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Old 05-22-2019, 06:37 PM
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Default Imitator Eating Habits?

I've been keeping auratus for a year and a half or so, but am just starting out with a group of four juvenile R. imitator Varaderos. I've been feeding them a mix of springtails and melanogasters, but I have yet to see any of them eat a fly after about four weeks.

I had them in quarantine for about two weeks but bailed on it early because I don't think the temporary tank I set up had enough ventilation and it was quickly causing some rot and nastiness. Decided to just move them into the vivarium early and cross my fingers. During their time in QT I observed closely and saw them nab springs from time to time, but never any flies. I did have a bait station set up that regularly had flies on it, but didn't ever see them hanging around it or hunting flies.

In the viv, it's the same deal. It has a pretty healthy population of established springtails, and I've seen them eat a few here and there, but no flies! They also don't hang out on the bottom where the flies tend to congregate, so I moved a bait station to higher up in the vines/foliage, and still haven't seen them hanging around it or getting flies! They mostly chill in their bromeliads.

I am seeing poop around, so they have to be eating, right? Am I just overly paranoid, or should I be feeding differently? Is it normal to not see imitators or thumbnails in general eating/hunting? It's just so different from my Auratus, who pretty quickly started coming out at dinner time to snatch up everything that moved. Any other tricks to get the flies up out of the leaf litter more and closer to the frogs?
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Imitator Eating Habits?

Yes, poop comes from eating. I love the little certainties in life.

You say they don't hang out on the bottom; do you have springtails up high? My vivs don't.

My imis took a few months to become bold around me, so they are likely eating mostly when you're not looking. Do the FFs disappear from the viv?

Once they get the springs' population down, they'll eat FFs. When there is food out on the coffee table, I don't go through the work of looking in the kitchen for something else, y'know?

The frogs will go exploring for flies once they're hungry for flies, so I wouldn't worry about feeding right in front of the frogs. If the frogs look like they're getting some food, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Last edited by Socratic Monologue; 05-22-2019 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Imitator Eating Habits?

Once you get to where you are sure they are eating flies, I would switch to mostly feeding those. It's much easier to dust a fly with supplements than a group of springtails, especially if they are already established in the tank. Dusted food is better food.

Good luck!

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Old 05-22-2019, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Imitator Eating Habits?

Thank you both! I figured I'm probably being a little too concerned, but don't want to mess anything up as a first-time thumbnail keeper.

Yes, the springs are mostly in the leaf litter, but the times I've seen them eating them have all been catching a random springtail that's wandered up higher. I have yet to see them rooting around in the leaf litter at all. They do get out of their bromeliads some during the day when I'm not around, as I see poop on the glass and elsewhere, but again, it seems to be mostly in the upper half of the viv.

It's hard to say if the flies have been disappearing, certainly not at a fast rate, which is part of why I'm a little concerned. I've reduced feedings because every time I check there's still plenty of hopping flies around the bait station and I don't want to overwhelm them. I guess I'll just keep watching. As far as I can see they're not getting dangerously skinny, but they're so small it's a little hard to tell.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: Imitator Eating Habits?

These frogs are newish I'm guessing, so depending on your viv size there's possibly still a sizable springtail population. How old are your imis? Perhaps they're still at an age where they prefer springtails over fruit flies?

If you're finding that there's too many fruit flies I would feed a little less (which is what you've already done)- it's easy to overfeed your frogs. I wouldn't worry too much, they are probably being eaten by the frogs but you just don't see it. If you post a pic and we might be able to tell you if your frogs are underweight.
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