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Responsabilities of animal ownership

Posted by MikeDahms London Ontario (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 5, 05 at 2:40

Animals can bring a great deal of enjoyment to our lives and watching them flourish and grow in our care is very satisfying. More and more exotic pets are becoming popular subjects and for good reason. Many do not shed, they don't need to be walked, and in general can be less labour intensive than conventional pets.

Over the past several years reptiles and amphibians have become much more accessible. These animals although they are cold blooded demand as much respect as any other animal. All too often when I am visiting the local pet supply store I witness the new owner returning with the dried remains of their latest victim and demanding a refund. Simply put if your new pet dies more likely than not it was your fault directly. Reptiles and amphibians come for extremely varied habitats and cannot just be tossed into a tank with some plants and expected to thrive.

Having a show tank or a vivarium is great and can really bring enjoyment and life into the home. One thing that everyone should do before deciding on a new pet is research and with the Internet at our disposal there is no excuse for ignorance. Google will provide thousands of pages of information on these exotic pet prospects all that is required is for you to do some reading.

After you have chosen a prospective occupant and made a checklist of its requirements you can begin the planning stage for the vivarium. The enclosure and its contents should be catered to the animal occupant. You are essentially attempting to recreate a small replica of their natural environment. It is very satisfying to be able to incorporate the same type of plants that would be found naturally in their habitat but if this can not be done there are many that will do as substitutes that can be found at building stores and even some well stalked pet shops.

Some reptiles and amphibians are easy to care for and make great pets, others are more difficult and should not be attempted by the first time owner. Dart frogs fall into the latter category and are not easy animals to care for in any respect. They have very specific diet requirements and their maintenance and their food supplies maintenance is a chore in itself. If you still think you need a dart frog I would encourage you to first try a fruit fly culture or two before you bring your new pet home. A few years ago I built a terrarium to house several Dendrobatid frogs but before I made any animal purchases I made sure that I could breed fruit flies. Breeding fruit flies is not terribly difficult but to have the constant supply that you need you must have multiple cultures on the go at once. After a month or two of breeding the flies I decided I would have to wait until I had more time to dedicate to the frogs than I do now. To this day the terrarium is strictly plants and I am proud of my decision. All to often we get excited and loose track of the complete story, remember there is an animals life at stake.

I don't want to crush anyones ambitions of owning these animals but remember they come first. Please do not allow them to become a novelty or a last minuet addition to your set up. If you have questions about what species make good pets please ask. Remember that this forum is for the discussion of terrariums, terrariums being enclosed or semi-enclosed systems that focus on plants. Vivariums are a totally different story and these are animals that depend on us entirely for their survival.

Mike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Mike, thank you so much for your note! I wish more people would take the time to think things through before shopping, and I wish more stores would make it very clear to shoppers that particular species have particular needs and won't survive without them.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Have I been bothering you by asking about putting frogs in my terrarium? There have been other posts about animals, too. I am not making an impulse buy, which is why I am asking all the questions and doing the research. I am talking on a frog mailing list, as well as doing lots of internet research. I figured that this knowledgable group of people, who already have terrariums and some with animals in it would be able to answer my questions about it before I jump into it. I run a rescue center, I don't need a lecture on the responsibility of animals. If I am reading what you posted above wrong then I apologize, but it sounds to me like you think I am doing something wrong. My terrarium is strictly CP plants, and I am wanting to put a dart frog in there. I have been asking all the questions because I want to make good and sure that I have everything right for both the plants and the frog before I get it. I have already spent a small fortune getting it set up and have lost two plants (but it was because of the way they were shipped) but the rest of my plants are doing great and showing new growth. I mist it several times a day and have moved the thermometer around to different places in the tank to get the different readings. I'm trying to work out all the kinks before I get a frog.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

You are not annoying me at all but I did decide to post this because of your post about possibly getting a frog for Christmas. I am not taking a shot at you or trying to embarrass you I am simply trying to prevent people from getting these pets before they have done some research and are ready. You are the responsible one who posted a question in the first place many people don't ask enough questions. I did not want to single you out I just wanted to make a general comment to everyone who posts or lurks on this forum. If I were directing this comment to you specifically I promise I would have posted in your thread.

I am concerned that there are people who read these posts but do not bother to ask questions. Believe me I have seen many a customer try to return a dead reptile or amphibian and it will happen again, it happened again last Thursday to tell the truth. I mentioned dart frogs in my post because I once had thoughts about getting some myself. When I realized that if one of my fruit fly cultures spoiled or there was too large a gap between the flies emerging my frogs could be in trouble. The local pet store does not have a reliable supply of pinhead crickets and if there ever was a need to order new fly cultures during the winter I would be out of luck. I see these frogs for sale at retail pet stores quite often now and I know that people are going to make impulse buys.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

I think that the life of the frogs and other amphibians (and reptiles) is in the hands of both the buyer AND the seller, I know that if I had my own pet place I would never sell an animal to any one that did not show me that they had the ability to care for the animal, even if they did I would still be VERY carefull as to who I sold to, I know that sounds kinda dumb to some people as a business is usually set up to make money, but I would rather risk the loss of money than let the death of an animal be on my hands, I have a couple of set ups and thought that after my research on the comp I would be able to care for them but I have managed to lose three 3! of my whites tree frogs! one of the "easy" frogs to care for! and I REALLY thought that I had a set up perfect for them, I did everything I was supossed to do and still lost them, does this mean I suck at keeping frogs? Is my tank set up wrong? According to all the Info it was all right....but I still lost them, so something went wrong and the frogs, not me paid for it with their lives! I now keep just the two "survivors" (that are in GREAT health and anoles as they thrive in my terrarriums/vivariums, this is a complicated hobby that a lot of the time becomes, as it should, as much a part of your life as your own children! So please listen and learn as much as you can about the animal you choose to keep before you get it, and even then you should think some more! this is not an attack on any one person or persons, any one who thinks that Info to keep your animal alive is an attack on their ability to do so should not (in my opinion) keep any animals as they still have some growing up to do! again, no insult intended, but we all know that life, no matter what the form, is the most precious thing on this planet, and we as "civilized humans/people" shouldnt have to be reminded of this.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Also beware of people selling unhealthy animals. Many of them don't take care of them, as they are just trying to turn them around quickly. My first ATB died the day after I bought it. I may not be the greatest snake expert that ever lived, but I certainly didn't do anything that could have killed it so fast. I bought another (much nicer) one a month later, and it has thrived.

-DH


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

I certainly wish there was a place that I could drive to and make the purchase instead of having to have one shipped to me sight unseen. I haven't been able to find out about anyone selling pdf's anywhere close to me. My terrarium is looking good, though, and the plants are thriving. It is right by my desk so I can enjoy it all day.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Truth be told you will get a healthier animal if you order it from a breeder than if you pick it up from a pet store. Pet stores often do not give the animals the best possible treatment because they expect them to be gone soon. They are notorious for keeping animals in tiny cages and not properly cleaning them and many times the animals become stressed from being in the store on display.

I think one of the best places to go for a new animal would be a reptile expo. There are reptile expos advertised on sites like Kingsnake.com and they offer you the chance to hand pick your animals as well as talk to the people who breed them. These people really do have the best interest of the animals in mind and most will not sell them to you if they think you are not ready. The other advantage is that they can offer you advice about their care or they are able to discuss an animal better suited to the environment you can provide.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Not to get off topic Mike, but do you have an online source for ATB's? I've been thinking about picking up another, and I want to find something with more exotic coloration. I love the variety to ATB's, there are so many color variations.

-DH


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

I would check the Kingsnake.com classifieds and see if there are any nice captive bread animals for sale. They are becoming another of the snake species that has hundreds of different forms offered for sale. Seeing as each littler can have all distinctly different looking young there is a lot of marketability as different forms. My favorites are the solid reds, yellows, and orange or the Halloween phase that is black with red markings. I think it is becoming a bit ridiculous though, I mean who in their right mind would spend $20,000 on a ball python morph? Then again imagine the profits if you developed a nice breeding line of high quality animals. I am quite happy with my regular ball python though and I will leave the fancy genetic morphs alone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Halloween Phase ATB


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Yeah the solid red phase is what I had in mind, though I have seen some patterned ones with a lot of blue I really liked. I am not willing to spend that kind of money, I think it is crazy. I don't mind a couple hundred but more than that and I lose interest.

-DH


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

I got my dart frog from a vendor at an exotic pet fair. Turns out that my frog is only half dart frog (Epidendro.. trivattus 'Red'). It's also half fire walking frog. The two types of frogs look alike with only a few differences. I haven't seen the vendor at any future pet fairs since I got my frog. They were also selling baby pygmy rattle snakes so I suspect he lost his license. So exotic pet fairs and expos can still not have some honest people. Also, there are a few companies that sell pinhead crickets and already cultured fruit flies. It does cost a bit more with shipping. I order 250 at a time for my frog.


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

The reptile specific expo that is in my area is very professional and has breeders and retail stores that sell supplies and animals. There are certainly some shady people in the hobby but that can be said for any hobby. If you ask the right questions you can usually avoid problems. I see a lot of wild caught native reptiles from the United States being offered for sale on American websites and personally I can't stand it. It is illegal to remove animals form the wild in Canada, reptile populations are in enough trouble without people collecting and trying to make a buck off of them to.

You can easily order live feeders through the mail but if you live somewhere where it snows in the winter you can obviously run into problems. Just a few minutes of exposure and every one of the crickets will be dead and absolutely useless. Another problem is that by the time you get half way through the pinheads they are no longer pinheads because they have grown. To tell the truth fruit flies are not hard to breed but it can be difficult to get a nice even supply so you have to have a back up plan in place.

Your frog sounds like a cross between Epipedobates tricolor and Dendrobates auratus. Who would have known that they would even interbreed? Epipedobates tricolor was the species I was interested in because they are not terribly difficult to keep, they vocalize and are active during the day and they are able to eat larger prey items than some other Dendrobatids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Epipedobates tricolor


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Hi
have been doing some reading on the Dart frogs and noted that the toxins come from the diet. Apparently the toxin is extracted from the insect and concentrated on the skin.
Anyone know what type of insect.?? A large proportion of the wild diet seems to be ants. Will they eat fire ants??
Have noticed that most of my wild tree frogs seem to avoid
them
gary


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Dendrobatid frogs eat tiny insects including ants they find in the leaf litter and because many insects naturally produce toxins to protect themselves the frogs in turn become toxic as well.

I am not experienced with fire ants but I am sure they are far to aggressive a species for use as dart frog food. The ants that would be eaten in the wild would be a small sized species and most likely not an aggressive one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dart frog toxicity


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

This year's Atlanta Frog Day at the ABT was great, but I couldn't help walking away depressed. While there, I saw tons of parents with little kids, who obviously had NO experience of any kind with amphibians, purchasing darts. TO add to that, there was this vendor selling "cute" little 10x10x10 inch vivs that you could "easily" keep a dart frog in. As I watched a three year old girl walk out of the door (d. tinc. in her hand, with her dad carrying a mini viv and a small vial of ff's), I couldn't help but think that that poor little frog was off to its death...


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Mike
Thanks for the article. It did mention ants specificly but didn't say which specie. Fire ants are a tropical specie that have pushed their range north into the US.
I know they occur in Costa Rica and Panama so the range of the two specie would overla


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

Cdfortin that is exactly why I wrote this post. These are animals just as much as a dog or a cat and they deserve to be treated with as much respect. I am disgusted that a vendor would sell an animal to someone who is obviously going to kill it. These are not novelty items!

Gary there is thousands of species of ants in tropical regions and I bet that these frogs eat relativly few species. I am not sure if fire ants and the frogs share the same habitat even if they share the same geographical regions. I dug up this article online and it's really quite interesting but it's a scientific paper and a bit in-depth as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dart frog toxins


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

hi
Thanks for the link. My own interest in it would be that if i were to keep DF it would be in the shadehouse and it is always crawling with ants.lol Be nice to have something that would actually reduce the numbers. unless of course the ants would attack the frogs??
The new setup I'm building will primarily be for plants.
The only animals that are a definite right now are fish and the sugar birds. Want to combine several habitats into one setup mostly to make it easier to care for.
At the rate I'm going it will be years before I'm ready to consider frogs lol
gary


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RE: Responsabilities of animal ownership

3 yr old girl with D. Tinc = crazy. What was the vendor thinking?


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