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Frogs and Toads of Jersey

Frogs and Toads of Jersey

The isle of Jersey is home to only one frog and one toad. This is the only spot in the United Kingdom where you can find them

Ranidae – True Frog Family

Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina)

The Agile Frog has smooth skin compared to the Spiny Toad.

Bufonidae – True Toad family

Spiny Toad (Bufo spinosus)

The Spiny Toad has large paratoid glands and warts that the Agile Frog does not have.

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Pet Update

Here’s an update on my pets, I’m probably gonna do one of these a month.

Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates are my twin tabby cats, They are around one and a half years old. Oates (the gray one) is the more cuddly of the two while Hall likes belly rubs more.

Rayna the African Bullfrog

Rayna is still going strong, I have no idea how old she is since I got her off craigslist.

Tyrion the Dyeing Poison Dart Frog

Tyrion is my sole poison dart frog atm. I’ve had him since December 2019 and he or she is doing well.

Mario the Tomato Frog

Mario is the newest member of the team. I got him around April this year.

Sven and Olaf the African Clawed Frogs

Sven and Olaf are my oldest frogs, I can’t remember exactly when I got them but it was during college between 2013-2015.

The Hound and The Mountain (Axolotls)

The Hound (white) and the Mountain (black) are two axolotls that I got off of craigslist for free in 2019. They still rocking on.

Stuart the Snapping Turtle

Stuart is doing well. He is getting a lot bigger and i’m gonna soon need to buy him a new tank.

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Moor Frog (Rana arvalis)

Common Name: Moor Frog
Scientific Name: Rana arvalis
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations:  Austria, Belarus, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine
Size: 2 – 2.75 inches (5.5 – 7 cm)

The Moor frogs lives in central to northern Europe and western Asia. They spend their time around the edges on swamps, ponds, and bogs. Impressively, the frog lives up in the tundra. They can live up to 11 years in the wild.

The Moor Frog starts to breed once they awaken from their hibernation, generally between March and June. The males are known to turn bright blue for a few days during the breeding season. Besides that, the mating behaviors are pretty standard for a frog. The males form breeding choruses in water bodies to help attract mates. Once a female shows up, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 500 – 3000 eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

Moor Frog
photo by Christian Fischer

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the Moor Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They are one of the most common frogs throughout central and northern Europe. The only threat that the frog faces is the destruction of wetlands in the range.

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American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

American Alligator

Common Name: American Alligator
Scientific Name: Alligator mississippiensis
Family: Alligatoridae = Alligator family
Locations: United States and Mexico
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas
Size: 10 – 15 feet (3 – 4.5 meters)

The American Alligator is an iconic species of the southeastern United States. They live a long time, up to 50 years in the wild. Female alligators don’t grow as long as males, only reaching 10 feet long max. The alligators have an interesting way of surviving freezing temperatures. They stick the tip of their snout of the water so they can breed while keeping the rest of their body underwater. Then, they go into a state of brumation to preserve their energy. Also, the gators create massive tunnels to help them escape dangerous weather conditions.

Courtship begins in April with mating typically happening in May. The male bellows out for the females and to ward off other suitors. These bellows make the water on the back of the alligator “dance”. Mating takes place only in fresh water. The female lays her eggs in a nest she builds in late June or early July. The eggs take between 63 – 84 days to hatch. The babies break open their eggs and call out for the mom. Then, the mom digs out her babies and protects them from predators for a few years. Even with the mom’s protection, around 80% of the offspring dies from predation.

American Alligator

American Alligator Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the American Alligator as Least Concern for Extinction. This wasn’t always the case. The alligator was once on the Endangered Species List. People hunted the gators to the brink of extinction. Legal protections were in acted that saved the species. Now, alligators are numerous throughout their range. Thanks to proper wildlife management, people can hunt the gators once again.

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Crocodile Research Coalition

Crocodile Research Coalition

The Crocodile Research Coalition is a non-profit organization that focuses on the protection of crocodiles throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The group was founded by Dr. Marissa Tellez and her husband Karl Kohlman in 2016. The group runs a variety of different projects to help crocodiles. They do hands on science such as population surveys to help aid in the conservation of the crocodiles. The CRC also educates the public about crocodiles and they also lobby the government to help crocodiles and clean up / protect their habitat.

The Crocodile Research Coalition is working to build a state of the art facility in Placencia Peninsula. You can help them build the facility by donating to them.

You can view their website at CrocodileResearchCoalition.org or follow them on Facebook or twitter @CrocResCoal

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Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

Saltwater Crocodile
photo by flickr user fvanrenterghem

Common Name: Saltwater Crocodile or Salties
Scientific Name: Crocodylus porosus
Family: Crocodylidae – Crocodile family
Locations: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam
Size: 17 – 23 feet (5.1 – 7 meters)

The Saltwater Crocodile is the largest living crocodile species in the world. These crocodiles can reach 23 feet and over 2,200 pounds! They received their name due to their resistance to saltwater. Most crocodiles only enter the saltwater in emergencies while the Saltwater Crocodile just lives there. They are capable of living over 70 years in the wild and longer in captivity.

Saltwater Crocodile Reproduction

The Saltwater Crocodile breeds during the wet season when the water levels are the highest. The females select a nesting site where she and a male eventually mates. The male is a dead beat dad and doesn’t provide any care for his offspring. He leaves the mom and tries to find more potential mates. The female crocodile shows a high amount of parental care.

The mother guards her nest of eggs, even splashing water on the eggs to help prevent them from drying up. The eggs take 3 months to hatch. The sex of the offspring depend on the incubation temperature. Temperatures below 86 ºF (30 ºC) result in females. Meanwhile, temperatures above 89 ºF (32 ºC) results in male offspring. Once the eggs hatch, the female digs out the babies and carries them to the water in her mouth. Then, she protects the babies until they are able to take care of themselves. What a mom!

Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Saltwater Crocodile as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a fairly large range but the destruction of potential nesting sites is a concern. Another threat is hunting of the crocs for their pelts and meat. These threats are rather low though.

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CROCtober

Welcome to CROCtober, the annual celebrations of all things crocodilian, the animal group – not the shoes, during October. The term Crocodilians includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. These creatures are often misunderstood as furious, killing machines but there’s more to them than that. Crocodilians are one of the most endangered group of animals on the planet. Out of the 23 species, 7 of the species are listed as critically endangered. Additionally, 4 species are listed as vulnerable to extinction. That’s not great.

Over the month of CROCtober, I plan to highlight the different species of crocodilians, the troubles they face, some researchers who study them, and how you can help save the crocs. Don’t worry, frog content will still be posted. Stay tuned!

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Variable Poison Dart Frog (Ranitomeya variabilis)

Variable Poison Dart Frog
photo by John P. Clare

Common Name: Variable Poison Dart Frog, Splash-back Poison Frog, and Zimmermann’s Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya variabilis
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
Size: .6 – .7 inches (17 – 18 mm)

The Variable Poison Dart Frog was originally thought to be only in rain forests in Peru but populations in Colombia and Ecuador were found recently. These frogs live on the forest floor but they also live in trees. They are primarily active during the day aka diurnal. Due to their poisons, not many predators attempt to eat them. The frog’s create their poison with the help of their diet of ants, termites, and beetles. In captivity, they are not poisonous. You can find them in found in the pet trade with many individuals being captive bred. Always make sure to buy frogs or any animal that is captive bred to help fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

Reproduction for the Variable Poison Dart Frog

Mating for the frogs take place after rainfall. Females lay between 2 – 6 eggs in pools of rain water that collect in bromeliad plants. While the female is laying her eggs, the male positions himself facing away from her and fertilizes the eggs. After mating, the female leaves the eggs while the male sits and watches them. Once the eggs hatch in 12 – 14 days, the males carry some of the tadpoles on their back to other plants to help reduce competition between the tadpoles. Not all males care for their offsprings. Eventually in 12 – 14 weeks, the tadpoles complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for Conservation (IUCN) Red List hasn’t categorized the Variable Poison Dart Frog yet so they sit at Data Deficient. The frog has a wide range that is generally undisturbed. Hopefully, the land stays safe from logging. They are listed in the CITES Appendix II. This requires that the governments were they are found must issue permits for the exportation of the frog.