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Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation for Aquatic Frogs, Turtles & Newts – Part 2

Clawed Frog PairHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In Part 1 of this article we discussed vitamin/mineral supplements for aquatic animals that accept prepared/non-living foods; included among these are African Clawed Frogs, Sharp-Ribbed and many other newts, and most water-dwelling turtles.

Live Prey Specialists

Animals that take live prey only are especially troublesome when it comes to supplementation, as one cannot coat live aquatic food animals with powders.  Popular live food specialists include Dwarf African Clawed Frogs, Mata Mata Turtles, Surinam Toads, Mudpuppies and the larvae of most salamanders.  Read More »

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation for Aquatic Frogs, Turtles & Newts – Part 1

Pipa PipaHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Powdered vitamin and mineral supplements for reptiles and amphibians have been a great boon to herp keepers.  However, African Clawed Frogs, Red-Eared Sliders, Axolotls and other creatures that feed only in water present special challenges, as the supplements wash away before being consumed.  Today we’ll look at some ways around this problem. Read More »

Attracting and Collecting Earthworms – a Simple Technique

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Earthworms are one of the most nutritious food items available for amphibians, and for those reptiles, invertebrates and fishes that will take them.  Collecting them (in one piece!) can, however, be frustrating, and they are quite costly at bait stores.  One trick I stumbled upon years ago has greatly simplified the task of supplying my collection with earthworms – I hope you find it useful. Read More »

Frog Diets – Nutritious Foods for Popularly-Kept Frogs and Toads – Part 1

Albino BullfrogsHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Many frogs and toads that are collected or purchased and kept as pets will greedily accept crickets and mealworms, the food items most easily obtained from pet stores.  Most thrive on this fare for a time, but eventually develop nutritional disorders and expire long before they have reached their potential life-span.  Following are some useful tips for those keeping American Bullfrogs, White’s Treefrogs, Budgett’s Frogs, most Toads and similar species.  Please see my other Amphibian Care Articles for information on feeding Poison Frogs, Mantellas, African Clawed Frogs, Horned Frogs and others requiring specialized diets, or write in with your questions. Read More »

Frog Diets – Nutritious Foods for Popularly-Kept Frogs and Toads

ToadHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  I caution frog keepers against the all-too-common “cricket and mealworm only” diet.  Today we’ll cover additional means of providing amphibians a varied diet that will promote longevity and breeding.  The following information applies to the care of American Bullfrogs, White’s Treefrogs, Budgett’s Frogs, most toads and many similar species.  Please see my other Amphibian Care Articles for details concerning Poison Frogs, Mantellas, African Clawed Frogs, Horned Frogs and others requiring specialized diets, or write in with your questions. 

Wild-Caught Invertebrates

There is very little in the way of live invertebrates that hungry frogs refuse – I provide moths, beetles, sowbugs, millipedes, dragonfly larvae, grubs, millipedes, grasshoppers, tree crickets, field crickets, harvestmen, caterpillars and a variety of other easily-collected species.

Avoid using “hairy” caterpillars, spiders and other invertebrates that are able to bite or sting – a good invertebrate field guide should be part of every herpers “tool chest”.  Brightly-colored insects are often toxic, as are fireflies; do not collect during times when your area is being sprayed for mosquito control.

I rely heavily upon earthworms in both winter and summer, buying or collecting them, and usually try to keep a colony going in my basement as well.

Traps and Canned Insects

The Zoo Med Bug Napper simplifies the collecting of moths and other flying insects; please see the articles mentioned in Part I for information on other collecting techniques. 

Canned Insects such as grasshoppers, snails and silkworms are readily accepted from Feeding Tongs by many frogs, and are an important means of providing dietary variety when wild-caught insects are not available. 

Calcium: Fish and Mice

Budgett’s FrogA minnow or shiner each 7-10 days helps ensure adequate calcium intake for frogs the size of an adult Leopard Frog or larger.

A diet rich in pink or adult mice will cause most frogs to suffer eye, kidney and liver problems.  While these aggressive predators certainly take the occasional rodent in the wild, research has shown that insects and other invertebrates form the vast majority of their natural diet. 

American Bullfrogs seem to do well with a pink mouse every month or so, but do not offer adult mice – amphibians swallow their food alive, and are often injured by a mouse’s sharp teeth.  Hair also leads to potentially fatal impactions.

Commercially-Grown Invertebrates

During the colder months, or at other times when wild-caught insects are unavailable, the main portion of the diet should not be crickets, but rather a mix of earthworms (these can be used as the bulk of most species’ diets), roaches, crickets, and waxworms.  Silkworms and tomato hornworms, available via internet dealers, should be offered from time to time. 

I use mealworms and super mealworms sparingly, and usually select only newly-molted (white) individuals.  I have found crayfishes to be an important food item for a wide variety of frogs.  I remove their claws, just to be on the safe side.

You should allow insects purchased as frog food to consume a healthy diet for several days, in order to increase their nutritional value; please see the articles referenced in Part I for details.

I powder most store-bought insects with supplements, alternating among Reptivite with D3ReptiCalcium and Reptocal.  I do not use supplements when feeding wild-caught invertebrates.

Further Reading

Raising Earthworms

Please write in with your questions and comments. 

Thanks, until next time,

Frank Indiviglio

 

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