Often referred to as the modern day "Canary in the Coal Mine" amphibians are a group of creatures that deserve special attention. Due, in many cases, to their unique ability to breathe through their skin, the amphibians are in rapid decline world wide.
It is believed in many scientific circles that the primary reason for this sudden and rapid decline is the introduction of the many forms of toxins in our environment. These toxins include (but are not limited to) pesticides, fertilizers, insecticides and a host of other toxins. The amphibians skin absorbs these introduced toxins and poisons the animals.
The following are some of the Amphibians currently on display at RainForest Adventures.
Poison Dart Frog
Range: Central and South America
Habitat: Dense Tropical Forests
Natural Diet: Small insects
Diet at RainForest: Small insects
Size: 1-3 inches depending on species
Keeper Notes: The diet in captivity of the dart frog has an impact on the toxins produced by the frog. In the wild certain species of ants eaten by the frog actually help produce the toxic blend of proteins that cause the frogs to be "poisonous". Farm raised crickets and fruit flies make up the majority of the diet of the frogs at Rain Forest Adventures.
Status in Wild: Numbers are rapidly declining due to over collection for skin trade as well as loss of habitat.
Range: South America
Habitat: Tropical forests, areas of high humidity and dense foliage.
Natural Diet: Insects
Diet at RainForest: Insects
Status in Wild: Unknown, presumed to be stable.
Range: South America
Habitat: Rivers and slow moving streams, highly aquatic amphibian.
Natural Diet: Small invertebrates and small fish
Diet at RainForest: Fish and Crickets
RainForest Facts: The male of this species of toad carries the tadpoles under his skin, on his back, until they literally explode out of the holes! This highly unusual form of protecting the eggs and tadpoles appears to be unique to this species. Resembling a dead leaf, our staff at RainForest has been stopped innumerable times by well intended visitors who tell us we have a "dead toad" on exhibit. This highly effective method of camouflage allows the toad to remain virtually unseen by potential prey and predators!
Giant Marine Toad
Range: South America, introduced to many parts of the world
Habitat: Varies widely in it's natural range, seems to prefer cultivated fields where prey is abundant.
Natural Diet: Virtually anything it can fit into it's giant mouth!
Diet at RainForest:
Size: Male up to 12-14"
RainForest Facts: The Giant Marine Toad is one of the most prolific of all amphibians on earth! This toad is capable of producing up to 30,000 eggs on an annual basis from a single female!
Status in Wild: A very successful introduced species, this creature has been introduced to areas as far reaching as Australia. The highly toxic bufo toxins in the animals parotid glands causes almost certain death for any creature attempting to eat it. Australia, as well as South Florida are attempting to eradicate this unwelcome guest.
Range: Southeast United States
Habitat: Dense forests to open swamp land.
Natural Diet: Invertebrates as well as small vertebrates
Diet at RainForest: Crickets and Cockroaches.
Status in Wild: Numbers are stable in rural areas undisturbed natural habitats. Many a young child has had their first real encounter with wildlife by discovering a Toad on a wet spring night. These common animals seem to have the ability to adapt to life around humans. Our porch lights and other artificial sources of light draw insects in on warm spring and summer evenings, the toads seem to think we are ringing the dinner bell!
Range: Wide ranging over much of the eastern half of the United States, including Southern Canada.
Habitat: Ponds and lakes
Natural Diet: Small vertebrates up to and including mice.
Diet at RainForest: Small mice and Crickets
Size: Males up to 12"
Status in Wild: Numbers are very stable in undisturbed areas. A true giant among amphibians, this North American frog is often associated with spring and summer evenings as it's call can be heard for hundreds of yards around virtually any fresh body of water with an ample supply of food.
The Bullfrog has been introduced to many areas of the world, in most cases with disastrous consequences. The Bullfrog has a ravenous appetite and will consume virtually anything that it can fit into it's giant mouth, including, but certainly not limited to, other frogs!