc. However, soil is not easy to maintain in terrarium and may not be best option.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  147. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all has been well with you!

    Good news – I have taught all my toads to eat from a feeding dish – they gobble the food items up immediately upon my placing them in it for them!!! I really like this, as I know how much they are eating – and that the items they are eating are ‘clean’ – no substrate materials on them.

    Still though, debating what substrate to use – I do like the coconut husk fiber – as it is so very similar to the soil I have been providing them (as I strain the soil so that it is very fine for them).

    Since I have taught them to eat from a food dish; I was thinking that the coconut substrate might be a pretty darn good material to use – not only can I continue to use the food dish – but I can even further isolate them during feeding, by putting up a tank divider – so that they may eat from the dish – but on the side of the cage which contains only the river rocks I have there for them to move about on (way to large to swallow).

    But, then I wondered and thought I would ask you – your thoughts – I started thinking about when they shed, and did so in the coconut if most likely they could collect substrate on their old skin and ingest it (as when they shed – I do see that the new skin is so very shiny and appears very moist). Also, is there any other time you think they may possible injest this substrate – when either not feeding or shedding – any other habits they may have that I have not yet witnessed also.

    Lastly – for my adult toad Buddy – I fear he may be getting too much calcium/D3 and vitamins – how often should his be applied – currently, his are applied as frequently as the 2 younger toads.

    THANKS!!!
    Kelly

  148. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Me again, so sorry – I forgot something!

    Can american toads that live together and come in physical contact with one another – intentionally or accidently – poison and kill one another or with their toxin if not killing each other, have it make another one very ill? ; in any manner – but I thought about this, when thinking that a smaller more active and outgoing toad, may actually climb on top of a larger older and more calm fellow?

  149. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I am not intersted in hibernating or breeding my toads, (good thing, I have all boys anyway), but I was curious, do they have to be a certain age in order to reproduce – 6 months, 1 year, 2 or 3 years old – just wondering, especially since living in urban areas – their life span could be greatly reduced due to dangers from pets, lawn chemicals – and lawn mowers and weed wackers!

    Thanks
    Kelly

  150. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Males usually mature by age 2-3,, females age 3-4, depending on population. They are very resilient and adjust to human presence better than most amphibs; still holding on here in NYC, for example. Pressures from polution, hunting and such can select for quick-maturing individuals and in time change the whole structure of a population. Commercially harvested fish, for example, now often breed at younger ages than in past.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  151. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    The toxins are only released in response to a predator or similar threat, not used against one another. I’ve had other frog species die after being confined in a shipping container with stressed Am toads, but no losses among the toads so I believe there is an immunity (maybe that helps during “domestic squabbles” – during breeding season, male toads will try to mate with one another, fish, floating rubber balls and so on!).

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  152. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Coconut husk is a great choice if you limit ingestion as you described; very good point re skin shedding. I don’t believe it would be a significant problem. Some substrate may always ingested at this time, and they seem able to handle that. No major problems reported with coconut even when care is not taken to isolate animals, I just prefer to be cautious (and I’m “guessing” you do also!).

    You can randomly cut back on supplements, as they are not as impt for adults as for juveniles. Go with every other feeding….we really do not have any standards, just experience, word-of-mouth at this point. No evidence of overdose in toads, however.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  153. avatar

    Thanks Frank – again as always!

    You are a very kind and caring person to provide such expertise via this site. I have learned so much from my toads and you; and am so grateful to you both.

    All my toads, have their own personalities – and they have come to know my voice and I suppose smell also. All my prior experience with them (prior to Buddy and I becoming friends for 1.5 months while he was living in my yard) – was that, if I came across a toad – they would work like crazy to get away from me – and why not, that would be like King Kong walking up on me.

    A toad is a toad is a toad – is not the truth, and if time is taken to learn and care for them – the time spent is returned ten fold. My stepmoms quaker parotkeet, african grey and blue winged macaw have tought me so much too – whenever I hear someone use the phrase ‘Bird Brain’ in a derogatory manner – I just think and laugh – if they only spent the time to learn the TRUTH.

    Have a great evening!
    Kelly

  154. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks so much for the kind words. They do have learning abilities, and numerous studies are showing that even some species of insects have individual personalities. Just about every species of reptile/amphibian can come to associate us with food, when the normal instinct should be to run.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  155. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Last night – I noticed the soil in one of my fellows cages was wet, in this rather large circular pattern – I saw no water trails to or from it, to see if perhaps he had been soaking and then moved to the soil. Was this possibly a restroom/poddy indication?

    Then about an hour later, I saw him pooping in the corner of his cage – scared me to death; I have never seen this before, and his back legs were spread in a weird way – I immediately thought, oh my gosh he has a calcium issue – but then I saw the poop come. Then he hopped away with his legs remaining in the strange position (almost reminded me of a dog scooting their bottom on the ground) but then very soon he returned to normal posture.

    Being the kind of person I am, I examined his dropping – while fresh and before it hardened. Good news is – I was expecting to perhaps see some roly poly shells and maybe some cricket legs – but I saw none of these; but the consistency was a little more dense than I thought it may be or what it appeared it would be; not squishy like a paint glob, not hard – but still more dense than what I thought would be normal – any insight you can provide; texture sound normal, or perhaps not? Is it maybe too dense, and why he had that scooting type behavior for a bit after finishing? Is it perhaps sounding more dense than normal, and am I maybe coating his food to heavily with calcium and vitamins causing the denseness and kind of grittiness in it?

    Thanks Frank!!
    Kelly

  156. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Re the wet spot, amphibians produce moist urates wastes at times; not urine per say, but I mainly liquid form.

    The feces you describe is normal; however, consistency varies greatly from near liquid to solid; solid wastes are often deposited in water bowls. where they dissolve and are not seen. Very different from mammals, where a sudden change in consistency usually indicates a problem. Parasite populations also affect defecation. All wild caught toads will have parasites; often they are self-limited and cause no problems, but as numbers rise and fall they can affect digestion. An experienced vet can run fecal tests, but treatment can be risky and may not be worthwhile unless a real problem is noted.

    You may sometimes find wing covers, legs etc. that are passed undigested; this is normal.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  157. avatar

    I have two American Toads (I think) and live in Indiana. With winter coming on, I’m concerned as to whether the toads need to hibernate or whether or not they will be fine being kept at room temp (which will be between 60 & 70 degrees F). Any suggestions?

  158. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest. The toads will be fine at 60-70. Hibernating captives is risky, and only necessary if breeding is desired (reproduction is stimulated by a cool period, followed by rain). Wild caught toads will sometimes go off feed for a few weeks in winter, even if kept indoors, but they remain active and lose little weight during this time. Most feed right through, however, although at a slower pace.

    Re the species, Indiana has American and Fowler’s Toads, which sometimes hybridize in the wild. Also Spadefoots, but they are not often seen and distinctive in appearance. Let me know if you have trouble distinguishing them from photos. Care is the same.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  159. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Worried about my Toads. I have had them all in the coconut husk eco earth bedding now, will be a week tomorrow.

    It is really dusty, even though I mist 2x a day and I worry about their breathing it. But it also makes it extremely hard for me to determine if they have pooped or not. I seldom find solid waste, but prior to the husk – could see discolored and gritty water – not so much anymore from the husk dust.

    My huge concern with breathing – is today I noticed something new – could be normal I have no idea never noticed before. On the large and middle sized toads under belly – close to what I would call their privates – it appears pink/red – somewhat air filled too. My little toad has no discoloration in this area at all. – What might this be – is it normal, might it represent they are clogged internally due to eating husk – or possible irritation from it?

    I isolate them from the husk when eating – so not ingested then; I know some was eaten by one recently as he had shed – I would assume since they dont drink with their mouth and tongue they dont lick themselves – but on occassion I also see a spider behind their tank, and know its there as I hear their tongue working to get it – so some husk ingested that way too.

    What are your thoughts about the breathing of the dust and or control methods – and this peculiar discoloration on the underside in their privates area (I think once on one toad a while back, it looked a little purple).

    Thanks
    Kelly

  160. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Respiratory problems from dust are not common or well-studied, but best to avoid a dusty atmosphere with toads. As mentioned, sphagnum moss is a much easier substrate to use and, once moist, would not form dust. Dead leaves, leaf litter fine also id collected from area where you found the toads.

    Not always possible to find solid feces; composition varies and so dropping may not be apparent. Impactions from swallowed substrate usually cause the animals to cease feeding.

    Pink/red skin usually indicates a bacterial infection/septicemia, but this usually shows up below and around the rear legs (“red leg” disease). I do recall a number of toads with pinkish areas near the cloaca, so this may be normal (they vary in appearance across the range). Toads with red leg become debilitated very quickly, stop feeding etc.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  161. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    What I see that is colored – reminds me of the colored genital area I would see on my male gerbals – it is definately not on their legs – so I am hoping all is ok.

    Red Leg disease – is there a treatement for it, or anything I can do that if it may be this – replace water bowls, go to vet (treatment successful for it) etc. Can you describe where on the leg this tends to be – is it no where near their underside belly area?

    Thank you
    Kelly

  162. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Red leg can appear anywhere, just more common along underside of rear legs; the red skin usually spreads; lesions, broken skin follow; it is fatal if untreated. Topical (human) antibiotic creams and refrigeration (kills bacteria) have sometimes worked, but antibiotics administered by a vet are far safer.

    Substrate/water hygiene is the best way to avoid; the responsible bacteria are always present. One value of sphagnum/leaves etc. is that they can be totally replaced; searching for droppings is not very effective. Washable cage liners or even paper towels are also fine as long as you provide caves (individual salamanders in my collection, always kept on paper towels, range from 18-30 yrs old). “Naturalistic” really is a misnomer, even in zoos. Of course, planted terrariums are beautiful and can work very well, but you need to carefully adjust tank size vs occupants, live plant numbers, lighting and so on. Simple set-ups far more practical for most folks; many herps will not adapt to such, but toads are ideal candidates.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  163. avatar

    Thanks Frank, I appreciate everything again.

    I replace their water everyday, I scald their water bowls, wipe with paper towl, scald again and then rinse them well with their dechlorinated water.

    2 of the bowls, that I have for the 2 with the pink area are porous, and I just got my replacement exoterra granite rock dishes for them (not sold locally I had to order them) So I will get these in the tank asap.

    I spot clean and look for waste everyday – removing wet areas if I see any – not much though. I clean their tanks once a week – I dont use soap or any chemicals, I totally remove and replace all substrate, I scald and wipe their river rocks, plants and caves; and the tank I only clean with hot water.

    Any more I can do – should I use salt maybe when scalding their items – will that help too maybe.

    Thank you
    Kelly

  164. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Bacteria are very hard to control, even in zoos and labs; another problem is that wild caught toads harbor parasites…these can build up in cages to numbers that cannot be handled by the toads’ immune systems.

    Hot water is good but nothing from their terrarium should be dumped into sinks; dispose of waste water into a toilet bowl, slop sink or outdoors; your own health is a far greater concern. Please see this article re Salmonella.

    A dilution of 4 oz bleach to 1 quart of water makes an effective disinfectant; just beware of fumes.

    Again, you would do better to go with a simplified set-up as described earlier. Once you’ve gained some experience you can experiment with large planted terrariums. A few inches of coconut husk/rocks is not really doing anything for their quality of life. Bacteria/parasite control is a far greater concern.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  165. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

    Happy to report that when I replaced the coconut husk fiber after my first use, with dirt from my yard – the pinkish area on the belly is now gone~

    When at the pet store last night, I was trying to locate books on how to care for american toads; mostly diseases and such I am not or wasnt aware of before like red leg. I had no luck – is there one you know of that you recommend? I do have the following questions – and would greatly value your input on them also.

    1. One of my toads, when not eating or really moving, will open his mouth as wide as he can and then close it – I have seen him do this 2x – any ideas; not sure if he has done it more often, just only seen it 2x and never have seen my other 2 toads do this at all. (when doing this he also makes no sound I hear)
    2. I know this isnt specific for toads, but a brochure at the pet store for chubby frogs, tomato frogs, pacman frogs and pixie frogs all say to watch out for runny droppings for more than 2 days. Not sure if similar for toads, but I have seen one of my Toads – one time each last two weeks, have a dropping not in his water bowl but on his rocks after leaving the bowl that is dark and runny – pure thickish liquid (not thin like water)- is there reason to be concerned?
    3. One of my toads has a dark stripe from his nostrils down to where his upper lip ends. Could have always been normal marking for him – but I cant remember; had concern perhaps an illness or possible bruise from him sometimes hitting his face on the side of the aquarium. Calcium or vitamin powder deposits that possibly are causing an issue that collected there when eating his food , or hitting his food dish when he opts to grab his earthworms by mouth vs using his tongue – I really am not sure.
    4. Found a great area, that has never had pesticides or other chemicals and never will, where I will have option to collect dirt so that I will have some for their tanks during the winter. I was thinking about collecting and storing it in a rubber tote – and then when using it, thinking maybe I would cook the dirt in a glass container in the oven at 350 degrees for about a half hour to ensure I kill any insects that may still be alive in it, as well as bateria, mold, fungus etc – your thoughts?

    Thanks so much again,
    Kelly

  166. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Glad to hear your toad looks well now.

    Frogs, Toads and Treefrogs, by Dick and Patti Bartlett, is the best available. The authors have written scores of books and are known the world over. I turn to them often for advice.
    The problem with diagnosing illness from symptoms such as you describe is that most can mean nothing at all, or can be indicative of a wide variety of problems. Behavioral changes are usually associated with illness or disease; lethargy and a reluctance to feed, along with the red leg type symptoms mentioned earlier, are most common. A fecal exam is useful for diagnosing parasites, which can cause lose stool, gaping, etc. However, as your toads are wild caught they will show parasites, and sometimes the treatment is worse than the cure if the parasites are not causing any problems (meds kill beneficial bacteria in the gut, certain parasites not well understood; some, i.e. salmonella, can likely never be cleared from the system). Low parasite loads are normal and may never cause a problem. However, if the vet does treat and it goes well, then you have peace of mind. It’s a gamble. Perhaps have them tested and then decide to treat or not based on the findings.

    Opening the mouth may just be “re-aligning” the jaws, which stretch a bit during feeding or when the head hits glass. Loose stool can indicate a problem but stool consistence varies greatly with diet and animal’s state of hydration. Stripe is likely normal – bruises do not show up on skin; cut/torn skin is serious. Some folks recommend heating or freezing substrate. I’ve never done that, even in large zoo exhibits, as its’ highly unlikely that parasites would be transmitted in that manner. A quick check for large centipedes or spiders might be in order, although toads likely take even these in the wild (do not handle yourself, many can break the skin with their fangs).

    I think you’ll get a lot out of the book mentioned above …it will give you a good foundation and very practical hands-on suggestions as well. The info on species other than American Toads will be of general use as well.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  167. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well with you and yours; couple more questions for you – thanks again so very much as always.

    Collected my substrate this weekend – dirt from an area I know has not had chemicals for at least 5 years if not more – but – when doing this yesterday, encountered somethings Id like to run by you.

    1. Poison Ivy and Oak was all over, did my best to find an area that appeared to have none, but could be possible – I clean my substrate by hand too and remove so much, but there are always root sprigs (hair like) that are retained – so I do have these, and I could have rubbed oil from plants into the soil when initially clearing the area to dig – are Toads known to be as allergic to these as some people – I did my very best by do have concern – I will also be cooking my dirt at 350 degrees for 30 minutes prior to use also.
    2. I ran into wild onion – I know I hit some of them as it was quite stinky – I removed all the onion bulbs I saw – but wondering pretty much the same as above – will the onion liquids in the dirt possibly hurt them –
    3. Since I encountered all the above – I collected most the dirt from about 12 to 20 inches deep – is deep possibly very bad – parasites, fungus, bacteria, mold etc – dont know much about soil but thought I would collect your thoughts (again will be cooking it)
    4. I bought some stands for their tanks and assembled them – I did not buy wrought iron – never my favorite with my fish tanks – as they dont allow much extra room on top for the tank to be away from the edges – and feel rather tipsy – as I have a Rottweiler and worry about tank steadiness – mine are a combo of painted wood and partical board – but they are quite stinky; I remember concern about paint, wallpaper, cleaning chemical fumes – I am letting them breathe a week, hoping the smell will disapate with them out of the box and exposed – but thought I would inquire with you – they didnt contain any Formaldehyde (oops on that) warnings.
    5. As digging I was able to collect some field earthworms for them – some are smaller and red, others look more like the fish bait worms I buy – not much red to them – are all outside earthworms ok for them to eat, or are some possibly bad.

    Thanks again Frank!!!!
    Kelly

  168. avatar

    Hello Kelly Frank Indiviglio here.

    Nice to hear from you; I hope all is well.

    No concerns for the toads re poison ivy, onion or parasites. Actually, I’ve never cooked soil after collecting it from pesticide free areas (grounds of Bronx Zoo) for either zoo exhibits or personal collection. Parasite life cycles/infection routes are usually specific and they are not easily transferred via soil, etc. in most situations.

    I’m more concerned that heating may produce some sort of smoke or chemical change that could linger in your oven or home and affect you…ivy especially should not be exposed to heat, as far as I know. I always advise people to avoid any contact between animals/cage furnishings and sinks, tubs, ovens etc. used for human use. The toads are carrying parasites already…as mentioned, a vet check and cage hygiene are the best means of controlling this.

    Not sure about the stands…really depends on what is causing the odor; best not to expose yourself or any animal to fumes.

    Earthworms generally fine…those on golf courses and other treated areas concentrate toxins, as they consume earth and leaves, but any species from a safe area would be fine to use.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  169. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so very much about the tip on heating the soil and chemical change/vapor possibilities, I really appreciate that tip. Also great news about the parasites too.

    I am going to store this in plastic totes for use during winter when fresh dug soil is not an option for me – it takes a while to try and dry it out – as rain more often now, and althought I wait, the temps are lower and it is still damp when collected – I have concern that perhaps there could be mold, fungus or bacteria concerns when housed for long periods of time and perhaps a little damp also without fresh air circulating on it either – what is your thought on that – and would freezing be a possibility in regards to mold, fungus and bacteria.

    Thanks again so very much
    Kelly

  170. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback. Spreading the soil on newspaper etc. to let it dry would be useful, but not essential. Freezing might kill insects, etc., but top layers of soil are frozen solid in winter in many places, micro-organisms likely adapted to that. Mold etc. not a problem as far as we know…you could also leave it out to dry a day or so before use.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  171. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Again hope all is well with you! New question – been watching my toad friends for any discharge from the eyes and nose. There is no discharge or runniness coming out – but on 2 of the three – I do occassion see that inside the nose hole it is wet looking – and not a huge bubble, but sometimes I can see a little bubble once and a while – as I have never noticed this before, and as my 3rd toad friend isnt the same in this regard – wanted to ask and would greatly appreciate your thoughts – (house is at about 70-73 degrees) – per their tank gages they are at the 75 degree mark consistently – I have been squirting and moistening their dirt once daily also – to keep the dust down.

    Thank you
    Kelly Dorr

  172. avatar

    Also I forgot –

    2x now on my feeder crickets – when going to collect them – on first time I have seen 2 small bugs (mite looking in appearance) – so I discarded those crickets and got new cricket food – well even after that – I just saw another single mite looking kind of bug – not sure if it is contaminated food – as I discarded old and got a new bottle – or do crickets sometimes get or have parasites and that be what these things are? – Perhaps I need try and find another supplier to buy them from – although, I have been purchasing them from the same place for 2 months now and just recently seeing these things – I worry about possible impact to my toad friends.

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  173. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Nice to hear from you again. Sounds normal…problematic discharge is very noticeable, and they will usually be listless as well.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  174. avatar

    Hello Kelly, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Mites are nearly always present among crickets and in the soil; you may not always see them, but tiny nymphs and eggs are always about. No concern, and really impossible to keep out (they even show up in heat-treated substrates. The most commonly seen varieties are scavengers rather than parasites; please see this article for more info.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  175. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much again – I forgot but wanted to let you know that I bought the Toad book you referenced along with a couple of others. In prior conversations you referenced your habits while working at a zoo, and then later referenced it was the Bronx Zoo – You should be very very proud – the Bronz Zoo is referenced in one of my books as one of the top 10 Reptile and Amphibian zoos in the country – so congrads and that is most awesome for yourself and myself, and others who utilize this blog and you as a reference to help us with our pets!

  176. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks so much for the kind words, I appreciate that. I’m very lucky to have spent a lifetime working with animals, and to be able to continue to write here and in various books, etc. I’m guessing the 10 best zoo reference was in Dick and Patti Bartlett’s Reptiles and Amphibians for Dummies? The authors are friends, and the absolute best in their field…you can’t go wrong by taking everything in that book to heart.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  177. avatar

    Hi Frank

    You are absolutely right regarding the Book – yes I bought that – It is an awesome book and very helpful!!

    I have an issue – I read on a reply you posted to someone 2 years ago: Bloating can be a result of gas produced by a bacterial infection, but as it comes and goes, and the toad does not seem otherwise ill, I’m inclined to believe it’s just over-fed.

    I have one fellow who is quite bloated; has been since Tuesday (last he ate was Monday). He was very active Tuesday all day and into late evening – yesterday and today, he is still bloated – and not very active – alert and such, but not active.

    I am concerned about possible blockage – but I on occasion feed sow bugs (not often), earthworms and crickets and I even remove the legs from the crickets – so I am more concerned about possible gas from an infection –

    Any insight you may give me –

    Thank you so very much.

  178. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks; glad you are finding the book useful.

    Unfortunately, the only way to be sure is to watch the toad; if it becomes lethargic, refuses food, etc., then you’ll need to see a vet to diagnose whether a blockage, infection or other problem is involved.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  179. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

    My big guy shed his skin last night, and today I noticed something that could be a sore in his chest/armpit area. I wont know for sure til later when I can inspect him better – but, I feel it is new as I dont recall this marking on him previously.

    Can they obtain little sores – looks like maybe a little dried blood – when shedding? I just have never noticed either way before.

    If I confirm later it is a sore, or dried blood – should I use a wet q-tip and clean it – and should I medicate it with something like neosporin or something else – or not at all? I know sores on the skin can be so very dangerous.

    Also, they have been living with me for 3 months now – have I passed the stage, where I can be confident that my Calcium/D3 and vitamin regimen is working as it needs, as not seeing symptoms at all of either calcium or vitamin A deficiency – or is it still too early to tell.

    Thanks so very much, I will keep praying he doesnt have a sore from shedding, and hope that is what I confirm later today after work.

    Kelly

  180. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Think I will try and clean that area with hydrogen peroxide – ????

  181. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Peroxide can be used, as well as an over-the counter antibiotic cream.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  182. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Dried blood can be from an injury/cut; an over-the-counter antibiotic cream can be used. A sore or other open wound can be either from a more serious injury, or a bacterial infection (usually Aeromonas, which causes the common affliction known as “red-leg”). Methylene Blue is sometimes useful in combating this (please see this article), but a vet visit would be the best option.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  183. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so very much, all I can imagine, as I saw this after the day he shed is that this occurred then – I have noticed before on diff sheddings, that while some skin is in their mouth – some appears stuck per say to a toe or other body part and they pull it off sometimes violently – golly.

    The area no longer looks fresh, or like fresh skin – but as if dried blood is over it and it is flat and no openings – I never knew something like this could happen with shedding, and am uncomfortable with that – only as I dont always know when they shed.

    I went to the store this am, I can locate antibiodic creams – ointments only. Neosporin without pain relief and Bacatricin – I got both – both have a white petroleum base which concerns me – your thoughts – are there maybe cream options that exist – perhaps if I check out a real pharmacy versus where I did go. I used the Bacatricin, as its only inactive ingrediant listed was white petroleum; Neospirin had other stuff I didnt like – cocoa butter, olive oil, cottonseed oil.

    Your thoughts on the white petroleum, at least I am using a small small amount in a small small area – I will go and see if I have luck at a different store locating something without petrolium or oils.

    Since they have been with me three months now, and show no signs of not enough calcium or too low or too high vitamin A, is it safe to say what I am doing is working – or is it still too soon to tell?

    Thanks again so very much,
    Kelly

  184. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Bacitracin is fine; zoos use a variety of over-the-counter meds short term, so seems no need to worry too much about other ingredients; going with simplist, as you’ve done, is a good idea.

    May or may not be shed-related; all frogs pull the skin from their bodies while shedding; a moist environment helps, although toads will usually soak beforehand if need be.

    Unfortunately, there are no real standards concerning calcium, Vit A, levels, etc. As you’ve had no problems, stay with your current system.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  185. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Well now my middle sized toad Earl has something strange – I saw him shed on 12/10/2011 – and then last night, I saw him shed again – 5 day period – I have noticed 8 to 12 day intervals, but 5 days I have not yet seen – reason to be concerned, possible sign of infection of skin or otherwise – or maybe as winter and my heat is now on, perhaps the humidity in my home to low – I had anticipated they may not shed so frequently during winter – but now I am noticing an increase to the frequency.

    So sorry – I have three toad books – and only one addresses shedding and in regards to amphips – it only states out of reptiles and snakes – they can not part with their skin, and when molting will eat it –

    My Big Guy Buddy – doesnt seem to like the hydrogen peroxide at all; I have held him many times without incident, but when applying this too him – this time he released water 2x. He acts as though it burns – and after his water release, it appeared as though he lost half his body weight – that was kind of different to me – amazing actually, that was a lot of water apparently.

    Thanks so much
    Kelly Dorr

  186. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Thanks; toads will shed more frequently when afflicted with certain skin problems, but you will likely notice other symptoms…fungus, etc. 5 days is not unusual for some individuals…you seem to have a good handle on their frequency, but have no doubt missed many sheds as well, so it’s hard to establish their pattern. The things we’ve discussed are general in nature..I have observed many species to shed at odd (to me!) intervals.

    Humidity should not increase shedding; toads are quite resilient, just spray more, or add water to the substrate if it seems to be drying quicker.

    They can hold quite a bit of water…this is a good sign, as they store water for use in times of drought, and to surprise predators into releasing them. A large supply usually indicates a favorable environment.

    Antibiotic cream will be more effective in fighting a wider range of micro-organisms than will peroxide, so you can stay with that if need be.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  187. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Thank you!!! So glad Buddy appears to be healthy and having favorable living conditions – boy I love these guys!

    Earl’s skin is looking good, everyday I moisten their dirt, look for stool, and check their body appearance and function!!! Hi is my disabled fellow – and missing one back leg – which make it very very difficult for him to remove all his shedded skin – I DO NOT TRY and help remove it – no way, scares me – even more so now that I see Buddy had a sore after resently shedding.

    He has some old skin that clings to him – around his booty butt where his back leg is missing and on his front foot on that same side – is it ok for it to remain there til it naturally comes off – even if he soaks gets it wet and it dries – with such repeating a couple times before it comes off –

    Thanks so much
    Kelly

  188. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Thanks for the feedback. Unshed skin is fine as long as it comes off eventually (it usually does, as you describe). Skin that remains for months, as happens with desert lizards in captivity on occasion, can cause toe loss or bacterial infection.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  189. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    When looking at Earl – three legged guy that shed 12/10 and 12/15 – with an LED flashlight versus regular flashlight and yellow/soft lighting lamps – I do see some area of white on him – not solid white, but low lieing white area like surrounding the bumps on his back, legs, by ears, little on the nose sometimes – doesnt appear to be fungus – not high off him – no growths, but I do see these whitish kind of dry skin looking areas and when he is wet this is not seen – he is eating and behaving normally – and all my Toads are different colors – grey guy doesnt show this – brick red guy doesnt have this – so I am concerned about Earl.

    Thanks so much.
    Kelly

  190. avatar

    Hi Frank

    From what I could stand to view online, what I see on Earl looks nothing like the Chry… Fungus on the Internet – about the only fungus spoken of during my searches – it appears to look like very very dry skin, their humidity level is low – I am stumped on this one.

  191. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Sorry – but have you ever bought any earthworms for your toads from an internet provider? My bait shops are only selling the night crawlers this time of year – and they are just too large for my toads – I thought if you had an internet provider you trusted – Id throw my business their way also.

    Thanks!
    Kelly

  192. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Hmmm,…sounds like a crime scene investigation! But seriously, not sure how LED light might affect what you see. Since he’s in good health, I imagine it is only some dry skin, which shouldn’t be a concern. Individual reptiles and amphibs of same species often vary in such things; some snakes, for example, will always go through difficult sheds even though housed in same exhibit with others that have no problems.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  193. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Chytrid is much in the news these days and so will pop up everywhere; not likely in your case.

    Other fungi spread rapidly and soon impact overall health and behavior, so an infection is not likely; just watch for changes (not that I have to tell you that!).

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  194. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Carolina Pet Supply is very good; they also carry sow bugs, butter worms and others; also I’ve used NY Worms in the past. Here in NY, PetSmart carries small worms (red wigglers) as well, not sure id they are national.

    In case needed, here is an article on Rearing Earthworms.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  195. avatar

    Hi Frank, thanks so much for the tips –

    AND info on the worms and sow bugs – the ones I collected in October are still thriving for me, but I was wondering if they were to perish, was there an option available to order them – thanks so very much – they do really seem to love eating the fish food.

    Buddy’s sore is looking better – not red or fleshy in color, but a dark brown so I think it is healing well, I have looked everywhere and can not find any data on their average healing times – he has had it about a week now – that seem normal healing time to you?

    AND SO I DONT FORGET – I DO VERY MUCH WANT TO WISH YOU AND YOURS A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON AND NEW YEAR.

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  196. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks, my pleasure. Good to hear the sow bugs are thriving; keep an eye on them, they will likely breed, but the young ones are tiny and easy to miss.

    No real standards on healing, etc., as there are too many variables. As long as behavior and appetite remain normal, all is going well.

    A happy and healthy holiday and new year to you and yours,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  197. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Think I may try my luck at raising my own earthworms too – they love these the most, I can tell by the way they consume them over the other insects I over, and as it took me 2 weeks to find some and fed them last night – they were the most alert they have ever been at 3 am the next morning!!

    The info in the link is fantastic – wondering – as my Toads are kept in dirt – and the dirt I harvest is known to be chemical free – when I change the toad dirt weekly, is it ok to use their old dirt for my worm bedding – and if I use dirt and leaves and such – and feed the same as noted in the link – how often would I need replace or totally change their bedding; what feed cycles did you use – (once a week, then remove all old food on top layer and replace with new, etc) – and I guess I will need be diligent about keeping them moist but not wet just like I do with the sow bugs.

    I was thinking about a 10 gal glass aquarium with screen lid to start my earthworm growing experiment with, and they can live in my basement with the crickets and sow bugs too – along with the other assortment of free roam basement bugs that live there that came with the home – haha.

    Thanks so much,
    Kelly

  198. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I am very very concerned – Earl shed 12/10, 12/15 – and he is again now shedding again. We are on a series of 5 day intervals – he wasnt as active today, but not sluggish either, he ate very well yesterday – this seems extremely odd.

    Kelly

  199. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed. Earthworms likely form a large part of the natural diet, and they are very nutritious. I’ve raised 2 salamander species on them alone.

    They eat earth along with leaves etc. and pass out castings, which you will see on the surface. Odorless (good fertilizer); can turn back into soil or just leave; or scrape off if tank is crowded and piles build up. Yes, moist but not wet. Dead leaves, decaying leaf litter can be left in place, mixed in soil until gone. Experiment with small amounts of other food on surface, remove uneaten after a day or so but no real need to clean/break down for months or even years, depending on stocking density.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  200. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Unfortunately there’s not much I can add to what we’ve discussed…almost no info available on normal shed cycles, even of closely studied species. If the animal is feeding well, consuming shed and all then there is really no way to know whether or not there is a problem. I get the prof herp journals and will keep an eye out…sooner or later someone will get a grant to study such things, although perhaps not in this economy (then again, National Zoo just received a 4-5 million dollar donation to assist a single pair of Giant Pandas to produce another cub (not sure what there problem is, but….)

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  201. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so very very much, I sincerely appreciate your keeping an eye out for me – I found this publication and article today – from University of Copenhagen, Denmark – helps ease my mind a bit, and thought I would share it with you also and see your thoughts.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/qr04470022j7723m/

    Thank you,
    Kelly

  202. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks…as you can see, it’s a very complex process. Things often go wrong with captive insects and spiders unless conditions are perfect, but amphibians usually do fine.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  203. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope you had a great holiday!!!!!

    Question on Earl and his shedding – he has been doing it every 5 days, and sometimes I will see some hanging on his back leg etc – poor fellow, only having one back leg and all. He use to get it off better – or at least until December, I never noticed this before.

    But it looks like he might have some on the tip of his toes on the front leg that is on the same side he is missing the back leg – usually I put him in his swimming pool, let him soak and then lightly use a q-tip to help remove skin he cant reach.

    I was thinking about trying to help his tip toes after work today, I know I need be very gentle – the tip toes are darker than the tip toes on his other foot so fairly sure this is skin that hasnt removed – any tips or suggestions for me?

    Thanks so much
    Kelly

  204. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Thanks, best to you and yours as well.

    You can use a few drops of olive oil to loosen the skin; if you still have difficulty, you might give Shed Ease a try.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  205. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much I didnt know they made products like this!

    I also checked out the one food supplier you provided me – what is a butterworm – is it a worm, mealworm, catipillar – I have never heard of these – what the site says below is very encouraging – are these ok for toads, and are they high in chitlin or something I shouldnt feed regularly to them?

    BUTTERWORMS ARE NUTRITIOUS, EASY CARE (STORE THE REFRIGERATOR, NO FEEDINGS REQUIRED!); THEY ALSO MAKE GREAT FISHING BAIT!!
    Butterworms average about 3/4″ to 1″ (vary in length from 1/2″ to 1-1/4″), are similar to a caterpillar, but are fatter and smooth to touch, like Waxworms.

    **The Calcium content is twice that of any other feeder insect

  206. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Butterworms are caterpillars, the larvae of a moth from Chile and elsewhere in SA. You can refrigerate or keep in wheat bran at room temp, with some apple or carrot for moisture. You can use regularly, i.e. 1-2x week; no problems have been reported, no warnings re chitin or such.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  207. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I got both the Zilla Shed Ease and saw their Humidifying Spray Tropical Mist and got it also.

    On the Shed Ease – I wasnt aware it was a bath – I have apparently traumatized him regarding baths and his shedding – he will not stay in there; I do try and block his escape – but I usually just let him leave so I dont stress him to heavily.

    What do you think about the Humidifying Spray Tropical Mist – I know it is more for tropical species of toads – I dont think I would use it everyday or in his cage as they recommend since he is not tropcial, but it has many of the same ingrediants as the Shed Ease, and if I can apply it directly – it might work better for us both – of course, if you are also comfortable with my using this product (states ingrediants in order as – Aloe vera, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Emollient (which I hope is glycerol but company is closed today), and then lastly water. Says it will moisturize and help reduce shedding problems.

    Thanks so very much again – Happy New Year to you also,
    Kelly Dorr

  208. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Sorry, I may not have been clear. When you mentioned helping to physically remove the skin, I had in mind to use olive oil or shed ease to assist in that…a few drops put on as you worked the old skin off. I don’t think there’s any to use the misting spray on a regular basis, as it’s likely more of a physical problem…lack of other leg to assist in pushing off the skin.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  209. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again – his skin still appears whitish and over more of his body area than before; he feeds normally – even chases his food around; but I was thinking maybe that spray – if you felt ok, might help him with what we think is dry skin – to moisten it or add moisture – then he might be able to better shed his skin – like he use to before I turned on the heat in the house – three legs and all; he use to be able to remove all his skin himself prior to my turning on the heat; I did get a humidifier and see that the house is reading at only 23 humidity level – that was a challenge – finding one that is cool mist and does not use a filter – I had one before, but the filter and the antimicrobial agent in it smelled something horrible.

    I have just started using the new humidifier today – but still curious if that spray may help moisten his skin so not so dry and so that he may be able to again fully remove all of it himself.

    Thanks!
    Kelly Dorr

  210. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Sorry, I’m not sure which spray you have in mind; pl send a link when you have a moment,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  211. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    No problem – it is by Zilla too – states moreso for tropical frogs, toads, etc – ingrediants in order are Aloe vera, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Emollient and water – not sure what the emollient is called Zilla last Friday but they were closed for holiday and again today also. I can even dilute this more with water and or not use everday either – whatever you feel is best.

    http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/458/product.web

    Thanks again,
    Kelly

  212. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks for the feedback; we don’t really know the effect of using such a spray daily, long term, or how/if it should be diluted. I would rely upon misting with water, and use shed aids during shed, or perhaps a day or so before if you continue to see a distinct shed cycle.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  213. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Thanks again! Sometimes he looks like he has a waxy sheen along with the white areas – is this vitamin A toxicity maybe?

    Kelly

  214. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Thanks; I’m not aware of anything related to what you describe. In captive toads, Vit A deficiencies are usually more common than overdoses; please see this article.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  215. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I am thinking Earl has a fungus and not dry skin – all my toads are caged separately, but treated the same regarding substrate and cleaning practices – only difference I can think of is right before this shedding started and I did buy Earl a new waterbowl = only difference in the three.

    How is fungus treated?

    Thank you
    Kelly

  216. avatar

    A new comment on the post “My Animal Collection: How a Herpetologist Keeps
    American Toads, Bufo (Anaxyrus) americanus and Related Species, Part I” is
    waiting for your approval
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2008/11/14/my-animal-collection-how-a-herpetologist-keeps-american-toads-bufo-anaxyrus-americanus-and-related-species-part-i/

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    Comment:
    Hi Frank,

    I am thinking Earl has a fungus and not dry skin – all my toads are caged
    separately, but treated the same regarding substrate and cleaning practices –
    only difference I can think of is right before this shedding started and I did
    buy Earl a new waterbowl = only difference in the three.

    How is fungus treated?

    Thank you
    Kelly

    Approve it: http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/wp-admin/comment.php?action=approve&c=7943
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  217. avatar

    Hi Frank ,

    In addition to the fungus treatment request above, I did just read in one of my many frog and toad books, that sometimes for frogs with fungus infections, that they found the use of chlorinated water to be helpful too – although I treat my water with remover, I did still buy water (aquatic) test strips and still test it. Glad I do this, as once the strip advised me I did forget to put the dechlorinator in one of the three jugs = but I do know that my tap water when tested reads at the lowest level of chlorine noted on the test strip, will chlorinated water perhaps treat his condition (short soaks) and maybe less risky a treatment option?

    Thanks again
    Kelly

  218. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    It’s somewhat of a balancing act…many old time herp keepers mentioned chlorine, and it makes sense, but I’m not sure if actually proven. Some exposure is fine, but how much/how often is unknown; some luck had been had with refrigeration as well, for leopard frogs, but again extrapolating to toads, without a definite diagnosis by a vet, would be mainly guesswork. It would do no harm to fill water bowl with chlorinated water on alternate days, if you wish to experiment.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  219. avatar

    Thank you Frank,

    Are there any fish fungal treatments that have been successfully used on toads, since they also are very sensitive to their environments – or are you saying, perhaps ok to try chlorine and if no improvement seen -locate and see a vet before trying anything else?

    Thanks so much,
    Kelly

  220. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. A vet visit is always preferable; I thought you had mentioned that you were in touch with an experienced amphibian vet at one point…

    Methylene Blue has been used with some success, but is still considered experimental.

    Chlorinated water left in the bowl on alternate days will do no harm, but there are no specifics as to its value as a treatment. Again, fungal infections are not easy to diagnose, and the species present may affect drug choice.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  221. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Talked to my vet office = my toadie tech comes in at 6pm tonight – going to see if there is a scrape/petri dish option where I can collect the specimen for them – versus my car porting this poor fellow for over an hour each way to get there and back, let alone the stress and time involved with the actual doctor visit itself.

    Then if so, while I wait for culture growth and review, I will start the chlorinated water option as well – and if confirmed fungus, I hope perhaps I will be lucky enough to see profound improvement with the chlorine option treatment alone – since short term – a much less riskier option to his life.

    Thought though – I squirt their dirt everday and mix it by hand, looking for stool and to also ensure the soil is moist – would it be beneficial and not harmful to them – if I used chlorinated water when doing this. Currently I do not, but thinking maybe the chlorinated water will help control bacteria, mold, fungi in the dirt – maybe a little. And it would be moist dirt not liquid theyd be in – so I think theyd have little absorption if none, in moistened chlorinated watered dirt – for the short time each day it would even be moist and in the dirt.

    Challenging for sure – but they are so very much worth it all and more!

    Thanks so very much again!
    Kelly

  222. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Chlorine dissipates within 24 hrs in the open, so you can spray; no chance of build-up.

    You’ll need to bring the toad in, as fecal tests will only reveal systemic infections, parasites, but not fungi that is limited to the skin. A vet would not likely advise you to scrape the area yourself.

    Transport the toad in an old pillow case with damp taper towels or moss; in hard containers, they will rub along the sides in an attempt to escape.

    Hope all goes well, Frank Indiviglio.

  223. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I never know when/if my city will increase and or decrease the water chlorine amount, I did test it yesterday with my Tetra Aquarium 6-in1 test strips, and my chlorine level read either 1.0 to maybe 2.0 ppm-mg/L.

    Hoping that is not too strong for a toad – I thought I had read that long term low exposure in toad contributes to kidney failure – which wouldnt happen in this case; but is that the only threat to Toads from chlorine?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  224. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Additives vary among water authorities and in accordance with human health concerns, etc. There really are no standards re amphibians. In addition to chlorine, chloramines are normally added, along with other chemicals. All are designed to kill micro-organisms, and are absorbed through amphibs skin. Standard practice in zoos is to remove chlorine; I know from experience that the protocol we discussed can be used safely for awhile, if you wish to experiment. Best option is vet care. Keep in mind that any treatment prescribed by vet will have side effects; as with us, it’s a matter of weighing risks. Many amphibs are lost during treatment, which is why it is best to have the problem evaluated to be sure that medication is actually required.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  225. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I had an appt with a reptile vet closer to where I live (Earl stayed home, he shed that am – and it was a meet and greet visit for me). I took photos of him and some shed skin.

    He has only seen a couple frogs and not much experience with amphibs – but he does have access to an exotic pet lab and he did call and confirm that they do have enough data on American Toads to know what bacteria and levels and such are considered normal.

    The expert at the lab had some good suggestions – she thought perhaps my water is too hard and that I might be seeing mineral deposits on him – per my water test strips I do have the hardest water indication they read. Perhaps possible, since he is disabled and has more difficulty than the others due to such, and perhaps why such might be an issue for him and not the others.

    I did get some Aquafina purified water – only one I saw that stated they do not enhance it with additives for flavor – I just got their water report off their website and called and confirmed they do not have additives either. It tested the exact opposite of my water – softest reading on the strip and although purified, and no chlorine, I am still adding water conditioner to it.

    He is still eating great, active alert – this is very perplexing. Going to try softer water for him, and I may reach point where I also use a water conditioner that has a slime coating (currently I do not) – we spoke earlier and I got the one you stated you use – Stress Coat.

    I do have an appt with a different reptile vet this Wednesday, recommended by a friend with tortoises who said he also worked with the St. Louis Zoo – at this point – Id like to do a test to know what I am dealing with – if health concern or not, and then take it from there, knowing the huge risks involved.

    Thanks again for everything. QUESTION for the day (in addition to any feed back on above you may have) – Worms for my toads, still hard to find – a petstore here has what they call Red Wigglers (Big Reds) and also called Angel Worms – (so many names for one worm) – are Red Wigglers ok for American Toads – I saw a posting a while back by someone on the internet who said they fed their American Toad a Red Wiggler and it died – who knows all the specifics – where it was collected, size, etc – but is the species generally ok for toads or perhaps not?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  226. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    The idea re hard water is an excellent one; with few exceptions, amphibians always fare better in soft water. If you trust the company, best not to add chlor-out type products. Be sure not to use distilled water, as it leaches minerals/salts from the body.

    Appetite is almost always affected quickly when there is a serious problem, so it’s a good sign that the toad is feeding.

    Red wigglers are fine, used by all zoos for decades. Worm collection/farming is not strictly controlled; there are always risks with any invertebrate re parasite transmission, different species being sent, etc. Unless you know where to look and how to filter, best to avoid looking into people’s experiences with foods etc. – some good info on the net, but sorting though it is brutal, lots of nonsense, etc.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  227. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again as always – my test strip advised no chlorine found in the aquafina, chloramines is not a separate test on my strip – not sure if they would read under the chlorine part of it. Their water analysis report indicated None Detected at or above the Min Reporting Level set by the EPA for chloramine, chlorine and chlorine dioxide – think I might still treat for the chloramine aspect or not? Sorry I dont know much about water and all these chemicals and multiple purification processes~

    Also the other difference in this water other than it being the softest reading on the strip, is that it is also the exact opposite of mine for PH in that it is the strongest acidic reading and my water read the highest alkaline reading. I forgot to tell you that earlier – wish I knew more about water – but am learning about it thanks to my toadies.

    I spoke to the St. Louis Zoo again today and learned they have their own water treatment operation and processes and create and use their own supply of water for their amphibians. They did suggest that I consider adding moss to his environment – as it too will retain moisture but they stated it can be slightly coarse in nature (not rough) – but that if he burrows in the moss as their american toad does, it may help exfoliate some of the skin that remains after his shed.

    Internet being brutal and non-sense – yes, again today I just saw my second internet advisment stating American Toads can be fed minnows and it also recommended pinkie mice – I am so thankful for this site, your expertise and That Pet Place – Id be lost without this resource and my friends health otherwise without it – well I just dont like to think about that.

    Thank you
    Kelly

  228. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks for the kind words. Acidic water is not a good option…some toad populations have adapted, but in general best not to use anything over 7.5 pH. Many zoos use Reverse Osmosis systems. St. Louis had done some great amphibs work, just became first to breed hellbenders; you can rely on anything they tell you.

    If water is un-chlorinated, chloramines would not likely be present. Used in NYC, but not nearly as common as chlorine elsewhere.

    Deer Park Water was useful in past; not sure if their source has changed since.

    Sphagnum moss would be a

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  229. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I doubt you remember our previous correspondence about the American Toad I took in after he/she decided to hibernate in my outdoor planter. That was in October 2009, and the toad (we call him Little Toad) has been with us now for more more than two years. I incorporated all your suggestions in setting up his tank, etc., and it has been such a pleasure to watch him.

    I have followed your exchanges with Kelly with interest, of course. Now I have a question regarding the latest ones about water. I don’t test the water we use for the toad’s soaking bowl and spraying, but I do use bottled spring water (from various sources, often the store brand, but also Poland Springs, Deer Park, etc. The current bottle is distributed by Key Foods, and the water comes from Fox Ledge Springs in Pennsylvania.) I don’t use purified water, which the labels of at least some bottlers say contains calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. (Aquafina purified water, I now see, does not contain this.) Is there a reason to be concerned that bottled spring water has chlorine in it? I thought that spring water did not contain chlorine, which is why I have been using it. I do use a dechlorinator in the tap water I use to wash and hydrate the sphagnum moss, but have stuck to bottled spring water for the toad’s soaking bowl and spray bottle. Thanks much for answering this question.

    Best always,
    Maru

  230. avatar

    Hello Mary,

    Nice to hear from you again; I recall clearly…although, as with most things, I cannot believe it was over 2 years ago! Congrats on your success and thanks for the kind words.

    Spring water, esp. from known companies, does not contain chlorine; we used Deer Park and Poland at the Bx Zoo; “purified” varies.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  231. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Think I know what is wrong with Earl – thanks to your prior link to another subscriber regarding supplement/Vitamin A.

    I have noticed that about once every week and half, Earls aim seems off – my book tells me that ‘bad aim’ could be linked to Vit A deficiency. He did this last night too – not every time, not really that often – but on occassion.

    That – with the skin problems leads me to think Vit A def – and I just saw that my supplement has no preformed vit A, but only beta carotene – never thought about it before – makes sense to me that an animal that eats insects only most likely would not digest beta carotene (plant derived) well. – Duh on my part.

    So I called the STL Zoo, they use Repashy – they use separate calcium/d3 and vitamin products – not one combined. Repashy has both preformed Vit A (retinol) along with some beta carotene for better all alround coverage and absorptions. STL Zoo stated that for VitD3 – the amounts they use varies by the Toad age – older animals getting the Repashy product with lower VitD3 content – and younger specimens getting the product with a higher Vit D3 ratio.

    So with that – at my Toad Doc appt tonight – taking what I have been using, new products Reptivite and Repto Cal – along with data on products from Repashy and info from the staff at STL Zoo – to discuss how I hope, I pray I might be able to stop the symptoms I see in Earl now with hopefully a veterinarian recommended VitA supp alone treatment and to also help my other fellows by providing them more proper doses of VitA before they show any symptoms of being too low.

    Thanks
    Kelly

  232. avatar

    Hello Kelly

    Thanks, sounds like you’re on the right track; please keep me posted re Repashy; I’d like to follow up on it, sounds promising.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  233. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Below is a link on one vendor that sells Repashy – as on a couple of sights – they didnt sell all four of the available D3 stengths nor have data on them all for me to compare them to one another.

    They have No VD, LoD, MeD and HyD – this site though, has all the ingrediants and levels for each of the 4 strenghts – and their recommended usage – including the HyD for animals that they state it may even be beneficial for if used during early stages of MBD.

    http://www.pangeareptile.com/store/supercal.html

    Definately an intersting product/company. I am also looking into their Supervite product – which the STL Zoo likes and uses also. It can be found under search on the same site above – this site also has a little more info regarding this product also, that the other site doesnt include – toghether with the 2 sites, I am getting the data I need on it!!!

    http://www.alphaprobreeders.com/products/Repashy-SuperVite–.html

    I will let you know how the visit went and what Dr. Wentzi advises!

    Thanks again –
    Kelly

  234. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Last night, Earl ate a cricket – got it on the first try; tongue extended far.,

    I saw the Dr. and he felt the bad aim or short tongue syndrome could be a calcium deficiency or, perhaps a tongue sprain – that he has seen in amphibians and chameleons on occassion.

    He prefers the Rep Cal reptevite that I have been using and is comfortable that it contains only beta carotene and no preformed Vitamin A.

    I am still thinking about the Repashy Supervite which does contained both preformed Vit A and beta carotene.

    He thought it could be either dry skin or a possible fungul infection – he gave me some antibiodic – Baytril – 3.0ml to mix with a quart of water, and to mist him directly 2x a day for 7 to 10 days. Said if dry skin and not fungul, the antibiodic wouldnt hurt him.

    I do remember your saying and also my reading in several articles that treament is extremely tricky – do you have any experience with toads and baytril?

    I also found out there is a frog/toad breeder in my area who has been doing so for 20 plus years. (Dart frogs, horned frogs) – I have his info and am thinking about calling him also.

    Thanks so very much,
    Kelly

  235. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks for the update. Baytril has long been a standard antibiotic for use with amphibians, especially where the exact nature of the problem is unknown. Used extensively in zoos and private practice.

    As you can see, there are many uncertainties. Millions of dollars have been poured into battling the Chytrid fungus that has been decimating amphibs populations worldwide over the past decade or so, yet we are still far from understanding the nature of the problem.

    I hope all goes well,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  236. avatar

    Hi Frank
    And thanks, so far on my review of the internet – only RAVE reviews regarding Baytril have been found – none negative (I wrote you prior to do that research – wasnt sure what I might find, just never know)

    And – when speaking to the STL Zoo, I unfortunately learned the Chytrid fungus has been found in STL waters; wish it never existed; makes my heart sink.

    Thank you again
    Kelly

  237. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks; not to dampen the mood, but please keep in mind that there are all sorts of problems associated with any medication…look what happens in human medicine, where so much more is known. I’ve seen toads survive being locked within a concrete wall for 8 years, while others kept in multi-million dollar facilities fail to thrive…. But you’re doing all that can be done.

    Chytrid is turning up everywhere, but we don’t really understand the implications. It may turn out to be like salmonella in herps or aspergillosis in birds – always present, but only problematical in certain circumstances. With amphibs declines, far more than just the fungus is likely involved – depressed immune systems due to other factors (pollution, acid rain, etc.), the loss of other micro-organisms, change in quality of food items, and so on. But each new bit of info helps.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  238. avatar

    Hello: I have an American toad and have a few questions. Currently, I am housing it in a 20 gallon tank with 3-4 inches of soil from its natural habitat plus logs, bark, stones and some branches. It was just moved indoors from my garage to my house. Current temp is 20 C. It appears to have a normal demenor as he’s out and about at nite but I have not seen it eat in a few weeks now. I placed 4-5 crickets in the tank and upon checking the next day or so they haven’t been caught. I even place the crickets directly in front of it but he doesn’t appear to be interested. Do I have any reason for concern? Also, how often should I change the substrate? Will it disturb him in any way if I do? He appears to be pretty comfortable as he’s burrowed in many areas and made the environment his own. I am thinking of replacing it with Eco earth, moss and live plants. Any suggestions or thoughts?

  239. avatar

    Hi Simon,

    20 C is a safe temperature, but American toads sometimes slow down their feeding as autumn progresses, even if kept warm. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if this is what’s going on, or if an intestinal blockage or other problem is involved (a blockage, via substrate or undigested food, can be seen on x-ray); However, if the toad were sick,, he’d likely not be digging and behaving normally.

    Please be sure to vary the diet; crickets alone are not sufficient long-term; earthworms can be used as a staple; please let me know if you need more info on this. new food items often spark interest as well..nutrient needs seem to drive amphibs to seek out a variety of foods.

    Hard to provide guidelines on cleaning, as each situation different. Most toads tend to defecate in water bowls, and so removing just the surface layer of the soil once each 7-10 days suffices. Any change is stressful, but necessary for health as ammonia will build up. Natural soil is fine, but always a chance of a blockage with any substrate. Sphagnum moss works well, seems harder to swallow and s easy to rinse once-twice, then replace, Live plants very useful. Pothos will grow in damp moss, can be lifted out and put back during cleaning. Us a zoo med 2.0 or similar – enough light for plants, and with low UVB (too much may be detrimental to toad – eye probs suspected).

    Please keep me posted, let me know if you need more info, enjoy, Frank

  240. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Wow..thanks for the quick and detailed response.

    If he’s slowed his eating because of the season, can you advise then how often I should feed him then? Should I attempt every few days? Can I house earthworms in the dirt and allow him to search for it or do I need to dangle? And are mealworms a good alternative? How would I house them and feed them? Do I place in a dish or in the tank is fine?

    Thanks!

    Simon

  241. avatar

    Hi Simon,

    Glad the info was useful. Yes, try every few days; no hard/fast rules, some feed once weekly, others at almost regular frequency.

    Please see here for more suggested food items, and note the info concerning supplements. If you can induce him to feed from a tong, the canned insects mentioned in the article are a good way to provide variety.

    Earthworms will burrow out of reach if left in the terrarium. Try a dish, or tongs, or perhaps move the toad into a bare-bottomed bucket at feeding time (some are stressed by this, others not). You can also keep toads on moist paper towels or washable terrarium liners. As long as you provide a cave to hide in, he’ll do fine w/o substrate; this simplifies cleaning and feeding; I enjoy planted terrariums, but they are more work to maintain properly. You can easily raise earthworms, and nutrient load them, as described here..

    Avoid mealworms; linked to intestinal blockages and not very nutritious. Newly molted (white in color) grubs are okay, but you’ll need to set up a colony; info is here, but not really worthwhile.

    Please keep me posted, best, Frank

  242. avatar

    Hi Frank..thanks for your advice.
    I’ve dropped a few crickets in and check every so often if they’ve been eaten. Should I remove them if he’s not eating them or leave them? And with cold weather, there aren’t many bugs out to catch. I’ll try to use a tong and i’ll let you know how it goes.
    Just purchased the moss as you suggested and i’ve placed it around the logs he hides under and he seems to be liking it. He just shed this morning. Is this normal or is the humidity too high. I’ve heard toads shed 3 or 4 times a year when fully grown and more often if younger but then i’ve heard it could be due to the humidity? He also ate his skin. Is this considered nutirents and wait a few days to feed him his regular meals?

  243. avatar

    Hi Simon,

    My pleasure…

    Internet insect dealers should be able to supply silkworms, sow bugs (a great food; pl see this article, butterworms, earthworms and others; pl let me know if you need assistance with that.

    Remove uneaten crickets, as they may bite cold or lethargic amphibians if left in too long w/o food. Best, to use 1/2 grown crickets, even for adult toads.

    Humidity will not affect shedding, unless it is so dry that the animal has difficulty. There really are no hard-fast rules as to frequency; depends on age, diet, season, time of year, food volume, etc. Animals with skin infections or parasites may go through rapid shed cycles, one after another, but otherwise no need to monitor shedding.

    It is a good sign that the toad is eating the skin; it does have nutrients that are beneficial to the animal.

    Pl keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

  244. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Some good news. My toad now has returned to a hearty appetite. What is the proper number of small crickets should I feed and how often? He can eat up to 6-8 small crickets/day. I have him in a 29 gallon, so he gets some good exercise from hunting them down. He use to hid under a log, bark and/moss throughout the day but recently he’s just been sitting out in the open or half burrowed(not under anything). Should I be concerned or is this a good sign that he’s comfortable with me now? I don’t handle him at all. I only reach in to clean the terranium, change the water and/or feed him.

    Thanks,
    Simon

  245. avatar

    Hi Simon,

    Good to hear, thanks for the update.

    Food intake is influenced by temperature, age and many other factors. However, toads seem able to modify their metabolisms to suit food availability as long as they are fed within reason. Being in a large tank is great…you can feed several for a day or 2, then skip a day or 2 (fast days are useful to include). Try establishing a sowbug colony in the terrarium,…the toad will be kept busy, and they will scavange feces etc.

    A more important consideration is dietary variety…crickets alone are not suitable, even if supplements are used (the toad will grow, behave normally, etc. but will suffer nutritional deficiencies in time) Be sure to feed them well, and to powder with supplements, during times when other foods are scarce. Earthworms are the best food to use in large quantities, as a staple. Please see this article and let me know if you need further info.

    Sitting out is likely as you suspect…adjusting, becoming bolder.

    Best, Frank

  246. avatar

    Frank,

    I have always loved toads and am hoping to keep some Woodhouse’s and American toads someday. I was wondering if there are any other toad species you could mix together in the same terrarium.

    Thanks!
    ~Lotus

  247. avatar

    Hi Lotus,

    Woodhouse’s and Americans do fine together, and have interbred in the wild where their ranges overlap. Many other NA species that are adaptable to a wide range of habitats will get along in mixed exhibits; examples are Southern Toads, Great Plains Toads and Western Toads. Habitat specialists, such as Red-Spotted toads and Colorado River Toads require different conditions than others, and so are best kept alone. Oak Toads, due to their small size, may be out-copeted for food by larger species. the same guidelines can be used for toads from other countries.

    With closely related species, there’s always a chance that a micro-organism that is relatively benign in one may be deadly to another, but other than that the main concern is the type of habitat and diet they will need. Please let me know how all goes, enjoy, Frank

  248. avatar

    Well Hello Frank!

    Long time no talk – all my fault. Ive had 3 new additions to my family – 3 pug puppies – now a year old – 2 are brothers and the 3rd only 2 weeks older than them – Ive not really slept an entire night for about a year now – lots of work, but tons more fun!

    Little toad Earl did pass away about 13 months ago; I tried my best as did the Vet but we couldnt save him and with him only having 3 legs and all, we cant really be sure of his overall health when he joined my family, but he will always be missed and had a wonderful worry free life for the short time he was with me.

    Big toad Buddy and baby toad Toadie are both doing great though! They have been with me about a year and a half now. I have changed their substrate type (several times) – and after I saw Buddy eat about a 3 inch piece of moss – that was on his leg when he was eating a worm from a food tray so he used his hands to gobble it down OMGosh, I have since switched to Zoo Med eco earth. I have been using it for about 8 months now. But I dont pour it directly from the bag – I sift it using a strainer and remove the long coconut hairs and coconut chunks from it – so what I place in their home is closer to the texture and size of the finely sifted soil I use to use. Also, I noticed that during sifting, I guess from the manufacturing processes for it, I also removed a substantial amount of plastic bag type pieces that are in it – so far every single bag I have purchased has had plastic in it.

    Toadie did get the white rash on him also, just like toad Earl, but we were able to save him fortunately with baytril treatment – and I havent encountered an issue like that again since I changed substrate.

    But they are doing great! I know their shedding cylces; Buddy at 10-15 days and Toadie at 6-8 days. Had a couple of difficult sheds with them both, but only one time a piece so not bad at all; and for a while I was force bathing Toadie. It wasnt hard as after I put him in his pool, he then decided that felt great and stayed their for me – sometimes for hours – so not really sure if I could really call it forced bathing, rather than hey dont youd think you might like too swim, been about 3 days – and he always agreed!

    I still keep them in separate tanks, only as they have had their own living space for a year and a half, but also as Toadie is substantially smaller than Buddy – and once I did see Buddy threaten Toadie (via body posture) when they were each at the edge of their tank facing each other (Toadie of course moved away to the opposite side of his tank, behind his cave, digging down with only his head poking out to see around)

    My roly poly project did work great and you are so very right, I had no idea the babies were about the size of clover mites – OMGosh are they tiny. They have stopped reproducing – and I am going to create a couple new habitats and start again – and I have found one company that sells them – captive bred not wild caught, so I can have confidence they havent been exposed to chemicals (as might be the case if collected from the wild).

    Glad to see your site is still open and working, thanks for all the wonderful help you have given to me – and that you continue giving to others.

    I hope to stay in contact much better this year!

  249. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks fro the update and glad to hear the dogs and 2 toads are doing fine. Great to have such accurate info on their shedding cycles…it’s not something that has been recorded in any detail as far as I know. Commercial sowbugs arw a good idea..several species available. Stopping repro after a time is common…probably something missing from the diet, plus they live much longer in captivity than wild. I’ll pass along the info re plastics to the manufacturer, I have a contact there I believe.

    Good luck, enjoy, Frank

  250. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have a new addition, another toad. I have potted plants buried in my landscaping mulch, and when watering Saturday, I noticed movement – an extremely small young toad I almost drowned.

    He could probably sit on a quarter – and I have purchased some flightless fruit flies and very small crickets. He is extremely active – and I have concern with his activity level and fact he is growing probably quite fast – I am unsure how much food he requires.

    For my larger toads, I have all this figured out. Is it true that he will only eat what he needs, so if I include more than he needs, do I need not worry about him overeating, kind of like what a dog would do if large amounts of food are available? Also are my food choices for him limited to only these two items? I did find some mini mealworms that are quite small – never used them before. I could feed to him and the larger toads, maybe one or two a week at most – but I have also heard their mouths are quite powerful and they can pack a pretty nasty bite, so that as well as being harder to digest both concern me. I have the smallest earthworms I can find to feed my toads, but I also fear these are still too large for this little fellow.

    And I am gut loading and dusting all his food every meal, since he is so young.

    Thanks so much again.

  251. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Sorry one more thing I almost forgot.

    I saw a new food item at the store I dont know much about, never heard of them before – and the store associates I spoke too didnt seem to know much about them either, so I am not sure if new or not.

    They are called calciworms – and are suppose to be extremely high in calcium. I have never heard or seen about these before – not sure if they have too much calcium or if ok or still need coating with supplement or not.

    Are you familiar with these and can you advise regarding them and their use?

    Thanks again!

  252. avatar

    Hi kelly,

    They are primed to eat continually, but can also adjust growth to food availability; no need to worry about overfeeding; best to avoid mealworms..biting factor is overblown on the internet, but they are hard to digest and low in impt nutrients. Tiny insects gathered by sweeping a net through tall grass are an ideal food…leafhoppers, moths, some ants, smooth caterpillars, etc…avoid biting stinging insects, spiders. Can also break earthworms into small pieces; You can find other ideas here.. Best, Frank

  253. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    CalciWomrs are the larvae of black soldier flies, and an excellent food for most herps. We don’t really know much about exact CA requirements…I would use powder on these as well, at least for young toads that are growing rapidly. You can read more about Calciworms here; pl let me know if you need anything, best, Frank

  254. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Thanks again for your wisdom. I found some other possible alternatives and wondering your thoughts and experiences if any with them.

    How about springtails; and;

    Rice Flour Beetle larvae; (http://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/blog/2012/11/confused-rice-flour-beetle-culturing/) – not sure if their possible biting capabilities, like some concern Ive seen for mealworms and young amphibians.

    Thanks again!

  255. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m sure other readers are enjoying your posts, thanks. Rice Beetle larvae are a good choice, no safety concerns; same with the related beetles that are sometimes found in old boxes of dog bisquits, etc. Springtails used in zoos for poison frogs, etc…good food, but they are very tiny, may take a great many to satisfy even a small toad, best, Frank

  256. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Dusting of the fruit flies is proving challenging. They dust well, but crawl around the enclosure before eaten sometimes perhaps a day, and by this time the dusting is no longer on them – the young toad is not comfortable yet eating in front of me like the others.

    I purchased some calcium spray by Zilla – my only concern is it doesnt have Vitamin D3 also. I thought perhaps Id have better luck spraying the flies versus dusting them – but not sure now if this product since lacking VD3 is the best choice for such a small toad (3/4 inch long). If I should spray and coat them also, spray only – or try only to utilize a product containing both VD3 with calcium – want to do what is best for him.

    I use Reptivite also, but I also purchased Zillas Spray Vitamin also, if feeding fruit flies vs crickets when it is time for this supplement type – what are your thoughts on this product also?

    Thanks for your help.

  257. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Sprays are rather new, no long term experience, but Zilla is a reputable company. a vitamin and a Ca spray might be useful.

  258. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I came across your site when researching the care of toads. My 11 year son has found a toad that he would like to keep. I was hesitant at first but once starting my research I decided I would let him have a try at this. I have narrowed the type down an American or Fowlers Toad based on pictures and info on the net. This one is approximately 1- 1 1/2 inches now. I have an aquarium that we used for goldfish before. It is a 10 gallon that I plan on cleaning with just warm soapy water. We plan on setting it up as most sites have said. Water bowl, substrate of decorative stones that I use for my houseplants (none anywhere near small enough for the toad to ingest) along with some potting soil that is not fertilized. I also plan on taking all the kids out to find other items from our yard and around the rivers here to put in there like smaller tree limbs for climbing, a hiding spot of some kind, and of course food. I was wondering if there is start up info you can give us for this. I read that any items I get from outdoors I should wash and then freeze for 48 hours to kill off any contaminates. Thanks for any info you can give to us newbies. As for right now the toad is being kept in a plastic container with ventilation holes and some dirt till we can get the tank set up this evening.
    Thanks Michelle K.

  259. avatar

    Hi Michele,

    Best to clean with hot water and a few drops of bleach. soaps may leave a residue, amphib skin very sensitive. Stones not ideal…they swallow surprisingly large ones, plus not good for skin to be sitting on gravel. Potting soil fine…cover with dead leaves..retains moisture, toad will hide below, and are not swallowed…soil may be ingested…happens in wild but things change in captivity, may be hard to pass. Use dechlorinated water in bowl, and 2 spray tank daily. You can order if easier; or simply let tap stand for 24 hrs in open container, or use bottled spring water (not distilled). No need for climbing type decorations…ease of cleaning is main concern. A crockery flower pot or similar can serve as a cave, but it may just bury beneath leaves. Wild caught insects from areas unsprayed by pesticides an ideal diet, but you’ll need to plan for winter (earthworms easy to keep alive/breed). Earthworms best as staple, also add moths, field crickets, most beetles, harvestmen (daddy longlegs), smooth caterpillars, sow/potato bugs , earwigs. Avoid brightly colored (poss.toxic) insects, lightening bugs, spiders. No need to freeze leaves, dead wood etc. Parasite transmission not likely in that way.

    Sphagnum moss a great substrate if you want to do away with leaves, earth; can be rinsed once/twice then discarded. Garden supply stores may carry, or can be ordered.

    Wild caught amphibs likely carry Salmonella bacteria as normal part of gut flora. Please see article below for safety measures. other articles on toad diet in general are linked.

    http://bit.ly/XwuHtW

    http://bit.ly/eyRJ2E

    http://bit.ly/asjzz2

    Please let me know if you need more info, enjoy, Frank

  260. avatar

    Thanks so much for the feedback. Things are going well with our plans. Unfortunately a storm came through the evening that I wrote you and the container my son had his toad in was knocked over and the toad returned to the great outdoors. We have decided to allow him to catch another if he wants and are prepping the tank before then and then planning the capture of another. He is still very excited. Thanks again for the info, it was very helpful.

  261. avatar

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for the kind words, my pleasure. Good luck and let me know if you need anything, best, Frank

  262. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Wondering if you can provide insight and or thoughts on the below please:)

    1. New Toad, little guy been here since 7/6/13 – in his own home (as he is new and as his food and water bowl size needs are rather quite small compared to others) – he also has his own eating utensils also. But when cleaning everyone’s home this weekend – Chrytid Fungus ran through my mind. If he did have this – would he have already parished from it by now – and is it possible for him to not suffer from it or show signs of it, but be a carrier of it and possibly infecting my resident established toad friends?
    2. Phoenix Worms – how often a week do you feel it is ok for them to eat them; and are there any known biting concerns for either older or young amphibians?
    3. I saw a posting where someone had stated they lost an entire collection of dart frogs to a fruit fly super bug – it sounded like something the bugs carried or had in their bedding/eating material. As I am new to fruit flies I found the comment very concerning – have you heard of this and any tips on how often I need change out my fruit flies and get new? Sorry these bugs are new to me.
    4. Flour Beetles – going to feed the larve to my youngster. But wondering about the adults. I will need cull them periodically so they dont overwhelm their enclosure. But I heard they have some kind of chemical in them where only some herps may eat them. I was wondering if they are poisonous or if possibly can be fed to my older toads and what quantity if so.
    5. Flour beetle larvea – what frequency of feeding of these do you recommend for the little fellow – new guy only about one inch long.

    Thanks again Frank!

  263. avatar

    Hi kelly,

    I wouldn’t worry about Chytrid; unlikely, and is quickly fatal in most native species.

    Phoenix worms are a good Calcium source; I’ve not run across biting concerns; can use as regular part of diet, 1-2 x weekly. Please see this article.

    I’m guessing that the fruit fly problem was speculation…have not seen such at home or in zoos.

    Flour beetle larvae can be used often; beetles are taken by some toads, but larvae are a better source of food. Other frogs eat the beetles w/o incident, but larvae are superior, nutritionally, so best to stay with them.

    Enjoy, Best, Frank

  264. avatar

    Hi Frank

    In one of my toad’s stool I found a complete phoenix worm – it came out looking just as it did when I put it in the tray for him to eat. Is there any nutritional value at all if this occurs?

    Thank you
    Kelly

  265. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    That’s odd with phoenix worms but if a one time event no need to be concerned. Feed softer foods for a few days…young crickets, earthworms and monitor. Best, Frank

  266. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I was wondering what is an adequate tank size for an adult toad? I have limited space, and I can do what needs be done – I tried for some of the same size to share a home – but one seemed more stressed, and did not calm down or have a healthy looking weight to them until I separated them. They had an oversized pool and more than plenty of food when fed – but until separated, the one did not seem calmed or appear to have a more healthy weight.

    My space for them now is limited – and I will do what they need as I do want them to have adequate housing and be comfortable – just before I do anything, if even needed, I was curious as to what size housing minimum must at least be provided.

    Oh – I also had a second toad, and I studied his stool yesterday. He had some phoenix worms Friday, and in his stool yesterday – his too came out whole just like the other toad’s did – when this happens is there any nutritional value – or should I just discontinue feeding these – I am concerned both about nutritional value and or possible blockage issues if not digested completely.

    Thank you!

  267. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    The more space the better; a 20 gallon long-style tank would be ideal, but that can make do in a 10-15 gallon. You can try mixing them again..sometimes the dynamics change once one has adjusted to captivity, etc. If you keep them together, use a 20 long and add plenty of substrate and extra caves, hiding spots and other items to break up the floor space. This may help them get along…toads are usually fine in groups.

    Yes, avoid phoenix worms if not being digested, and monitor to make sure there are not any general digestive problems,

    Enjoy and pl keep me posted, Frank

  268. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have raised two American toads from very young (dime size) with my son. We found them in the spring of 2012 and they have since grown into nice fat toads.

    I have started to worry about one of them however when I watched him trying to eat a wax worm last week. He would open his mouth and lunge but seemed unable to extend his tongue. I have tried several times since and he continues to only open his mouth and lunge but no tongue.

    In the last year I have primarily fed them crickets which I dust on occasion (likely not often enough) with a 1:1 mixture of Herptivite and Rep-cal Calcium w/ Vit D. . I also mix this 1:1 mixture in the food I feed the crickets hoping the toads get some of the vitamins that way as well. Once a week or so I would give them each a couple of waxworms as a treat. I’ve also fed a few red wiggler worms but they get so covered in the coconut husk substrate I have not done so often.

    I have read about short tongue syndrome resulting from a Vit A deficiency and while this does not sound exactly the same (his tongue is not coming out of his mouth) I did get some liquid Vitamin (Flukers) with Vit A and have given him two drops orally a few days ago (difficult) and a drop on his back today.

    Otherwise this toad seems fine. He walk around, baths, and definitely wants to eat. He also shed/ate his skin a few days ago and that seemed to go fine as it has with both of them in the past. The second toad is doing fine and is having no similar tongue problems that I have noticed. Any ideas on what may be the problem? I am considering finding a local vet to have them take a look if it continues.

    Thanks!
    Bill

  269. avatar

    Hello Bill,

    What you describe is rather common among captives collected when young; may be related to Vitamin A; calcium can also be involved (important in muscle function, ejecting tongue, etc.). Best to supplement all meals….probably Ok to continue with Vit A treatment, but if the condition deteriorates a vet visit would be your best option; let me know if you need help in locating an experienced vet. Not sure if you saw this article on the syndrome..basic, not too much known, unfortunately, but some progress being made.

    Variety is key to health, especially for youngsters. crickets not ideal for the bulk of the diet, even if powdered. Try adding some of the species mentioned in these articles:
    http://bit.ly/eyRJ2E
    http://bit.ly/asjzz2

    let me know if you need sources for any of the commercially bred species (roaches, silkworms, etc)

    If yo can get them to tong feed, canned silkworms are useful.

    Wild caught insect valuable, sweeping a net in tall grass will yield many useful ones….need to weed out biting/toxic species; let me know if you need more info. Earthworms can form a large part of the diet. Try moving toads into a bare-bottomed container to feed..most adjust to this; or sink a bowl into the substrate for worms. Actually, coco husk is not the best choice as a substrate, although some have used with success. Too easily swallowed. I prefer sphagnum moss , ded leaves and/or any of the mosses mentioned in the article.

    Please let me know if you need anything, Best, frank

  270. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Thank you for all of the great information. I will definitely work through the changes you recommended.

    You mentioned a basic article about this syndrome but I did not see the link. Did I misread?

    I’ll keep you updated. Hopefully I get this resolved quickly!

    Thanks again,
    Bill

  271. avatar

    Hi Bill,

    Please keep me posted, we have much to learn, and let me know if you need more info on diet. Links below should work. Did you see the 2 part article on frog/toad diets? I’ve linked one on earthworms below as well.

    Short Tongue Syndrome

    Hypovitaminosis A

    Rearing Earthworms

    Best, Frank

  272. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I wanted to write back with an update. It has taken quite awhile but both of the toads are officially doing well and using their tongues to catch meals again. At first we force-fed a few very well dusted wax worms and I began putting a drop or two of the Fluker’s Liquid Vitamin on each of their backs every few days. I also have added a few inch deep layer of moss to the top of the coco husk and they seem to love it. After adding the Moss I now put them in a small plastic tub for meals as I doubt they would find the crickets in the nice deep moss bed.

    Anyway, earlier this week I put the toad who’s tongue had been malfunctioning in with a few heavily dusted crickets and out came the tongue. I’ve watched him eat about 10 crickets over the last week and everything is going well. I’m going to continue with feeding them dusted food with every meal and weekly vitamin drops on their backs.

    I doubt this is related, but I had been using distilled water for the soaking side of the terrarium. A couple weeks ago I poured a bit of the calcium dust in the water as well on the off chance the distilled water was leaching from them. I think I’ll switch over to tap water that I’ve let sit out for a week (for the chlorine to evaporate) in the future.

    I’m working through how to also add variety to their diet. I had tried red-wigglers with little success, but now that the tongue seems fully functional I’ll try those again.

    Thank you again for your advice and support!
    Bill

  273. avatar

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the update…useful info to have on hand. Great to hear of your success.

    The distilled water could very well be involved. It is known to leach salts etc from amphibians and should never be used with them. Chlorine is eliminated from water in an open container after app. 24 hours; chloromines remain, however. Instant chlorine/chloramine removers are very effective, have used for decades at home and in zoos. Please keep me posted, good lick, Frank

  274. avatar

    Hi I cant find the web page where you and I were talking …

    Is there any way to add a scroll bar to your blogs, so we can quickly scroll to the most recent posts (at the bottom of each blog) ?

    This tablet takes so long to reach the bottom of the blogs, that the battery runs out …

    Cant figure out how to see the most recent posts first …

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. : )

  275. avatar

    I’m a dinosaur, but I’ll forward your question to the younger, brighter people who manage the blog, best, Frank.

  276. avatar

    Hi Debbie…sorry, the web-people did not seem to understand your question…could I trouble you to re-phrase if possible? Thanks, Frank

  277. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have had 2 american toads for over 3 years now. This year after reading your article regarding rearing earthworm as the almost perfect food for toads, I thought I would try it. I dug up dirt containing worms (from the same place I had previously collected them) and layered it with leaves. I then mixed together cornmeal, oatmeal, tetramin tropical fish food flakes, and Tetrafauna Reptocal including calcium and Vitamin D3 and sprinkled that on top. I obtained burlap and laid it over the top and kept the soil moist, at least on top. I also bought red wigglers and tossed them in. At first I noticed a bit of white furry growth on the soil, but it looked similar to what I sometimes uncover outside while scavenging for food, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

    For most of the month of November I have been feeding them from this container. I have noticed what appears to be a worsening condition in which both toads want to eat, but end up with a repetitive swallowing reflex after trying to catch the worm chunk but missing. They actually open their mouths a little and gulp and swallow maybe 5-10 times after an attempt, even when their mouth is empty. They don’t do this when they aren’t being fed. My first thought was that this is “short tongue deficiency” from a lack of vitamin A, but the Reptocal has 219,000 IU/kg in it. What I don’t have a feel for is how often I need to replace the food on the top. As I add water to keep the soil moist, it may have just dispersed into the soil.

    Even though this sounds a bit negligent on my part, this is the first time I have attempted to supplement them with any vitamins. I have gotten by with wild-caught or crickets in a box that come gut loaded or red wigglers. My initial naive thought is that I’m overdosing them on vitamins (since this is the one thing that has changed) but I’m nervous about buying fresh and going back to what I had been feeding them in case it is a deficiency.

    I could really use some experienced advise, as I’m not sure just how much trial and error time I have.

    Thanks,
    Rhonda

  278. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Just a couple more things I forgot to mention. The toads are still eating on their own, for now. This swallowing/gulping behavior seems to happen most of the time, but every once in a while (like yesterday) they seem just fine, no problems at all. I thought maybe that if I waited longer between feedings that they would struggle more, so I tried smaller but more frequent feedings and that seemed to help, but it might have been a coincidence as today they struggled after eating yesterday.

    Thanks again for any insight you can provide.
    Rhonda

  279. avatar

    Hi Rhonda,

    I’ve run into difficulties myself (http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2011/05/31/do-your-frogs-or-toads-have-trouble-catching-insects/) and unfortunately there are quite a few variables. We don’t really know how well earthworms convert what we feed them, and how that nutrition is passed onto toads. Wild caught insects and earthworms are generally preferable to farmed, nutrient -wise, but they vary greatly depending on locale, diet, etc. I would powder all meals with a vitamin supplement..check expiration date and perhaps store excess in frig. Low Calcium levels can also affect feeding behavior, so be sure to use a CA supplement with D3.. I favor this one.

    Replace food as it vanishes from earthworm soil..some may wash in also, but using supplements is hit and miss with them…can’t hurt, but remember they are also feeding on dead leaves, etc. Earthworms ingest soil as they burrow, and extract nutrients from it, so washing Ca etc into the soil is fine.

    Please keep me posted, happy Thanksgiving, Frank

  280. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.
    Thanks so much for your advice. It is good to know that I’m not likely overdosing them on vitamins. Tonight I dusted their worms with my Reptocal (I didn’t brave the shopping crowds to source your recommendations yet) and I’ll make up some new food for the worm farm. I’ll hope for the best.

    Rhonda

  281. avatar

    Hi Rhonda..it would take more than my recommendations to get me out today as well! I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving, fine here, thank you. Please let me know how all goes, best, Frank

  282. avatar

    Hi, my american toad got white sticky stuff on top of his skin oh his back, I washed it off yesterday , and this morning he had some on him again. I just left him be . Yesterday and tonight the toad wont eat either. He usually eats right away when i feed him a superworm every day. (big meal worm) Is there anything wrong with the toad? im worried. He eats every day and is fat . Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance :)

  283. avatar

    Hello,

    You’re seeing the toxins that are stored in glands below the skin (wash your hands well or use latex gloves, and take care not to get any in open cuts, eyes, mouth etc). This is usually released when toads are stressed – grabbed by predator, roughly handled; absent this, toxin secretion can be a sign of an internal ailment – disease, parasite, etc; unfortunately, no rela way to diagnose without a vet visit…and even then, diagnosis could be difficult if there are no other symptoms. Please let me know if you need help in finding a vet.

    As for feeding – super and regular mealworms are not suitable for toads – high in chitin, difficult to digest, and an unhealthy calcium: phosphorus ratio. A newly-molted (white) grub may be used on occasion, but best to avoid. No single species is adequate as a sole diet..variety is critical, and most feeders should be fed well before being used as toad food, and supplemented properly with vitamin and calcium powder. Please see the articles linked below for more on feeding frogs and toads and caring for feeders, and let me know if you need any further info.

    Mealworms are known to cause intestinal blockages; when this occurs, the toad will cease feeding and passing stool…I’ve not seen toxin secretion associated with this, but it is possible. Blockages are easy to diagnose via radiograph or ultra-sound.

    Toads also sometimes slow down during winter, even if kept warm; this is most common with wild-caught individuals.

    Articles are below, please keep me posted, best, frank
    http://bit.ly/eyRJ2E
    http://bit.ly/asjzz2
    http://bit.ly/148Mqx2

  284. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Your blog has been so useful. I often times reference it to answer questions that come up. Thanks so much for keeping up with it.

    I have had 2 american toads for over 3 years and in general they have done well. Recently both toads were eating well but today, when I was cleaning their aquarium, I noticed that the male toad appeared to have some kind of prolapse from his rectum (if that is the appropriate amphibian word). It looks shiny and red and shaped like a bubble, about the size of a multi-lobed pea. I have given him a separate enclosure with paper towel on the bottom, a cave to hide in and his own water dish. So I have 2 questions. The first is if there is anything I can/should do for him myself? Try to push this back in? The second question is about feeding. Is it best to not feed him? My thought process would be not to stimulate further expulsion if a prolapse is indeed possible. He has shown a tendency to stand higher on his rear legs like he is trying to tilt his butt into the air.

    Thanks for your time. I welcome any advise you can give.

    Rhonda

  285. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I was up checking on the toad and went looking for more information. I can’t believe I found your prolapsed cloaca emergency article. This gave me the knowledge that I can and must try something, and that trying to help these parts back in is not only possible but required if he can’t do it on his own. I just got done with the sugar water and qtip vaseline treatment. He didn’t like the sugar water at all. He kept climbing out and the prolapsed region started to look worse. So, I remained persistant but gentle with the qtip and successfully got it all put back in. Dehydration and constipation are things that are listed as potential triggers. The dehydration has my interest because he looked a little drawn in along his back, although his posture caused by his discomfort may have made this to look exaggerated. This was a sudden change. Up and eating and plump looking, to not well. The other interesting thing you mentioned was irritation caused by scent marking. This toad always does the amplexus thing with the female every spring but with the winter being extended this year, I wasn’t surprised by its absence. I wonder if this year he got too ambitious with scent marking or is that independent of mating?

    I would like your suggestions in where to go from here. When can I feed him again and what would be best to give him? I’m thinking a juicy red wiggler.
    I’m also concerned that I didn’t do it right and something will have gotten pinched or that he will expel this again.
    Now that part of him isn’t dragging along outside his body, can I put him back in his normal enclosure?

    Thanks again for giving us access to such important information at all hours of the day.
    Rhonda

  286. avatar

    Hello Rhonda,

    Good job…not easy ton deal with this at home. The cloaca may stay in, but there’s no way to be certain, unfortunately. Hold off on feeding for a week or so, then start with a single, very small item,..a section of a small earthworm as you mention would be ideal. Don’t feed again for 3 days or so after that (vets often use liquid foods, tube fed,to limit strain on the area). Dehydration can be a factor, but toads are usually well able to regulate if they have access to a water bowl. I wouldn’t think breeding is involved (can be for females who become egg-bound).Diet can be a factor…let me know what you are feeding them when you have a chance. Might be wise to look for an experienced vet, as you’ll need one if the prolapse re-occurs; let me know if you need help with that, Best, frank

  287. avatar

    Hello Rhonda,

    Thanks for the kind words; please see response to your last post…also, best to leave him on paper towels for now, in case the prolapse re-occurs; best, Frank

  288. avatar

    Hello again Frank,

    I’d written in before about a toad who was having a hard time using his tongue, a problem which still seems to be totally resolved after following a few of your earlier recommendations.

    I unfortunately have a new concern however. My wife commented on how fat one of the toads was and when I got home today could tell that he seemed to have blown up/bloated quite a lot. I’ve not fed them since Wednesday so I don’t think that he’s just stuffed full of food.

    I’m going to monitor him for a day or two and give the cage a good cleaning tomorrow. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks yet again! Bill

  289. avatar

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to diagnose by symptoms alone; bloating is often due to a bacterial infection (gas released by bacteria) or kidney/liver failure but a vet check would be needed; treatment can be difficult; let me know if you need help in locating an amphbian-experienced veterinarian. Best, Frank

  290. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well with you and yours. Can you tell me where you buy earthworms and the kind you feed your animals? The ones that I have been feeding and have had luck with are no longer being stocked where I purchased them, they changed their vendor and I tried some of the new ones they now have, but my Toads refuse to eat them – they take one bite, kind of smack their mouths a bit and refuse to take anymore – I tried them on mulitple toads in event just one may have not liked them – or not in the mood that particular day – but they all behaved in this same manner.

    Thank you so much.

  291. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Fine here, thanks, I hope all is well with you and yours. Worm suppliers sometimes switch the species being sold as red wigglers, etc. …it’s very common these days to see Eisenia fetida; this species has dark rings about the body, and is distasteful to many herps; it’s widely bred for use in composting, etc. I use worms collected in my yard…several introduced species are resident, but I’ve not checked the species. At the zoo, we used a large bait supplier, but this company only sells in huge quantities…it may be hard to find online suppliers that do not carry Eisenia; one of the large chains,, PetCo or Petsmart, carries earthworms…species vary, but I’ve picked up some useful ones at my local store. Nightcrawlers (Lumbricus terrestris) are widely available and accepted by most amphibis…you can breed these and offer young ones, or cut large worms into sections; further info here. Best, Frank

    Dendrobaena

  292. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks again! What do think about Spikes (maggots) larva of the Bluebottle Fly? As they are only about 1/2 inch long I was considering these as possible toad food – but am unsure if they should or should not be used for such – chitlin, biting abilities, etc. Have you used them or have any experience using them in the past?

  293. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    My pleasure..thanks for mentioning maggots, very good point. Bluebottles can be used as part of the diet, perhaps once weekly ..I’ve not used long term; housfly maggots are easier to digest, I believe…have used more often with a variety of amphibs w/o incident; lab strains available, flightless adults a great food as well, can be reared fairly easily; due to human health concerns, I’d stay with lad cultures; here’s an article, pl let me know if you need more info, and pl keep me posted, Frank

  294. avatar

    Hi Frank!

    Thanks so much, I found the below website and they have a lot of food variety! I am trying to expand the menu as much as possible. What are your thoughts on the following options – if to be fed at all and if so frequency also.

    1. Bean Beetles
    2. Wheat Beatles (Weavils)
    3. Silkworms
    4. House Fly Pupae
    5. Dermestid Beetles ( I bulk order crickets and have both adults and larvea received with them, but I have never fed them to the toads, didnt even know what they were until today)
    6. Lesser Waxworm – much smaller than the typical waxworm sold which I like and say it is from the Lesser Wax Moth)

    Thanks so much again.

    http://www.smallpetfeeders.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=spikes

  295. avatar

    Sorry Frank,

    I forgot to list the Buffalo Mealworm/Beetle also.

  296. avatar

    Thanks, Kelly,

    Useful info there, all good ideas.

    Dermestid larvae have defensive hairs, but adults should be fine (they are still used to clean museum specimens..even at the Am. Museum of natural history; chemicals do not work well in all situations!).

    Fly pupa won’t be taken unless they wiggle a bit, but flies will; pupa great for turtles, newts, fish (dred fly and ant pupa were main ingredients in dry turtle food way back when I was a child…not a good turtle staple, but live pupa fine)

    I’ve not read much on the smaller mealworms/waxworms; likely preferable to larger species, but use sparingly; you can also rear mealworms and feed out newly-molted (white) grubs.

    The following articles list other food sources, incl. wild caught insects; pl keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

    http://bit.ly/eyRJ2E
    http://bit.ly/asjzz2
    http://bit.ly/11eWsN4
    http://bit.ly/16YamUX
    http://bit.ly/1cpcCs4

  297. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Me again – getting ready to place an order for food items to expand everyone’s diet a bit. Weavils and Bean Beetles and Buffalo Beetles ok too as if so I will order some and feed sparingly since all of these have such a tough exoskeleton. I also found what they call BLACK WORMS – I have never ever heard of these, they reference they are a great food source for amphibians – but what I like most is how very small they are – I have the link below for you so that you can see and also read what they say. If you feel this are ok – Id love to get some for my small baby toads – as it looks like they could eat an entire worm without any issue – and I also fear the baby canandian nightcrawlers I order, even if they should be pinched – would just be too huge for them and possible not safe either.

    Thanks again – wanted to run these by you since I do have option to order all my additional new food items from one vendor – which is so very nice!

    http://www.smallpetfeeders.com/black-worms/379-farm-raised-black-worms-2-pounds-bulk-item-free-overnight-shipping.html

  298. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Good choices…exoskeletons not necessarily bad, most of toad’s diet is comprised of insects and chitin needed for proper digestion, calcium etc…some, i.e. mealworms, waxworms, have proven to cause problems as a steady diet; small beetles generally very good. Sowbugs excellent as well, will live in terrarium, useful scavengers, high CA content.

    Blackworms are aquatic relatives of the earthworm..one of the best foods for newts, aquatic frogs, fish…I’ve raised axolotls on a diet of 90% bworms. Terrestrial salamanders will take them if you place a small bunch in a jar lid set into ground, but toads may have a hard time grabbing them. Also, the worms need to be refrigerated, rinsed daily. Most pet stores that carry tropical fish stock them…best to try first rather than ordering large supply…a small cup has hundreds.

    Yes, nightcrawler bits would be too lg for young toads.

    Please keep me posted, enjoy Frank

  299. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Hope all is well. Thanks so much for your help – I am still looking for black worms (non bulk) at least to try – no luck yet, the best I found so far is only one store but they have them dried. I am curious about your saying they need to be rinsed daily – why is that?

    Also, I am perplexed I had a very strange event last night. I live in Missouri, it is toad mating time, and not one of my toads fully hibernates. I have had my window open at night, and I as well as I am sure my toads do also – hear the male mating calls. But last night, one of my toads was fully covereed and hiding. I took him out, so he’d have opportunity to eat some crickets I was feeding if he chose too. He was fine and immediately hopped from one toad cave to another. He lives with 3 other toads and as soon as he went into the 2nd cave I heard a loud chirp, then he hopped out and my toad Buster had him in a really hard grip riding his back, poor Niko was hopping around but Buster would not let go, not even when I picked them up or placed them in water to see if that might end it. He had a death grip on him, and wow – they are really much stronger than I thought. He didnt want to but I eventually convinced him to release his grip. Was this a mating behavior – and why maybe poor Niko was hiding – or is it possibly that Buster might be acting aggressively and better living with a larger toad I have versus 3 others his same size? I saw him do this once also, but that was in November – he had my toad Syndney in this same kind of grip, but it was more relaxed – Sydney didnt seem to mind, wasnt stressed or moving – they were just sitting there relaxed and Buster would only tighten his grip when Syndey moved e.g. in response to my talking and his turning his head.

    Thanks as I am quite perplexed and not sure if perhaps Buster should have different room mates or not.

  300. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    The worms live in cold, oxygen rich streams…if water is left too long, wastes accumulate and oxygen becomes depleted, and they die..usually within a day or 2. I can go over the care if you locate some.

    It could be related to breeding…captivity changes their hormonal cycles, which may explain the Nov incident. Males calling could affect them. But male toads in breeding season have been seen grabbing (known as amplexus) dead fish, old shoes, rubber balls…not very choosy when it comes to mating! Females have been drowned if too many males are present..males usually give a release call and are left alone. keep an eye on them..not a prob if it doesn’t last too long. Yes…very strong! In ponds, males will kick at you if you disturb them in amplexus! Interesting that they are breeding in Missouri…here in S. NY, they are barely starting…a bit late this year, best, Frank

  301. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    My Toad Randy has MBD. He has been with me 8 months, the same as his roommrates which act normally. But I had noticed that Randy’s movements seemed weak. He eats fine, he hops, he crawls – it was just that it seemed his hops and movements were weak and his coloration was off.

    He was xrayed at the vet yesterday and his diagnosis made. He received a calcium shot, and over the next 3 weeks we will be doing daily forced calcium/water baths and then another vet visit. I didnt know that parasites could possibly cause this also. So in addition to this, we are treating him for that. As he was rooming with 3 other Toads and as parasites might be a culprit, and as his roommate Buster has been in the mood for love lately – Randy now has his own home. I am also going to treat his roommate for possible parasites. Randy is also receiveing UVB treatment with a Reptisun 5.0 UVB lamp.

    I wanted to let you know this, and others too, that even though you treat them all identical and have had them all the same amount of time or longer – this condition has many factors – including each individual’s particular chemistry. So if you see things like I did – hiding more than usual, coloration is off a bit, and although at first glance they seem to be normal but perhaps they might seem just a little weak but not drastically much – to please seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.

    I have now also started testing my Toads – those that have been with me for 3 years or more, to those with me less than a year. At least once a week, I will be taking them out to ensure I see their movement much better than I can while in their enclosure alone – especially since a lot of my toads anyway – prefer to hunt via walking/stalking and not hoping and as some are so use to me being around them that they never hop or scurry to run away – they wait for me and are unafraid. I recommend this to others and wish I had done this all along also.

    Thank you
    Kelly

  302. avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated. I didn’t see mention of parasites being confirmed,…Please keep me posted on what goes on re that. UVB is not often used with toads, so I’d be interested for more details as time goes on. Good luck with all, best, Frank

  303. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Randy didnt provide a fecal while at the vet; I didnt think to take one, but it wouldnt have worked as at that time he was living with 3 other toads. I couldnt be sure the fecal was truly his and what I found was basically almost petrified.

    But he did provide me one while soaking in his medicine and only the 2nd day we had started his calcium soaks. I just heard this past Friday that no parasites were found.

    His color is getting better – he is out and about more than he has been in quite a while. Even swimming on his own, crawling up and down on his cave, moving about his home, looking around. He still sometimes hides completely buried but not all the time which is wonderful. Sometimes he will even leave his head exposed and will have it up high looking around – that is until I say his name acknowledging what he is doing at which time his head goes down as fast as a speeding bullet.

    We are on the 2nd week of our treatments. He has one more week to go before we have a recheck visit. Of course since no parasites found I am not using the medicine they provided to treat for them. It was to be used once a week for 3 weeks, and I held out trying to get a fecal to see if even necessary – which I am glad I did so.

    Take care and will keep you posted.

  304. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Good to hear, thanks. Glad the meds worked out as well…parasite treatment is tricky, although we have a much better handle on it now than in years past,

    I hope all continues to go well, let me know if you need anything, Frank

  305. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Got my dubia roaches,lesser moth waxsorms, weavils, and dermastid beetles.

    Weavils require no food or water – that is awesome. Waxworms have what they need.

    I wasnt going to keep the dermastid with my crickets – will they eat cricket food and cricket jell for water – same for the dubia roaches too?

    I do have egg crates for them both.

    And for the roaches, waxworms and both beetle types – how often can they safely eat these?

    I hope soon to have some flightless house flies, buffalo beetles and silkworms – unfortunately currently out of stock.

    Thanks so much again.

  306. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Hi Kelly…you’ve been busy!

    Yes, keep all seperate. Here’s info on Dubia roach care and dermestid care.

    You can use cardboard tubes from paper towels etc to replace old egg crates for roaches, crickets as well.

    Small roaches can be used as base of the diet; flies, earthworms, silkworms also good as steady foods; alternate others…frequency, how you alteernate is not overly important, as long as you provide variety. Avoid adult crickets, larger roaches; waxworms best used infrequently..less than 1x week as can be hard to digest, But they can be stored in frig; you can also keep a few colonies going and then order other species on ocassion, to add variety, rahter than rearing all at same time (it is interesting to do that also, if you have time!). Best, Frank

  307. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Randy’s 3 week MBD follow up appointment went well. He is able to jump much better, he is not completely hidden all the time. His color is better and he also is swimming more, crawling on top of his cave, and crawling up high and sitting in the plants in his home. His overall energy level has really increased.

    We didnt receive another shot of calcium. We are though doing another 3 weeks of calcium water daily soaks. Our next follow up, that will be after 6 weeks of treatment, will include an Xray to see what internal progress has been made.

    Conclusion is that although he didnt appear thinner than his roommates – is that he was most likely out competed for food.

    He and his roommates are the first toads that I have had share housing. So for those that do, we now eat food independently to ensure each receives enough – and then after all are fed and back in their home, I then provide more food so that they may enjoy hunting for the extra – as they really do seem to enjoy hunting food so very much.

    Will keep you posted.

    Thanks again.

  308. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for the update…glad to hear the good news! When you have a moment, please send along some general info re the Calcium soaks…we tended to go with injections at the zoo, but the soaking option would may be easier for most keepers to use. Please take notes as well…we still have much to learn, and each new bit is important.

    Yes..even though toads are not aggressive in the typical sense, competition is a factor. Also very useful to let them hunt..assuming each has eaten enough, as you mentioned, letting insects hide among plants, dead leaves and such encourages activity, alertness…similar techniques are termed “behavioral enrichment” in zoos, and are now required for most herps. Keep up the good work, enjoy, Frank

  309. avatar

    I have had my toad for a few weeks now and I feed every other day. I am very concerned because my toad hasn’t pooped in a few days. Should I be concerned? I have tried warm water but she still won’t go. What should I do?

  310. avatar

    Hello,

    Their metabolism can change over time, which can affect how often they pass wastes. However, if you suspect a problem, you can try forcing the animal to swim for 15-20 min in water, rather than just soaking…watch that it doesn’t weaken and sink, however. If this doesn’t work, there can be several underlying conditions. Most common is a blockage, caused by swallowing substrate or a diet high in hard to digest foods such as mealworms and wax worms. The only way to diagnose is via a vet visit/ultra-sound; please let me know if you need help in finding a vet, and pl send along info re diet, best, Frank

  311. avatar

    An update on Winifred my never-pooping toad friend:

    Well, she finally went yesterday. I had her swim for about 16 minutes and then she went the next day. I’ve made a decision for my little toad baby, no more butterflies and moths unless as a treat because they make her not poop. Maybe I should stick to her regular crickets, worms, and lightning bugs. Thank you for the advice, Frank!

  312. avatar

    Hello,

    Glad to hear all is going well.

    Moths are generally fine; earthworms excellent and can form majority of the diet. Use only small crickets, as larger ones are hard to digest. Lightening bugs are toxic to many amphibs and should not be used. Enjoy, Frank

  313. avatar

    Hi Frank, I live in NH and have picked up a few American Toads over the last few years as pets… The 1st is Sheldon.. a hardy fellow which we have had for nearly 2 years… Another , Jake was rescued in the yard before becoming lawnmower mulch about a year ago…. Each has had separate quarters.. A larger plastic pet carrier, filled about half way with fresh moist eco husk . and also see each other at night as their homes are side by side in our master bathroom. In fact earlier this year since we dont use the bathtub in the master bath ( we use the shower stall) we put a little bit of a toad playground, water dish moss resting areas etc in the tube and let them get some much needed exercise every few days which they seemed to enjoy. However recently Jake has been lethargic , first burrowing underground in the eco husk … and didn’t come to the surface for a few days.I could see where he was by holding the carrier up and noted that he was still breathing etc.. Both Sheldon & Jake have always had good appetites and have existing primarily on a smll/med cricket diet( from Armstrong cricket farm) although with summer they have had a few variety meats… ant, small beetles, small earth worms etc.. Anyways ,I gently pulled Jake out yesterday and placed him in the tub to get exercise and he could barely walk, he then moved a bit but seemed to be dragging a bit .. he then hopped around a bit and navigated with a slightly better ease…, but still seemed to drag himself around…. I did give them both a larger beetle about a week a go and no real ill effect as far as Sheldon was concerned , but now I am wondering if perhaps the larger beetle didn’t go through Jake… however there didnt seem to be any noticeable bulge this morning as I put Jake in a warm soak, and let him swim around for about 10 mins….The only other thing which the both tried to eat were Northern Redback Salamanders which I had scooped up with other sundry bugs… however once I noticed the toads were trying to down them I pulled them out as I wasnt sure if they would be harmful to the toads…anways,I dont have a lot of $ but we would like to try and help our little friend… any help would be appreciated

  314. avatar

    Hi Frank!

    Randy had his 6th week appt last Thursday. Xrays were amazing. We compared them to those taken when he was first diagnosed with MBD 6 weeks prior. I was just amazed – his both regrowth was just unbelievable.

    At first xray – he only had half of the bone in his upper arms – none in his lower arm and none in his toes at all. The only bone seen in his head, was just a tiny bit in his jaw (which were flexible when tested). His shoulder area also had almost no white showing.

    Now – the bones in his legs are all the way to his ankles, and he also has some bone in his toes. His skull and shoulder area on the new xray showed much more white/bone also.

    The vet considered him done, and come back only as/if needed and also ready to live with less food aggressive roommates also.

    When I first contacted them, they had said it depended on how much bone loss he had as to whether or not they would do an injection, as they found the soaking to be a safer approach. Well he was bad enough to get an injection of calcium – sorry I dont know the specifics of that, no idea of amount, he wasnt even in the room with me when he got it – they did it after they xrayed him and saw what they did.

    But for the calcium soaks – The syringe prescription said I got 23% calcium, 30ml. I mixed 10mls in a 1/2 gallon of water. I soaked him 20 to 30 min a day (I always did 30 min) and I had to replace the mixture weekly. So he got a shot of calcium, we did soakings for 3 weeks, went back – no more shots or xrays – we did another 3 weeks of calcium soakings and on our 6th week visit he had xray and was cleared of all treatment. The soaking was so very easy for me – Id put him in his container and soak him while I cleaned and changed water in all my toad swimming pools – it really wasnt any extra work at all for me to do it. When he was done, I was done too and then I moved on to feeding everyone. I did feed him everyday rather than every other day while he was in his first 3 weeks treatment – as I knew he had a lot of growth to do and needed fuel to do it. I coated his food every meal, and even though he ate everyday – it still totalled the same amount of food Id have given him if eating everyother day. My doing so didnt hurt his weight – for all three visits – his weight remained a constant 26 grams. At first I fed him in his soaking container so I could ensure he was eating and easily catching food, then he would soak after that. Later, when he started climbing his cave, up in his plants and swimming everyday – I then fed him in his home (he lived alone while healing).

    It was amazing how quickly he recovered – I was thinking Id need treat him for many many months. I love this vet – he is fantastic, and I am so lucky to have an amphibian where I have option when comes to this kind of treatment – I truly am. They recommended I do light treatment too – ReptiSun 5 UVB – I though, only did this once a week for 20 min. Hed be out, Id turn on the light – hed sit a while, but then hide completely buried. So I didnt do much light treatment at all.

    I hope this is helpful and glad I can return all the help you have given me over the years. I have a new situation I need help with, but I will post this comment and then write that one separate – as this is long and I want to keep them separate for you also.

    Thanks again for everything.

  315. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Kelly again!

    Yesterday, mowing day. We had been extremely hot and dry and then got a lot of rain Saturday. I walked the yard several times to clear it of toads – found one medium size fellow. Told him it was the middle of the day, hot and toads are suppose to be hiding not walking in a yard – he was rescued from the mower.

    Then I started mowing. I made a pass and then realized I meant to move the mower higher. I stopped did so, looked back at the cutting I just did and then I saw it…. a tiny toad crawling across the grass where I just mowed.

    Frank – he is the tinest thing I have ever seen. I have adult dubia roaches larger than he. He is maybe a half inch long (that is pushing it) – and only about a quarter of an inch or so wide – he is the size of a beetle.

    Question – he recently hatched obviously – is he now eating bugs – once toads and on land are they eating bugs and no longer living on plants? I had some baby roly poly bugs (extremely young and small) – coated those and offered them but am not sure if he ate them. I have some flour beetle larvea still, so I coated those put them in a dish – he didnt eat them.

    Some of it could be that he is stressed from what has happened still – but thought I should check and even see if he is truly eating bugs at this point.

    I will get him some pinhead crickets that are as small as fruitflies, I will get him fruit flies too, some tropical roly polys eaten by dart frogs where the adults are no larger than very small roly polys that are native to North America, and I will get him some of those springtails too –

    If he cant eat bugs, or wont – I will of course let him go – he is small enough to be wolf spider food – I am not kidding.

    Any advise for Lucky, along with confirming if he does eat bugs at this point is of course so very much appreciated. (does he need a product higher in calcium than repti cal and reptivite?)

    Thank you.

  316. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Great news…thanks very much for the detailed info, it will be very useful. You’ve done a fine job…not always possible to reverse this condition. Please let me know if you need any diet ideas for future, enjoy, Frank

  317. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Yes, once they transform toads take live food only. I’ve had some trouble rearing youngsters long term…seem to need correct nutrient balance, lots of variety, very high CA etc. Hard to provide variety at that size..the sowbugs you mentioned are excellent; aphids, if available nearby good also, as is “field plankton”..please see this article for some ideas. They do have many enemies, but fare better than other small amphibs due to skin toxins…many predators avoid them. I would coat everything with CA/vits if you decide to keep it, give as much variety as possible..perhaps a Z med 2.0 bulb also…not sure if useful, but should do no harm, best, Frank

  318. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you again. I just ordered his food and it should be here tomorrow. Going to the pet store tonight to see if they have fruit flies, that I will only use tonight – as I like the manner my onside vendor uses for their housing and food better than what the local pet stores offer.

    He will have flour beetle larvea, fruit flies, tiny crickets, tiny roly polies. I didnt get the springtails, their care kind of seemed a little complex for me, but I might rethink that.

    I did find this site that sells lab raised aphids – they say they are pea aphids – I hope this are ok for him, I will check with you before I order and feed though – and also provide you the site info too.

    http://www.berkshirebiological.com/Aphids–100.html

    On the fence about this little guy, I feel somewhat out of my realm. Perhaps I will only keep him until time the weather is not so horribly hot and dry as it has been. Although even today – during the day – after the rain we received this weekend – I heard more male mating calls.

    Thanks again!

  319. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Some of my lesser waxworms – well they are moths now. Are these safe for the toads to eat?

    Thank you!

  320. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Yes, the moths are fine to use…wild caught ones as well. Best, Frank

  321. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Found some bugs – something they call a bean beetle and termites.

    Are these both safe foods – I would request worker termites and not soldier ones if safe to eat – they look soft, but I have only seen them in photos and also not sure how often they may safely be used, if even at all.

    Thank you!

  322. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Both are good…termites a big part of natural diet when available; I trap them using damp cardboard as bait. Workers of some species may be a bit large, so check sizes if possible. best, Frank

  323. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    For the baby toad (smaller than a June bug) – well wanted to let you know I let him go. He was extremely extremely active – he pooped daily which for my adult toads, this is not common for them at all – and he was a 24 hour eating machine. Id feed him 2 to 3x a day – fruit flies, flour beetle larvea, weavil beetles, roly polys, and pinhead crickets – and I honestly could not keep up with his needs. Also, a week later when I mowed the yard – I found three more his size (although they were dark brown while he was a sandy brown color).

    I kept the new 3 with Lucky for one night – and then I released them all together in an area that is near a park, but due to the horrible terrain there is another 3 acres of land kept wild that can never be developed. It has plenty of woods and high grasses and a good size creek running through it, that for as long as I have lived here, even during our 4 foot deep drought 2 years ago – it never ran dry. Although close to the park, the terrain I put them in is to rough and steep for anyone to try and traverse and I am sure also has ticks on top of it to deter those that might consider it – the creek is a good depth, but is clear and when viewed you see no fish of any size that might even tempt someone to try and fish there. It was the best spot I could find, the other conservation areas near by are to close to the Mississippi river and they do flood often and also are flooded now.

    Wanted to let you know – the demands of the little ones were most unexpected and too hard to even try to keep up with and to dangerous for them for me to even attempt to.

    Take care,
    Kelly

  324. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Sounds like a great plan, thanks for letting me know. The most impt thing for youngsters is to put on size, as you’ve seen…some estimates put a med sized Am toads intake for summer at 20,000+ insects; young black rat snakes can somehow tap reserves to add size even during lab-enforced fasts of 3-4 month duration! They can make do with less and slow growth to match, but ideally they eat as much as possible…enjoy and please let me know if you need anything, beat, frank

  325. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I found the below statement about dubia roaches – thinking if correct, then due to their mass/volume that I should feed them less of these than I would if I were feeding crickets – your thoughts?

    ******Their meat to shell ratio is much higher than crickets.
    They also are heavier-bodied than crickets; it would take approximately 4 – 6 crickets to equal one dubia nymph of equivalent length.******

    Thank you
    Kelly

  326. avatar

    Hi kelly,

    There are some variables, but that seems reasonable; toads seem able to shift their metabolisms, within reason, to adjust to food availability so no need to worry too much about that aspect . Here’s an article on Dubiacare: http://bit.ly/ffM1Pz

  327. avatar

    I rescently caught four young woodhouse toads in my backyard in arizona. My question is how would i tell the gender i only want to keep two but i dont want the same gender

  328. avatar

    Hello jacob,

    It’s not possible to determine sex until they have reached adulthood; pl let me know if you need any care info, best, Frank

  329. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I noticed something different – maybe it is something you have seen before. Last year I found a small toad – only about 1.5 inches total length. Good news, as in the last year – he has doubled his size – if not 2.5x honestly.

    He is now larger than a toad that I have had for 3 years now. I know this other toad has grown since he came inside – but his growth is not as drastic as the other and now he is smaller than the new toad that when caught a year ago, was smaller than he was.

    Have you seen this before – should I have concerns? Both act normally, but I just happened to notice this and it seems a little odd.

    We have four type of toads in our state – only 3 are found in the area I live. One is a spadefoot toad,which honestly to me looks more like a frog than a toad. We have the American Toad and the Fowler toad – not sure if this helps you – from the photos I have they dont look much like either one really. Perhaps they are cross bred – or maybe the fella that has the slower growth rate is cross bred.

    Not sure if that might impact the difference in the growth I am seeing, but thought Id share the types we have locally in event that might be the influence.

  330. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Spadefoots are indeed frog-like, and very unique! Interesting to keep, although they will only come out after dark. Differing growth rates are very common within a single species, especially in captivity. No need to worry if all else is well. The 2 will hybridize, but I’ve not read anything indicating an effect on size. What is the 4th species you have? best, Frank

  331. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Whew – thanks so much that makes me feel much better! Maybe the younger toad’s growth might slow down after a bit – but wow, he really grew alot and fast!

    I looked at our state conservation publication about Frogs & Toads in our area – and we have the American and Fowler – but we have 2 kinds of Spadetoads – One they call the Plains Spadefoot Toad and the Eastern Spadefoot Toad.

    Both Spadetoad varieties (via the state map of their location), are by the rivers in our area. The Eastern is around the Mississippi River – from about St. Louis down to the bottom of our state (perhaps past MO but they only provide a map of MO only). The Plains Spadefoot Toad is closest to my location – but they show it around the Missouri River – both they show living more closely to the Rivers, and not having much territory past them.

    I go fishing in both, and have never seen one in person – but would very much like to. They are very very interesting looking. Not only their skin texture and their beautiful colors – but also that they eye slots run vertical and not horizontal like the American and Fowler toads. They are very darling looking!

  332. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks…I’ve not seen the Plains Spadefoot, other than in books. They are as you say..I have an old book about them titled Gnomes of the Night, which seems to fit perfectly! They breed sporadically, during heavy rains, and so are hard to find/census. I think their conservation needs are overlooked due to this. best way to locate them, in my experience, is to search for tads in temporary bodies of water…hard to ID tads, but once they mature you may be rewarded with spadefoots. Here in NY they tend to use drainage sumps, very shallow depressions in grassy areas etc. Enjoy and pl keep me posted, Frank

  333. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I wanted to use my tap water for my toads again, as I was thining some elements it contains other than the bad ones and flouride, might be beneficial for my toads – versus have water so pure it contains almost no trace elements at all.

    I saw a different posting recommending Beta Safe – I looked hard last night but couldnt find this. I did find something by Top Fin – called Betta Water Condiitioner. Says it neutralizez ammonia, choramines and chloride and promotes a health slime coat – will this be ok to use also?

    Thank you!
    Kelly Dorr

  334. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Yes…No trace elements, as in distilled water, is bad…leaches minerals/salts from the body. Conditioned tap water fine…the process used by all drops is the same; slime coat aspect may or may not work but should do no harm. Zoo Med’s is another option, but most tropical fish products fine as well.

    Best, frank

  335. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Thanks for the tip! I go the ReptiSafe and I love how it includes Electrolytes and even Calcium – thanks so much.

    I had bought some silkworms – suppose to be 1/2 to 1 inch, but sigh – all were over 2 inches and too large for my Toads. My vets office has a bearded dragon, and they said he does eat chow and fruits and veggies but meal worms too. She is large and I knew the silkworms werent to large for her.

    Well she loves them – they told me they hide them in her house for her to discover and runs as fast as a rat to get them – something she does not do for all her other foods. And luckily, one office worker has a mulberry tree so she has fresh leaves for them to supplement their silkworm chow. She told me the little things just eat like crazy.

    Well – I ordered more, they are suppose to be 1/4 to 1/2 inch – fingers crossed, as I cant wait for my toads to have some!

    Thanks again!

  336. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Glad it was useful and thx very much for the story! You’ll often see a real burst of interest in novel food items, esp among insect-eating lizards that likely consume dozens of species in the wild;…while some insects are tastier than others, there’s also studies showing that many species vary their diet in accordance with nutrient needs. Always good to offer as much variety as possible; good luck with the next batch…best, Frank

  337. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Got some silkworms for the toads finally – they really loved them. I was concerned at first, as the worms little feet can really hang on to you, and thought my toads would have some trouble with that aspect. While they had some of it sticking out of their mouth after they caught it – it all went down fine.

    So even though some of my toads are large – I will feed them all the smaller size – I was really suprised at how well the worms even held on to me!

  338. avatar

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for the feedback…very good source of nutrition and variety, glad you are using them, enjoy, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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