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Old 08-16-2019, 06:41 PM
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Default Temperatures

Hi! I've been lurking this forum for years in the hope that one day I'd have some darts. Well I'm starting to get serious about it and I have a question. One of my concerns is the temperature. I'm located in the south of Italy and it can get pretty hot here in the summer, I'm talking about 30C-35C, so the frogs could go awhile being pretty hot. Are there any frogs that could live with these kind of temperatures during the summer? I would really love to get AC but am unable to do so. Thank you.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

It is generally accepted that temps over 29C/85F are dangerous, especially when this happens often. Exceeding 32C/90f is certainly to be avoided at all costs.

Some folks may have stories about exceeding these temps successfully. Other people have reported fatalities at these temperatures. Note that typically, the temps inside vivs are higher than ambient.

It certainly sounds as if some other kind of captive animal would suit your situation better.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Temperatures

Honestly, I'd avoid dart frogs with those temperatures. I'm in the middle of a fairly temperate summer in the USA with my air conditioning on 68 degrees all day and I'm still getting temperatures in my tanks around the mid to upper 70's during the afternoon, to the point where I only keep one lightbulb on each tank to keep temperatures down. Dart frog tanks will likely be warmer on the inside than their surroundings, I've found.
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:10 AM
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Default Re: Temperatures

Depends on the species and size of the vivarium. Larger = more opportunity to escape. Most of the temp recs you hear are... suspect.. at best and really the result of frogs that cant thermoregulate. Some positively thrive in heat, including for example retics, which I can personally attest are active and thriving in the wild at temps well into the 90s (with screaming high humidity).
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

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frogs that can’t thermoregulate.
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active and thriving in the wild at temps well into the 90s
This is interesting, and likely features into why frogs' temperature tolerances in captivity are pretty narrow.

There was a recent thread here relating to the heatwave in northern Europe where the OP was baffled that their frog(s) died at temps that would be reached in the frogs' native part of the world. One reason for that, of course, is that the temp reported on weather outlets tends to be measured at the airport, or near cities, where the temps can be easily 10F higher than at knee level in a forested area.

Another reason is that our animals aren't in the wild, and so experience -- among a likely host of other difficulties -- a restriction on how well they can thermoregulate, either by seeking cooler spots, or evaporative cooling, or something else.

To be clear for the OP, who has no frog experience at all: reticulata are not ideally kept in captivity in temps that routinely go into the 90s F (the OP said 35C/95F), correct?
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

I think the ideal range for retics is probably 80-90, with cooler spots deeper in the leaf litter available. That is probably the right range for many lowland frogs too, again with the stipulation that they be able to choose to get cooler if they need. The problem is that so many people keep pairs of frogs in 10 gallon tanks, so when the tank reaches 90 or whatever, the whole thing really is 90. It's funny how we don't think anywhere near as much about thermoregulation with frogs as the snake/lizard guys do. No one would dream of having a single temperature available to a bearded dragon, but with frogs it's routine.
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Old 08-17-2019, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

Yes, the number of reptile species that are even occasionally kept at one uniform temperature I think I can count on one hand.

npaull, so you think that -- like reef corals, I'm thinking of here -- some Dendrobatids tend to live at the upper end of their tolerated temperature range to start with? I suspect they do.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

I think most herps spend their time (when not hibernating obviously) closer to "too hot" than "too cold." You take a varanid with a core temp of 105 and it can go a long way down and survive, but only a little bit up before there are problems. But it still "likes" to be at 105.

I think a second factor in heat problems with darts is probably actually a humidity problem (ie they get hot AND dry, and that's rapidly fatal).

A third problem is fluctuation - I would guess it's more dangerous to hit 95 if the frog has previously lived at 70 forever than it is to hit 95 if they've been hanging out at 87. But that's definitely a guess.

If you think of the range that dendrobatids span, both in latitude and elevation, then of course there are going to be huge variations in what's tolerated and appropriate from species to species. But it's always struck me as strange to insist that an animal from a place that routinely is above 90 should be maintained at 70. When I caught retics in the wild (excellent honeymoon) it was so stiflingly hot and humid I could barely function (I mean literally, it was unbelievable). But the frogs were out and about and happy. And the ground temperature there was for sure over 85, with air temps at 6' off the ground approaching hell. I'm sure that many if not most pumilio morphs are similarly exposed to high heat, as well as lots of auratus and probably leucs etc etc. On the other hand there are for sure some highland Ranitomeya that very rarely see 90 in their cloud forests or whatever.

I have long suspected, but have no proof, that some of the "hard" morphs are "hard" at least partly because we don't quite understand their microclimate requirements. Just guessing offhand, retics probably want it hotter than most people are keeping them, perhaps highland lamasi (sorry, sirensis...) like it cooler... I've heard rumors (but have no direct experience) that lehmanni like the difficult trifecta of somewhat cooler, saturatingly humid, and with good air movement... After all, everything breeds easily and thrives in its native environment, so if you're recreating that, there should be no such thing as a "difficult" species.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Temperatures

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Originally Posted by npaull View Post
I think most herps spend their time (when not hibernating obviously) closer to "too hot" than "too cold." You take a varanid with a core temp of 105 and it can go a long way down and survive, but only a little bit up before there are problems. But it still "likes" to be at 105.

I think a second factor in heat problems with darts is probably actually a humidity problem (ie they get hot AND dry, and that's rapidly fatal).

A third problem is fluctuation - I would guess it's more dangerous to hit 95 if the frog has previously lived at 70 forever than it is to hit 95 if they've been hanging out at 87. But that's definitely a guess.

If you think of the range that dendrobatids span, both in latitude and elevation, then of course there are going to be huge variations in what's tolerated and appropriate from species to species. But it's always struck me as strange to insist that an animal from a place that routinely is above 90 should be maintained at 70. When I caught retics in the wild (excellent honeymoon) it was so stiflingly hot and humid I could barely function (I mean literally, it was unbelievable). But the frogs were out and about and happy. And the ground temperature there was for sure over 85, with air temps at 6' off the ground approaching hell. I'm sure that many if not most pumilio morphs are similarly exposed to high heat, as well as lots of auratus and probably leucs etc etc. On the other hand there are for sure some highland Ranitomeya that very rarely see 90 in their cloud forests or whatever.

I have long suspected, but have no proof, that some of the "hard" morphs are "hard" at least partly because we don't quite understand their microclimate requirements. Just guessing offhand, retics probably want it hotter than most people are keeping them, perhaps highland lamasi (sorry, sirensis...) like it cooler... I've heard rumors (but have no direct experience) that lehmanni like the difficult trifecta of somewhat cooler, saturatingly humid, and with good air movement... After all, everything breeds easily and thrives in its native environment, so if you're recreating that, there should be no such thing as a "difficult" species.
Very interesting point. I thought so too, these kind of frogs surely can live in the 90s in the wild, the problem would rise in my vivarium since frogs don't have that much space to thermoregulate. My Viv is 60x40x50cm so that was my main concern. Anyway, thanks to all for the feedback. I'll see if I can think of something.
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

There are lots of ways to cool at tank.

Using the search tool revealed a bunch of past discussions.

Peltier water cooling discussion.

Actual build with pictures

Cooling tank Ideas.


Others have used mini refrigerators and pumping chilled water loops into the tank.

Mini fridge build

Simpler low tech solutions would be freezing several pop bottles and placing one in the tank. Running your lights opposite of the day schedule. If you only have to get through a heat wave, these are simple ways of developing some cooling.

Good general Help I need cooling thread.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

Also access to an underground basement goes a helluva long way towards stable cool temperatures.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

From a temperature perspective, I couldn't agree more. Basements are usually a great place for steady temps. I have one and it would be a great place for my frogs to regulate the temps. However, I don't spend much much time down there and I have found that I tend to neglect what I don't see on a regular basis. In the context of this thread, it's the best suggestion. Not always an option, though. I sure wish it was - I would catch less heat for flies in the kitchen!

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Old 08-21-2019, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

I've been to southern Italy and yes, it can get very hot and humid! Without reliable AC and given that evaporative cooling is ineffective at high humidity levels, I'd pass on the darts if I were you.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

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Also access to an underground basement goes a helluva long way towards stable cool temperatures.
Basements rock. They are the absolute best feature you can have in a home, for herp keeping. Unfortunately I doubt many homes in Basilicata or wherever have basements though - their main function nowadays is to prevent freeze-heaving of building foundations.

On the other hand, lots of Italian villages have wine caves! Can you get your frog viv into a cave? That would be great. Or, do any homes there have root cellars? Places the old people used to keep onions, potatoes and pumpkins and such? Move into a place like that, is my suggestion.

Another low-tech, but backyard solution to survive hot spells could just be to dig a waist-deep hole in the ground, put some gravel in the bottom, and cover it with e.g., a pallet with a blanket over it. Got strong back? Ha ha. Not really kidding though. When I have lived in hot areas I have considered building a sunken shed to keep my animals in. Insulate the part above ground. Natural air conditioning. Hey, think about it.

Good luck!
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:16 PM
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I live in Dallas TX and it normally gets to 100-105 (37-41 c) daily in the summer. I keep my AC on 73 (23 c) and the highest my vivs reached were 81 (27 c). I've been playing with the idea to hook up a Neptune Apex aquarium controller with a temp probe to cut off the lights in the viv once it gets reaches 80 or above. Also been thinking g about making the Apex kick on my mist king system every hour for 5-10 seconds to help cool it down while the temps ate very high. Just have not pulled the trigger on an extra Apex yet. Has anyone ever hooked up an Apec to their vivs? Any Interestimg things you have done with it?
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:29 AM
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Also been thinking g about making the Apex kick on my mist king system every hour for 5-10 seconds to help cool it down while the temps ate very high.
Not sure about this. Is the water going to be chilled? If so, that would cool down the viv. If not, that misting would raise the humidity and in doing so reduce the ability of the frogs to self-regulate their body temps through evaporative cooling.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Temperatures

I do have a basement actually, and yes it can get pretty cool. It's not entirely underground though. Basically three walls of the basement are underground, while only one is not. I'm located in Sicily, where it usually isn't humid at all, just dry heat. The summer period is not constantly at 35, this summer for example we had a heat wave where temperatures reached 36 on and off for a week or two, it usually oscillates between 27 and 31. Thanks for the feedback again.

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Old 08-23-2019, 02:06 PM
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Whether the water is chilled or not, water temperatures are typically around 5 degrees cooler than the room they are in. Add some fans to pull that humidity out and you can quickly cool in a dry room. In a humid room not really possible.
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:28 PM
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A Whites Tree Frog can handle high heat and low humidity like you describe. What about Solomon Island Leaf Frogs ? Does anyone here have experience with them? I thought I read an article recently that said they can tolerate mid 80's F. Or does the OP just mean dart frogs ? Btw I've been to Sicily, I was in the US Navy at the time, and we were in a town called Taromina I think. Anyways there were little green lacertid family lizards chasing after bugs. They were fast, couldn't catch them. I'll assume they were Green Lizards and not Jeweled Lacertas due to their smaller size. Mt. Etna was pretty cool also.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:20 AM
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Whether the water is chilled or not, water temperatures are typically around 5 degrees cooler than the room they are in.
If the surface of the water is exposed to the air, then it is possible to get a few degrees F of cooling of that water through evaporation. Water that cannot evaporate (as in my covered mister reservoir) is exactly ambient temperature.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:52 AM
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Yes I was referring to open containers
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Temperatures

With temps that high and without a reliable AC, there's no way to keep darts. As much as I hate saying that to someone with an interest, you just can't keep darts at temps that high. Misting won't cool them down. Take some temperature readings in the basement during the summer...that's probably your only option. There's plenty of other herps that can thrive in those temps...look at branching out a little. And you never know...in a few years or so if you move or get transferred to cooler climates, give it a go with the darts.
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