Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gray Tree Frogs...

...are kind of neat little slimy critters. They have some neat shades of gray in a blotched pattern on their backs, and the shading depends a lot on their mood or the temperatures. They also have white bellies with really vibrant yellow markings along the belly at the sides and onto bottom inner sides of the back legs.

I have one now, have had it for about 2 1/2 years now. I would not have it at all had it not plopped on the ground, after falling or jumping out of a tree, and landing right in front of my feet. That was at my daughter's college a couple of years back; I had just dropped her off for a new semester, and this guy decided he wanted to come home with me for the ride. I have had him ever since. No name or anything like that, I usually do not name animals that will not come when called like a dog, or at least show some signs of affection like a cat.

I spent about 2 or 3 hours today taking down the vivarium I have kept him in for these couple of years. The plants were not doing as well as they once had, so I figured the soil could use some changing. I bought a couple of new plants; cleaned out the tank, put in fresh soil over a bed of gravel na d some activated carbon, put in the two new plants and two of the old ones, made sure to put back the small earthworms that had been living in the old soil, and there it is.

The plants should grow out somewhat more over time. I have another tank that is just about overgrown with Golden Pothos. This one has the pothos (those little vines on the cork in the center, I just kept a bit of it as it grows fast), and it also has two plants completely new to me. The one on the left has nice roundsih broad leaves on which I am sure the frog will love to cling with its sticky toe pads. The other also has somewhat pointy broad, and more colorful, leaves on which it can climb as it pleases.

The frog looks pretty content in its newly decorated home, if frogs can be content. I think the added color gives the whole setup a nice touch. My wife even liked it, and she does not like any of my reptilian or amphibian pets.

These guys make fairly easy to care for animals, though they are not really conventional pets. Sure you can pick them up and hold em, but I don't usually do that for a couple of reasons. First of all, why bother since the frog gets no enjoyment out of being picked up, not like peting a dog or a cat. Second, when you pick them up, it removes some of the protective slime from their bodies. So, for the most part, I only pick him up when I clean out his tank, or show him off to someone.

These frogs live in trees, far above the ground, here in the northeastern USA (and in some other parts of the USA out to the midwest and from Texas up to Canada). Since they live in the forest, they usually get a fair deal of mositure in their environment. They can hide in crevices in the bark of trees, in the crotches of tree limbs, and so forth where moisture will be held in the event of drier times. In captivity they need to be kept moist with a daily, or every other day, spray with a misting bottle. I also keep a small bowl of water in with mine, this has to be cleaned out often and replaced with fresh water. I use water right from the tap. I am not worried about the water being chlorinated or having flouride in it as many natural sources of water are likewise; and I have never seen any ill effects with frogs that are native to NY State while usuing local tap water. If you keep one though, and are concerned, then let the wayer stand in a bowl overnight and the chlorine will evaporate out of the water.

They feed on insects in the wild, and require the same in captivity, although they will take easier to obtain insects in captivity than ones you would need to catch to feed them their natural diet. Crickets, and waxworms are easily obtained at pet shops and they love both. Earthworms are also eagerly taken, and are readily availble at bait shops. They will come to the tank bottom to feed on them. I also give it mealworms or superworms now and again too, and sometimes a bug from the backyard. I try to feed mine a varied diet.

As for temperatures, I keep mine in the low to mid seventies. Into the mid eighties would be okay during the day, and as low as the high sixties at night is fine. The lighting I use is for the plants not the frogs. A regular day/night cycle of light is fine for the frog; although I tend to keep the lights on a late spring light cycle all year to enhance plant growth. About 14 hours of light. I only use a flourescent light, one that is suitable for plant growth, so it does not increase the temperature in the tank as would an incandescent bulb.

To get one of these frogs, you can try to buy a captive bred one at a Reptile and Amphibian Show, or maybe over a website like; or you can catch one yourself (where allowed by law). At the time I caught mine, it was the open season on frogs in NY State, and I had a hunting and fishing license, so I was covered. Since then it has been well fed, and aparently content to live the life of Reilly at our house.

Putting the tank together anew was a relaxing way to spend the last day of the year for me. Hope you enjoyed your day too. Happy New Year. Who knows what the new year will bring for you - maybe a new found interest in the hobby of keeping reptiles and amphibians.

All the best,
Glenn B

An Alleged Video of Saddam Hussein's Hanging...

...has surfaced at I found this link at under the confusing headline of Redirect @,2933,240257,00.html

I don't understand why Fox would headline this as Redirect. They do understandably explain it is an alleged, and very graphic, video of the hanging, the whole shabang.

Now, this video is very poor quality, but it is indeed very graphic, and if genuine then it shows the man actually being hung. It is purported, by In fact Revver says this on their website:

This video shows Saddam Hussein being hanged from the vantage of a witness using his or her cellphone. This shows almost everything -- except for the snap of the neck, viewer discretion advised.

It looks to me like it maybe just that, as if taken with a cell phone. It looks, to me, as if the person taking the video was either a terrible camera person, or quite possibly quite nervous and not wanting anyone to realize he/she was making a video (since the camera jumps around so much and often looses sight of Hussein).

If it is discovered to be a real video of what actually took place when Saddam was hanged, I see very little to further prevent the authorities in Iraq, and the media, from releasing higher quality shots. I think as many people as possible should see the video, the higher quality ones of Hussein meeting his end. Sure this will inflame some, make others happy, and other things like that; but it will also have a more far ranging impact. It will show the fate that awaits those who do things as did Saddam Hussein, it will show that tyrants are not gods, not above the law, and must answer to their crimes as should any man, it will show that they too need to pay for their crimes with their lives if their crimes were capital offenses. If done often enough, to the many heinous murderers in our world, it might actually become a deterrent. Hangings, and other executions should be public, and viewing at least a few in a lifetime should be encouraged (and no I do not mean mandatory but do mean encouraged) for all of the citizenry who have attained a certian age.

All of the best,
Glenn B

Someone finally charged Nifong...

...and it is about time they did so. I have not spoken out on this before, although tempted to do so here many times.

Then this CNN headline caught my eye today: Charge could kick Duke prosecutor off case, and can be found at @

The manner in which this guy has handled the prosecution of the four Duke University students for rape charges is, in my estimation, both reprehensible and quite possibly criminal.

That all of the charges were not dropped outright after the long withheld/hidden DNA evidence surfaced showing absolutely no sign of DNA from any of the 4 Lacrosse Team Members, but did show samples from at least a few other men, when the alleged victim said she had not had sex with anyone except her boyfriend in over a week (as I recall) was bad enough. When she then suddenly changed her story to say that she was now not sure that any of them had actually penetrated her vaginally, that should have made the whole thing as clear as Crystal to any prosecutor who was actually doing his job, especially since she had apparently insisted all along that they had vaginally penetrated her, that is up until the time absolutely none of their DNA was found inside her or on her - but the DNA from others was found. Well it should have made it clear as crystal, but it did not do so for Nifong. That he decided to drop rape charges and then charge the lacrosse players with sexual assault and kidnapping (as I recal) was unbelievable at best, and possibly criminal at worst, and just muddied the waters even more than before.

If I had ever worked with a prosecutor, in my law enforcement career, who did something along these lines, I may have arrested him myself; and if not, well I certainly would have reported him for what I would have believed to have been ethics violations. I think this guy saw his name in the headlines as the new prosecutorial star, saw his face on the TV news in the same light, saw himself as winning the next election - all because he saw those 4 young men were convicted prematurely in his mind by way of his own prejudice. His job is to see justice done, not to railroad anyone. As far as I am concerned, Nifong is a sham, not worth one penny that they pay him, and I think his election results should be negated, and he should be recalled and barred, and placed in jail if found guilty of prosecutorial misconduct. Throwing him off the case is only a start, and certainly does not appear to be enough. The state of NC will probably wind up paying big time settlements to the 4 lacrosse players, I believe, some of it should come out of Nifong's own pockets, and the alleged victim's too.y Yah that is right, I don't believe either one of them to be at all credible in this case, and think both should pay for it if proven to have concocted (individually or by way of conspiracy) the charges against the 4 young men.

All the best,
Glenn B