Home | Amphibians | Common Problems When Raising Toads – Bloating and Paralysis

Common Problems When Raising Toads – Bloating and Paralysis

The tadpoles of American Toads (Bufo/Anaxyrus americanus) and Fowler’s Toads (B. woodhousei fowleri), and of related US natives, are frequently collected by herpers young and old and taken home to raise.  They usually prove quite hardy, and, even on nutrient-poor diets (i.e. lettuce), transform into tiny toadlets within a few weeks.

Toad Maladies

Young toads often prove difficult to raise however, and each year I receive questions concerning the same 2 problems – bloating American Toadand paralysis (difficulty hopping, problems catching food, etc.).  I’ve run across this myself when raising American toad tadpoles for a release program in NYC, where most of the tadpoles transformed, but died soon after.

Nutritional Deficiencies

I’ve come to believe that 2 distinct problems are at work.  Difficulty in using the rear legs is probably linked to deficiency in calcium or another nutrient, but efforts to reverse it, at least in small toads, have proven unsuccessful.
Using supplements on the food given newly Haswell's Frog Tadpoletransformed toads helps, but we really do not know what most species, especially North American natives, actually require.
Tadpole nutrition is another area that needs investigation.  Poorly nourished tadpoles may transform, but then die several weeks later…I’ve had this happen on a number of occasions over the years, with several species, even the relatively indestructible African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis).

Bacterial Infection

Bloating is usually a byproduct of a bacterial infection, and may be connected to nutrition.  Toads already weakened by a nutritional deficiency may be more likely to become infected with bacteria that healthier clutch mates fight off – hence both symptoms in 1 toad.  This is based mainly on anecdotal evidence, but does seem to happen time and time again, and with several species.

Natural Mortality

Another point to bear in mind is that, among species that lay huge clutches, a great many tadpoles will not survive even under the best of circumstances.  Some turtles lay infertile eggs, apparently to satiate predators and take attention away from viable ones – I have no hard evidence, but I would not be surprised to learn that weaker tadpoles serve a similar function.

Feeding Tadpoles and Young Toads

Most native toad tadpoles are omnivorous.  Try to provide them with as much variety as possible, and bear in mind that, in large groups, smaller, weaker individuals are easily out-competed at feeding time.  I’ve had good luck raising tadpoles on a diet comprised of tropical fish food flakes, algae tablets and kale pre-soaked in hot water (this breaks down thick cell walls). Metamorphs (newly transformed toads) consume scores of species of leaf litter invertebrates in the wild, complicating our job in raising them.  In addition to tiny frog standards such as fruit flies, springtails and pinhead crickets, you might try collecting tiny invertebrates as toad food (please see article below).

Further Reading

Please see my article Leaf Litter Invertebrates for information on collecting live food for tiny amphibian pets.

 Haswell’s Frog tadpole image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by LiquidGhoul


  1. avatar

    I am wondering if another element in the paralysis you describe may be insufficient UVB. I have seen bullfrog tadpoles in an outdoor pond just below the surface in the sunny part of the pond. I also saw adult bullfrogs basking nearby on lily pads.

    I myself have kept adult alligator lizards (Elgaria multicarinata) for years without access to sun or full spectrum lighting. However, I discovered that hatchling Elgaria multicarinata do need full spectrum light or sun to thrive.

    Therefore it seems likely to me that tadpoles and/or metamorphs may need UVB.

    Diane Lee

    • avatar

      Hello Diane, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog.

      You raise a very interesting point, thank you. American bull frogs do indeed bask. However, they prefer higher temperatures than most native frogs, and the behavior seems more related to that than to UVB needs. I say this because I have raised a number to adulthood without UVB, and know of a commercial farming operation which does the same. They do have quite high calcium/Vit. D requirements, and metabolic bone disease is common in individuals raised on calcium poor diets. I wonder if the frogs might have the ability to utilize UVB in the absence of adequate dietary UVB? (please see below)…I’ve not been able to find anything on point (have any free time and a pond on your hands?!). American toads rarely if ever bask, and I and others have raised many without UVB – but this is based on anecdotal evidence only, nothing published that I know of.

      I’ve noticed the same as you report re the tadpoles…UVB does penetrate water to the depth of a few inches, and hence the tadpoles may be absorbing some, but again the behavior may be related to temperature and the heavier growths of algae in shallow waters. Bullfrog tadpoles raised without UVB normally transform into healthy frogs if provided a balanced diet.

      My experience with alligator lizards (and alligators!) as well as certain turtles is as yours – adults of some species do fine without UVB, but youngsters require it.

      What strikes me as very interesting is the fact that some species that are well known as requiring UVB in order to synthesize Vitamin D seem able to make do with dietary Vitamin D in some situations. I’ve run across this with day geckos and red eared sliders – both of which typically fare poorly without UVB when young and, re the geckos, as adults. I’m convinced it has to do with the nature of the diet, but so far nothing definitive seems to have been published. Please check out my article on Day Geckos at the Central Park Zoo for further information…your thoughts and observations would be most appreciated.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    We inherited a kiddie pool full of (what we think are) eastern american toad tadpoles in june of this year. From everything I have read, metamorphs should have left the pool within 5-6 weeks. It is now mid august and the majority of tadpoles remain. They are large, and just developing legs. Is there something wrong, or are we just losing patience?

    • avatar

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Transformation time is influenced by a number of factors – if water levels stay high (toads often breed in temporary ponds) and food is plentiful, the tadpoles will extend their time in the water; if water levels drop, they often transform very quickly in response. If they are developing legs and growing I’d say leave them as is; problems might arise if you’re in a location prone to cold Septembers, but otherwise they should be fine. Be sure they have an easy way to exit the water, and plants or a sloping bank to rest on – please write back if you need details.

      You mentioned “large” – American to toad tads are very small, less than an inch or so when full grown, and black in color. Some native frogs are a good deal larger, and Green and Bullfrogs often over-winter as tadpoles (greenish in color); please write back if you possibly have another species in your pool.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Thanks for the reply.
    I have reduced the water level, to between 0 and 4″ in the hopes that that speeds things up. It was around 8″, and I am sure my son has kept them well fed.
    What do they need in regards to a sloping bank and plants? Right now we just have sticks and rocks for them to climb up on to get out. Do they need a way to return to the pool? right now the ones that are getting out fall off the outter edge of the pool and are gone into the surrounding garden/underbrush, which is rather dry this time of year. The new toads are about the size of pea.

    When I say large tadpoles, I mean between 6 and 10 mm. Prettys sure they’re toads…from the rope-like egg casings they came from.

    Thanks again
    Chester, Connecticut

    • avatar

      Hello Eric, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the feedback. If they are already leaving then no need to change your set-up; just be careful when dropping the water level suddenly – ammonia levels will rise in the reduced volume; might be better to add back some, especially as some are already transforming.

      Yes, those are toads based on eggs/size.

      A sprinkler in the area they are dispersing to will assist survival; they dessicate easily at that size, especially if ground is too hard to burrow into. A shallow pan of water, buried flush to the ground’s surface will help keep them nearby – perhaps a plastic garbage can lid with some rocks inside; but smaller ones will be used also. Cover in the form of flat boards or logs useful, they will hide below leaf litter as well.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    hello i recentally had 3 bullfrogs and it the past week the all bloted up and died the last one tonight. i have no idea why this has happened i kept my ater temp at about 72 to 75 degrees i feed them crickets about 2 to 3 times a week they have a huge tank and then all of the sudden one wasent eating and then he dies then anouther one and then tonight the last one died can you tell me what happened and what i did wrong

    thanks Jared

    • avatar

      Hello Jared, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog; sorry to hear the bad news.

      It’s difficult to say with certainly, but almost always when several frogs die quickly with those symptoms a bacterial infection is involved. Bullfrogs, even young ones, produce a great deal of ammonia, which is invisible and odorless unless very concentrated. High ammonia levels stress their immune systems, leaving them open to bacterial/fungal attack. It can also damage skin, and kill them outright (highly toxic, internal organ damage). Water tends to become acidic if not replaced regularly as well, which adds to the problem.

      Always a chance that parasites were involved, esp. in wild-caught animals. Low loads do them little harm in the wild, but high numbers build up in aquariums.

      Please let me know the size of the tank and frogs, filtration used, frequency of water changes, etc. and we can go over some ideas and preventative steps for future.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    well its a 75 gallon tank and its has about a foot of water in it for them i jsut bought a whisper filter big enough to clean i think it was 25 gallons but i dont have that much water in there its mostly land thats easly accesable with a lot of shallower parts in the water and it gets to be about a foot deep at the deepest poing but i have that eco dirt lots of the moss and stuff and logs and rocks so they can climb and hide and stuff i didnt change the water that often cuz its a pain to do.. i have no idea about parecites what would i be looking for if they where involved i havent gotten to get new frogs yet is there anything i shold do to my tank to pervent thins from happening again like right now and in the future like stuff that i can possably put in the water to keep the ammonia levels down etc

    And i jsut cleaned my tank yesterday when my last frog was still alive he didnt die until about an hour and a half after i put him back in the clean tank do have to take everything back out and clean it again before i get new frogs?

    • avatar

      Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      It’s best to keep bullfrogs without eco earth or other substrates so that cleaning is simplified. Turtle rafts work well as land areas. You can increase the water volume also. I suggest that you change app. 50% of the water weekly – a siphon will ease the job; be sure to use an instant de-chlorinator on the new water. Add ammo-chips to your filter and use an ammonia test kit to check levels in-between water changes.

      You should break down the tank and clean thoroughly (table salt is a good disinfectant to use) before getting new frogs.

      Please right back when you are ready and we can discuss diet if need be.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    I have had Bullfrog and american tads over the years and their seems too be about two ways i lose some of them 1. American toads, die in water,drown!![just got out of tad stage]
    2. Bullfrogs about 1 or 2 years have like a seizure and go limp.??? idk why?
    3. TAds of american toad are like deformed!!
    thanks, kelly, do you know the answer to question 2?

    • avatar

      Hello Kelly

      It’s very common for toads to drown just as they are transforming. When you see the front legs develop, drop water level and tilt tank by placing something under 1 end; idea is to create a gentle slope so they can rest ½ on land, and easily leave the water. Put some dead leaves or other cover on the land. You can also create sloping gravel islands, or use sphagnum moss, but tilting the tank is the best option.

      Deformities are often related to diet. A mix of tetra min fish food flakes, algae tablets (sold for tropical fishes) and kale works well. Microwave the kale in water for a minute or so, to break down the cell walls. Newly morphed toadlets are hard to feed properly…please let me know if you need any info re diet.

      The bullfrog problems are almost certainly related to vitamin/mineral deficiencies; they have especially high calcium needs. Small minnows and, as they grow, shiners and pink mice are the best calcium sources (fish preferable, please see article linked below). All food should also be powdered with ReptiCal with D3; Reptomin with D3 can be used 3x weekly. Variety is critical..crickets alone are not adequate. Please see this article for more info and write back if you have any questions.

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

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    When i feed my Bulls i usually feed a mixture of: worms,flies,crickets,termites and any other insects that are available.

    • avatar

      Hello Kelly,

      Thanks for the feedback; all are good, especially earthworms which can be used as the bulk of the diet. However, even with supplements it’s difficult to provide growing bullfrogs with enough Calcium via invertebrates alone. The seizures you describe are typically seen in CA deficiencies; tetany, a twitching of the limbs, is also common. Fish can be difficult to provide, as the frogs cannot catch them in deep water…please let me know if you need any tips on using fish.

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

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  8. avatar

    I have raised frogs from eggs in my kindergarten classroom for the last 5 years. This year I am noticing that the tail fins have white opaque spots on them and on close inspection some have what looks like ragged edges and small tears on the edges of the fins. We have not had any die. They still seem very energetic and active. Any idea what this is, and should I do anything?

    • avatar

      Hello Adriene

      Thanks for your interest; glad you are raising tadpoles…too few teachers do so, at least here in NY.

      You’re most likely seeing an opportunistic fungus, such as Saproneglia, that took hold in small skin wounds; it can spread to un infected animals. Ragged skin can also be associated with high ammonia levels, but assuming you’re doing all as in years last, and they are otherwise active, that is probably not the problem here. Best to do a partial water change just in case, though, as they will be more sensitive to ammonia at this time.

      Treating amphibians is always a risk, but I’ve had good results using Methylene Blue for a variety of species. Please see this article for details. Start as described there, but you can leave them in with methylene blue for a full day or two if you don’t see any improvement. Give them a day in clear water after that (a 50-75% water change is ok, no need to remove them or empty tank) then repeat. There seems to be room for experimentation, and there are no set guidelines in my experience; unlike most meds, MB is usually well-tolerated. Many variables, but untreated tadpoles often die from fungal and associated bacterial infections.

      Please let me know what species you have, and how all goes…very useful to have feedback, as we still have a great deal to learn re this.

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

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar


    Thanks for the advice. I will read up and likely try the Methylene Blue.

    I am not sure what species we have. I am afraid I am still an amateur. I live in a wooded area in western PA. Each year I collect a few eggs from the vernal ponds near my home to observe with the students. After they grow I usually find I have spring peepers. I change out 50 to 60% of the water once a week (more if it gets cloudy or dirty looking) with water I get from the same small stream and vernal ponds where the eggs came from. Then I return the frogs to the same wooded area at the end of the school year.

    Will keep you posted,

    • avatar

      Hello Adriene

      Thanks for the feedback; peepers and wood frogs would be most likely in PA vernal ponds at this time of year. Spotted & Marbled Salamanders often use the same ponds…their larvae have external gills, and the front legs appear before the rear.

      Good luck, please let me know if you need anything,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  10. avatar

    I live in a very small town and the only aquatic supply location I know of does not have methylene blue. They carry several other products for “fin and tail rot” (as they termed it). Are there other products that you feel would help and be safe to use?

    Thanks again, Adriene

    • avatar

      Hello Adriene

      They all vary, and not all ingredients are safe for amphibs; you can order here….That Fish Place –That Pet Place is in Lancaster, PA and should be able to get it out to you right away. In the meanwhile, do a 50% or so water change to ease ammonia strain, perhaps knock down micro-organism numbers.

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

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Me again.
    The local store owner suggested Maracyn powder; which, near as I can tell, is an antibiotic and totally a totally different type of chemical than Methylene Blue.
    Any thoughts about this product?


    • avatar

      Hi Adriene,

      I’ve never used Maracyn with tadpoles. Amphibians absorb meds over a greater surface area (almost entire body) that do fish, which is one reason for difficulties we have in finding safe medications. If you wish to experiment, choose an broad spectrum anti-fungal that is approved for use with eels and catfishes (eels and most cats lack scales, and so are very sensitive) and start with 1/2 the recommended dose. But you may lose the tadpoles; also,no way to predict if the med will be effective against the fungi present.

      Best, Frank

  12. avatar

    By the way – Is there anyway I could tell spring peeper eggs from wood frog eggs?

    • avatar

      Hi Adriene,

      Peeper eggs are laid singly or in small groups (but may cluster if population is large). Wood frog eggs are a bit larger, usually float, and are deposited in clusters or mats. Both may mix together into one mass, complicating ID. Wood frog metamorphs can be raised if you provide pinhead crickets, springtails, fruit flies; peepers are hard due to their size. American Bullfrog tadpoles are great for classrooms – huge, eat continually, and froglets are large enough to take adult crickets (can often order online, let me know if you need infoon sources or diets for young frogs).

      Please click on frog names for egg photos.

      Best, Frank

  13. avatar

    Hmmm. Based on the pictures you referenced, i have wood frog tadpoles. Funny the frog noises from the area I got them was overwhelmingly peepers.
    Thanks for all the help.


    • avatar

      My pleasure; wood frogs often arrive in ponds earlier than peepers; some years they seem to leave quickly, others they stay longer. Their call is duck-like. Hope all goes well, Best, Frank

  14. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Well I am changing out most of the water everyday with 1/2 the concentration of mrarcyn reccomended for fish. Today is day 3. They seem more active but the spots on their tales are still there. i am not noticing any new spots either. The directions say to use for 5 days. At five days, if the spots are still there, should I keep using it or figure it did not work and try something else?

    • avatar

      Hi Adriene,

      Hard to say, as it’s not been used with amphibs to my knowledge. Infections usually spread, so it may be doing some good, even if not killing established growths. Give them a day of rest after 5 days then repeat with a stronger concentration, perhaps 3/4 of fish strength. Best, Frank

  15. avatar


    SO I have a serious problem; our young toad that we caught about a year ago has a lot of trouble eating. He’s fully developed as far as we can tell, but when he tries to eat, all he does is open his mouth and kinda lurch forward really awkwardly. He doesn’t walk very well, can barely hop.. I’m really not sure what’s wrong. Any ideas what could be the problem? We feed our toads mealworms and crickets and worms, and use reptivite supplements so they get calcium and such like. Our other three toads have never had any problems like this.

    • avatar


      The symptoms you describe, sometimes called “short tongue syndrome” seem related to a Vitamin A deficiency. More common in young toads; please see this article and let me know if you need help in locating a nearby vet who treats amphibians.

      Best regards, Frank

  16. avatar

    We have actually had great success with our American toad living with our fire belly toad, some guppies, mystery snails, ghost shrimp and red claw crabs for quite some time now… until last night, our American Toad, Buddy, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and one of the crabs got hold of his lower leg/foot area. It is now very red/angry looking… it looks blood filled. And he doesn’t look to happy. He is still moving around, but very slow. I am wondering if you have any tips on what we should do to help him heal? We were thinking of separating him to a smaller tank on his own for a few days? Is there anything we can safely put on it to help?
    Thank you!

    • avatar

      Hi Laura,

      I enjoy mixed exhibits, but sooner of later crayfish, crabs always wind up injuring amphibs. Yes, best to separate, keep on damp papers towels with a hide-spot. methylene blue is useful…please see here; over-the-counter human antibiotic creams can also be tried. Unfortunately, infections can take hold quickly; best to have it checked…please let me know if you need help in locating an experienced vet. best, frank

  17. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks so much for your response. I went home last night and separated him from everyone else into a smaller tank after cleaning the leg, putting antibiotic cream on it and petting him for a while, and he perked up quite a bit. I left him for a little while and then put a couple crickets in for him and he ate one right away. His leg looks quite a bit less angry this morning, though I am not sure if his foot is going to make it 🙁
    he at least seems happier and is getting around, he even went in the water for a little while. I guess we will see what the next day or two brings.
    Thanks so much for your help!

  18. avatar

    Hi Frankk, kids brought home eggs, tadpoles and 2small frogs (toads?) from grandparents pond in S.E. Indiana. 1batch eggs in cloudy mass, the other semi transparent. Have them in fish tank with filter running and have fed a few leaves of frozen spinach. Seem ok for now. Froglets about 3/4 inch w/white belly clinging to side of tank a few inches above water. Could they be toads? If so suspect I should introduce to backyard. 2 larger tadpples about 2.5 inches and olive colored and sprouting hind legs? Bullfrogs? A few others about 1 inch and a bit darker in color. Thanks for any advice or help in identifying what we might have.

    • avatar

      Hello Kevin,

      Tadpole ID is difficult, but frogs clinging to glass are likely Gray Treefrogs, as they and cricket frogs are the only Indiana natives with adhesive foot pads (crickets not common, tiny). Larger tads could be green frogs, or bullfrogs (which are introduced there). Keep an eye on eggs..if no development (you’ll see larvae moving) they may be infertile..can decompose and foul water. Here’s a link to info on your native frogs and toads (froglets vary in appearance from adults in some species). Pl let me know if you need more info, best, Frank

  19. avatar

    Hi Frank…I happened to rescue a whole string of toad eggs, and am now the proud step mama of what looks like thousand of tadpoles from the American toad. I have them in a large kiddie pool with an air bubbles and slanted flat rocks. I feed them crushed fish flake food. Some seem to be starting to get their back legs, and some are still little The water level is about 4-5 inches deep and then the rocks stick out for them if need be. I want to know what my next step should be since there is such a variance in size and development going on? This is Wisconsin and we have been having a very cool summer so far. I have access to a pond near by, should I release them there for faster development or wait till its closer to fall and hibernation then release the ones that haven’t changed yet? Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • avatar

      Hi Paula,

      Differences in growth rate are common. If they are not going to be transforming right out of your pool, then it would be best to move them to the pond. Impt that the pond is one where you hear toads calling…if not, and it contains fish, few will survive (they will use ponds with certain types of fish present). Also, adjust them to the water slowly…use a 5 gallon bucket or such half filled with pool water, and add an appx. equal amount of pond water…let them adjust for 20-30 min before releasing. If they will be in your pool for awhile, best to add some floating aquatic plants so that those not finding rocks quickly can rest..they drown easily once the tail begins to be absorbed. Enjoy and let me know if you need anything, best, Frank

  20. avatar

    Good morning! My grandson found a small toad (bullfrog) on the playground at school, he brought it home in his backpack! This led to 12 more arriving in a water bottle. We have them housed in a twenty gallon bucket and feed them small crickets from the pet store ( about 6-8 dozen a week) . We have the bucket on a slant, a bit of dirt, water, a few rocks and twigs as well as an old Thomas the Train depot which appears to be their favorite place. They are petted, sang to, as well as read to daily. We would like to build a home for them in the garden, we thought perhaps a screen floor underground about six inches, either screen or plexiglass sides and a screen lid about four foot long and one or two foot wide and perhaps a foot above ground. Does this sound appropriate? Should we layer things to promote healthy conditions? We are located in the dessert in Southern California and winters can get a bit cooler. Thank you.

    • avatar

      Hello Sue,

      Would you be able to tel me the actual name of the frog or toad that you have…it’s not clear from your note? In that way I’d be better able to provide care info. Outdoor housing is best for a large group, but you’ll need to be sure the enclosure is predator proof. Crickets alone are not a suitable diet for any species, so we can go over that as well when you write back. handling should be limited, and best dome with wet hands…important not to injure the delicate skin or remove the protective mucus…always wash well afterwards. You can find photos of all CA frogs and toads at this site, hopefully that will help with the ID;, best, Frank

  21. avatar

    We have a 6 month old toad that we have raised from out of a local pond. It’s always been a good eater- mostly house flies. For the past week though, since the weather changed, it has looked very bloated- and we have no more flies around to feed it. We are planning to buy some crickets to feed it through the winter, but right now I am afraid to feed it anything because it looks like it will burst- despite having not eaten for a week. Any suggestions?
    Thank you.

    • avatar


      Bloating is often a sign of bacterial infection (gasses are produced); less commonly, it may indicate a female that is retaining eggs. Unfortunately, there’s no way to diagnose other than via a vet exam. How cool is the terrarium…undigested food can also be involved, but most temperate zone toads are fine at low temps =- 60 F or so. best, Frank

  22. avatar

    Thank you for your quick response. Is there a treatment method for a bacterial infection? The terrarium has been kept at the house temperature- around 70 F. The cool weather just dried up our supply of catchable bugs. Also, we have been using distilled water in its tank- I just read on a different article of yours not to do this. Could that be part of the problem?
    Thank you again.
    P.S. We live in rural NE, so I’m thinking no amphibian vets are in our area. They tend to specialize in the bigger, beefier kind of animal around here.

    • avatar

      70 should feel like the tropics to the toad right about now in NE! Probably a great plains toad, but there may be other species there. Temp not the problem; distilled water should be avoided, but that is not likely involved here. Below are 2 links to reptile/amphib experienced vets in NE…a minority, as you say, but a few have made it there. Antibiotics likely necessary…toads absorb liquid through the skin, especially in the chest area..perhaps a NE vet can advise something over-the-counter to try, if the vet is not local. Unfortunately I do not know of any that have been tried…human antibiotic creams have been used on skin, but I’ve not seen anything re their effectiveness against internal bacteria (if that is what is going on…many possibilities). I’ve used methylene blue (see here) externally..again not sure about internal. Please keep me posted, frank http://www.anapsid.org/vets/nebraska.html http://www.nytts.org/nytts/helpnet.htm#NE

  23. avatar

    Hi, I was wondering what happens to a toad when it braces it’s leg???!?!?!?One of my toads brock her leg, and I’m hoping she gets better! if you now please tell me. And when is mating season for toads?

    • avatar

      Hello Sidney,

      They usually get along quite well, especially in captivity; I’ve even found wild adults with a missing leg.

      The breeding time varies with the species and location, but for most it is in mid to late spring. Here in southern NY, American toads are just beginning to call, Fowler’s toads usually start within 2-3 weeks. Let me know how all goes, best, frank

  24. avatar

    Thank you Frank ,and I looked at her to day ,and I found out that she’s getting a little better.
    The toads that I find are close to a lake, but I find them in good dirt. How long do you think until she is ready for us to let her go? Or will she have to stay in captivity? The reason I ask is well…..I let all the animals I help go in the fall ,and I don’t won’t to keep her all winter. The winters hear are mostly rough ,and I have a outdoor habitat. love Sidney.

    • avatar

      Hi Sidney,

      Once it can move about you can release…they are well protected from most predators by skin toxins, and can adjust to hunting with an old injury. I hope all goes well, pl let me know if you need anything, frank

  25. avatar

    Hi, Frank

    Today I looked in the tank and saw two of my toads mating. And thank you Frank for helping me.Sidney

  26. avatar

    We saved some tadpole eggs (stands) from the pool when the filter was broken. Something got most of the strands before we could take them to the creek, but we were able to save a glob. We now have seven tadpoles that have just developed their back legs. They are in a critter keeper that has small gravel on the bottom and is now sloped, so they can get out of the water. They appear to be trying to breathe through their lungs. We have a few big green leaves on top of the water, too and they like to lie on them. We feed them boiled spinach and tadpole food. We would appreciate your advice, because we don’t know how to care for them and we’d hate to kill them from lack of knowledge. How much water should be in the critter keeper? What should we feed them? Do they need supplements or sunshine? I think they’ll become toads.
    Thank You, Sheryl

    • avatar

      Hi Sheryl,

      The set-up sounds good…keep water low enough so that they do not struggle to get to the surface, as they are switching from gill to lung respiration at this point, and also do not swim well. Give them a bit of the same food as before, but they will likely not feed much or at al, instead relying upon the absorption of the tail as a nutrient source. As the tail shortens, they’ll need tiny live insects..best to release then, but if you wish to raise them let me know.

      Keep water clean, as ammonia is the main source of fatalities at this stage…re[lace regularly, with same water source as you’ve been using…let me know if you need anything… sounds like you did a good job, best, frank

  27. avatar

    I recently aquired some fire belly toads, i have a thirty gal tank for an American toad. I read that fire bellys are known to poison water bowls, and killing tank mates, however I couldn’t find any negative feedback on American and fbs housed together, but the little information was either lacking or amatursish. Any advice?

    • avatar

      Hi there,
      I wouldn’t recommend mixing any other species with fire belly toads. Fire bellies are mostly aquatic, so you would need to convert a large section of your terrarium, and add some type of filtration to accommodate them. There is also a chance that the American toad would try to eat a fire belly and poison itself, if the accumulated toxins in the water don’t do it first. There is also always the possibility of transmitting foreign diseases or fungal infections between the two species.

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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