Amphibians are divided into three basic groups; caecillians,
salamanders (including newts), and frogs and toads. They are very
diverse in their habits and life-sustaining needs, and many do not
make suitable pets, as their life requirements cannot be met by the
average pet owner.
When setting up a home for your new pet, there are several
conditions that have to be considered. The first is caging. Most
amphibians do very well in a terrarium set-up. This can be provided
by taking an aquarium of suitable size and dividing it into two
sections: one for land and the other for water. Those species of
amphibians that are totally aquatic, such as the clawed frog and
various newts, should be kept in an aquarium half full of water with a
piece of cork bark, or other floating material, provided to give the
animal a rest area. Declorinated water should always be used for your
amphibians. Make sure that your set-up has a secure lid to prevent
escapes. Never house different species together. Many amphibians
secrete toxins that can be deadly to others. Secretions from some
wild-caught poison arrow frogs are so toxic that they have been
known to kill people if ingested. Due to captive breeding, toxins are
greatly reduced to non-toxic levels; for this reason, these frogs are
now enjoyed by more & more hobbyists. Pick your breeder wisely to
make sure their arrow frogs are captive bred. Remember that it is very
important that you wash your hands after handling your pet.
Temperature is of the utmost importance with amphibians. A good
rule of thumb is: Tropical species (from Africa, south Asia, or Central
and South America) generally do best at warmer temperatures, in the
range of 75 to 80 degrees F. Temperate species (from North America
or Europe) generally do best at cooler temperatures ranging from 60
to 75 degrees F. Keep in mind that altitudes make a difference.
Mountain forms come from high altitudes, which are cooler, and
should be kept at lower temperatures. Research where your
amphibian comes from and try to simulate that environment.
Amphibians eat a variety of foods, however with the addition of
vitamin and mineral supplements, this can be narrowed considerably.
Diets for salamanders and newts should consist of the following food
items: earthworms (cut to an appropriate size for the animal being
fed), and all appropriate size of crickets and wax-worms. These food
items should be sprinkled with a powdered vitamin/mineral
supplement, and should be offered at least twice a week. Frogs and
toads do not require as varied a diet . They will survive quite well on
crickets alone as long as they are sprinkled with vitamin/mineral
supplement. Earthworms can be given as an occasional treat. Some
of the larger frogs, such as the large clawed frog and Argentine
horned frog thrive on mouse pinkies and fuzzies. Give appropriate
size portions. Frogs and toads should be fed at least twice a week.
There is very little known about the diseases of amphibians, although
with time, our knowledge is increasing. The most important thing to
remember is to keep the cage clean, especially after feedings. The
reason for this is that amphibians achieve part of their breathing
through their skin. If food is left in the cage more than 24 hours, it will
rot and foul the water, thus injuring the skin of your pet, resulting in
possible death to your pet.