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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of amphibian species, including frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning amphibians.

First Completely Monogamous Amphibian Identified – the Mimic Poison Frog

R. ventrimaculataGenetic research has revealed that a fairly well-studied frog has been hiding an astonishing secret – pairs form lifelong pair bonds and remain faithful to one another.  Equally surprising is the fact that pool size alone (and not morality!) seems responsible for the fidelity shown by Mimic Poison Frog (Ranitomeya imitator) couples.  These findings, to be published in an upcoming issue of The American Naturalist, illustrate the second “first” for this species (please see below). Read More »

Houseflies and Maggots as Food for Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates

HouseflyThe world’s 250,000+ fly species figure importantly in the diets of a wide range of smaller creatures…this makes sense, as approximately 1 in every 10 animal species is a fly!     

My first attempt at culturing Houseflies began with a fish-baited jar and ended with a house full of buzzing flies and an enraged mother!  I quickly learned to chill the little beasts before using them, and was soon happily involved in fly-farming (I fed them moist dog biscuits, evaporated milk and orange juice, instead of the less-agreeable foods they preferred!). Read More »

The Natural History and Care of Newts – Japanese and Chinese Fire-bellied Newts

Please see The Natural History and Captive Care of Newts, Part I for general information.  Today we’ll take a look at newt that has long been popular with amphibian enthusiasts, the Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster).  This species is often confused with the Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt, C. orientalis.  Chinese Fire Bellied Newts are smaller, with less-distinct paratoid glands and smoother skin (shown here in the photo of 2 submerged animals).  They can be cared for in much the same manner as their Japanese cousin. Read More »

Wild Caught Invertebrates as Reptile and Amphibian Food – Some Concerns

Today I’d like to highlight a question that was recently posed on this blog concerning the use of wild-caught invertebrates as pet food.  The writer expressed the well-founded concern that fertilizers might render such invertebrates toxic, and also asked about the possibility of parasite transmission. 
Snowy tree Cricket


Fertilizers might be a concern for invertebrates collected in high use situations, such as insects seined from farm ponds or earthworms taken from golf courses.  Frogs in farm ponds are being affected by fertilizers, but likely directly, through water absorption, rather than via diet.  I always play it safe and avoid such areas, and I do not collect insects, such as roaches or Japanese Beetles, that are the focus of pest-control campaigns. Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of Newts – Part 1

Newts have long been among the most popular of all amphibian pets, and with good reason.  Unlike most others, they are bold, active by day and readily accept prepared foods.  Many are easy to breed in captivity and quite long-lived…a California Newt (Taricha torosa) in my collection reached 20 years of age.  Today we’ll look at natural history and husbandry, and in part 2 I’ll cover individual species such as Eastern Red-Spotted, Fire-Bellied and California Newts. Read More »

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