The new Caecilian has settled in well

•April 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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Now that my tank has cycled properly, I have managed to successfully move the Caecilian into it. He is very active at the moment, scouting around his new home and looking for any possible escape routes he might have missed (Caecilians are amazing escape artists!).

Caecilians belong to the order Gymnophiona under the class Amphibia. Gymnophiona is the third order within the class Amphibia after Anura (frogs) and Caudata (Salamanders and Newts). Compared to the other orders, relatively little is known about Gymnophiona. This is because most Caecilians live underground and are therefore rarely seen. There are currently approximately 155-160 known species but due to the lack of detailed knowledge of these animals, this figure is probably inaccurate. In fact, only recently an entirely new family of Caecilians was discovered in India. Click this link for the BBC News article.

Caecilians are often referred to as eels, worms and even snakes which, although understandable because of the similarities they bear phenotypically, is completely wrong. They are simply amphibians that possess no legs.

As I mentioned in the previous post, my particular species is an aquatic one. It’s name is Typhlonectes natans and is originally from South America. The females give birth to live young (some Caecilians deposit eggs in which the young develop) which are just miniature versions of the adults. He is extremely inquisitive and spends a lot of his time exploring his new surroundings. He does possess teeth but is very pleasant and it is unlikely that he would bite. In fact he lives quite happily with a few fish and, so long as he is never left to go hungry, he will never eat these fish! His main diet consists of Earthworms and dead feeder fish. He currently measures approximately half a metre in length.

Although I appreciate this animal would not be everyone’s cup of tea, he is an absolutely fascinating creature to observe and I love the mystery that surrounds this group of animals. He makes a very welcome addition to my little family of amphibians!

If you have any questions on this group of animals please don’t hesitate to post a question. I’ll be more than happy to attempt to answer it for you!

The Caecilian is coming!

•March 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I am patiently waiting for my new tank to cycle as I have an adopted Caecilian coming soon. This particular one is a totally aquatic species, Typhlonectes natans. Caecilians are one of the lesser known groups of amphibians so I may write a little bit about them in the future for the blog. Remember…a watched tank never cycles!

Book recommendation

•March 18, 2012 • 2 Comments

I just thought that I would give this book a mention for anyone looking into caring for tree frogs in captivity. It is called “Care and Breeding of Popular Tree Frogs” and is written by Philippe Vosjoli, Robert Mailloux and Drew Ready.

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It is a brilliant and informative book and not too general (which is a big problem with a lot of books of this nature). The book covers all aspects of care, from housing, breeding and feeding to disease and environmental parameters.

The main focus is upon 4 popular tree frog species, namely:

Green tree frogs (Hyla cinerea)
White’s tree frogs (Litoria caerulea)
White lipped tree frogs (Litoria infrafrenata)
Red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas)

It does cover some other species, such as the Gliding tree frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) but not in as much detail.

Although it was published in 1996 by Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc., the bulk of the information is not dated at all. In fact, the age of the book means that you can pick up a good condition second hand copy for less than a fiver from somewhere like Amazon!

Another great thing about this book is that it is well referenced which gives you scope for further reading from reliable sources.

Frog hunt

•March 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I took my son around the local nature reserve today to see if we could find any frogs. The weather was good with only the occasional light shower.

We found heaps of frog spawn in some slow moving water trenches away from the main water bodies closely guarded by quite a few Common frogs (Rana temporaria).

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Sorry it’s not very clear in the photo but we couldn’t get any closer

After lifting many, many rocks (all lovingly replaced, of course!) and finding only slugs, beetles and earthworms, my son suggested a dad defeatingly HUGE rock that lay on the woodland floor close to another small water trench. After much heaving and sweating, I managed to lift the rock and to our pleasant surprise, my son had found his very first Common toad (Bufo bufo)!

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We had a brilliant day and hopefully, when we return, we will be able to see some hatched tadpoles!

New frog species found in New York!

•March 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This is amazing!

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photo: Brian Curry, Rutgers

A new species of frog has been discovered, not in a remote rainforest but in the middle of New York! The new Leopard frog is virtually identical to other Leopard frogs except for it’s distinctive call. This just goes to show that sometimes a new discovery can be found right under your nose!

Click the link below to read the article on the National Geographic page.

National Geographic article

One of my male Red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas)

•March 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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