Full House

Hi,

Our house is full of animals today.

April bought us all food–even Fluffy, the corn snake.

He got three mice.  But, he didn’t eat the third one so April got rid of it.  Mice smell whether they are alive or dead and this one was dead so out it went.  Fluffy gets 15 minutes to decide whether he is going to eat it or not and then he just has to wait until next time which in his case is a couple months.  We’re glad we don’t have to go two months between meals!  April got what she thinks is a great video of Fluffy eating his mice.  She plans on putting it up on the blog soon.  We think she is crazy.  Why would anyone want to watch a snake eating when they can watch us–the mighty hunters eat?

More important than Fluffy and his mice are the wax worms and crickets she got for us.  April makes a house for the wax worms so they don’t die in a couple days like they used to.  She takes an empty Glad plastic container (Tony’s lunch meat comes in it) and puts a mixture of oatmeal and honey on one end.  Then she puts the wax worms in the other end including the bedding them come in (after picking out the wax worms that have already died).  They like the oatmeal and honey mixture because in the wild they eat honeycomb from bees nests when they are in the wax worm phase of their life.  She does poke holes in the top of the Glad plastic container and keeps it on in case the worms think about crawling out.  She hand fed both of the newts pieces of a wax worm today.  She also hand fed Limey, but ,as we all know, Limey will eat anything so that isn’t too hard.

She also fixed up the cricket keeper with carrots and oranges for the big batch of crickets she bought today.  They think they are in heaven with so much good food and fun places to hide in in the cricket keeper.  April said we have to eat wax worms until the crickets get bigger.

So our house is full of animals today.  We can see the crickets and wax worms from our aquarium and if toads could salivate we would be doing just that.

Best Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

11-23-brownie-praying-from-front.jpg  Brownie

Greenie under water  Greenie, and

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-and-randal-1.jpg  Limey (Hey, Randall 1, why is everyone laughing at me?)

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We hate those red wiggle worms!

Happy New Year!

07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg  We thought we would report on our diet today.

The other day April bought those skinny red wiggly worms (the kind you can use as bait for catching fish) at the pet store for us.  The lady at the store said we would eat them.  Boy, did we prove her wrong!

April cut one up into pieces so they would be small enough for the newts to eat.  They really wiggle even after being cut up so she thought that would attract our attention and it did.

07-12-16-randal-2-showing-his-chest.jpg  First Randal 1, the fire-bellied newt, ate one.  That was a good sign she thought. 

07-12-09-limey-face-shot.jpg  Then she held one out for Limey who immediately jumped at it, bit it and pushed it all into his mouth.  Remember, Limey jumps at anything and tries to eat it.  He had Randal 1’s head in his mouth just last week.

07-12-09-limey-and-randal-1-head-to-head.jpg  Randal 1 and Limey going head to head.

April couldn’t get the rest of us to even show any interest in those worms.  She tried and tried.  It would be so nice and easy if we would eat them because they stay fresh and last longer than the wax worms or the crickets. 

After she was gone over Christmas and we were hungrier than usual she tried again and Limey took the bait but the worm had some dirt on it and Limey dropped it and tried to push the dirt out of his mouth with his front feet.  It was real cute watching him do it just like some little kid who accidently ate dirt.  After that even he ignored those wiggly red things.

So, yesterday, April went back to the pet store and bought us more crickets.  When she put in 3-4 this morning we all were hopping after them because we were so hungry.

07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-and-randal-1.jpg  Where did that cricket go to?  Do you see it Randal 1?

April says we can be as fussy as kids when it comes to eating.

Perhaps your fire-bellied toads and newts will eat those worms, but we are way to spoiled to eat them.

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie

Where do Fire-bellied Toads come from?

Hi,
Ever wonder where wild fire-bellied toads live?
There are two different genera of toads referred to as fire-bellied toads.  We are in the genera of Bombina.  There are others in the genera of Bombina but we are the ones that are also sometimes called Oriental fire-bellied toads.  In the wild we live at 5,300 to 10,000 feet above sea level in parts of Northeastern China, Southeastern Siberia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.
Image Preview China    edition.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/03/22/raise.kursk/map.russia.jpg Russia      South Korea   Japanese Map  Japan 
In our natural habitat we are able to withstand a low temperature of 41F (5C), and a high temperature of 86F (30C). Toad owners need to keep in mind that in the wild we have our natural habitat to help us survive these temperatures.  Since you cannot provide us with our true natural habitat we need a more even temperature of 64.4-68F (18-20C).  We may need extra heat in the winter months, or we could hibernate (if you provide the right environment for hibernation) at 41-59F (5-15C) for a few months.
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  We usually are found hanging out floating or swimming in ponds and streams near the shore in the wild.
07-12-09-limey-hunting-posture-he-sees-brownie.jpg  We are very special because, unlike most toads, our tongues do not fold out to catch crickets (YUMMMMM!).  Instead we have to stalk our prey, jump right up to it and grab it with our mouth.  (See “The Best Cricket Hunt Yet”)  Then, if the prey is too large to be just one bite we use our front legs to shove it into our mouth.
07-12-09-limey-showing-off-his-belly.jpg   When we are in the wild and a predator comes along we often arch our back, raise our front and back legs so they can see our bright “fire” belly.  Sometimes we roll over on our back so all of our belly shows.  That way they know if they eat us they are going to get sick from our toxin.  But, in captivity we don’t usually do this since we are pretty much safe from any predators.
07-12-13-limey-brownie-newts-cuddling-dif-angle.jpg  We love to cuddle and we even hug  10-27-07-courtship3.jpg  (if one of us is a male and one is a female).
We all have fire-bellies on bottom but can be very different colors on our top sides.  We come in many tones of brown and green ranging all the way from dark, dark brown to lime green.  In fact, we sometimes change our colors and a lime green toad can become dark green.  We don’t know why this happens but it may be temperature changes or even mood changes.  A naturally brown toad can’t change its color to bright green, but a bright green toad will become dark green on occasion.  We all have glossy black spots on our backs and two areas where we secrete our toxins.  These two areas usually are a slightly different color than the rest of our body.
When we are in the wild and between 2 and 4 years old we will mate in the months of April and May.  A male hugs a female just like you see in the picture above when they mate. The female then lays anywhere from 80 to 300 eggs!  The eggs can be found hanging off plant stems.  Tadpoles eat mainly algae and plants.  The toadlets live in pools or puddles where they eat insects like flies and beetles but also worms and water spiders.  They turn into toads in just a few weeks. Their metamorphosis is complete some time in July or August. Some eggs are laid in August and these will metamorphose in the spring.
We didn’t come from the wild but from a toad farm.  In order to protect the ecosystem of any habitat please never take animals out of the wild to keep as pets.  Just as we mentioned in an earlier blog that you should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER release your pets into the wild.  We could destroy the ecosystem of your backyard if you released us out there.  If you find you can’t care for your pets any longer take them to a pet store and ask the manager to find a good home for them.  Most pet stores are more than willing to help you find a home for your pets.
Kind Regards,
Greenie, Brownie and Limey
07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie

Releasing a Fire-Bellied Toad into the Wild

07-12-16-limey-foreground-randal-2-background.jpg  What happens when you release a fire-bellied toad into the wild?

DISASTER!

Fire-bellied toads are not native to most of the world.  Oriental fire-bellied toads are found in the wild in parts of Northeastern China, Southeastern Siberia, Korea and the Tsushima and Kyushu islands of Japan.

That cute little toad you have in your home as a pet most likely was born at a toad farm and not in the wild.  It has never been in the wild and should never be in the wild.

If you grow tired of taking care of your fire-bellied toad (or any critter that is not native to your area) find a good home for it.  Or, take it to a pet store and ask them to find a good home for it.  Many pet stores will take pets in and adopt them out to another good home.  This goes for fish also.  If a fish gets too big for your tank or you need to get rid of it for some reason a fish store will take it in.  Owners of pet stores realize that it is in their best interest to take in these creatures rather than have them released into the wild and hurt the native habitat.

If you released your fire-bellied toad into the wild the native animals that live in your area would be negatively affected.  Whole ecosystems have been changed because of people introducing non-native animals into areas.  A good example is the cane toad that was introduced into Australia in 1935 and have been raising havoc ever since.  Check out the complete story at: http://www.fdrproject.org/pages/toads.htm

The cane toad is highly poisonous but it seems this was not taken into account when authorities decided to use them to get rid of cane beetles in the sugar cane fields in Gordonvale, Australia.  After being introduced into Australia in hopes that they would take care of this pest problem (which the toads never did take care of) the cane toad continued to flourish because it had no natural predators.  Almost all of Australia is now overrun with large, poisonous cane toads.

All stages of a cane toad’s life they are poisonous.  They have no natural predators to keep their numbers under control.  There is evidence that they may be eating Australia’s frog population.  Fish who eat toadpoles die.  Animals who eat adults die.  Snakes have been found killed by toad toxin so fast that the toad is still in their mouth.  Small amounts of water such as a pet’s water dish can be fouled by the toad’s poison and the pet will become sick from drinking out of it.

The pests have spread across most of Queensland, the Northern Territory into the wetlands of Kakadu.  They have hitched a ride to Sydney in vegetable trucks and now are entering the native habitat of the already endangered Green and Golden Bell frog.

All of this havoc is now reducing many species of Australia wildlife even crocodiles!

No one thought when a little over 100 cane toads were released into a few sugar cane fields in a very small area to eat cane beetles that the whole of Australia’s ecosystem would be negatively affected and that effect would reach the crocodile population.

Let’s use more of our common sense than these “intelligent” authorities did in Australia and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER release your fire-bellied toad into the wild.

Kind Regards,

Greenie, Brownie & Limey

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie & Greenie

P.S.  That goes for fire-bellied newts also.   07-12-16-randal-2-front-face-shot-showing-underside-resized.jpg  Randal 1 and Randal 2

9 reasons why fire-bellied toads and newts got their name

Fire-bellied.  Why?  Let us count the ways.

1.  newt-under-water-showing-belly.jpg

2.  07-12-16-limey-close-up-front-showing-belly-resized.jpg

3.  07-12-16-randal-2-showing-his-chest.jpg

4.  07-12-16-limey-partly-submerged-showing-off-belly.jpg

5.  07-12-16-randal-2-front-face-shot-showing-underside-resized.jpg

6.  07-12-17-limey-showing-off-underbelly.jpg

7.  07-12-16-randal-2-close-up-showing-underside.jpg

8.  11-23-greenie-showing-belly2.jpg

9. 07-12-16-limey-foreground-randal-2-background.jpg

Fire-Bellied Toads and Personality Plus

Hi again,

April asked us to write to you about personalities.

As animals, and especially amphibians, many people out there probably think “How boring having a toad as a pet.” or  “Give me an active dog or persnickety cat any day.”

But, you would be extremely surprised at how entertaining we are.  It became more noticeable when Limey came to live with us.  Then suddenly there were three very different personalities in one aquarium.

Brownie is a little shy and retiring (partly due to Greenie constantly attempting to show his affection). 10-27-07-courtship3.jpg You will often find her in the corner of the aquarium hanging onto a rock and just keeping an eye on things from afar.  She doesn’t jump and swim away when the tank top is opened–just watches to see what is going to happen.  She is an expert cricket hunter and when she is hungry nothing scares her away from a juicy cricket.

Greenie started out being very aggressive and not afraid of anything.  Then suddenly he became “jumpy.”  Any time April opens the top of the aquarium to talk to them and see what is going on Greenie will slip into the water and even swim down to a hiding place.  Occasionally he will just slip into the water and then hang onto a rock with just his nose and eyes protruding above the water line.Greenie hanging  Curious, but not brave enough to  come out of hiding.

Then Limey came on the scene.  Limey doesn’t like emerging himself totally in the water.  He spends 99 percent of his time on the rocks.  And, nothing gets by him.  Every time April or Tony opens up the top of the aquarium they see Limey’s body on alert.  He is either stalking one of the newts–ready to pounce if they move their tail.  Or he is intently looking out into the water at Brownie, Greenie, or a fish.  He seldom just sits around like Greenie but is turning and moving to get a better view of the next object of his attention.

Limey even observes what is going on outside the aquarium.  You will find him with his face up to the glass looking out.  His body posture shows he is following the movement of something outside his home boundaries.  April walked up one day and she had a top with white buttons on it.  As she got closer Limey, who had been very intent on watching her, pounced against the glass and tried to bite the button on her shirt.  For 15 minutes April tested him with different objects and he never gave up attempting to eat small objects on the other side of the glass.  We didn’t say he was smart–just entertaining.

There are a lot of dogs and cats out there that give a person less attention when they show up than Limey does to April when she comes to see him.

He is an avid cricket hunter albeit not a good one.  He spends three times as much energy to catch one cricket as Greenie or Brownie do.  But, he is young and may learn to be more patient and wait for the cricket to come to him.  In the meantime, the entertainment value is at a very small price (the price of a few crickets).

He still likes to pounce on the newts tails.  April caught him pouncing on Randal 1’s tail and actually grabbing his tail with his mouth before letting it go.  This was weeks after Limey had arrived so we know he is well aware of the fact that a newt’s tail is not food.  In fact, today he jumped at a newt and had the newt’s whole head in his mouth.  He slowly let the newt go.  The newt didn’t even flinch.  Like a patient dog with a baby pulling his hair the newt sat there and just waited for Limey to let him go.

Limey may have a little kitten in him (or lion).  He certainly behaves like one.

And, he is a camera hog.  Bring out a camera and he’s hopping, jumping, stalking all with a winning smile on his face.  Yep, this guy may be heading to Hollywood.

 07-12-09-limey-cricket-hat-spread-out-in-strange-post.jpg  Perhaps a comedy role would suit him.

Kind Regards,

Brownie, Greenie and Limey

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg  Limey, Brownie and Greenie

The Best Cricket Hunt Yet

Hi,

We just finished the best cricket hunt ever.  April filmed most of it.  And, she said it ended so sweet with all three of us basking in the glory of the hunt.

See for yourself.

Kind Regards,

Limey, Brownie and Greenie

P.S. April still doesn’t know if Limey is a male or female yet.  We plan on keeping her guessing for a while.

07-12-12-limey-brownie-and-greenie-close-up.jpg