Frogs of the Day
Monday, March 20, 2017 by Emily Bauernfeind
For World Frog Day today we wanted to introduce some of the amphibians you can find at the Aquarium. Some you can meet during our Live Animal Presentations (LAP), others are on exhibit. All are extremely handsome and photogenic.
Argentine horned frog (Ceratophrys ornata)
- When fully grown (females at 6”) can eat birds, rodents, or snakes-something as big as themselves. At the Aquarium, Pacman eats crickets, mealworms, or the occasional mouse.
- This species has short legs and squat bodies, so spend a lot of time half-buried in the soil.
- In the wild, these frogs live in the forests and plains of Central and South America.
- In human care, they can live for 15 years. This is definitely something to consider when thinking about these animals as pets as they are popular in the pet trade.
Cane toad (Rhinella marina)
- One of the largest toad/frog species in the world
- Has rough, bumpy skin to keep moisture trapped in his body
- Native to Central and South America, but invasive to Hawaii and Australia, where they were introduced to help with a beetle infestation that threatened sugarcane. They have since done more harm than good, though scientists are using them to develop a better understanding of how invasives can change an ecosystem.
- They eat whatever they can swallow. In the wild, it’s carrion, insects such as beetles, honeybees, ants, and crickets. Michael eats earthworms, crickets, waxworms, and the occasional mouse.
- Like other toads, produces a noxious, nasty tasting poison in glands on his head.
Poison dart frogs (family Dendrobatidae)
- The species showcased are found throughout the rainforests and humid lowlands of South America, including places such as Brazil, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Colombia.
- Most species of poison dart frogs are small. In our exhibit, the adult frogs are only a few centimeters long.
- To make it seem like home, the exhibit has live plants, “rain,” and a constantly running water feature to keep it nice and humid.
- Our poison dart frogs eat fruit flies, not the toxic insects they normally eat in the wild, so actually they’re not poisonous.
- Scientists have made synthetic versions of the toxins that show promise as painkillers, muscle relaxants, and heart stimulants. So there are lots to learn from these species!