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Constructing a Rain Chamber – the Ultimate Amphibian Breeding Technique

Frog in frogspawnExposing frogs, toads and salamanders to an artificial “rainy season” is hands down the surest method of encouraging captive breeding in most species.  Fortunately, even someone with my limited building skills can easily construct a simple rain chamber.

Timing and Temperature

Before placing potential breeders into a rain chamber, it is important to research the species’ natural history, as timing, temperature and other factors are important considerations.  For example, Smoky Jungle Frogs (Leptodactylus pentadactylus) and certain other tropical Anurans have surprised me by breeding at nearly any time of the year, and without temperature manipulations, but Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica), Marbled  Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum) and other temperate zone amphibians need a cooling-off period beforehand.  Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Smokey Jungle Frog – Part 2

Smokey Jungle FrogPlease see Part 1 of this article for information on the natural history, amazing reproductive biology (including terrestrial nesting) and captive breeding of the Smokey Jungle Frog (a/k/a South American Bullfrog, Leptodactylus pentadactylus).


The hefty, robust adults are capable of taking quite large prey, including small birds, snakes, other frogs, mice and other rodents, scorpions and tarantulas as well as earthworms, roaches, moths and other invertebrates.

Smokey Jungle Frogs they are one of the few animals known to consume the highly toxic Poison Frogs, Dendrobates spp.

I’ve had good success with a diet comprised largely of earthworms, roaches, crickets and wild-caught insects (please see my article on Collecting Feeder Insects).  I use shiners and crayfishes as a calcium source, but a pink mouse may be offered every 6-8 weeks if desired. Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Smokey Jungle Frog – Part 1

Smokey Mountain FrogI’ve studied and cared-for a great many frog species in my time, but count the robust Smokey Jungle Frog, also known as the South American Bullfrog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus), as one of the most beautiful and mysterious of all.  I’ve been very fortunate in having bred this frog in captivity, and today will examine its natural history and reproduction.  I’ll move on to diet and its unique habits in Part 2.


This frog occurs from Honduras and northern Nicaragua through Venezuela to French Guinea and south to southern Columbia, Ecuador, northern Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.  Due to its secretive nature, the southernmost limits of its range are not well known. Read More »

Breeding the Green Basilisk and Related Species – Part 2

Please see Part 1 of this article for further information on keeping and breeding Green Basilisks (Basiliscus plumifrons), American or Brown Basilisks (B. basiliscus) and Banded Basilisks (B. vittatus).

Nesting Behavior

Female Green Basilisks deposit 7-15 eggs in a 6-10 inch deep pit that they evacuate in moist soil (please see Part I of this article for details).  The front and rear legs are then brought into play in re-filling the nest site.  Read More »

Breeding the Green (Plumed) Basilisk and Related Species – Part 1

We are quite fortunate that so attractive and interesting a lizard as the Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) also breeds well in captivity.  Two related species, the American or Brown Basilisk (B. basiliscus) and the Banded Basilisk (B. vittatus) may also be bred as described below.  The fourth species in the genus, the Western Basilisk (B. galeritus) is not often kept or bred.

Enthusiastic Breeders

Plumed BasiliskGreen Basilisks make things easy for their owners – unlike many reptiles, they seem not to need changing temperatures, rain or other environmental stimulation in order to come into breeding condition.  Although reproduction is influenced by seasonal changes in the wild, well-nourished captives may breed year-round.  In fact, it is important to monitor females carefully, as they may become egg-bound if unable to find a proper nesting site.  Read More »

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