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Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)

photo by The High Fin Sperm Whale 

Common Name: Pacific Tree Frog, Pacific Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris regilla or Hyliola regilla
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington
Size: .75 – 2 inches (19 – 50 mm)

Breeding for the frogs happen from November to July with frogs in higher elevations breeding later in the year. The male frogs will come to permanent or non-permanent waters bodies to start calling. The male frog’s breeding call is the typical ribbit that you hear on tv.

The males will highly territorial and will fight other males over breeding areas. Once the female comes and selects a mate, the male will grab her back in amplexus. The female will then lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The female will lay between 400 – 750 eggs at a time. Neither parent will provide any care for their offspring. The eggs hatch in 2 to 3 weeks. The tadpoles take 3 months to complete their transformation.

The Pacific Tree Frog was recently split into 3 different species based on DNA, but the analysis wasn’t great and it was merged back together.

The Pacific Tree Frog is the State Frog of Washington

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Black Legged Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates bicolor)

photo by Esteban Alzate
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Black Legged Poison Dart Frog or Bicolored Dart Frog
Scientific Name: Phyllobates bicolor
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Colombia
Size: 1.77 – 2.1 inches (45 – 55 mm)

The Black Legged Poison Dart Frogs is one of the most poisonous frogs on earth. They aren’t as poisonous as the Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis), the world’s most poisonous frog, but still just 150 micrograms of poison is enough to kill a person. It is one of the three species of poison dart frogs that has been observed to be used to make poison darts by the locals. The natives call the frog, Neará.

They warn predators of their poison with their bright colors. Because they have no natural predators, the frogs are able to be diurnal and move around during the day. The two traits of being duirnal and brightly colored as let to them being introduced in the pet trade. Once the frogs were brought into captivity, they lost their toxicity due to it coming from the native ants they eat. Their large size, for a poison dart frog, also makes them a more ideal pet frog. They have been bred in captivity thus wild caught frogs are rarely seen in the trade in the US. The frogs are social and capable of being housed in groups. They can live up to 20 years under proper care.

Like many other species of Poison Dart Frogs, the Black Legged Poison Dart Frog is a great parent. The frogs will lay their eggs on a leaf or some surface. Once the eggs hatch into tadpoles, the males will carry the tadpoles on their back to a water source for them to grow up in.

The Black Legged Poison Dart Frog is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation (IUCN) Red List. The main threat to the frog is habitat loss due to cattle grazing, mining, and agriculture.

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California Tree Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina)

photo by Chris Brown / USGS

Common Name: California Tree Frog or California Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris cadaverina or Hyliola cadaverina
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Mexico and the United States (California)
Male Size: 1.4 inches (36 mm)
Female Size: 1.8 inches (45 mm)

The California Tree Frog can be called the California Chorus Frog due to them being placed in the Chorus Frog genus – Pseudacris. Researchers have proposed moving the frog into the genus Hyliola along with the Pacific Chorus Frog. They are more similar to other Chorus Frogs, in that they aren’t found high in the trees. These frogs like to live in crevices or cavities in boulders along streams. The frogs blend into these boulders with their rough skin and gray / brown color.

Breeding takes place in the streams from February to October. Reproduction for the California Tree Frog is pretty standard. Males will call from the streams to attract potential mates. Once the female selects the mate, the male will grasp her from behind in amplexus. The female then lay her eggs and the male then fertilizes them. Neither parent provide any care for their offspring. The larval period for the tadpoles ranges from 40 – 75 days.

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Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Oregon Spotted Frog
Scientific Name: Rana pretiosa
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: United States and Canada
US Locations: California, Oregon, and Washington
Size: 1.75 – 4 inches (4.4 – 10.1 cm)

The Oregon Spotted Frog is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and as threatened by the United States federal government. The frogs are most likely are gone from California. The two primary threats are introduced species and habitat destruction / alteration. Much of the wetlands that they call home have damaged due to construction of dams and water removal for farms and cities. Some of the remaining habitat has been invaded by the American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) or introduced game fishes. These introduced predators feast on the Oregon Spotted Frog and their tadpoles. Removing these predators would help the frog’s numbers bounce back.

photo by USFWS

Breeding takes place after the snow melts, generally in February and March at low elevations and May and June at higher elevations. Breeding only lasts 2 to 4 weeks long. Males will gather in the shallows of marshes and lakes at call for the females. Females will select a male to mate. They will then enter the amplexus position and the females will lay their eggs and the male will fertilize. Females lay around 650 eggs. The eggs hatch into tadpoles between 18 and 30 days. The tadpoles then take 110 to 130 days to complete their metamorphosis.

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Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)

photo by Todd Pierson

Common Name: Little Grass Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ocularis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: .4 – .7 inches (11 – 20 mm)

The Little Grass Frog is the smallest frog in all of North America. While it is technically in the Tree Frog family – Hylidae, they are not as arboreal as other species of tree frogs. They can still climb up to 5 feet high.

Breeding takes place for the Little Grass Frog from January to September in most of their range but in Florida, they can breed all year long. Breeding generally follows heavy rain events. They lay their eggs in shallow, rain-filled wetlands, ditches, and ponds. Reproduction is pretty standard for the frog. Males will call out from the rain-filled areas, trying to attract females. Females will select a male and then they will mate. The females lay around 100 eggs. How do these females carry all those eggs at their small size? I don’t know. Neither of the parents will perform any care for their offspring.

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Bernhard’s Mantella (Mantella bernhardi)

photo by Devin Edmonds

Common Name: Bernhard’s Mantella
Scientific Name: Mantella bernhardi
Family: Mantellidae
Locations: Madagascar
Size: .75 – .86 inches (19 – 22 mm)

The Bernhard’s Mantella is the smallest of the mantellas. It is found in the rain forests along the southeastern coast of Madagascar. They are active during the wet season from December to February. This is also when they reproduce.

It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as Vulnerable to Extinction. The main threat to the frogs is habitat loss due to timber harvesting, urban development, and farming. Better protection of the environment is needed to help protect all mantella species.

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Australian Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

photo by Frank Teigler

Common Name: Australian Green Tree Frog, White’s Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Litoria caerulea
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea
Introduced Location: United States – Florida
Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

The Australian Green Tree Frog is not always green but can be brown or blueish. They change their colors to match their surroundings. The tree frog is a common frog in the pet trade due to their hardiness and ease of care. They can be referred to as the White’s Tree Frog or Dumpy Tree Frog. They are named the Dumpy Frog after the fat deposits that can form on obesity frogs’ head. If taken care of, the frogs can live over 15 years long. They have a huge appetite so if housing the Australian Green Frog with other frogs, make sure they are the same size. It is believed that the pet trade introduced the species to Florida but luckily, the frogs haven’t been spotted in Florida since 2010. Please never release your pets into the wild as it can have bad consequences.

Breeding for the Australian Green Tree Frog occurs during the rainy season for November to February. Males will call to attract females. Mating is aquatic and up to 2000 are laid. No parent provides any care. The eggs hatch shortly into tadpoles that take around 6 weeks to complete their metamorphosis before winter arrives.

Frog of the Week

Coquí Llanero (Eleutherodactylus juanariveroi)

photo by the USFWS

Common Name: Coquí Llanero, Plains Coquí, or Puerto Rican Wetland Frog
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus juanariveroi
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Puerto Rico
Average Male Size: .58 inches (14.7 mm)
Average Female Size: .62 inches (15.8 mm)

The Coquí Llanero was only recently described in 2005 by Neftalí Rios. It is found only in the wetlands in a old navy base in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. Sadly, it is already listed as a federal endangered species and as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. They are listed due to their small habitat that is threatened by development. The wetlands have been designed as critical habitat but that offers little protection.

Now onto the biology of the frog. Like all members of the family Eleutherodactylidae, the Coquí Llanero lays eggs that directly develop into froglets, skipping the tadpole stage. Though, they lay one of the smallest clutches of eggs, ranging from 1 to 5. Interestingly, they only lay their eggs on the leaves of the Bulltongue Arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia). Breeding can happen year round though more clutches are produced in the warmer, wetter months. The call of the Coquí Llanero is the highest frequency of all amphibians on Puerto Rico, ranging between 7.38 and 8.28 kHz. This makes the calls nearly impossible to hear over all the other noises in the wetlands.

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Enrichment for Frogs and Toads

Enrichment has become an integral part of the captive care of animals. Enrichment is important to help keep animals mental and physical stats well. Sadly, most of the knowledge and ideas about enrichment is about mammals. Reptiles and amphibians are sadly, often missed when it comes to enrichment but I don’t! I will go over some ideas for enrichment for frogs and toads.

Diet Variety

One of the easiest and often missed enrichment opportunities is using a variety of different food items for frogs and toads. Often keepers feed their frogs or toads just crickets or Dubai roaches. There are a variety of prey items that one can feed your frog or toad including meal worms, horn worms, and earthworms.

Feeding Time Variety

Another simple enrichment idea is just changing when you feed them. People become used to feeding their animals at certain times of the day but adding variety in the time can help them out.

Tong Feeding vs Active Hunting

There are generally two different methods of feeding for frogs and toads. You can either feed each food item to the animal with tongs or release the food items into the tank for them to hunt down on their own. Tong feeding allows the keeper to monitor the exact amount of food each animal is receiving and allows all animals to be fed evenly. When frogs and toads are housed together, one individual may eat more of the food than the others if not tong fed, causing an imbalance. Allowing the frogs and toads to actively hunt down their food provides more psychological enrichment for the animals. I try to balance the two out.

Shelter

Frogs and toads need to be provided shelter to hide in. I don’t really think of this as enrichment but as a basic need but others think its enrichment so I will include it. Often keepers won’t provide shelter due to them wanting to see their frog or toads all the time. Put your animals needs first. PVC pipes are commonly used item for aquatic / terrestrial species to hide in. Arboreal species should have hanging leaves on their tanks for them to climb up and hide in. Burrowing species should have enough dirt in their tank to burrow down and hide in. Those are some of the most basic ways to provide shelter. You can add plants, branches, or rocks to any tank to create more areas for hiding.

Bioactive Enclosures / Tanks

In the search for the most naturalistic environment for reptiles and amphibians, bioactive enclosures were created. These enclosures don’t just have a few live plants in them, but try to create a whole mini ecosystem. Springtails, isopods, or other invertebrates are added to help break down waste. It is believed that these set ups will make the animals feel more natural.

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Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii)

photo by fir0002

Common Name: Eastern Banjo Frog, Southern Banjo Frog, or Pobblebonk
Scientific Name: Limnodynastes dumerilii
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Locations: Australia – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania
Size: 2 – 3.3 inches (50 – 85 mm)

The Eastern Banjo Frog is found in southeastern Australia and Tasmania. They received their name due to their call that sounds like a bonk from banjo being plucked. The frogs are also called Pobblebonk for that reason.

The frogs are fossorial and spend most of their time underground. They come up to the surface at night and during the rains. Breeding follows the rains from August to April. Females lay around 4000 eggs. Tadpoles take a long time to complete their metamorphism. In warm weather, it takes 4 – 5 months while in colder weather, it takes 12 – 15 months.

There are five different subspecies of the Eastern Banjo Frog. They vary in coloration, location, and the sound of their calls slightly. Below is a general map showing where the subspecies are.

map by Tnarg 12345

Limnodynastes dumerilii dumerilii in blue; Limnodynastes dumerilii grayi in red; Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis in green; Limnodynastes dumerilii fryi in pink and Limnodynastes dumerilii variegata in yellow. 

Limnodynastes dumerilii dumerilii has a orange stripe down its side and under its eye. It has a very distinguished BONK call.

Limnodynastes dumerilii grayi has more of a tok call instead of a bonk.

Snowy Mountains Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii fryi) is found only in the Snowy Mountains hence the name for the subspecies.

Southern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii insularis) is the southern most subspecies of Eastern Banjo Frog. It has a blue coloration on their side.

Limnodynastes dumerilii variegata is distinguished by the area that they are found.