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

Keeping Frogs and Toads as Pets – Creating a Terrarium and Best Amphibian Care Products

From tiny “living jewels” to hulking giants capable of consuming bats, snakes and rodents, the world’s nearly 6,000 frog species present an amazing array of pet-keeping opportunities.  With proper care, some may live for decades (to age 50 in the case of the African Bullfrog), and quite a few are active by day and quickly learn to accept food from one’s hand.  However, keeping frogs and toads as pets means providing a habitat that meets their specific needs – humidity, temperature, substrate, terrarium size and shape, light, water quality and other conditions must be carefully considered.

Oak Toad

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Eric Shashoua

Although each has needs that vary from those of others, some general rules have emerged.  The following information is drawn from my experiences with hundreds of species over a lifetime of frog-keeping in zoos and at home.  It can be applied to most of those that you are likely to encounter.  However, details will vary – please post below for information concerning individual species.


Please remember that your frog’s natural history will dictate the type of terrarium it requires…please post below to discuss the need of individual species, or to share your observations.

Setting up the Terrarium

Active, sedentary, high-strung, aquatic, arboreal and terrestrial frogs and toads utilize their living spaces in different ways.  Following are some basic guidelines for popular species. Read More »

Frog Facts, Natural History, and Behavior – Notes on Amphibian Pets

Those with an interest in frogs and toads will never be bored…among the 6,200 known species are found some of the world’s most fascinating and unusual animals.  Many amphibian pets may, with proper care, live for 10, 20 or even 50 years, and can be wonderful animals to keep and observe.  A number engage in complex social behaviors that range from hand-signaling to the feeding of tadpoles…and well-adjusted captives are often not at all shy about doing so before an audience!

I cannot remember a time when I was not fascinated by frogs and toads, and my amphibian-keeping friends and Bronx Zoo colleagues often voice the same sentiment.  But what is it that draws us to keep, study and breed these marvelous creatures?  True, some species, due to their ability to survive near people, become our first herp pets…as did Bullfrogs, American Toads and others when I was growing up in the Bronx, but there’s more to it than that.  Part of the answer, I believe, lies in their amazing diversity of forms and lifestyles…some of which stretch the limits of believability.  Please be sure to post your own thoughts and experiences below, as well as any questions you may concerning choosing a pet frog or caring for individual species.


Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Pixeltoo

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Best Tadpole Foods (Based on my Experiences) – Seeking Additional Suggestions

tadpoleBreeding frogs and rearing tadpoles is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our hobby, and becoming ever more important to the survival of many species.  In the course of working with numerous species at home and in zoos, I’ve compiled a list of commercial foods that have proven especially useful as tadpole foods.  The variety of new food items that have appeared and the many frog species that have been recently bred by hobbyists have convinced me that it’s time to reach out see what new “wonder products” or ideas folks have tried. I have, therefore, highlighted some of the foods I’ve come to rely on, and would greatly appreciate hearing of your experiences with them and others. Thank you.

The Amazing Specialists

While the tadpoles of many commonly bred frogs (i.e. White’s Treefrog, Litoria caerulea) are omnivorous and take a variety of foods, others are specialists and will not survive unless their exacting requirements are met.  The tadpoles of African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis and Malayan Leaf Frogs, Megophrys nasuta, for example, are filter feeders, while those of the African Bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus, are as carnivorous as their pugnacious parents.  Poison Frog tadpoles of several species feed upon unfertilized eggs deposited by their mother, Goliath Frog, Conraua goliath, tadpoles consume a single species of algae, Fringe-Limbed Treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) tadpoles eat their father’s skin,  Brown Leaping Frog (Indirana semipalmata) tadpoles gnaw on wood (high up in trees!) …the list is fascinating.  Please post below if you would like information on these or other species. Read More »

Amphibian Declines – Pollution Worsens Disease and Parasite Attacks

Deformed FrogIn 1990, the IUCN’s Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force, to which I belonged, was one of the few large scale efforts addressing what is now known as the “Disappearing Amphibian Crisis”.  Today, with legions of biologists and hobbyists at work on the problem, we still do not fully understand why nearly 200 species have become extinct in the last 20 years – a rate 200x that of what might be “expected”.  But we do have some insights, one of which was highlighted in a recent journal article (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biology) .  It appears that stress, much of which is in response to what we are doing to amphibian habitats, is worsening the effects of normal pathogens and diseases.

Parasites and Insecticides: a Confusing Scenario

As the reality of worldwide amphibian declines became apparent, herpetologists and private citizens began noticing increasing numbers of deformed and dead frogs. In 1995, school children in Minnesota made headlines when they found dozens of deformed frogs in a local pond. Since several chemicals are known to cause growth abnormalities, researchers began focusing on pollutants. At the Bronx Zoo, I worked with a veterinarian who studied African Clawed Frogs, and was amazed to see ovaries develop in males that had been exposed to Atrazine (a common insecticide). Read More »

Chorus Frogs and Chytrid Bacteria – a Look at the Confusing new Reports

Rana mucosaAre Pacific Chorus Frogs, Pseudacris regilla, driving other amphibians to extinction? A recent study revealed that the tiny frogs often carry a fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Chytrid) that has been implicated in the extinction of 200+ amphibian species. Chorus Frogs seem largely immune to the disease, but may spread it to other species that share their habitat, including the endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, Rana mucosa. However, I believe there is more to the story…

Resilient Chytrid Carriers

Researchers from San Francisco State University and the San Diego Zoo have confirmed high levels of Chytrid fungus among Pacific Chorus Frogs in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Unlike many amphibians, Chorus Frogs seem relatively unaffected by the fungus. Read More »

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