October 5, 2015
Frog Blog: Becoming a Frog
- as seen by -Bill Orrico
This tiny tadpole will turn into a red-eyed tree frog in the World of Reptiles at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.
To stimulate the red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas) to breed, we increase the temperature and rainfall in their enclosure. This simulates the seasonal changes they experience in the wild and causes males and females to pair up and reproduce. The frogs lay clutches of 20-40 eggs on the underside of broad leaves over pools of water. The tadpoles hatch in about a week and fall into the water below.
Husbandry for tadpoles is similar to that of fish. We monitor water quality and temperature, making adjustments as needed. These tadpoles are voracious eaters. They eat algae and plant material from the surface of the water as well as from the tank bottom. They seem to have an almost unlimited appetite. In anywhere from three weeks to a few months the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis. Among many other internal changes, the tadpoles grow limbs and absorb their tail, and eventually crawl out of the water as full formed small frogs.
We move these new froglets to a new enclosure and provide them with plenty hiding places and small prey items. The small frogs grow quickly and are able to be displayed in a few months. It will take at least a few months longer for the frogs to fully mature and lay eggs of their own.