April is National Frog Month, and Stone Zoo is celebrating their first successful hatching of Dyeing Dart Frog eggs.
The eggs require special care to reach the tadpole stage. The water conditions must be just right. The first little tadpole (in photo below) has been named Thad. He shares his aquarium with a snail named Chad.
The tadpoles breathe with gills underwater. They gradually develop legs, then lungs. and they metamorphose into adult Frogs. Along with Toads and Salamanders, Frogs are Amphibians. Amphibians are known as indicator species, because they can absorb environmental toxins through their skin. Ecosystems with large numbers of Amphibians are generally healthy.
Dyeing Dart Frogs are a type of Dart-poison Frog. These Frogs live in the moist forests of Guyana, Surname, Brazil, and French Guiana, where they feed on ants, mites, and termites. Chemicals from their prey are accumulated in the Frogs’ skin glands, rendering the Frogs poisonous to the touch.
There are more than 170 species of Dart-Poison Frogs. About four of those species have been documented as being used to create poisonous blowdarts. To create these poisonous darts, indigenous peoples apply the Frogs’ skin secretions to the darts’ tips.
In the video above, a Magnificent Tree Frog, native to Australia, munches on crickets. Zoo keepers use the crickets to lure the Frogs from their hiding places each morning, allowing the staff to account for each Frog under their care.
Stone Zoo is a partner in the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, which works to protect existing amphibian populations and introduce captive-bred Frogs into the wild.