Thursday, May 26, 2011

Croaking Critters Batman - Looks Like We've Got Us Another Frog

For quite some time now, Bill has been part of our collection of critters. Bill is an African Clawed Frog. Brendan got him somewhere, last year i guess, and put it into our large fish tank. He did well in there as did the fish, that is until he got big enough to eat one of my South American Rams. Then he got his arse transferred to the tank in which our Anderson's Underwater Salamanders are housed. He is too big to be eaten by the salamanders and too small to eat them. It is a good set-up.

Tonight, I picked up another African Clawed Frog, one much bigger than Bill. The young lady who gave it to me told me it is a female. She had to give it up because of a move to another apartment. I am guessing she was right about her frog being a female based on this new frog's size alone. Female African Clawed Frogs grow larger than the males and this one has Bill by about half his size again. When I got home, I heard Brendan moping about and called him down to the basement. He was duly impressed by the new addition. I put her in with Bill and the salamanders. Normally, I do not name my reptiles or amphibians but Bill is Brendan's and was named by him. When he saw the new female and her size he immediately gave her the moniker of Bertha. Bill & Bertha, if my mom would hear that she would get a laugh - those were the names of two of her friends a few to several years back. Oh well, I suppose the names will stick.

I can only hope that Bertha does not eat Bill (no she is not attacking him in the pic to the right but it sure looks suggestive of her considering him as a tasty morsel). These frogs have voracious appetites and often eat anything that gets close and that fits in their mouths. The salamanders are too big but Bill is of questionable size. Since the males in nature do not achieve anywhere near the size of the females though, I am guessing if I keep Bertha well fed she will not eat Bill. I mean, in nature males are smaller and could readily be eaten by the larger females yet these frogs thrive. So my guess is that adults do not cannibalize one another; well anyway, I am hoping they do not do so.

The only other concern I have about Bertha, other than that she might eat Bill, is that she possibly has an injury or growth at the point where her tail would have been as a froglet before fully turning into a tailless adult. When I picked her up earlier tonight, I only saw her through the semi-opaque top of the container she was inside. I thought she actually retained a nub of the tail into adulthood. I have seen some frogs like that before. When I got her home and opened the container, I realized it was probably an injury to her cloacal lips (yes you read that right - cloacal lips - go figure). It looks like the lips may have been torn or are possibly infected. I am pretty sure it may be a minor injury or irritation and am hoping I am right. An injury will likely heal completely within a few days to a week or two. If it is a growth or infection it could be caused by a number of things like parasites, bacteria or a virus. In that case, shame on me for not quarantining her for a couple of weeks but, in a moment of brain fart esters, I put her right in with the other critters I mentioned above. If it is an illness then I may have just spread it to the others. I hope not. It could also have been the result of a prolapsed cloaca (the cloaca is the single common opening in reptiles & amphibians for passing feces and urea and for reproduction). Whatever, time will tell and I am not going to worry about it now.

Bertha should have a good life with us. If all goes well she will enhance Bill's life and he her's and maybe they will mate. If they do, I imagine most of the eggs will be eaten by the salamanders but if I find some in there I will remove them and see if I can get them to hatch and then raise the tadpoles. That would be an interesting set of events and I can always give froglets to a pet shop (I know a decent one that takes good care of their stock) or I can give them to Long Island Herpetological Society members. Since I would only raise a relative handful, it would be no problem getting them to good homes.

All the best,
Glenn B