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Old 11-24-2019, 06:33 AM
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Default The Woods Vivarium

Hello, I am finally going to break my silence on what I will be doing next with my toads. I will not update this post as much as some others because I am very far away from the build but I will post when things happen.

So I have had different posts on here talking about my 125 gallon containing my toads. Well to get to the point as to why I'm making this thread I am actually going to upgrade their enclosure. I am still not 100% on the tank but right now if it stands it would be a 240 gallon enclosure. I plan long term to have two pairs of American toads inside the setup. I may add a different species a very very long time from now, but it is planned as an all toad tank right now. Many people are probably going to read this and be shocked only 4 toads in an 8 foot long enclosure?

I believe in less animals more space. I am using these toads for a project to also benefit the state at least my local neighborhood to replenish the toads by attempting to breed my toads and release the offspring in an artificial vernal pool I'm building.

I will answer what I have to if someone has questions or doubts about what I'm doing but that's not the focus of this post. I will have a disclaimer I have a license from the fish and boat commission and I spoke with the chief biologist on behalf of my project with my toads. I am also studying to be a researcher and herpetologist in the future and my focus is northeastern frogs and toads.

Now this setup will be something for a toad tank you have never seen before. I will have changing seasons with as accurate weather and climate conditions as possible. I will have rainstorms, thunderstorms, foggy days, sunny days, highs in the 70s, lows in the 60s, changing feeders, changing light cycles and many other things. I will attempt brumation in a mini fridge as the San Diego zoo did with the Red Legged Frog in CA.

I plan to have different feeders trying to replicate some of the feeders the toads will find in the wild at the time of the season we will currently be in. I will use grubs for example in the spring and small crickets, but as the season goes on in Autumn adult crickets both Domestic and Banded. I hope to breed grasshoppers and breed any parasites out of them so generations of grasshoppers. One thing when I was younger I wanted was to have insects in the setup. Aside from Isopods and Springtails I will not attempt to keep crickets or a feeder in the setup. I know there are too many variables unfavorable with this. If some survive the toads and live in the setup I will allow it, but it will be very difficult to do.

My toads currently have a parasitic nematode which they are going to be treated for, and until multiple tests show they are negative I am waiting to brumate. My toads must be clean or as close to dewormed as possible to brumate and to reproduce. They are indeed pets first and aiding my project after. So if something isn't right I am not forcing anything like if they can't brumate this year oh well. It's going to be done right.

These are my favorite animals and I go on trips in the spring to road rescue and document them. I love them in the wild and my toads (3 of 4) were rescued. Even though toads are abundant and mine were rescues I want to give back to the environment I obtained them from and it's one of my life's goals to help this species in the wild to thrive and to improve captive care. People have the greatest setups with Darts and exotic frogs and even though to some these are boring dumb toads I will have so much fun building this and creating an environment my favorite animals can thrive in.

In conclusion of this post I will say I'm very excited to plan this upcoming project and I am looking forward to introducing my toads to you in the next post. I have a lot to talk about like my goal only to use zoned plants basically native to the environment these specific toads lived in, my supplements, feeders, more details on the weather and all kinds of cool stuff.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I will leave you with some pictures of the toads and their 125 gallon enclosure currently.

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Last edited by AAronCap; 11-24-2019 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: The Woods Vivarium

Toads are actually some of my favourite herps. When I was a kid I kept a few; catch-and-release.

I guess I was about 16 when I also had a single Asian Spiny Toad living in a 108 gallon planted terrarium (what we called them back then) ... watching him roam and hunt a 6-foot enclosure was very cool.

Good luck with the project!
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:45 AM
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We have the first toad who might be parasite free...

So I recently revealed my plan to have 4 toads in a 240 gallon if they were all parasite free. Well when I went to the vet last Wednesday I got the test results back for Wellsboro the "Golden Toad" and he had his second negative test for all parasites. This is a big deal because he was so bad last year and withering away from many parasites. Now he currently is doing so well that he picks and chooses what he wants to eat.

I put different feeders in daily and he actually will refuse prey items and I talked to the vet and she said he could be so full that he might not want to eat larger prey items at the moment. Well I tested this and I found out after just two days of not feeding him it was true because he was refusing crickets for a while until I stopped feeding for two days. Then all of a sudden he started hunting them just like he used to. So even though it is the time of year when toads are less active, one my toads is actually so full he is choosing what he wants to eat!

Wellsboro could be the first toad to be hibernated in my care and even better the first confirmed clean toad. He looks the part and I'm super happy and hope he passes the next two tests. He will need to be healthy living with my female toad Ace who will challenge him because they hunt the same way. I have observed over the years my toads have different styles of hunting. Ace and Wellsboro chase and stalk prey. So as they live together some day I know it will be very exciting for me to watch those two hunting down crickets and other insects.

Moving on from Wellsboro is his hopeful mate Navi. She was rescued in September and I have yet to find poop from her. She looks great and has settled into captivity. She's a very lazy toad though. I thought all females might be these awesome predators, but Navi has never chased any prey item. She sits between the food dish and water dish. I'm not sure how this will go with her sitting and waiting for food while two other toads are hopping around trying to eat everything. She shows great patience which is what wild toads do when waiting for prey and usually younger toads do this. If this is her hunting style the camping and sniping style then it will be cool to see how it works out with Ace and Wellsboro being true hunters.

When I can get a stool sample from her I will know how much work we need to do to get her to hibernate with Wellsboro assuming he stays healthy. It would be a truly incredible feat to see a newcomer such as Navi with little to no worms. Hopefully we can find out soon!

Next it's time to talk about the toad couple Ace and Pious. These two have been living in the 125 gallon and are doing very very well. There is one thing I'm nervous about with them and it's the results from a fecal exam. They may have pinworms. These are nasty little creatures and if Ace and Pious do I will have to figure something out with the vet and come up with a plan to kill them off. She suggested removing the soil and putting in new which I will do this week. The vet didn't have the results on her chart but she said either Ace and Pious have pinworms or the gray tree frogs do. If it's the tree frogs it's an easy fix because they are already in quarantine. Let's hope and pray it's them and not toads in a bioactive vivarium.

Ace and Pious look really good. I said this before and I will say it again that this is the healthiest Ace has looked ever in her life. Not only that but Pious looks happy to be in the setup with her. Pious is more laid back and his hunting style he will wait like Navi, but he moves around a little bit more. He doesn't chase prey but he lets Ace bring it to him. They actually complement one another. Ace causes panic and Pious ambushes a cricket here and there. I am very happy with these two and I'm very excited to see them healthy so they can hibernate and we can attempt to breed them in the spring. They are the original couple so I really want them to be the first pair to mate for me.

I just wanted to give the update that for the gray tree frogs and all the toads tested negative for the nematodes. This is the first time ever so I'm hoping as I said Wellsboro is clean for two more tests and that Ace and Pious can get on track and be next in line to be clean.

In the next update I'll explain more about the seasons and the changing environment for the 240 gallon with authentic weather conditions.

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Old 12-03-2019, 04:22 AM
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As someone who has helped with captive breeding projects for amphibians for release, this seems sketchy at best. I'm only speaking to your plans to release your offspring. Do you have the proper permits to both "rescue" and release animals? The fish and boat commission does not seem like the relevant governing body. It would be your states environmental agency, or US Fish and Wildlife. What is your biocontainment like to ensure the animals you are releasing are not introducing anything to the wild population? Are your breeders in a sterile room? Not only does what you are saying sound less than legal, it sounds like you should not be doing it.

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Old 12-03-2019, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Drthsideous View Post
As someone who has helped with captive breeding projects for amphibians for release, this seems sketchy at best. I'm only speaking to your plans to release your offspring. Do you have the proper permits to both "rescue" and release animals? The fish and boat commission does not seem like the relevant governing body. It would be your states environmental agency, or US Fish and Wildlife. What is your biocontainment like to ensure the animals you are releasing are not introducing anything to the wild population? Are your breeders in a sterile room? Not only does what you are saying sound less than legal, it sounds like you should not be doing it.
I have the permit from the state to own the toads. So legally I do own them. The agreement is that the toads have to be treated by a vet to remove the parasites in order to move to the next step. I have contacted the people that I have needed to and I will talk to anyone else about this. I have fought for this right and earned the right to own these toads and to release their offspring in the place they were rescued.

As long as I abide to what was asked of me and I maintain the permits I am given the right to release healthy offspring back into the wild.

I am not doing a mass captive breeding project just 2 pairs of toads that I have been working very hard to get dewormed. You only need a fishing license to own a toad in my state and if you have multiple people with a permit you can have that number of toads. I actually would be safe if I chose this route but I applied for the permit to own my toads. I am just stating there are many ways to own as you said "rescued toads"

The question you brought up as to my toads having a parasite that could harm the wild population is valid unless I were not getting the toads thoroughly tested. I am only going to pursue step two (introduction of tadpoles) if the toads are parasite free. For the moment in time we are speaking on them they have only tested for native parasites.

I appreciate the concern about the breeding project but this is something that has been very controversial for years now and I have complied with the state in every angle of the process, and I have taken even more drastic measures to make sure my toads are healthy and they produce healthy offspring back into the area they are from. I also would appreciate being given the opportunity to explain something if you are unsure as opposed to being accused of doing something illegal.

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Old 12-04-2019, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drthsideous View Post
As someone who has helped with captive breeding projects for amphibians for release, this seems sketchy at best. I'm only speaking to your plans to release your offspring. Do you have the proper permits to both "rescue" and release animals? The fish and boat commission does not seem like the relevant governing body. It would be your states environmental agency, or US Fish and Wildlife. What is your biocontainment like to ensure the animals you are releasing are not introducing anything to the wild population? Are your breeders in a sterile room? Not only does what you are saying sound less than legal, it sounds like you should not be doing it.
I have the permit from the state to own the toads. So legally I do own them. The agreement is that the toads have to be treated by a vet to remove the parasites in order to move to the next step. I have contacted the people that I have needed to and I will talk to anyone else about this. I have fought for this right and earned the right to own these toads and to release their offspring in the place they were rescued.

As long as I abide to what was asked of me and I maintain the permits I am given the right to release healthy offspring back into the wild.

I am not doing a mass captive breeding project just 2 pairs of toads that I have been working very hard to get dewormed. You only need a fishing license to own a toad in my state and if you have multiple people with a permit you can have that number of toads. I actually would be safe if I chose this route but I applied for the permit to own my toads. I am just stating there are many ways to own as you said "rescued toads"

The question you brought up as to my toads having a parasite that could harm the wild population is valid unless I were not getting the toads thoroughly tested. I am only going to pursue step two (introduction of tadpoles) if the toads are parasite free. For the moment in time we are speaking on them they have only tested for native parasites.

I appreciate the concern about the breeding project but this is something that has been very controversial for years now and I have complied with the state in every angle of the process, and I have taken even more drastic measures to make sure my toads are healthy and they produce healthy offspring back into the area they are from. I also would appreciate being given the opportunity to explain something if you are unsure as opposed to being accused of doing something illegal.
Parasites are not anywhere near the only things you have to worry about introducing to a wild population. There are a myriad of reasons why it usually illegal for the general public to rerelease captive wildlife, exotic diseases the foremost. For instance, I helped with a species of toads that was being bred for release and the biocontainment setup cost 2 million dollars to ensure nothing got in that room with those toads, positive pressure environment, closed HVAC systems with HEPA filtration etc. Yes it was a large scale breeding project, but the same principles apply. It only takes one individual to get something the wild toad population has no natural immunity to.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:12 AM
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Parasites are not anywhere near the only things you have to worry about introducing to a wild population. There are a myriad of reasons why it usually illegal for the general public to rerelease captive wildlife, exotic diseases the foremost. For instance, I helped with a species of toads that was being bred for release and the biocontainment setup cost 2 million dollars to ensure nothing got in that room with those toads, positive pressure environment, closed HVAC systems with HEPA filtration etc. Yes it was a large scale breeding project, but the same principles apply. It only takes one individual to get something the wild toad population has no natural immunity to.
I understand your concern but I have the paperwork and the permission to be able to go forth with the project. That's the most important part I want to stress is that everything has been approved.

I also want to add that I am not just the general public I am in school pursuing a herpetology degree to do many projects and work with native frogs and toads.

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Old 12-04-2019, 04:37 AM
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I also want to add that I am not just the general public I am in school pursuing a herpetology degree to do many projects and work with native frogs and toads.

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Are any of these projects being done under the oversight of an accredited educational or zoological organization?
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:45 AM
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Are any of these projects being done under the oversight of an accredited educational or zoological organization?
I have to report everything to the state like there is 100% transparency and the state can come at any time and investigate my animals I have permits for. So it's not as pedestrian as people make it seem. I have to answer to the state and we have a good relationship. I have a vet team who is caring for the toads and I have a mentor a biologist overseeing the project to try to tie up any loose ends. I also am in communication with the people who enforce the rules of the states requirements for keeping these animals. So I am not some guy who came out of the woodwork attempting this.

As I said I have the permission in writing and I am taking my part very seriously.

It's sad because I'm a guy who is posting about doing this the legal way and there are many people who do this with no legal approval and I am the one who is looked down on.

As I said I am doing this from the permission and from my obedience to the state and it's laws.

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Old 12-05-2019, 01:33 PM
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If you're following state and local laws, and everything is as you say, then take what other people ask/say in stride, and continue to post updates. Pull out the advice you think is good/applicable, and don't worry about the rest.

I'm curious to hear how everything goes.
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Old 12-07-2019, 06:15 AM
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More parasites news, changing weather and etc...

So I got back the results and it turns out Wellsboro has pinworms which can be difficult to get rid of and these cause prolapses. I have been making sure to feed him as many prey items that he will take but also I have been trying to add in fattening him up with wax worms. Tomorrow I am going to take everything out of his tank and he has to go backwards in terms of progress so he's going to hate me but in the grand scheme of things it's for his own good. It's a shame but there was not a great deal of pinworms found so if we can act quick and take everything out, sanitize his enclosure, and give him the dewormer the vet gave me then we should be in good shape. We will have to begin looking for parasites as we start over in counting for negative fecal exams.

I just weighed Wellsboro tonight and it turns out he is sitting at 82 grams which is much better than what he weighed in over the majority of this year. He was somewhere between 60 to 70 grams most of the year but has gone up by 12. Hopefully fattening him up and giving him the dewormer we can finally get him over 100 grams. There's not positive news about Wellsboro due to the fact that he has parasites, but there is optimism because he doesn't seem to have anything quite as bad as what he did and I don't believe he has the parasitic nematodes that he was suffering from for a while.

I still have no confirmation about Navi. I just changed her enclosure and I upgraded her quarantine tank and now she is at a 10-gallon. I'm hoping by giving her extra space it will encourage her to run around a little bit more and maybe to show more natural behavior. It's going to be like this until I can find some poop. I would love to move her together with Wellsboro or in the 125 gallon with the other two toads but I have to get a confirmation on where she stands with parasites. So really only an upgraded tank is the most exciting news from Navi. I did weigh her and in her first weigh-in she is 70 g.

As for Ace and Pious in the 125 gallon there is sad news because Ace tested positive for some type of a parasite and I'm not too sure how she would have gotten this only living with the male toad that she has been with for a long time. The two have lived together in captivity for four years, so it's just very odd she would pick something up now. It could have come in on a plant or some insect but I'm not entirely sure how she got the parasite.

I'm awaiting the vet to respond back to me. The good news about this parasite is that toads can develop an immunity to it, so for Ace once we get her healthy and deworm her from the parasite she will never get it again. It's like getting the ultimate flu shot. I'm not sure if I have to take out everything in the tank or what to do but I'm awaiting the results. The really good news for Ace is that she weighs in at 112grams. A year ago she was fighting for her life and she weighed 46 grams she has more than doubled her weight in a year's time. I'm very hopeful that the other toads can do the same thing as long as they're not borderline obese.

As for the news regarding the toads as a whole it appears they are all still battling some type of parasite. The goal is to try and finish the parasite off before they can double up or get worse and spread all throughout the toads body.

Moving forward from talking about what's happening with the toads currently, I said I was going to talk about the changing weather inside the 240 gallon pending all of the toads are able to get healthy. This is one of the most exciting parts about creating this enclosure is also trying to replicate the weather. In the springtime it is going to be cooler and due to the fact that I have a misting system and a fogger, there will be foggy days and foggy nights, as I will allow the fog to roll through the enclosure for a decent period of time. The hope is that the animals actually think it is getting foggy.

I am also going to have rain storms at planned intervals more frequently in the spring. I will probably have somewhere between 5 to 15 minute rain storms possibly every other night with the misting system. The unique part of having a fogger and a misting system is whenever they are both on, the water vapor goes to the top of the enclosure and the mist coming out of the misting system looks like rain so it actually looks like rain is coming down from the clouds.

I am going to have authentic highs and low temperatures to the best that I can. In the spring I'm probably going to have the high temperature in the upper 60s and the low temperature in the lower 60s. I can only drop the temperature in to the lower 60s because I will be using an air conditioner to cool the room off. The humidity will also rise and drop throughout the day. The fogger will actually make sure daily the humidity fluctuates as the fogger turns on at a different time either during the day or late at night depending on the season. The water area will be much higher to simulate the rainy season and temporary puddles of water in the wild where these toads would interact with them.

I am just going to share in this update my plan for the spring with the weather conditions for this update. From foggy days and nights, to rain storms, to bright and sunny days, the 240 gallon is going to try and replicate weather conditions similar to the conditions happening outside. there will be fluctuating temperatures and humidity that will stimulate natural behavior and also cause more activity out of the animals.

One of the last things for in the spring that is going to change during the different seasons will actually be the feeder insects. I plan on trying to feed a majority of grubs because in my area when the American toad comes out crickets and grasshoppers are very small and I do not believe they would make a large portion of the diet in the spring. The feeders list for the spring will go as follows:
Repti Worms (Main Feeder)
Waxworms Rotated Side Meal
Mealworms Occasional
Butterworms Rotated Side Meal
Isopods Inevitable

Reptiworms can provide good nutrition for these toads and some people actually use them as a staple feeder. It is important to note that the feeder insects are going to change every so often this will not be the only feeders these animals get. The reason why I want to cycle feeder insects is also with the hope to replicate more authentic conditions not just with weather. There are a limited windows where insects are breeding and are more plentiful than others and that is the idea behind provide a specific group of feeders for a specific season.

I do not recommend only using reptiworms as a staple I believe variety is key but I do believe they are sustainable enough as a feeder insect for the amount of time that I will be offering these little grubs and larvae to the toads.

I am just going to talk about what I am doing in the spring season for this 240 gallon. I will elaborate on the Summer and Autumn season in the future. I also have yet to describe the lighting system, the soil, the plants, the cleanup crew, and anything else that maybe I have not covered yet. The idea behind such an in depth enclosure is to benefit the animals and to create artificial seasons to stimulate the animals.

I hope to have better news in the next update for the toads sake.

Pictured
1) Navi
2) Ace
3) Ace and Pious (I didn't have anything to report on for Pius because I did not find him and I did not weigh him but whatever Ace has he probably has too)

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