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      13.10.2014 16:41
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      Gardiners’ Friend

      Over the many years we have lived in our present home, we have had many frogs and toads visit our garden. As we live near a large lake this is not surprising.

      Amphibians require a body of freshwater to breed in spring. They tend to return to the same place each year, often to where they were spawned, to lay their fertilised eggs in still water. Frogs will usually choose small ponds or the shallow edges of lakes where their eggs will get plenty of light and warmth from the sun.

      Small ponds can seem overcrowded with adults in spring, but they will disperse once their reason for being there is over. In summer, after the tadpole stage, you may see large numbers of young frogs or toads, but again these will naturally scatter.

      Our detached garage has remained damp for some weeks now, not getting the chance to dry out fully in between the rain.

      Since these damp conditions, a frog seems to have set up home on an odd brick he found in a dark damp garage corner. It does leave the brick from time to time, presumably to go foraging, but it has kept coming back. It might have found some juicy slugs and insects to eat in my compost heap which could be its froggy restaurant. In fact in has been a particularly good/bad (depending on whether you are a gardener or a frog) year for slugs in my garden. Frogs should be filling up with food in autumn to have enough energy to get them through the winter, so it is in luck.

      Our frog may choose to hibernate over winter in our garage. If he does he will be safe in the corner he has selected to be in. Most amphibians lie dormant over winter, though may come out and forage if the weather turns temporarily mild.

      I am fascinated by the way the frog’s skin changes colour to camouflage it depending on whether it is in full shadow, or partial light because we need to have one or both of the doors open for a while.

      If you find a frog or toad, do not move it, unless it is in danger, for example from road vehicles. Assume it has a good reason for being there, or is on route to somewhere good for it.

      GIVE NATURE A HOME
      If you want wildlife in your garden, make it a home and be patient. Don’t pick any kind of animals up and move them. If you have the right conditions they will come of their own accord. See the section on the RSPB’s website called Give Nature a Home for what you may be able to do to encourage different species.

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        11.10.2014 20:23

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        a special creature

        I've kept a few hornfrogs on a few years. All these are frogs but are bred in captivity in many places nowadays. They shortly put on the weight although these frogs are usually purchased as young frogs, and therefore are very pretty and appealing. The places these want a tank that has to have a thermal gradient, one end warmer than the other, together with the cool side being at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A water dish and an appropriate substrate for the places these to conceal in is additionally needed. Various substrates have been tried by me but have found compost and a bark chip mixture kept moist to function as finest in terms of practicality and ease of change. They are quite sedentary frogs, lying around all day in the exact same area, in fact they could remain in precisely the same spot on end. But their allure comes from great beauty, and their extraordinary appetite -if you like your frogs aggressive and heavy, having a glint in their eye these will be the frogs for you. From a diet of crickets or small fish, they can eventually be fed on larger quarry such as different sizes of mice, but as they grow older they need fed less often for obesity is often a killer of this kind of frog. These frogs in many cases are kept on their very own, smaller frogs' business would mean disappearance that is certain. They simply wait till by nature ambush predators' food appears in front of those and are them. As swimmers get larger you have to be cautious when feeding as your fingers are regarded by them as a tempting morsel. I had a friend who waved his hand once before the vivarium, and my frog launched itself at his hand, leaving the traces of its moist lips around the tank's glass. This kind of animal constantly fascinates visitors.

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        14.04.2011 03:43
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        A huge range of frogs as pets are available and it is VITAL to research before buying!

        As I am writing this in a pet section, I have tried to think about the types of questions someone looking for a potential pet may ask themselves, and answer them! I kept American Green Tree Frogs for a few years until an unfortunate incident befell them, and have to stress that this isn't a pet that you can buy, put in a simple tank and feed pellets to! Nor is it a pet that you can cuddle or, well, I suppose the word is "pet"!


        OVERVIEW OF FROGS.

        There are many different species of frogs available for purchase to keep as pets. Frogs are very varied and come in a wide range of sizes, with a wide range of habitat and feeding preferences. To give an idea of some of the frogs currently available in the UK, I have posted a link to a site which I have purchased from before:

        http://www.exotic-pets.co.uk/frogs-for-sale.html

        As the link shows, even from one supplier there are frogs which prefer a mostly aquatic environment, so require a wide based tank, to frogs which would live in trees in the wild, so prefer tall tanks and don't need a lot of "floor space". There are frogs who like moderate temperatures, and frogs who "like it hot"! Different species of frog require different types of substrate in their homes, from sand to bark chips. These things may sound unimportant, but getting it wrong could make your frog sick or even kill it if, for example, it were to dehydrate, or suffer impaction from swallowing substrate not suitable for its species.



        ARE FROGS EXPENSIVE?

        The frogs themselves can be bought very inexpensively, although again this does depend on species. A fairly common type of pet frog, the American Green Tree Frog, can usually be purchased for around the £10-£15 range for an individual, although there are some species available for under £5 each, and yet others which sell for over £40 each.

        Whilst the frog itself is relatively inexpensive, the set up required to keep them is not. Whichever species of frog you choose, it will require a closely controlled environment in which to live, and this will involve spending money on things such as heat lamps, UV lamps, humidifiers, foggers, temperature and humidity gauges as well as an appropriate vivarium or terrarium, along with substrate, food, plants etc. My fairly small setup which housed 2 frogs cost around £135 to buy. There are also "running costs" associated with keeping frogs, such as the electricity to run all their kit, as well as their food, although the food is relatively inexpensive, it can be hard to come by in some areas, so you will need to check around for a local supplier of live food unless you wish to order this online and pay p&p costs on top (yes, you really can get crickets, mealworms etc by post!)



        ARE FROGS REWARDING PETS?

        Frogs do not show you much love and affection! It is also not advisable to handle your frog unless absolutely necessary. This is because humans have natural oils on their skin which cause a burning sensation to a frog, and prolonged handling can be harmful to their health. I suppose in many ways you could relate them to fish as a pet; you can't hug or cuddle them, and other than learning when food is about to be deposited in their tank, they show little interest in the people around them, but that isn't to say they aren't an entertaining pet. They can be very funny to watch as they hop about, and do seem to have different personalities, varying both over species and as individuals within species. I spent many a happy hour watching my frogs go about their daily lives!



        ARE FROGS EASY TO KEEP?

        I would say, that once you have the initial correct setup, frogs are moderately easy to keep. It is really a matter of watching the gauges on the vivarium/terrarium to note any temperature or humidity fluctuations, and feeding, cleaning out regularly etc. I would say keeping a frog is on a par with a tropical fish aquarium, in that it does require monitoring, but 95% this is a precaution rather than something you have to adjust.

        Probably the biggest nuisance related to keeping frogs is their live food. Many species eat crickets, which whilst are now widely available, can be noisy blighters if you buy certain varieties, and you are bound to end up with the odd escapee!



        ARE FROGS NOISY?

        This might seem like something odd to say, particularly if you have not had much experience of frogs in the past, but some species can actually be pretty noisy when they want to be! My tree frogs would regularly "chirp", which I rather liked, but my partner didn't, especially if he was trying to watch something on television! I would say an american green tree frog, despite its diminutive size, can easily make about the same level of noise as your average budgie! Males of most species tend to be the noisier, as they call to attract mates, so this is something worth bearing in mind, as if you prefer a quieter pet, a female may be better suited to you.


        ARE FROGS SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN TO KEEP?

        I have 3 daughters myself, and had them when I did have my frogs. Whilst the girls fairly liked them, on the whole they found them a bit boring as they couldn't play with them etc. I would also suggest that an adult would need to monitor the frogs' environment and stress to a child the importance of not touching the frogs or putting things into their tank etc. Whilst I would say it would be fine for a home with children to have frogs as pets, I think there are other animals which make better pets for a child themselves. I see frogs as something that can live alongside children but that doesn't make a particularly child-friendly pet.


        WHERE CAN I BUY A FROG?

        This, again depends upon the species (I know, it sounds like a broken record by now...!) Frogs are becoming more and more popular as pets, along with other reptiles and amphibians, and are more widely available than ever. I live in a fairly rural area, but even here within 45mins by car there are 4 seperate establishments that I know of which stock frogs. It is also possible to purchase frogs online.

        One thing to bear in mind when purchasing a frog is to check whether it is captive bred or wild caught. Some species of frogs are thought to be suffering population decline in the wild because of the pet trade. For this reason, it is important to research the species you are interested in, and only buy captive bred frogs of species which are struggling. Also, as when buying any pet, check the establishment; see if it is clean, if the animals seem well cared for. The only way to improve conditions for animals sold as pets is to hit disreputable companies in the pocket so that they no longer trade in a poor fashion!


        SUMMARY

        The best advice I can give to anyone looking into purchasing a frog as a pet would be to thoroughly research the specific requirements of the species of frog you wish to keep. By all means check out suppliers and ask questions of them, as many are happy to help. It is also worth reading some forums about frogs, as whilst shops will always ultimately be wanting to sell you something, frog owners can often be better for impartial advice, particularly regarding what is "essential kit" and what isn't.

        I personally found my frogs very rewarding, and would recommend them as a pet, but also stress that is is HUGELY important to get the right setup for the right species, and find out as much as you can about your potential pet before you buy it.

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          08.01.2010 22:25

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          A fascinating creature!

          The only experience I have had of frogs is when I was a child and kept a pond in the back garden. Naturally this attracted the local frogs who populated the pond and mated in the early Spring to produce large amounts of frog spawn who developed in to tadpoles, who if they survived, turned in to frogs!

          I used to find frogs very intersting and their cycle of development is very fascinating to watch, in particular for the inquisitive child. Having said that if you do have a pond in your garden, be careful of the dangers that this may cause, particularly for toddlers and for those that cannot swim.

          They aren't furry or cuddly in any way, but I still find the frog a cute creature, who has a great deal to offer for all different ages.

          Be warned though if you are a keen gardener as the frog has a habit of jumping out at you when you least expect it.

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          26.07.2008 21:30
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          Examine the symbology of Grandmother Frog...

          "Knee deep...

          Goggle-eyed...

          in the mud I squat.

          Gaze into my silver mirror

          and I will teach you to scry

          Time

          Dreams

          Psyche and

          Visions,

          both given and sought.



          Feeding on each airy thought

          as about your head they fly...

          Leap and Glide!

          Faith and Wisdom will abide.

          We all begin helpless and small.

          Soon enough we grow, adapt, transform

          to handle Life's call...

          Awareness is the tail that

          grounds and guides,

          Until all four legs

          Keep you steady.

          Lift you over.

          Help you take it all in stride.

          Leap and glide!

          Faith and Wisdom will abide.

          I am no pebble-skinned Gypsy,

          dispensing my Dreams,

          Spells,

          and Fortunes

          by the road.

          I leave that for my cousins

          Who also follow the

          Moon's bright code!

          Breathe in Life through your very skin...

          Remember all your kith and kin....

          Leap and Glide,

          I'll show you how."

          Who Sings Now?



          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          "It's not easy being green
          It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
          And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
          Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
          Or stars in the sky..." ~ Kermit T. Frog

          "I spend a few minutes in meditation and prayer each morning. I find that this really helps me to start the day with a good frame of reference. As part of my prayers, I thank whoever is helping me - I'm sure that somebody or something is - I express gratitude for all my blessings and try to forgive the people that I'm feeling negative toward. I try hard not to judge anyone, and I try to bless everyone who is part of my life, particularly anyone with whom I am having any problems." ~Jim Henson

          "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." ~ Charles Darwin

          "Be proud of your flippers

          and the flies that you catch

          and the logs that you leap

          and the eggs that you hatch.

          We're under the stars

          and we're smaller than men,

          but I'm proud to be

          one of the frogs of the glen." ~Kermit


          Frogs and Toads are cold-blooded vertebrate amphibians, Amphibia Salientia ("to jump") or Amphibia Anura ("tail-less"). Frogs have smooth clammy or slimy skin, bulging eyes, strong webbed-hind feet that are adapted for swimming and leaping, and they lay their eggs in a cluster. Toads have legs better adapted to walking than hopping, dry warty skin, slightly different chest cartilage, poison glands behind the eyes, and they lay their eggs in a long chain, except for genera Nectophrynoides toads who bear live young! Frogs can be found everywhere except Antarctica, and prefer a moister environment. Toads do not inhabit either polar region, Madagascar, Polynesia, or most of Australasia, and tend to travel farther from their water sources than Frogs.

          There are over 5,000 species of Ampibian Anura, making them one of the most diverse vertebrates. Fossil records show that frogs have been around, relatively unchanged, for about 190 Million years!

          "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death."~ Anais Nin

          "The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." ~ Charles DuBois

          "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." ~ Leo Tolstoy

          Frogs and Toads lay multiple eggs which are fertilized as they are laid. It typically takes anywhere from 6-21 days after being fertilized to develop into a hatch-able tadpole, and eggs are typically laid in quiet or static waters to keep the eggs from being jostled too much as they develop. At hatching, tadpoles are basically just egg-shaped bodies, tails, mouths, sticky organs between belly and mouth, and poorly developed gills. Delicate and vulnerable at this stage, they will attach themselves to floating weeds or grass stalks with their sticky organs for about the next 7-10 days. At that time, they will begin swimming around and feeding on algae. Around 4 weeks their skin begins to grow over their gills, they develop guts to digest their growing diet, and tiny teeth to grate their food and turn it into an oxygenated soup of small particles. Toads, however, do not have or develop teeth. This is also when tadpoles begin to develop socially, and will school and interact much like fish.

          At 6-9 weeks, tadpoles begin rapidly developing legs, their bodies elongate, and their diet begins to include larger items like dead insects and plants. Their front arm buds will pop out elbows first, and by the end of this stage of development they look like tiny frogs with tails. Froglets complete their growth between 12-16 weeks and will soon begin the cycle all over again by laying or fertilizing a new batch of spawn.


          "You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing in." ~ Heraclitus/Heraklietos of Ephesos

          "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death."~ Anais Nin

          "In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." ~Eric Hoffer

          Grandmother Frog's first lesson to us is revealed in the cycle of her own life. Change is the only constant and our ability to adapt, to transform ourselves to suit our situation or needs, is what ultimately determines our success. People seem determined to set one state of being as their goal and when they achieve it, they want to stay in that state. Everyone wants to be happy, for instance, but if that was all we experienced, there would be a vast range of experiences we'd be giving up. How would one develop spiritually if we could never experiences the full array of emotions available in life, and the many thoughts and lessons that are spun from those experiences? Frog often appears to let us know that a cycle of growth is beginning or ending, or that we are being called upon to examine our lives for how best to transform to meet the challenges and changes approaching us.

          Change is perhaps the single most frightening concept in life to most people, which is why it is represented by Death in the Tarot deck. Grandmother Frog reminds us that there is nothing to fear from Change, that it is, in fact, a natural part of life. Tadpoles don't resist their growth into frog-dom, trying vainly to suck their new legs back into their bodies. They don't panic, try to escape or deny the natural flow of Change in their lives either. Change is often awkward and leaves us feeling off-balance. Change can even be a painful process, but fearing it is as pointless as fearing our next breath and resisting the changes in our own lives just makes the process more difficult and unpleasant.

          Most frogs have tongues that are long and sticky that roll out and pull in their prey. Once caught, a frog's bulgy eyes close and actually push down into its head to create the force needed to swallow their food. This is reminder that often times the only way to deal with what needs to be is to just shut your eyes and swallow! So, the next time Frog appears to warn you of impending change, just take a deep breath, relax, and let it happen.

          "It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." ~ Alan Cohen

          Although toads do not require the closer relationship with water that frogs typically do, both are inextricably entwined with this element. Water represents emotion, psyche, intuition, dreams and healing. Frog and Toad people tend to be strong empaths, richly emotional and sensitive beings who understand the sacred nature of Love and the interconnectedness of all things. Frogs and Toads are air breathers though. This is a reminder to balance our sensitive emotional selves with rational thought. Frog and Toad are both symbols of Magic and Wisdom, especially natural wisdom, and those called by these Teachers often have an insatiable hunger for knowledge of all kinds.

          Unbalanced Frog people will likely be hypersensitive, overly emotional, or suffer from severely erratic emotions for without rational thought and a willingness to learn we would all drown in emotions like sorrow, anger, desire, or despair. Depression and delusion are common signs of unbalanced Frog energy. Balanced Frog people realize that they, like everyone else, are beings who should be constantly evolving, learning, and soul seeking in hopes of not only taming themselves but helping others along in their spiritual evolution. Toads greater mobility on land and decreased dependence upon the Water element, adds the grounding and nourishing element of Earth to their lessons.

          Frogs don't actually drink water. They absorb moisture, and even breathe, through their skin! Many frogs secrete a slimy mucus that helps them retain the moisture they need to survive. The toad's tougher skin does not dry out as easily which is why they can travel farther from water. Frogs can be killed by dropping them into a container filled with caffeinated soda pop or alcohol. Frog people are equally sensitive to their surroundings, and should be very careful about the people they allow into their lives. Surrounding yourself with destructive personalities, poisonous situations or too much negativity will cause the same behavior and a rapid decline in a person called by this Teacher.

          Their close association with cleansing, life-giving rain is a powerful sign of the healing and cleansing power of tears in our own lives. Balanced Frog people have an innate understanding of how to not only keep themselves emotionally cleansed, but also the importance of and how to go about clearing negativity out of their environment. Song is also very important to this Teacher, and Music iteslf can be an amazingly powerful healing experience.

          If you are having difficulty with such issues in your own space, Grandmother Frog and those she has tapped will certainly be able to help you. In fact, Frog people are typically nurturing environmentally concerned individuals, and thrive on opportunities to "clean up" both physically, spiritually, or metaphysically. They know in their hearts, even if they can't explain it, that since we are all connected, helping others and the World we live in is also helping themselves.

          "No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~ Alice Walker

          "I believe in taking a positive attitude toward the world, toward people, toward my work. I think I'm here for a purpose. I think it's very likely that we all are, but I'm only sure about myself. I try to tune myself in to whatever it is that I'm supposed to be, and I try to think of myself as a part of all of us - all mankind and all life. I find it's not easy to keep these lofty thoughts in mind as the day goes by, but it certainly helps me a great deal to start out this way." ~ Jim Henson

          There are countless tales that emphasize this Singer's connection to ancient wisdom, magic and fortune. The Man in the Moon has also been known in China as the Frog or Toad in the Moon. These Teachers are heralds of Nokomis, Grandmother Moon, and have been associated with the Moon and the wisdom of the feminine Elder. In Ancient Rome, the frog was believed to bring good luck to the home and in Ireland it was considered to be a close relative of the Leprechauns, thus capable of playing fairy tricks upon the unsuspecting. A 3-legged toad was the companion of Liu Hai, the God of Wealth and Luck. This toad symbolizes the riches of the Earth and is often depicted with a gold coin in its mouth.

          Heket (or Heqet), was the Ancient Egyptian Moon goddess of fertility and childbirth who assisted Isis in performing the ritual that resurrected Osiris. Heket is depicted with a frog's head, and her priestesses were trained as midwives. They wore amulets, jewelery and other ornaments that bore Heket's image, and they placed frog shaped knives on the bellies of pregnant women and newborn babies as a powerful protection. Frogs in general were so important to the early Egyptians they were often embalmed after death, especially as an insurance of a healthy rebirth for someone who died diseased. The tadpole was their symbol for the number 100,000, and it was a potent symbol of fertility and fortune.

          Wise Grandmother Toad continues to transform herself bringing power, learning, good fortune, and the joy of humble servitude to Creator to those who follow her example. For all her endless changes, Hekate remains as a much beloved deity to the Neo-Pagans of today. Witches have been linked with toads and frogs for centuries, and for many generations these amazing creatures were just as shunned and reviled as the witches who were believed to be servants of evil. It wasn't until the Middle Ages that Grandmother Toad began to acquire her less savory reputation.

          Thus, while Frogs symbolize the magic of Creation and fertility, they also symbolize death and rebirth. Of course, the wise know that you cannot be reborn if you do not die first, nor can you fully manifest new power and knowledge without first shedding your old skin. In Native American tradition, this is the Teacher who nourishes the dreams of the mind so that they may bear fruit in a mind/body/spirit harmony. She encourages merging with Great Spirit and developing our intuition. Frog sits in the Northeast on the Medicine Wheel and is represented by the 6th stone. A group of frogs is an army and a group of toads is called a knot.

          The number 3 and multiples of 3 are important to this Singer and those called by her. Three stages of life, three graces, three fates, three wishes, and three magical tasks to be completed by those breaking a curse can be seen in more tales than I could possibly list here. "The Frog Prince" is perhaps the most well known. A golden ball, like the moon, in-debts the Princess to him and is the first step towards transforming himself back into the human Prince who will bring so much joy to her life and lands. Frogs are potent protection symbols for children, heralds of joy and humor, bringers of good fortune and pleasant dreams. As always, the kind, color and habits of the particular Frog or Toad you are drawn to should be carefully examined to bring you greater understanding, along with balancing energies like Fly, Bee, Snake, Crane, or Raccoon. Humorous, lethal, powerful, humble, ancient and forever in the process of rebirthing herself, the Frog teaches us many things not the least of which is to look always beyond the surface of things to find Truth. How does this Singer appear in your life?

          "Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.
          Knowledge is not intelligence.
          In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
          Change alone is unchanging.
          The same road goes both up and down.
          The beginning of a circle is also its end.
          Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
          And yet everything comes in season." ~Heraclitus/Heraklietos of Ephesos

          "When green is all there is to be
          It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
          Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
          And I think it's what I want to be." ~ Kermit T. Frog

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            09.02.2008 20:29
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            breat beginners pet and a bit more exotic than a hamster.

            Frogs are amphibians, they have long back legs designed for jumping and swimming, webbed feet to help them to swim better, no tail and a mouth as wide as there bodys.

            Most frogs are semi aquatic meaning that they spend half there time in water and half there time on land, they are carnivores and live mainly on insects.

            We have two asian painted bull frogs. They burrow into there substrate which is half peat and half sand mixed together during the day and emerge at early evening where if you use a blue or red bulb in your tank you can watch them play all night.

            They are dark brown with a cream stripe down each side, they do not require any heat sorce as long as they are at room temperature they will be happy and crickets are there favorite food.

            These are a realy good beginers frog as they are hardy and easy to care for.

            Iv got mine in a glass tank and have put little pieces of moss on top of the substrate and a few plastic plants stuck on the back of the tank for them.

            The only thing you do have to watch with frogs is they cant have water with chlorine in just like fish so fill a 2 liter pop bottle up with tap water and leave it to stand for 12 hours before using it in your frogs bowl as this will have allowed the chlorine to disperse out of the water.

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              25.09.2007 20:11
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              Enjoyable to watch, Quick to Tame -Feed from your fingers, Responsive to owner

              We have a menagerie at home & quite a mixed bag of pets they are!

              Two of our pets are "Albino African Clawed Frogs" (Xenopus laevis).
              They are commonly described as "albino" but it isn't a strictly accurate description as they have golden tints & they have black nails.
              They are 100% aquatic frogs.
              They're easy to keep, fairly low maintenance pets & I'd recommend them as "starter pets" - but not neccessarily for children!!


              I must admit I only brought these home originally so I could take test samples from their skin!!
              (I needed to establish/confirm what types of bacteria they carry & transmit to humans)

              I got quite attached though (yes I know -strange woman!) & I kept them at the end of the trials!

              My hubby objected to their presence initially as he claimed they were "alien-looking, anti-social creatures totally lacking in etiquette with some gross & even canabalistic tendancies!" & couldn't understand why anyone would actually like them!
              He still doesn't "like" them but tolerates their presence in the house - although he does now concede he likes the tank when it's all lit up & we use it as a decorative "lamp" in the evening!


              *******************************************



              Albino African Clawed Frog Details & Physical Description
              -----------------------------------------------------------------------

              These strange little creatures are like a photo-fit-composite of classic "Addams Family" type features - They are made up of a most unfortunate mix -

              ........... comprising of Pugsley's smooth, almost semi-translucent, pale cream skin (albeit they are slippery).
              They have large, webbed rear feet with five toes but only three claws on each foot!
              Their non-webbed, front legs look & act more like pointy-fingered-hands.
              They have distinctive Morticia Addams style nails - long & black! (Xenopus means literally "strange foot"...derived from the sharp dark claws).

              Add to this their "Uncle Fester" 'good looks' - aka. smooth, flattened head, no external ears, no eyelids, no teeth & no tongue!

              Their head is stuck onto their long flattened body with the absence of a neck!
              They have a HUGE Homer Simpson style mouth & are never likely to win any prizes in the next Miss World comp!

              They are a medium-sized frog (approx 5 inches / 12cm long) & are 100% aquatic.




              Sexing them
              -------------------

              They're really easy to sex once they are adult - not easy as young froglets though.
              Females are often larger and fatter than males, and they have a little extension between their legs (swelling (papillae) around the cloaca). The frogs mature after 10 months to a year, and the males begin vocalizing at this age in the evening hours. Males also develop dark mating pads on the undersides of their hands and arms.




              Warning When Buying Them
              -------------------------------------

              These frogs are often confused with their smaller cousin, the African Dwarf Frog. Please ensure you have buy from a reputable source who can supply you with the correct breed. Although the two breeds look almost identical when they are young, they have different requirements as they grow.
              Also, don't ever mix the breeds, as the dwarf breed will simply become lunch for their larger cousin!

              There are 14 species of Xenopus. This review is specifically about Xenopus laevis.



              Habits and Characteristics
              ----------------------------------

              These particular frogs tend to live 5 to 15 years but some have been recorded as reaching nearly 30 years old!

              Mine are about 5 and 1/2 years old.

              They shed their skin every season, however you don't have anything to do to help, and like many creatures they then eat their own shed skin (gross!).

              They swim very fast & will occasionally go berserk flying around the tank like lunatics then hiding behind the filter!
              They are entertaining to watch when in acrobatic mode.


              Food & Feeding Habits
              -----------------------------

              Now I like feeding these chaps, but I wouldn't ever want to share their meal or go out in public for dinner with them............

              These frogs will eat many kinds of foods, live, frozen, dried etc.

              Favourite foods include ........ bloodworms, waxworms, earthworms, small live fish (i.e. guppies & minnows), maggots, slugs and brine shrimp and are all good sources of nutrition for these greedy little frogs.

              Some owners even report feeding "floating reptile sticks" with success. While these are apparently fairly well balanced -nutritionally, feeding a variety of food is still a good idea.

              Even small amounts of tinned dog/cat food can be fed to these frogs - - (Yummy - always good in an emergency when friends drop by at the last minute!)

              I've never used it, but a commercial food specifically for clawed frogs can be purchased via mail order from companies such as "Xenopus Express" (these frogs are used fairly extensively in research laboratories so food & supplies for them are available quite readily). As long as a balanced food is used as the basis for the diet, supplementation with vitamins and minerals is not necessary though.

              You should only feed them the amount of food they will clear from the water in 10-15 minutes, if feeding them daily or they will over-eat!! They are REALLY greedy!

              Some sources say fully grown frogs only need to be fed 3-4 times a week.

              In general over feeding is more of a problem than under feeding, so you can feed daily but keep an eye on the body shape of your frog - if it seems to be getting overweight, then cut the food back a little.


              CANNIBALS
              ---------------

              Make no mistake about it, - these "delightful" friendly frogs will quite happily eat each other if they are hungry enough. If the other frogs are smaller than them then watch out!!

              They will also eat their own eggs if they are left in the tank. Owners who don't wish to be overrun with separate tanks of smaller frogs will often just stop feeding their adult frogs for 1-2 days & let them eat their own eggs to prevent them hatching - sounds gross & cruel but is "nature"!



              TAME FEEDING - BUT BART SIMPSON STYLE
              --------------------------------------------------

              Like many other owners, I pleased to say that my frogs are tame. As soon as I put the lid up they come to the surface. They appear to be creatures habit though as they always come to the same side of the tank.

              I find this really rewarding that they respond to me.

              I enjoy feeding times, however I have to say "table manners" are not high on the list of priorities for frogs.

              They have all the good manners & social graces of the rude/obnoxious Bart Simpson cartoon character!!

              They don't have tongues, so they can't "eat" the food in a civilised manner - they either take it from my fingers & swallow it down whole or they grasp it with their front "hands" and feed themselves by stuffing the food rapidly into their mouths - a handful at a time!!

              Although they feed by taking food directly from my fingers they don't have any teeth at all, so they can't/don't hurt.

              (Please ensure your hands are clean when you feed the frogs, but make sure you don't have any soap or chemicals etc still on your hands or you will make them ill or even risk killing them.)



              Habitat Requirements
              -----------------------------

              They're South African - although the genus is also found throughout much of Europe, North America and South America, so they require warm water - generally around 21-26degC.
              Mine seem to be happiest at around 26-27degC though, so if you buy some you may wish to monitor their personal progress & adjust their temperature to suit.

              They are much cheaper to set up than tropical fish as they have far fewer requirements.
              They also are less temperamental to keep than tropical fish - they don't have as many stringent demands regarding pH/temp/water quality etc.

              They require a fish tank with glass sides that are at least 30cm (12 in) high. The frogs are strictly aquatic and do not need a land area available in the tank. However, the water itself should only be about 12 inches (30 cm) deep so that the frog will be able to easily reach the surface, as they must breathe oxygen at the surface (a minimum of 6 inches is recommended to allow the frog room to swim -they're quite acrobatic!).
              For water volume, approximately 10 gallons per frog is a good rule of thumb - with an absolute minimum of 15 gallons per pair of frogs.

              The tank must have a really good strong plastic lid/cover so the frogs can't jump out of the water - they are notorious for it & being fully aquatic can't live for long out of water!

              They require "Gravel substrate" - which is also decorative (available in many colours or in "natural" pebble shades).
              It's also a good way of hiding the metal-weights that hold down the plants. Avoid small size gravel to prevent accidental ingestion.

              A selection of items (i.e. rocks, driftwood, flower pots, artificial plants, real plants) can be used to decorate the tank and provide hiding places.
              The actual choice of which items to use is purely a personal matter but they are a "must have" accessory not optional.
              The frogs need hiding places - they can get a quite freakish if they can't occasionally hide when the mood takes them! -
              They will often eat live plants & dig them up from the gravel. However if you are happy to regularly replace them then I would recommend live plants as they look so much nicer! I don't use artificial plants or ornaments as I really don't like them!


              Filtration
              --------------

              The subject of filtration is apparently somewhat controversial.
              According to petcare websites such as allaboutfrogs.org the frogs have a sensory system (lateral line) that allows them to sense vibrations in the water, so some experts believe that using filters provides constant stressful stimuli to the frog. However, gentle filtration is used by some owners with success, and this will keep the water a lot cleaner. These frogs live in stagnant water in the wild, but that is not the same as dirty water in an aquarium - as the frogs are not able to move outside of the 12" perameters here if they are unhappy!
              If no filtration is used, the water should be nearly fully changed every week, if not more often.

              Other sites frog owners say they must have a good quality LOW-NOISE - high-rate-filter.

              I agree with this. For five and half years I have had happy healthy frogs (they regularly produce eggs which is a sign of optimum conditions) & I have absolutely IMMACULATE tanks!!
              I'd personally say that a really high power, low noise, high quality filter is a worthwhile investment - the better the quality of filter the lower the maintenance! They need cleaning out far less & the water will stay in good clean, healthy condition.
              There's no way I'd have time to do a full tank change every week! Frogs do pass a high volume of ammonia into the water that should be filtered out -especially if you have plants in the tank.

              The filter also oxygenates the water too, which is also essential for keeping levels my frogs & plants require.

              Filters also can be purchased with water-heaters built in or separate heaters can be bought.



              Temperature & Lighting
              --------------------------------

              A tank heater is essential if the room itself is not kept at a constant ambient temperature sufficient to keep the water warm.
              My tank is kept in a room where the temperature is sufficient (and constant) so I don't have a heater & they permanently remain at 26-27degC.

              A stick-on type of "strip thermometer" is the cheapest means of monitoring the temperature without breaking the bank.

              No special lighting is actually required for the frogs themselves. Indirect lighting is acceptable and may be preferred.
              Like virtually all animals though, a general light/dark lighting-cycle is required for good health.

              Like many frog owners though, I have a light unit & a specialist strip light on the tank for two reasons -
              1) I have lots of plants in the tank so the light maintains photosynthesis rate for healthy plants.
              2) I think aesthetically the tank looks great as a room "lamp" in the evening.



              Water
              ----------

              The water in the tank must be de-chlorinated - using a product from the pet store designed to remove chorine (and chloramine if necessary).
              We have our own water supply, so we simply use just tap water as it's "fresh" (untreated). A friend of ours uses bottled water (17p per 2 litres) for his frogs as he prefers to do that than use de-chlorination products! It keeps it simple and hassle free that way & saves the cost of the chemicals.

              It's also reported that these frogs are very sensitive to toxic effects of metal ions in the water, so it's important to ensure that their water does not come in contact with metal (e.g. on the tank cover - so plastic is best)



              Optional (but useful) Equipment
              -------------------------------------------

              A net is a good idea for if you have to remove frogs or other items from the tank.

              A magnetic glass cleaner is a great idea too. - half of it lives in the tank with a scrubby pad on it -half on outside with a soft felt on it & they hold together with magnetic attraction. You slide the outer half along & it cleans inside & out at same time - this means you simply clean any algae formations quickly off the inner glass (without putting your hand & arm in the tank) & polishes the outer glass too.


              *****************************************

              Initial Costs
              ------------------

              The frogs themselves are cheap to buy - the equipment isn't. They aren't "pocket-money" pets! They are cheaper than tropical fish though.


              African Clawed Frog - approx £3.50 - £5.50 each

              Glass Tank -Silicone edges type with strong plastic lid - £49.99

              Filter - with foam & carbon pads -(Mine is a Hagen Fluval 2PLUS) - £29.99

              Gravel - approx £3.99 - £6.99 per bag (I have 4 bags in)

              Stick on thermometer - approx £2.29

              Plants - approx £1.00 to £2.29 each (I have approx 10 at a time in my size of tank)

              Light Unit (Arcadia 15 Watt T8 Control unit -For 15-18” Light Tubes With 1” Diameter) -£17.99

              Light Tube (lasts about 2 years) (Arcadia 18” 15 Watt T8 Freshwater Lamp 1” Diameter -Ideal for tropical aquariums, enhances colour and plant growth) - £13.99

              Picture for back of tank - £4.00 - £6.00 per metre

              Magnetic Glass Cleaner - £7.99

              Net - £1.98

              Bloodworm - 500g pack of gamma frozen bloodworm - £9.99
              Brine Shrimp - 450g pack of gamma frozen brine shrimp - £7.90


              I personally buy my bloodworm etc at a local aquarium but here is a "nationally" available source (Internet supplier) of Bloodworm -
              www.frozendirect.com/shop/product


              **********************************

              General Running Costs
              -------------------------------

              You'll need to be able to cover the cost of the following .........
              Plants
              Food
              Electricity
              Renewable lamp
              Renewable pads for the filter


              ************************************

              African Clawed Frog Disease and Injury
              ---------------------------------------------------

              Although they are easy to look after (and touch wood I've personally never had any problem yet with sickness in my tank) there is lots of information available if you do have a problem.

              For "In Depth Information on Common Aquatic Clawed Frogs" one of the best sites I've looked at is........

              http://aquaticfrogs.tripod.com/id10.html


              *******************************************


              PERSONAL WARNING
              ---------------------------

              Your own personal hygiene needs to be tip-top when you have pets like these. They carry quite a wide range of bacterial & fungal infections.
              When you remove your hands from the tank -slip the lid back on immediately & then scrub your hands & arms thoroughly with a good quality product such as Hibiscrub or Carex.
              If you have any open cuts/wounds try to avoid contact with the water.



              ******End of Review *************************
              *******************************************
              *******************************************


              Acknowledgements
              ------------------------
              The information in the review above is gathered from personal observations over five and half years of owning AACF's and from a wide range of sources over that time -including websites, books & journals.


              1) I can confirm that I have written many articles/letters/reports/documents/research papers etc that can be found in other places on the internet & that have also been published in books/journals/circulars & other professional formats.

              2) I can confirm I have also written about them too in various places & contributed to collaborative works & articles!

              If any part of my work that appears here in this review that can also be read elsewhere, then these are the internet sites I have read-from or contributed-to over a period of years ..........

              The sites are......

              http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/frogsandtoads/a/africanclawed.htm

              members.AOL.com/sirchin/afc.htm - 23k - Cached

              en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog - 27k - Cached

              www.clawedfrogs.com - 47k - Cached

              allaboutfrogs.org/info/species/clawed.HTML - 12k - Cached

              Columbia.edu/itc/cerc/.../invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/xenopus_laevis.htm - 17k - Cached

              www.petstation.com/clfrog.html - 21k - Cached

              www.clawedfrogs.com - 47k - Cached

              www.theaquariumwiki.com/African_Clawed_Frog - 25k - Cached

              www.pollywog.co.uk/africanclawedfrogcaresheet.html - 8k - Cached

              www.pipidae.net/species_kept_acf_xenopuslaevis1.php - 12k - Cached

              exoticpets.about.com/do/frogsandtoads/p/dwarfclawedfrog.htm - 25k - Cached

              home.nycap.RR.com/cm325/albinofrog.HTML - Cached


              Book Sources
              -----------------
              Xenopus laevis: Rearing and breeding the African clawed frog by Albert L Etheridge (Unknown Binding - 1978)


              South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis: Rearing & breeding manual by Gordon McBride (Unknown Binding - 1978)


              Xenopus laevis: Laboratory studies of the African clawed frog by Albert L Etheridge (Unknown Binding - 1976)


              The Guide to Owning Frogs (Guide to Owning A...) by Jerry G. Walls (Paperback - May 2001)


              Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs (Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) by Richard Bartlett (Paperback - Feb 1, 1996)

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                24.09.2007 21:47
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                Frogs rock!

                When i tell people that there are a pair of blue vietnamese tree frogs living in a tank in my front room i just get the usual raise of an eybrow followed by stunned silence. It's not that weird is it?

                They are cute! How anyone can say otherwise i don't know. Yes puppies and little fluffy kittens are cute but seeing one of the podgy little blue frogs launch itself at a passing cricket and inevitabley missing is hilarious.

                Maybe these two are just particulary stupid but i can't imagine there are that many out there that are members of MENSA.

                They are stupid! That's what is so cute about them. They sit around all day doing nothing, perhaps mulling over what they did wrong the last time and wondering how they are going to improve their tactics.

                They take a fair bit of care. There is not really a great deal of information on how to look after them but they seem happy where they are. I must admit there was one sad loss after buying the pair when one was found belly up legs in the air and dead as a door knob, but there was a 14 day guarantee so it got swapped for a "better one". We don't talk about that! Its like when your fairground goldfish lives for 10 years when you are a child and its your first pet. In reality it is probably your 10th goldfish your parents have put in their but you are too naive to notice.

                I digress!!...back to the frogs! They make a great centre piece to the room. They are in a lovely glass tank with jungle moss on the floor of the tank, a little waterfall and some greenery.

                A red light comes on for 12 hours (luckily during the day as otherwise the flat would look like a brothel) which gives them a bit of extra warmth for the day. As soon as it goes off they spring into action ready to pounce at a moments notice!

                If you want a pet that does loads of stuff don't get a frog. If you want a pet you can handle and snuggle up to don't get a frog. If you don't like frogs......don't get a frog!

                If you don't mind the odd escaped cricket running over the carpet, can afford the extra electricity for all its heat sources and lights, and want something unusual to look at then a frog is for you.

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                  29.10.2006 17:06
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                  Well worth getting the Whites tree frog, they are beautiful and amazing

                  I'm going for an individual frog species otherwise I could be here all day. The frog species I am focusing on in this reveiw is the Whites Tree Frog. I once did a study on these during my time as a student in numerous animal management practices. I will give a rather breif reveiw considering how much there is to know, I also have health sheets of recordings I have done over time studying two whites tree frogs and information gathered which is not included. If you do want anymore information give me an email on sh02020998@hotmail.com and I'm always there! Right, lets get started!

                  Whites tree frog Welfare

                  It is normal to house the Whites tree frog in pairs as they appear to get on well together and work well together as a pair, showing positive behaviour patterns as a result of being given company as opposed to being on their own. Because of this a reasonably big vivarium is preferable to the smaller one for the frog. I put information in this report based on the idea of two Whites tree frogs’ being housed together as I think this is the situation I would be most likely to use if I was to house my own.

                  It is nice for visitors to see whites tree frogs housed together as this is nicer than seeing a frog on its own. Also visitors can see the frogs together and their behaviour together which makes the viewing experience more interesting and has a more vast array of things to watch within it. It is important however, to check the compatibility of the two frogs and ensure there is no fighting before housing them together for the public to see as the public can be disturbed if there are animals fighting.

                  The vivarium should be made from glass, there are other forms available, but generally the most positive behaviour occurs from the frogs which are kept in a well ventilated glass vivarium. It has been known that some people have housed these frogs in a basic plastic packed lunch box with holes in which is not ideal at all and can be detrimental to the frogs health as the temperature gradient can’t be monitored correctly and the size is too small as well as it being a generally stuffy environment. The vivarium should be quite tall as the frog loves to jump; the best vivarium and most practical should be around 30cms length and width and around 50cms depth. Checking that there is clear angles to view the frogs is important to ensure the public can clearly see them and watch them.

                  The best substrate for the frog is water based in at least a quarter of the vivarium and soil or peat at the other end. This can be difficult to clean out, but is most similar to the natural environment of being at a lake in the wild. Sand is sometimes used by people, but is not recommended as it is fine granules, which obviously when combined with wet feet can mean the feet get the sand stuck to them.

                  The temperature in the vivarium should be between 25’c and 30’c and it needs a very high humidity. At least 20 sprays a day are essential to provide similar to the natural tropical humidity for the Whites tree frog. A temperature gradient is not needed for the frog as it should be warm throughout; they are a naturally tropical frog and live in the normal environment which is very warm, continually. However the high temperature and high humidity which is needed causes a lot of these frogs to be brought and then die soon after purchase or problems are seen as a result of poor humidity. A 100 Watt bulb should be used as with the snake to provide the correct temperature. Again, it is essential that the bulb is covered and protected to prevent burning.

                  UV lighting is normally used. It is important to cover this with a glass shield with the frogs because they will jump and work their ways up to the top of the tank and the light could cause harm to them as it can get very hot as well as the brightness of it when up close.

                  Some parts of furniture are brought mainly for decoration, but can also be really nice for the frogs. Things like water features and fountains can be very pleasing on the eye as well as giving water to the frog and providing them with similar to their natural environment. The problem with this is the inner mechanisms. The frog can’t be told not to put its foot inside holes in the fountain and problems can occur from this. For this reason a basic still water dish is a good idea, preferably a deep one to allow the frogs to move around in it. Hides are also useful, rocks with holes in them or wood with holes in can be used and are a nice idea for the frog.

                  The furniture used should look attractive to visitors so that they are drawn to looking at the cage. It should not block the view of the frogs as the people have come to see them, but there should be suitable enrichment that the public can see the frog is well looked after and see some of the things the frog needs.

                  It is important that the accommodation is kept clean to prevent the harbouring of bacteria’s which can cause the frogs to become infected or suffer fro a disease. This is also important to the public as they like to see a clean environment and there should be no foul smells coming from the enclosure.

                  The gecko must have all vaccinations and medications up to date and the cage must be fully secure to prevent the gecko from escaping and possibly harming itself or alarming the public in any way.

                  Whites Tree Frog Behaviour

                  The Whites tree frog tends to be quite lively and within a vivarium will regularly climb up the walls using the suction pads on its feet. The Whites tree frog will often try to jump out of your hands and jump away when being handled. Lively behaviour is to be expected of this animal and the frog should be moving a lot within the environment.

                  The whites tree frog is mainly diurnal and so if the frog is sleeping awake a lot during the day this is entirely normal behaviour. Providing the tree frog is at the right temperature with the right amount of food is being provided then the whites tree frog should be quite active within its environment and should socialise well with the other frog in the environment.

                  Abnormal behaviour which could be shown in the whites tree frog includes becoming lethargic during daylight hours and making lots of loud noises. The frogs will generally lose activity which it would normally show and become withdrawn and not want to socialise with the other frog.

                  There may sometimes be signs of aggression shown by the whites tree frog towards people and towards other tree frogs which are kept in the environment with it. This can be shown by the mouth opening and sucking on the other frog for up to a minute or doing the same to a human. This does not hurt, but is a warning signal from the frog.

                  To prevent abnormal behaviour the whites tree from should be provided with numerous levels for enrichment within the accommodation as well as logs and a shallow water hole for the frogs to spend time in as they will spend a lot of time in or by water In the wild. This should be shallow as the whites tree frog is not a great swimmer. Branches, additional substrate and an area which the frog can use to climb and jump from.

                  Feeding Whites Tree Frog

                  Size and weight: The Whites Tree frog grows up to four inches in size from head to the end of the back. They can also be as small as two inches. They are quite circular so the diameter is a similar size to the length of the body. They weigh somewhere between 40g and 55g on average as an ideal weight. The male is slightly bigger than the female, but this makes the difference of an average of only one gram, so it is not something which would be used to tell the difference between the sexes!

                  Food type and preparation: Crickets provide a stable diet for the Whites tree frog and are the most popular choice for most owners. For variety, cockroaches, beetles and earthworms can be introduced as part of the diet. The crickets should be kept together in a small tank which does not need heating; a basic plastic carrier will be suitable. They should have sliced fruit put into the tank in small pieces. Tap water must be left to sit for 24 hours prior to use and is offered in a shallow water dish. The dish should be cleaned and water should be changed every other day. Frogs should never be overfed as they can become obese very quickly. Young frogs are fed a cricket every day, small frogs are fed two small crickets every two days and large frogs should be fed two large crickets every three days.

                  Feeding behaviour: The frog will flick its tongue out to capture its food and munch on it. The crickets, if not eaten should be left in the vivarium until they are dead. The frog will keep eating naturally until it can’t eat any more and in captivity it will become obese very quickly as it does not have to work hard too catch its food and can’t burn the food off very easily. For this reason the food is limited, the frog’s natural behaviour would keep eating to the stage of obesity, so we have to intervene and limit food amounts to prevent this.

                  Supplementation: Live food is needed to suit the frog’s natural diet. To improve nutritional content, crickets should be dusted immediately prior to use. This is done by adding a pinch of vitamin/calcium powder to a sandwich bag and shaking the crickets in that to coat them with powder. Use the calcium and vitamin powder once or twice a week and calcium-only powder for all other feedings. Giving access to a dish containing a small amount of calcium only powder may be beneficial- this allows the frog to regulate its own intake of calcium.

                  Stock tasks: The only stock tasks are to feed the crickets by putting in some fruit and veg and to clean out their own tank at least once a week.

                  Storage of foods: The crickets are kept in a tank as mentioned before and should be put in with twigs, branches, leaves and soil to help with their environmental enrichment.

                  Disposal of waste: Any debris, dead crickets and faeces should be removed from the tank on a daily basis. Bedding used as kitchen roll can be placed in the toilet area and removed and replaced as soon as it is soiled. Any soiled kitchen paper or sand should be removed and put into a common bin, if crickets become infected with any disease, or keep dying naturally, the whole lot should be disposed of in a sharps bin and none fed to the frogs.

                  Breeding Whites Tree Frog

                  The adult is sized up to 5cm, but is normally smaller and the female is commonly larger than the male. During the breeding season, during the evening and at night the Whites tree frog will be heard to make a rapid “Krack, Krack, Krack” which go at about 6 noises per second. This call varies in speed depending on progress made by the male and responses made by the female.

                  The Whites Tree frog breeds in a number of places. This will usually be done in still waters. These waters should be exposed to the sun and there should be lots of nearby vegetation for the frog. The tree frogs begin to go to the nesting grounds around April time and can be still arriving at around June. The male will call the females to them, but they may save this energy and use younger or smaller frogs to do this for them.

                  The female lays 200-1,400 eggs in clumps which are spread around the living environment. There can be 50 different clumps of eggs which are laid in an egg in one night and it can be what one person has done or a group of people.

                  The eggs take around 2-3 weeks to hatch into chicks. The young when first born are about 1-2cm long and can live up to 20 years in captivity.

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                    20.04.2005 16:51
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                    The first thing I say to people who tell me they want a pet reptile, is “Start with an amphibian”. Amphibians may not be nearly as impressive as telling someone you have a five foot monitor, but they are just as interesting, much easier to set up and easier to care for. There is a huge range of frogs and toads available on the market, from the Ornate Horned Frog (also called the Pac-Man frog because it NEVER stops eating), to the beautifully patterned Dendrobates (poison dart frogs). It is much easier to provide a suitable micro-environment for a frog or toad than a reptile, because they are so much smaller.


                    A bit about frogs and toads

                    Frogs and toads share the amphibian family with salamanders, newts and caecilians (which I think are a type of salamander). They are poikilothermic, or cold blooded, like reptiles (this doesn’t mean literally cold-blooded, it means they need heat from their surrounding environment, whereas mammals tend to have a constant temperature, if not placed in extremes). The biggest frog in the world is the Goliath frog from Cameroon. To see an amazing picture comparing this frog to a baby deer, follow this link… http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/strange/big.html


                    Frog or toad?

                    All toads ARE frogs. However we distinguish between them. Frogs have slimmer bodies and longer legs than toads, and slimy skin where toads skin is dry and warty. To make things confusing some toads are referred to as frogs and vice versa, and some carry characteristics of both families. A group of frogs is called an army. For simplicity in this review I’ll use the blanket term “frog” to refer to both frogs and toads


                    How to keep frogs as pets in general

                    This is just a general guide, each species will have different requirements and you should check out these on the web or in a book before you buy a pet frog.


                    A home for a frog

                    An all-glass aquarium is suitable home for a pet frog, so long as you get a tight-fitting mesh screen top made specially for it, as opposed to a fish tank hood. The provides ventilation and prevents escapes. Another ideal, and cheap home for a frog are those plastic tanks (sometimes called faunariums or fauna tanks) with the colourful lid sometimes sold as fish tanks or homes for reptiles. While they aren’t suitable for anything but the smallest reptile species, or perhaps hatchling reptiles, the bigger ones make good homes for smaller and more sedentary types of frog, and come with a custom, fitted lid, which is always good. You could also fashion your own terrarium (home) for a frog…however, the easiest way to do this would be making it out of wood and glass, and unfortunately frogs need a very damp environment which isn’t much good for wood, unless it is coated with special varnish.

                    Fashioning a realistic habitat for a frog in a tank can be great fun. If you find out where your species is from, you can add rocks and plants from that area, for more aquatic species you could include a waterfall or a rock pool for swimming, the choice is yours. Its more fun to go all out and create a really realistic living space for a frog, as well as better for them. At least, you should have a few rocks in the tank, plus a hide for the frogs to go in when feeling shy.

                    Most pet frogs are from warm regions and need heating. Commercial heat mats are a good choice. Low-light reptile bulbs are good too, so long as they are caged off so the frog doesn’t get burned. Deep pools of water needs to be heated with an aquarium tank heater.

                    Some species of frog, such as clawed frogs, are wholly aquatic, and need to be kept in a filtered and heated aquarium. More on them later.


                    Substrate

                    Some people use dampened paper towels, however these don’t look very natural and dry out quite quickly. Aquarium gravel is another choice, but some kinds of frog will eat this, which wont do them much good! Other people use bark chips, which work quite well, potting soil (must be pesticide free) and may include some sphagnum moss (this is a good idea as most frogs require high humidity, and spraying the moss daily keeps the tank humid). I personally use potting soil for most of my frog species, with a mixture of sphagnum moss, and aquarium gravel for the aquatic species. I feel this looks most natural in a tank, its quite easy to replace and the frogs can burrow if they wish.


                    What frogs eat

                    Frogs are confirmed bug-eaters. If this grosses you out (as it does me), either get over it or choose another pet. Again, you need to check requirements for your particular species, but good places to start would be crickets, locusts, flightless house and fruit flies (these are specially cultured so they cant fly off and take over your house), king and regular mealworms, earthworms, cut worms and wax worms. Smaller species like poison dart frogs will feed on fruit flies, aphids and the like. If you cant find pet shops near you that supply these, there are plenty of places online that will. Larger species of frog will also take the pre-frozen pinkie mice and day-old chicks that snakes eat, smaller lizards and frogs if you can get hold of them, and all species of frog will relish the occasional treat of fish (if they have a bowl or a pool of water, putting the live fish in and letting them catch it is good fun for them). An occasional treat of a piece of cooked meat may also be relished.

                    Food for aquatic frogs might include tubifex, bloodworms, minnows and other small fish.


                    Handling frogs

                    In a word, don’t. Frogs are not handleable pets. They are small, delicate and most will not appreciate handling. They have very delicate skin that will be damaged by warm, dry hands, so if you have to handle them, wet your hands first. Some frogs also give out toxic skin secretions which will irritate your skin. Larger ones like Pixie and Pac-man frogs can deliver a substantial bite…usually more out of mistaking your hand for food than aggression, but still.


                    Some common first pet frogs

                    African clawed frogs- a totally aquatic species. A 20 gallon aquarium will do a pair. The water temperature should be around 72-81 F degrees, and a depth of 8 inches is a minimum for these frogs. Some people have the water so shallow that the frogs can sit on the bottom of the tank with their heads out of the water, but I think its better to have deep water and build a little “Island” from rock where they can sit if they need to. A water filter isn’t necessary but you should change the water every few weeks if you don’t have one. These frogs can be fed on strips of lean, raw meat, trout pellets or specialist amphibian food pellets, earthworms, brine shrimp, guppies, minnows, fresh and dried tubifex and bloodworms. A mixture of different types of food will result in a happy frog. Its best not to keep frogs with aquarium fish for various reasons, but you do choose to keep them choose tank-mates of a similar size and a gentle temperament. You may well find the frogs might bully the fish Floating plants will make the aquarium nicer, and put in a clay plant pot for hiding, but rooted plants will just get dug up.

                    Oriental fire-bellied toads- These pretty toads unfortunately sometimes lose the orange belly they are famed for in captivity, probably due to dietary differences. These do best in an aqua-terrarium…part water, part land…half and half or three quarters water is good. This can be achieved by having a plastic tub sunk into the substrate to allow froggie swimming time, or, more naturally, by building a gravel “bank” and submerging part of the tank, which looks much nicer. The temperature should be 72-77 degrees F. They are chlorine sensitive so adding something to dechlorinate the water is essential, or let the water sit for a day before adding it to the tank, the chlorine will evaporate. The same goes for all amphibians, and reptiles and fish for that matter. 20 gallon is a good size for one of these froggies, if you go bigger you can design cool landscapes for them, they are also quite active frogs, so it’s a good idea to give them space. They will eat crickets, earthworms, locusts, mealworms and any moth larvae (cut worms, silkworms and wax worms are all moth larvae). They have quite toxic skin so don’t touch.

                    Pixie frogs or African Bullfrogs- Males of this species get to 9 inches, so they need some space, but they are fat and lazy, so don’t move so much. They have quite a nasty bite, so handle them with care. They can have either a terrestrial tank with a very large water bowl (big enough for them to sit in), or half water, half land, which they might appreciate more. Temperature should be 77-82 degrees F. They need quite a big tank, maybe 30 gallons, although seeing as they don’t move much, 25 might be OK. A good substrate is potting soil with sphagnum moss added. A depth of five inches or more is good, they like to burrow. They will eat anything, including each other, so one to a talk is a must. They feed on larger insects and invertebrates, frozen pink mice and chicks (defrosted), plus, if you can get them, other smaller frogs and lizards, or possibly newts. They are impressive looking big frogs, they don’t do much apart from eat though, so not the most interesting of species to keep.

                    Horned frogs- in America these are usually Ornate horned frogs which are more colourful, over here you usually get Cranwell’s Horned frogs. They come in regular or albino, and are beautifully coloured in bright green with dark stripes. They are aggressive frogs that don’t do much apart from eat, but they are very pretty to look at. Females are larger and can grow to 14cm. The best description I can find for them is half mouth, half stomach. They will eat anything, including each other, hence the popular and rather cute name, Pac-man frog. A 15 gallon terrarium will do a single frog, you cant keep more than one of these to a tank. You could go smaller as they don’t move much, but I like to give them space. Again an aqua-terrarium or a big bowl of water is needed for this species, and a temperature of 77-83 degrees F. Potting soil and moss is the best substrate, at least five inches deep so the frog can burrow. These frogs will eat anything, including your fingers, so a minimum of handling is a good idea. Feed them on bugs, defrosted mice, day old chicks, smaller frogs and lizards if you can get them, and fish.


                    My favourite frog species- Dendrobates

                    The dendrobate frogs are the beautiful poison dart frogs. You have probably seen pictures or zoo animals…they come in an amazing array of colours, and are famed for being used to make poison darts for the Choco-Indians from Columbia to hunt with. Only three species are truly dangerous, the most poisonous is Phylobates terriblis…a single frog has enough venom to kill 8 people or 20’000 mice (not quite sure I want to know how that theory was tested). They tend to lose their poison in captivity for dietary reasons, in the wild they eat ants which are hard to provide in captivity, unless you like a colony of ants taking over your home. Poison dart frogs are the type most people want to keep, but they are not for beginners, I’d suggest a few years frog-keeping experience first as they are delicate and have specific care needs. They are amazingly pretty animals though, and there is lots of interesting info available about them on the ‘net.


                    Why frogs make good pets

                    Firstly, a tank for most species of frog is small and wont take up much room. This is great if you want something more interesting than a fish but don’t have room for a big cage. A frog tank will sit happily in a small corner of any room of your house. A home for a frog could quite easily be one of those cheap plastic tanks with the colourful lids you can get from pet shops.

                    Most frog species are quiet easy to care for in captivity. This makes them ideal first “exotic” pets, as most exotic pets are a much harder type of animal to care for. If you are interested in keeping reptiles, phibs are a good place to start. They don’t require much care once their tank is set-up, just regular cleaning and feeding. They are interesting low maintenance pets, IF you get their conditions right.

                    Thirdly, amphibians, especially the more mobile ones, are interesting to watch. Its quite an amazing experience to have a tropical rainforest pet in your own home. Setting up tanks for your species are great fun, you can spend ages researching what sort of plants you would find in that area and what the habitat is like, making it more interesting for you, and more natural for the frog.

                    They are ideal pets for children who keep bugging you to get them an unusual pet like a lizard. Lizards are NOT good pets for kids, with no exceptions, but as long as your child knows that you cant really handle frogs, they make great, interesting pets for kids. You can encourage your kids to do research on the frogs and watch the frogs behaviour in captivity, maybe even raise some tadpoles! They are great for getting kids interested in the environment and how to help care for it, also, I’ve found/.

                    As ugly as a lot of people find them, most frog species kept as pets have lovely colourings. Pac-man frogs, mantellas and poison dart frogs, are very beautiful in particular. Even if they are not active species of frogs, they can often be very pretty, especially tree-frogs, which are really just very cute.

                    A bonus most people never mention, but apparently there are some species of toad that make you high if you lick them. Not that I suggest you lick a toad, it would be rather gross and probably bordering on animal abuse...still an amusing factoid to know and tell.


                    On the other hand…

                    Frogs are not pets to handle. It harms their delicate skin and is probably bad for yours too.

                    Although conditions are easy to maintain, getting them set up correctly is a must. If the tank is too hot, cold, dry or humid, your poor froggie will suffer.

                    Most tanks have to be kept humid, which means unless there is adequate ventilation, there is great scope for parasites and disease, and smell if not cleaned regularly.

                    Most eat insects and this grosses people out. If you have a problem with this, get an aquatic species of frog and feed it on pellets, frozen foods, and minnows, although they will still appreciate the occasional live worm.

                    On the whole, I think if you interested in nature, the pet frog makes a great pet. They may not be pets you can cuddle, and a lot of them wont do much, but they are still interesting creatures to have and look at. They are a bit of an environmentalists pet I think, setting up their habitat is great fun for people like me. Maybe I need to get out more, but hey, I like them.

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                      11.04.2001 22:26
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                      50% of the people reading this may think, "Hey, I grow my own tadpoles, arf arf !", but I am of course talking about growing frogs from tadpoles. Here is my step by step guide for proper care. [1] Firstly you'll need a suitable container, like an aquarium, fishbowl, washing up bowl, paddling pool, or garden pond. [2] Be sure it is in the shade - about three quarters covered is ideal. [3] If you are planning on having a frog pond, be sure there are no poisonous plants around or plants that could make the water very acidic or alkaline as their fallen leaves, when in the water, can be toxic to tadpoles. Tadpoles absolutely depend on having fresh, clean water. If you take the water from a local stream, creek or pond, be sure it isn't polluted. Ideally, you can get it upstream from any suspected sources of pollutants like factories or sewers. If using tap water, let it stand exposed to full sunlight for 5 to 7 days. This will allow the chlorine to be removed by the sun. Even a little chlorine is deadly to tadpoles. It is always a good idea to keep a little de-chlorinated water at hand for emergencies. [4] Well, I tadpoles LOVE lettuce. Boil the lettuce for 10 to 15 minutes and then drain it. Chop it up a little, and then you can put it into an icecube tray with a little water to freeze it. For average home ponds, one cube every couple of days should be enough. For smaller tanks, just lay some flat on a tray and freeze it, and keep it in a clear sandwich bag in the freezer. Give the tadpoles a pinch every few days. But remember: too much food will get the water all dirty, and too little will make the tadpoles get a little crazy and start eating one another. If your water gets dirty really fast, slow down on the feeding .... and be sure to replace the dirty water with some fresh spare water. [5] The length of frog development from egg to tadpole to frog usually takes between 6 to
                      12 weeks, but it is also temperature dependant, so during cold spells it may take a bit longer or even be suspended till the temperatures go up. For example, eggs laid towards the end of summer may hatch, but tadpoles may stay tadpoles until the next Spring/Summer period. So if it's cold and your tadpoles don't seem to be growing up very fast, it's no reason to panic. The length of time a tadpole takes to develop really depends on what kind of frog it came from. Some tadpoles can remain in their tadpole stage as long as eight months, while others only take six to nine weeks. [6] When the tadpoles start getting close to developing legs, they will need some sort of perch so they can get out of the water. Floating water lily leaves and branches are ideal, but you can also create ledges using stones or even tilting slopes of plastic into the container. The tilt of the ledge may be important depending on what type of frog you have. Young tree frogs can climb smooth vertical surfaces such as the plastic pond liners and glass, but the ground dwelling frogs will need a rough slope when the time comes to climb out of the water. [7] At this point, if they aren't big enough to eat crickets but are too large to eat cabbage, you can try starting them off with small insects. A good substitute is the bloodworm (live are best) which are usually found in pet stores that sell fish. You can try feeding them to the frogs by taking the lid of a jar and turning it upside down. Fill the cap with a bit of warmish water and lay a bunch of the worms in and usually the frogs will find them. Or you can put the worms directly into their water .... yummy. [8] If you're rearing the tadpoles outside, keep the garden well watered and well vegetated. Young frogs will need a lot of ground cover in which to hide. There is not much point in rearing frogs in a totally hostile environment. In tanks, the same rules apply as for full grown frogs.
                      After all, even though you're not a frog predator, they still like to hide under plants and rocks when they can. Frog ponds kept year-round may become established as a permanent breeding pond. If you're worried about mosquito problems, drop in a few 'Blue Eyes' fish. They thrive on on mosquito larvae and won't hurt the frogs. These fish should be available from your local fish selling pet stores. [Additional] How to tell what kind of frog you have from a tadpole: Telling what a tadpole is is quite hard to do .... the only thing I can recommend is to find a regional guide (go to the library and find a book about what sorts of animals live in your area) and often if there are frogs, they will also show photos of what they look like as tadpoles. There really aren't any obvious distinguishing features that separate frog types at tadpole stage. Remember there are around 3,900 species of frogs in the world, so identifying them may be a little difficult. If the field guides for your region don't have pictures of tadpoles, your best bet is to wait until it becomes a frog and compare the pictures of frogs in the guide. Anyway, enough ! I hope this helps keep those little tadpoles alive a little longer.

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                        13.02.2001 09:32
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                        Amber pools of light from the streetlamps illuminated the roads, assisted by the myriad of stars that pierced the inky evening sky, but still I overlooked him. “That was a frog back there, Mum,” my daughter said. We were on our way to her weekly Brownie Guide meeting and running late, but it seemed such a bizarre comment that I felt moved to investigate. “A dead frog?” I asked, turning back up the hill. She was about to reply when I spotted him myself. Squatting in the centre of the pavement, and very much alive, he seemed completely oblivious to the fact that he’d just missed being squashed by yours truly. “You’re gonna get yourself flattened if you’re not careful”, I told him (as one does!), and gently nudged him towards the grass verge with the edge of my boot. He was having none of it and scrambled up on to my foot, headed down the other side, and towards the road instead. Three times we repeated this procedure, but this was one stubborn frog. “If you think I’m picking you up,” I said. “You’ve got another think coming.” “Mum!” my daughter was saying impatiently (and with faint traces of embarrassment!) come on, we’re going to be late.” Reluctantly, I abandoned him to his fate and took her down the road to the church hall, where I left her boasting to her little mates - “I bet your mum’s not as weird as mine!” Making my way back up the hill, I was surprised to find him still where I’d left him, wearing what I’d swear was a look of defiance across his froggy features. ‘It must be the time of year,’ I thought, ‘he’s still half asleep.’ And then I realised that he wasn’t the only one to be slow on the up-take. Given the weather we were experiencing, he was hardly looking for any old source of water, we were surrounded by the stuff. Either spring was just around t
                        he corner, or someone had got him up early, but this was A Frog With A Mission. As the time of year grows close when a young mans fancy turns to thoughts of love, so the thoughts of Kermit and his buddies turn to getting some frogs-legover, but for them the path of true love is fraught with difficulties. Beneath the lily pads, it’s likely that ‘Ribbit!’ translates as ‘Our love life is *so* predictable!’ - for each year frogs and toads return to the same breeding ponds, often along a path trodden by their amphibious ancestors centuries ago. In doing so, they face hazards that weren’t even thought of in those far off days, most notably modern traffic, and thousands are killed every spring. Frogs are useful creatures, damaging little and feeding off the kind of pests that many farmers and gardeners are still willing to pay a small fortune to eliminate chemically. These same chemicals eliminate frogs just as easily. Ironically, given that the activities of man are responsible for the diminishing number of frogs, we have an awful lot in common with them. In recent years, scientists have established that frogs and toads share several characteristics with human beings, both physiological and ecological. Affected in the same ways by industrial and agricultural changes to the environment, it’s a view held by conservationists in some quarters that the fortunes of the frog population are reflected closely in our own. It’s sobering to realize, therefore, that some species of frog are already extinct. I thought of the frog that sits at the side of my pond on most summer evenings. Singing with a voice like a throttled cricket, and playing under the hosepipe I’ll occasionally gently aim at him, he’s virtually regarded as a family pet. I thought about how much he’d be missed if he didn’t show up this year, and I looked down at the obtuse froggy-on-the-pavement. I knew I wasn&
                        #8217;t going to let him end his days beneath the wheels of a passing car. “Okay” I said, “You wanna cross the road? Let’s go!” I nudged him with the side of my boot again, this time towards the road. I evidently had the right idea now, because he hopped along for a couple of nudges, more or less in the direction I wanted him to go. I think the exercise must have woke him from his semi-slumber, because he suddenly decided it was time to become a little more athletic. BOING! His next leap was in a diagonal direction, down towards the main road that crossed ours just yards away. ‘Daft frog!’ I thought, or words to that effect. BOING! BOING! His future started to look a little brighter as he took two leaps up the road. BOING! Back down again. This was going to be harder than I thought. At this point, a car approached. Standing in the middle of the road, it occurred to me that although the driver must have witnessed a pretty peculiar sight, I could still be anonymously peculiar and walk away. I glanced at Frog to see he’d assumed the squatting position again and was frozen to road in terror. The phrase ‘toad-in-the-hole’ sprung to mind - I stood my ground. The car slowed to a halt and the driver wound down the window. “You alright, love?” he asked, in the kind of voice that said “I’ve met people before that have escaped from your place!” “It’s… erm… it’s a frog in the road.” I explained to him that the frog was off to find a mate, and that he just needed a little help in crossing the road. The driver stifled a laugh. “Perhaps you need one of those babe mags. Stand on the other side of the street with one of they and ‘e’ll soon ‘op to it!” The laugh escaped. Frogs-porn? I was getting desperate. I gave Frog another nudge, and he leapt higher than ever. BOING! BOING! I caugh
                        t sight of the car driver doubled up in his seat with hysterical laughter, just as frog sailed out of my line of vision towards the main road. With one last effort, I dived to the left and executed a save that David Seaman would have been proud of. Bouncing off my open hand, Frog landed unscathed on the grass verge opposite where I’d found him, and crawled off casually into a nearby privet hedge. Having recovered his composure, the driver pulled away, but not before commenting that it seemed an awful lot of trouble to go to for a frog. Perhaps it was, but I’d do it again if the need ever arose, and I think you should too. I’d like to believe that by the time my daughter and her brothers are adults, we’ll have managed to compensate for some of the damage we’ve done to our world, and I’d like to believe that frogs will still live in its waters somewhere. Direct descendants, perhaps, of The Frog With A Mission.

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                          23.01.2001 13:15
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                          We've kept poison dart frogs for the past 3 years and have over 25 at present. these wonderful creatures are excellent pets for people that want a pet that they dont have to do much with. poison frogs range in price from £30 up to £130! The most attractive thing abot these frogs are the beautiful colours that they are. They come in all colours imaginable, from blue to yellow to bright green and bright red to brown and black. They feed on micro crickets and fruit flies (non flying) whih you can get cheap on mail order. They require additional heating but no special lights are required. It is also best to have a small ornamental waterfall in the vivarium that will keep he humidity up. You must also have bromeliads, which are special type of plant that the frogs like and you can get hm from specialist garden centres or nurseries.

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                            23.10.2000 16:44
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                            Does anyone out there know anything about aquatic frogs? They are the sweetest little inch long people with perfectly formed transluscent flippers. Given the option, they will hide amongst underwater foliage rather than floating in the middle of the tank or behind devices such as the heater or aerator. I have been informed that they are quite happy to spend their entire existence in water, but it doesn't seem right somehow. Does anyone know otherwise? What constitutes aquatic frog heaven? I would be very grateful for any help. Thanks.

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                              22.09.2000 05:01
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                              I have kept a few hornfrogs over the past years. These are frogs which originally came from South America, but are bred in captivity in many places these days. These frogs are usually bought as young frogs, and are very pretty and appealing but they soon put on the weight. They need a tank which has to have a thermal gradient, one end warmer than the other, with the cool side being at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A water dish and an appropriate substrate for them to hide in is also needed. I have tried various substrates but have found compost and a bark chip mix kept moist to be the best in terms of practicality and ease of change. The water dish should not contain too much water, as these frogs are really land frogs and not swimmers as such. They are very sedentary frogs, lying around all day in the same place, in fact they can remain in the same spot in the tank for days on end. But their charm comes from their extraordinary appetite, and great beauty-if you like your frogs heavy and aggressive, with a glint in their eye these are the frogs for you. From a diet of small fish or crickets, they can eventually be fed on bigger prey such as the different sizes of mice, but as they grow older they need fed less frequently for obesity is often a killer of such a frog. These frogs are often kept on their own, the company of smaller frogs would mean certain disappearance. They are by nature ambush predators and simply wait till their food appears in front of them. As they get larger you have to be careful when feeding as they regard your fingers as a tempting morsel. I had a friend who waved his hand once in front of the vivarium, and my frog launched itself at his hand, leaving the traces of its moist lips on the glass of the tank. Visitors are always fascinated by such a beast.

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