Hunter Park Kindergarten

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Crickets, cellar slugs and other frog food

Here's our Froglets (pepeke) back in summer 06-07
Lots of aphids on the roses for them

Plenty of greenery and branches to climb on.
Here's one of two we think are big females

and one of our 5 males, at the start of summer 08-09, having lost one who climbed out of the tank and ended up in the kitchen covered in glitter and dust (We try to keep a wet bowl on the floor now under the tank area.) These are all Litoria aurea, or green and golden bell frogs brought from a pet store.
We also have two local Litoria raniformis or southern bell frogs rescued from peoples swimming pools in a seperate tank.

Here's their home about to get a spring clean, new moss and plants after we left them to have undisturbed hybernation in winter. (One frog hiding)

As well as locusts our frogs get feed a variety of flies we catch (unsprayed windows, sunny walls on cool mornings, great spots, especially if you cook a roast with the front door open.)
I've tried making fly traps and moth traps but haven't had any success so far.
Butterflies (cabbage white with wings trimmed )get added in summer. Moths, damsel flies and easy to grow meal worms.
Receipe for meal worms.
Buy plastic fish tank with ventilated lid
Add chicken mash (from farmlands or pet store)
put down paper towels, cloths or egg cartoons on top (they need these.)
Add meal worms brought from local pet store. (Try wet pets Palmerston North)
Leave for several weeks.
Soon lots of meal worms (pāpapa) . However "Keeping frogs" says that with only 20% protien, 15% fat, small amounts of calcium and phosphorus, with ash, vitiman c and fibre, and as they are hard to digest they should be feed only to large frogs and only occasionally and not in cold weather when digestion is slowed.

What is good are crickets (pihareina), our species is Teleogryllus commodus. Catch them in the summer in the evening. The female has a three sticky out bits on the tail, the long one in the middle being the ovipositor she lays eggs with.
The grain on her wings is smooth, on males only two bits stick out and they have a curvy wing grain and sing.
We keep ours in a terranium with a light under neath for warmth and had nymphs from eggs laid in autumn by mid october. We feed them chicken mash and decaying grass.
We have damp potting mix, sand, moss and decaying grass for them to lay eggs in and egg cartoons provide a hiding habitat. They like to sunbath in a sunny spot.

Starting off looking like ants (pōpokorua), you can tell them apart because ants don't hop. They rapidly grow and are always a good size for frogs to eat.
They will eat meat, so we give them a bit of dog biscuit and they will eat the legs off any locusts they catch, so don't let them in your locust house.
I'd like to try them on a 14:10 day night cycle like the locusts to try and breed them year round, but haven't got a house for them yet. They may need a diapause were their eggs (hēki, huapēpeke, huangārara)get cold in winter, but seem to lay eggs and hatch them fine in summer.
Easy to breed and care for once they get going (we'd given up on them about two weeks before we found our first babies) they are 55% protien 30% fat, have calcium, phosphorus, vitamin c, fibre and can be baked into chocolate chip cookies.
Their singing can be tremendous and beautiful but can wear on the nerves of the inside teachers.

Our cricket house got a white powder on it. Under the digital microscope it turned out to be a mite (moroiti).
These might be good for baby frogs, but the best we found was wingless fruit fly (ngaro huarakau parirau kore)(get from pet shop) and feed on a mix of potato flakes, cider vinegar, and a few other things (I'll have to find my recipe) Nice and small froglets (not tadpoles) eat them up with relish. Just tap a few from a jar or tap some into a fresh jar of food put the rest in the frog house in a jar with holes in the lid so they can get out.

Another thing we've tried is the fantastic Limacus flavus (Linnaeus) or yellow cellar slug (Putoko). When stretched out these can be the size of your middle finger in length and fatness. Ours were picked up on wet mornings and have laid eggs regularly. The eat the moss and algae on the tank and we also supliment this with chicken mash which they seem to enjoy. If you pick them up they'll leave a sticky mucus you can't wash or strape off (leave it to dry first), so I'm not sure frogs eat them, but some of our frogs never seem to get hungry so they probably do.

We also catch slaters (howaka) (which are also breeding in our over wintering cricket house,) beetles and grow worms (noke) as well.
Remember frogs like live food.

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