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Posted by Slaytonp on April 21, 2003 at 19:56:50:
Before I started this hobby, I was truly scared about what to get, and like most other newcomers, checked out all of the options first. Later, I discovered some other options that are either discouraged or never mentioned.
The Dendrobates imitators are usually referred to as "not a beginner's frog." Yet, when I finally got brave enough to obtain some, I found they are easy and most delightful. Mine are multiplying like mice without any interference from me except daily maintenance and keeping the bromeliad axils full of fresh water. I think the only inhibiting factor for beginners with these little fellows is their intimidating small size. The females do fight-- like professional wrestlers with head butting, chasing and flinging in slow motion. None has ever gotten hurt, however. They will stomp and eat eggs, whether the other female's or their own, I haven't been able to prove. This may be a way of getting rid of infertile or inviable eggs. None the less, every bromeliad in their tank has a tad or two in it and all are fed regularly by the females. The very first tad, "Baby Huey," was fed by both females. He is now a juvenile delinquent and both females keep him away from his baby siblings, which he is tremendously curious about. These are wonderful frogs for watching the daily drama, enjoying the show.
Another beginner frog is the D. galactonotus. I have the pumpkin orange frogs. They are good size, bold, active and curious, getting in the middle of tank mainenance. They are in a combination vivarium/aquarium, and even go down onto the logs I put in for egress in case they should fall in, and compete with the fish for flies that have fallen in. I observed one capture a tiny platy fry that was on the surface-- probably an accident, but there was great excitement for a few hours when all were trying it out. All they needed was a six pack of Bud to look just like our local fishermen in orange jumpsuits. There were no more "catches" that I observed and they lost interest in fishing for real fish. They appear to communicate with each other about food sources. They tap one hind toe in a drumming fashion, and within no time, everyone else shows up to share. They aren't breeding, but I suspect I may have all females. None of them calls, but neither do they ever fight, so I'm not sure what is going on here.
My first frogs were the blue D. auratus. While they prosper, they are much too shy to be very interesting for a beginner. I have to keep them in a rather small vivarium with only specific hiding places in order to keep track of them. I have found that by allowing the condensation to remain on the tank sides, they will come out-- but of course, they still remain nearly invisible to a casual observer. On the other hand, it has been a challenge trying to make them feel secure while getting them to show themselves by rearranging their habitat and giving them plant cover with open spaces. I wouldn't consider them a beginner's frog because at first, a frog you can't see and show off to visitors without disturbing them, isn't much fun.
I read a sad tale on another site devoted to frogs, but mostly pond frogs and people raising tadpoles from a stream. A lady purchased a "poison dart frog" from a pet shop for her son. She had no idea what specie it was, paid $25.00 for it. She put it in his frog vivarium and it died within a day. Thank God these frogs aren't usually readily available in pet shops. They are surely something one has to think, research and plan for well ahead of any purchase.
My best wishes to "racer" who is certainly doing his research ahead of time!