Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Garden's Saturday Frog Feedings

One of the Dendrobates tinctorius varieties we have in our Okipipi exhibit — the Azureus morph
Every Saturday morning @ 11,  we host a frog feeding and informal talk where visitors of all ages are encouraged to attend. We have an assortment of bugs to offer the frogs in each exhibit, and an Amphibian Discovery Cart with materials and information about frogs; including information regarding some of the problems these animals are facing and why they need conservation programs such as ours.

Most of the time, we get between 50 and 100 visitors during the event, and it's exciting to see so many amphibian enthusiasts!

Our 2 Poison frog exhibits are popular with visitors as the frogs are active and not afraid to be watched. 
Our Frogs of Panama exhibit has more frogs on display than any other, but it takes time to spot all 4 species.

I like to start the talk with the Poison frogs, specifically our Phyllobates exhibit 'Colombia's Terrible Trio' for a number of reasons. The first of which is that they are always hungry. The second reason is that these animals are not shy — one can generally spot all 6 from across the room. Furthermore, they are diurnal (active during daylight) which is not the typical activity pattern for a frog. All of these qualities make them excellent exhibit animals, and a great place to start feeding.

Here I am demonstrating the agility and bright flash colors of a Splendid Leaf frog | Cruziohyla calcarifer this Saturday (photo by Becky Brinkman from The Orchid Column blog)
After the 2 Poison frog exhibits, the next frogs on the agenda are the Splendid Leaf frogs | Cruziohyla calcarifer. Although they are among the largest frogs we have on exhibit, they are easy to miss if you don't know where to look. These tree frogs are nocturnal and camouflage with the leaf they are sleeping on. Despite the fact that they are asleep during the presentation, they will readily accept crickets offered to them on forceps! They are one of my favorite frogs to feed because sometimes they use both hands to grab the insect and shove it in their mouth.

Come on out some Saturday morning, learn about frogs and the conservation work we are doing at the Garden and afterwards, look for Phantasmal Poison frogs in the conservatory!