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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of caecilian species. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning caecilians.

Skinks, Sea Snakes and Caecilians – Surprising New Species Discovered

Pygmy Spiny tailed SkinkNew reptiles and amphibians turn up regularly, but, being generally small and inconspicuous, most excite only hard-core herp enthusiasts.  In recent days, however, a string of good-sized, colorful and totally unexpected discoveries have drawn attention from even “regular” people.  The new species include a spiny, brick-red skink, a sea snake with uniquely-raised scales, and a new family of hard-headed caecilians, those oddest of amphibians.

Western Pilbara Spiny-Tailed Skink (Ergenia cygnitos)

The beautiful, deep-red color of this spine-covered skink closely matches the rocks of its desert habitat in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.  You can see its photo and learn more in the article linked below.

Over the past 12 months, 9 other new species – 7 reptiles and 2 frogs – have been found in the same area.  Several related skinks (please see photo) and a “barking” gecko are included among the newly-described creatures.  Mining proposals spurred the surveys in Pilbara.  Hopefully, the discovery so many previously unknown species will limit commercial activities until further studies have been completed. Read More »

Earthworm Flakes – a New Food for Tadpoles, Newts and other Aquatic Pets

Earthworm flakeI have long been witness to the nutritional value of earthworms, and have even experimentally reared several amphibian and fish species on “earthworm only” diets (please see article below).  In my experience, whole, well-fed earthworms come very close to being a perfect food item for a wide variety of carnivorous herps, fishes and invertebrates.  What’s more, many animals cannot resist them – even those that rarely if ever encounter earthworms in the wild. Indeed, earthworms are often the first choice of zookeepers and experienced hobbyists seeking to induce feeding in “picky”, wild-caught or newborn amphibians, fishes and certain reptiles. Read More »

Live Bloodworms – An Important Food for Small Amphibians and Their Larvae

Freeze-dried BloodwormsThose of us who keep and breed small aquatic amphibians usually have a difficult time providing our pets with dietary variety.  This is especially true as regards salamander larvae and other creatures that usually accept only live foods.  In most cases, such animals must make do with the pet trade staples, Brine Shrimp and Blackworms.  Today I’d like to introduce a useful aquatic food item that is popular with aquarists but often over-looked by herp keepers – the Bloodworm (Chironomus spp.).

Natural History

Bloodworms resemble, but are unrelated to, aquatic worms.  Rather, they are the larvae of tiny flying insects known as Midges (often called “Gnats”) of the Family Chironomidae.  They have long been sold in stores specializing in tropical fishes, and can also be ordered from internet dealers.  Read More »

Top 7 Amphibian Care, Conservation and Natural History Websites

Bufo alvariusMany amphibian websites tend to focus only on popularly kept species. Today I’ve compiled a list that addresses both common species and less well-known topics, such as amphibian health care and caecilian husbandry.

Salamanders and Newts


This is the most comprehensive salamander-oriented website available.  I’m very impressed by the depth of interest and expertise evidenced by many of the members, who are always eager to help less-experienced hobbyists.  The forum discussions are always interesting and often break new ground, and the posted articles and care sheets are top notch.

Frogs and Toads


This informative website focuses on frogs other than the “attention-grabbing” poison frogs, although discussions concerning these are welcome.  It’s very refreshing to see that North American frogs and other under-represented groups are given the spotlight here.  Popular pet trade species such as White’s treefrogs, horned frogs and African bullfrogs, are also well covered.

The discussion forums show great promise, and the care sheets and natural history information supplied are of excellent quality.

Toadily Toads

I’ve never understood why toads have always been given so little attention by amphibian enthusiasts.  They exhibit an amazing diversity of forms and lifestyles and, on the whole, make much hardier and more responsive pets than do frogs.  The folks at ToadilyToads have taken great strides in remedying this unfortunate situation.

This website deals with all aspects of toad keeping and conservation, and provides some enjoyable activities as well.  I was especially happy to see that a good deal of attention is given to encouraging local species through backyard and similar habitat improvements.

Dart Den

This site is a great resource for those who keep or are interested in learning more about the ever-popular poison frogs and their relatives (“dart frogs”, Mantella spp., Dendrobates spp., etc.).  The discussion forums are quite active, and quality care and natural history information is available.



A real find for those interested in this little-studied but fascinating amphibian order, this site posts some of the most well-researched caecilian natural history information available.  The captive care details provided are a rare and valuable resource.

Those interested in caecilian husbandry are well-situated to uncover volumes of new information on these unusual creatures; this website would serve well as a vehicle to publish such and to interact with others working with caecilians.

Health Care

Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital

I’ve long relied upon Dr. Kevin Wright, founder of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, for answers to my most difficult pet and zoo animal health and husbandry questions.

One of the world’s foremost exotic animal veterinarians and coauthor of the classic Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry, Dr. Wright has posted a variety of much-needed amphibian care sheets on the hospital’s website.  Covering topics ranging from general emergencies to parasites, the information contained therein is an invaluable resource to the amphibian keeper.  Hobbyists whose interests extend beyond amphibians will find a wealth of information on the care of invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals as well…a real treasure trove!  For information on phone and email consultations with Dr. Wright, please click here.


Amphibian Ark

Amphibian Ark was formed in response to the wave of amphibian extinctions occurring worldwide.  The organization coordinates both field and captive-management conservation programs in association with zoos, museums and researchers worldwide.

The Amphibian Ark Newsletter, posted monthly, is the internet’s most comprehensive collection of articles dealing with amphibian research, conservation and natural history.


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