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Tomato Frog, Dyscothus guineti


Introduction The Tomato Frog is a moderate size frog, reaching about 4-5 inches. They are native to Madagascar with a restricted habitat in the northwest part of the island. They are primarily terrestrial, inhabiting forest areas and cultivated farmland and gardens. Tomato Frogs are ambush predators. Crepescular amphibians, they wait motionless for unsuspecting prey to venture to close before striking them with their sticky tongue.

Acclimation and Quarantine Quarantine and acclimation enclosures need not be elaborate, instead they should be sterile and easy to clean. Appropriately sized tanks or plastic Rubbermaid containers can be used. Water should be changed frequently. Be sure to provide a heat gradient, a water dish, and climbing opportunities. Artificial foliage will provide seemingly natural hide areas and should be provided for additional security. This setup should be used until the frog is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing After the frog has been quarantined and is feeding well, it may be set up in a decorated enclosure. Tomato Frogs will do well in a 10-20 gallon aquarium. Since they are terrestrial, vertical space is not very important. The terrarium can be decorated using branches, limbs and artificial or live plants. See our "HOW TOs" for tips on Constructing a Natural Looking Terrarium.

For the substrate, a mixture of peat, coconut earth and cypress mulch in a ratio of 1:1:1 will make a mixture that will maintain humidity and provide a good rooting medium for the addition of live plants. One may also choose to place a layer of gravel on the bottom of the tank to provide adequate drainage. On the top of the substrate, sphagnum moss makes a nice addition and will also aid in retaining humidity in the tank. It is also easy to spot clean; completely remove and replace.

Another easier, but less visually appealing set up would consist of an enclosure, hide spot, water bowl, artificial or potted live plants and a paper towel on the bottom. This enclosure design is very sanitary and easy to clean. Simply change the towel every day or two. The moist soil of the potted live plants will aid in maintaining the humidity in combination with a daily misting.

Heating and Lighting Terrarium temperature gradients for the day time should be maintained between 70-80 degrees F. Night time temps may be allowed to drop 10 degrees or so, so that temps are between 60-70 degrees.

Incandescent lights may be used as a heat source, but in most applications, will be too hot. We recommend using full spectrum florescent lights to maintain most amphibians. They provide enough heat assuming the average indoor temps are in the low to mid 70's. Be sure to utilize a light that produces UVB. If additional heat is needed, a heat pad is the best way to provide additional heat. A photoperiod of 12 hours of light and 12 of dark is sufficient.

Tomato Frogs need UVB exposure from a quality light. Amphibians synthesize vitamin D3 when exposed to UVB. Vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium to be metabolized. Animals that are not exposed to UVB can develop Metabolic Bone Disease, especially babies and juveniles. If MBD isn't treated in a timely fashion, skeletal deformities, kidney failure, seizures, and eventually death will occur.

Humidity Humidity should range between 70 and 80 percent. However brief periods above and below this range is acceptable. Providing a source of water, restricting the air flow, and misting the enclosure are all ways to manipulate and maintain humidity.

Feeding Tomato Frogs are simple to feed. Provide them with a variety of appropriately sized insects such as crickets, meal worms, flies, fruit flies (wingless, phoenix worms, wax worms etc.

All Insects should be dusted with a quality vitamin and mineral supplement twice a week for baby tree frogs and once weekly for adults.

Insects should be offered in moderation, as some, such as crickets, may actually prey on weak and baby frogs. All food items should be no larger than the width between the eyes of the frog you are feeding.

Water A shallow bowl of clean water should always be provided. We do not recommend using tap water for your amphibians. If you must use tap water, be sure to neutralize chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals with a product such as Seachem's Prime.