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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was observing my RETFs tonight shortly after lights out and found their feeding behavior rather interesting. Much different from dart frogs. The RETFs seem to stalk their prey in almost cat-like fashion. I have a small sandwich type storage container that I use for feeding them. The idea is to train them to find their food in one location and hopefully train them to associate anything in there as potential food. It also tends to keep the insects somewhat corralled so that cricket or roaches won't roam freely within the enclosure and possibly nibble on the frogs during the day while sleeping.

I've observed that when the RETFs are interested in feeding they gather around and above the feeding container. I have a rather thick (about 2" diameter) live oak branch that also overhangs the feeding container. The frogs will either perch on the rim or on the branch above the container and watch the insects within moving about, slowly moving their heads about their necks in tracking their prey. Once they've picked out what's of interest, you can sed their legs and bodies preparing to pounce in cat-like fashion. And when they're ready they leap at the target prey grab it and swallow. It's so fast and too dark to tell if they're using their tongue like dart frogs do, or if it's more a bite and grab with the mouth. But then there's repeated gulping with the mouth and using their eyes to swallow the prey. Once down if they're still interested in feeding they'll return to their same perch and repeat the behavior until satisfied. There doesn't appear to be any aggression or intimidation among individuals as they appear perfectly content to be perched right next to each other. And when they move off they seem to do their best to walk around any frogs blocking their path or only lightly brushing past another frog, but rarely over top of another. I found their stalk and preparation to pouch so similar to how a cat behaves so interesting that I thought it worth mentioning here. It is completely different from dart frog feeding behavior where almost no time is spent stalking their prey. It's just more constantly flicking their tongues at anything that moves, swallow, hop and repeat just as quickly as possible.
 

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I was observing my RETFs tonight shortly after lights out and found their feeding behavior rather interesting. Much different from dart frogs. The RETFs seem to stalk their prey in almost cat-like fashion. I have a small sandwich type storage container that I use for feeding them. The idea is to train them to find their food in one location and hopefully train them to associate anything in there as potential food. It also tends to keep the insects somewhat corralled so that cricket or roaches won't roam freely within the enclosure and possibly nibble on the frogs during the day while sleeping.

I've observed that when the RETFs are interested in feeding they gather around and above the feeding container. I have a rather thick (about 2" diameter) live oak branch that also overhangs the feeding container. The frogs will either perch on the rim or on the branch above the container and watch the insects within moving about, slowly moving their heads about their necks in tracking their prey. Once they've picked out what's of interest, you can sed their legs and bodies preparing to pounce in cat-like fashion. And when they're ready they leap at the target prey grab it and swallow. It's so fast and too dark to tell if they're using their tongue like dart frogs do, or if it's more a bite and grab with the mouth. But then there's repeated gulping with the mouth and using their eyes to swallow the prey. Once down if they're still interested in feeding they'll return to their same perch and repeat the behavior until satisfied. There doesn't appear to be any aggression or intimidation among individuals as they appear perfectly content to be perched right next to each other. And when they move off they seem to do their best to walk around any frogs blocking their path or only lightly brushing past another frog, but rarely over top of another. I found their stalk and preparation to pouch so similar to how a cat behaves so interesting that I thought it worth mentioning here. It is completely different from dart frog feeding behavior where almost no time is spent stalking their prey. It's just more constantly flicking their tongues at anything that moves, swallow, hop and repeat just as quickly as possible.
This is how just about all treefrogs hunt, they all act very catlike sitting and watching carefully before making a move. As for using a feeding station I think will work, frogs learn to come to feeding stations quickly and I had great success using one to ensure my growing froglets got fed. My mossy frog has even learned to associate the door of the tank opening with food and comes up from the water when I work on the tank or feed him.

Something I should warn you about is that frogs feeder trained can apparently become too adjusted to eating out of a container and will stop hunting food other places in the tank So that a frog eating out of a container may not eat if the container is removed, I have trouble believing this but a treefrog breeder I know and respect assured me this can happen.

This what I see when I start fiddling with plants for too long

Automotive tire Terrestrial plant Trunk Wood Tints and shades

Got crickets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very cute!!! I'm not sure that the strong association with the feeding container is bad. Can you provide some cons for its use? The only con I foresee is that if a trained tree frog is sold to someone else who doesn't want to use one. However I do see quite a few pros for using it, some of which I've mentioned.

Insofar as training my tree frogs (I have several as well as reed frogs) is that I mist the habitat with a lot of water just prior to lights out so the frogs will associate misting with lights out/feeding time. After a week or two they start to wake up from the misting alone. And I figure that this also raises the humidity for when they're active and more exposed to the air. Plus that's generally what happens in nature at sunset when humidity rises and the evaporation also provides some cooling of day temperatures. Here in Florida you can feel the relative humidity rising shortly after sunset along with the cooling air temperature.
 

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I don't really believe their are any cons unless the feeder is removed, Again this is something I was told not something I've experienced, my cinnamon frogs who were station fed from day 1 to about 8 months did not care one bit about not having the bowl when I put them in their permanent tank.

yeah Tree frogs will become more active after misting, I'm not sure if this is a natural response to raising humidity or if the frogs associate the misting as the lights going out and being fed soon. I think It may depend on the frog my T. cortical is active in the evening before the lights go out and is never misted, While my T. pictus trio stay completely hidden until the about an hour after I mist and turn off the lights.
What treefrog species do you have? Also I could never tolerate Reed frogs in my bedroom, so loud!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Currently I have the clown and patternless hourglass tree frogs. As much as I don't like using common names unfortunately I haven't yet memorized their Latin names yet, but if you'd like me to post them I'd be happy to look those up for you. For reed frogs I only have the starry night and blue backs, so I've been going small because my enclosures are small. 18x18x24, except for the RETFs who got my larger enclosure. Initially I was going to just use all the spare fishtanks that I had but when I saw how quickly reed and tree frogs can make a beeline to the top and even sleep at the top of the enclosure I decided those species wouldn't be safe in old fishtanks so now only dart frogs are kept in fishtanks.

It was because of your first reply where you mentioned having to warn me about station feeding of tree frogs that I inferred that there may be some cons to such training that I hadn't considered. That's why I asked about cons thinking that maybe I'd neglected something to consider. Obviously it would be a big con for tree frogs that are intolerant of others members, or show any aggression or dominance. But none of the frogs I mentioned seem to display any of those behaviors that I've observed.
 

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I can't think of a treefrog species that is territorial, do such frogs exist? Yeah treefrogs need vertical space otherwise they have a tendency to bash their heads on the lid I have also noticed that my cinnamon frogs prefer to be at the top of their tank as well and unlike my mossyfrog rarely ever venture down to the bottom. Are the clown and pattern less hourglass frogs the different species?,
I thought they were morphs of the same species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The patternless hourglass tree frog is a variant of Dendropsophus ebraccatus. Whereas the clown tree frog is D. leucophyllatus, a different species in the same genus.

I thought I remember reading somewhere that White's tree frogs can be a little aggressive or territorial and if that is the case wouldn't be suited to feeding station training.

While my RETFs seem not to be concerned about going down to the bottom to feed, even though about half seem to prefer stalking their prey from a branch above the feeding container, I've not tried that on my reed and smaller tree frogs. For those I've glued their feeding container to the bottom of an inverted clay terracotta pot about 4" diameter, so they mostly feed above the floor. But I have found them on the enclosure bottom many times perhaps feeding?, not sure what they're doing down there. But their water dish is also on the bottom since I doubt that in the wild they would easily find water pools in the air.
 

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The patternless hourglass tree frog is a variant of Dendropsophus ebraccatus. Whereas the clown tree frog is D. leucophyllatus, a different species in the same genus.

I thought I remember reading somewhere that White's tree frogs can be a little aggressive or territorial and if that is the case wouldn't be suited to feeding station training.

While my RETFs seem not to be concerned about going down to the bottom to feed, even though about half seem to prefer stalking their prey from a branch above the feeding container, I've not tried that on my reed and smaller tree frogs. For those I've glued their feeding container to the bottom of an inverted clay terracotta pot about 4" diameter, so they mostly feed above the floor. But I have found them on the enclosure bottom many times perhaps feeding?, not sure what they're doing down there. But their water dish is also on the bottom since I doubt that in the wild they would easily find water pools in the air.
I have also seen reticulated clown treefrogs for sale as well as Surinam clown treefrogs. The only time my cinnamon frogs venture to the bottom of the tank is if the humidity drops too low or the temperature becomes too high. Do you find the clown/hourglass treefrogs loud? I was considering trying Surinam clown frogs, also what do you feed them? can they eat flies?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So far they have been quiet but I've only had them about 2 months. They readily take golden Hydei FFs so I'm going to get black Hydei strain #2 from Houston Frogs since they're 20% larger and much closer to pinhead cricket size. I've also tried bean beetles and smaller mealworms but they don't really seem too be overly fond of either of those. I've got a colony of Compsodes schwarti and Nocticola sp Malaysia going which I think they will eventually go for, but the numbers aren't high enough to start feeding those just yet. I did get 1000 banded crickets as well to try to breed for pinhead eventually. But I feel like I'm becoming an entomologist at times. 😆
 

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So far they have been quiet but I've only had them about 2 months. They readily take golden Hydei FFs so I'm going to get black Hydei strain #2 from Houston Frogs since they're 20% larger and much closer to pinhead cricket size. I've also tried bean beetles and smaller mealworms but they don't really seem too be overly fond of either of those. I've got a colony of Compsodes schwarti and Nocticola sp Malaysia going which I think they will eventually go for, but the numbers aren't high enough to start feeding those just yet. I did get 1000 banded crickets as well to try to breed for pinhead eventually. But I feel like I'm becoming an entomologist at times. 😆
I've spent most of my life rearing some invertebrate or other so I know the feeling. I would caution against trying to rear you're own crickets because it's just to loud and gross, roaches are much easier. I did not know there were different size strains of hydei only that there are different colors and wing shapes. The hydei I currently have are black with curly wings
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Insofar as crickets are concerned you may want to look into the banded cricket instead of the traditional brown house cricket. They are much less noisy, less smelly and more hardy than the latter.

You may also want to consider black Hydei strain #2 because of the size. There are lots of different strains of FFs, and the other that I'm going to get are the mini-mels, which are a smaller strain of melanogasters. That way I'll cover the 2 size extremes for frogs. FFs are so easy that having 4 strain sizes is a no brainer. I've also been using Grindal worms both for fauna in my habitats and for feeding to my dart frogs. The advantage of those being minimal chitin if any at all, and proper Ca : P ratios. Dart frogs seem to love them too, although they have a tough time getting them to stick to their tongues. It usually takes 3 attempts for each worm, but they don't seem to mind trying. I just wish I could find a slight larger annilid species that's equally easy to culture. Something that RETFs would go after.
 

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Insofar as crickets are concerned you may want to look into the banded cricket instead of the traditional brown house cricket. They are much less noisy, less smelly and more hardy than the latter.

You may also want to consider black Hydei strain #2 because of the size. There are lots of different strains of FFs, and the other that I'm going to get are the mini-mels, which are a smaller strain of melanogasters. That way I'll cover the 2 size extremes for frogs. FFs are so easy that having 4 strain sizes is a no brainer. I've also been using Grindal worms both for fauna in my habitats and for feeding to my dart frogs. The advantage of those being minimal chitin if any at all, and proper Ca : P ratios. Dart frogs seem to love them too, although they have a tough time getting them to stick to their tongues. It usually takes 3 attempts for each worm, but they don't seem to mind trying. I just wish I could find a slight larger annilid species that's equally easy to culture. Something that RETFs would go after.
Way ahead of you! How I keep my crickets and why Banded crickets are...

Also as for annelids in culture larger than grindal worms the only one I can think of are aquatic black worms, I figure live blackworms could be used to feed frogs the same as grindal worms. There are a few guides for blackworm culturing on youtube also I just think they are neat! My giant freshwater prawn loves frozen blackworms.

Have you ever considered feeding maggots/spikes? I think the rat tailed maggots or "Mousees" have the potential to make a great feeder because they are easy to culture in water with some blanched vegetables and algae and the adult form is a really cool bee-mimic nectar drinking fly they can also be stored in the fridge for long periods of time. Many tackle company's sell them online as well. {edit also they lack the biting mouth of flesh eating maggots}
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll have to look into those. But my RETFs do not seem to take to maggots at all. I tried waxworms on them and not a single one was eaten. So I'm allowing them to pupate and see if they'll take the moths.

I tried black worms several times without success. And thought about BSF but haven't yet been convicted that they're easy enough. Indoor culture requires a special and pricy light for breeding.

I'll definitely look into the other flies. I'm still hoping someone in the USA will eventually offer curly wing flies.

So have you stopped with breeding banded crickets? You're very well studied as a home entomologist. I'm impressed!!!
 

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I stopped trying to breed crickets because the smell was too bad, a tub of crickets and cat litter can stay nice and clean for 3 months but any longer the waste and filth builds up and there is huge die off it just wasn't worth it. I looked for curly wing flies recently and asked the owner of roach crossing about them he said they used to be in the US but that he hasn't seen them in years he thinks they are too nasty to be a worth while feeder. I did not know BSF needed special lights to rear indoors, what lights are you talking about? I'm not convinced that waxworms are a good feeder, I have heard that they have poor nutritional content and are high in fat and not much else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What you said about waxworms is definitely true of the catipelers. That's why I've decided to try feeding the adult moths after they've used up their fatty energy reserves and become a better feeder. And even at that they wouldn't be a staple. I'm still hoping to train them to accept mealworms or their beetles.

I should think that after 3 months cricket time you'd be on the next generation and could turn over the colony avoiding smell.

I read that BSFs need a special intensity of UV in order to trigger mating. If they're kept outdoors no problem. But indoors without that UV they won't mate and reproduce. If I find that information I'll edit it in here but if you Google BSF LED lights I'm sure you'll find it. I think they start at $60 up to a grand.

I'm excited about how well the feeding container is working. Last night my RETFs accepted about 4 mealworms and 1 mealworm beetle from the station! I have been toying with the idea of raising bird grasshoppers but I'm not convinced that they offer much over crickets and probably aren't active at night. And my discoid roaches while breeding aren't thriving in population just yet and only the newly birthed size would be appropriate for RETFs. In FL we are limited in the types of roaches that we can have and I don't want anything that can either fly or climb which really limits my choices.
 

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in Europe grasshoppers are a common feeder but they only make sense if you intend to feed them at their full size otherwise you might as well feed crickets also I would be afraid to feed grasshoppers to frogs because they have very powerful jaws.

What about milkweed bugs? They are easy to rear on sunflower seeds and are poor flyers, they can be purchased at scientific supply company's like Carolina bio for cheap. One thing is according to the owner of roach crossing they have a flagellate that will build up and eventually kill a colony. I do not know if the milkweed bugs purchased from Carolina or similar company's have the flagellate's found in wild specimens. Note only milkweed bugs reared on sunflower seeds are not poisonous, similarly to dartfrogs their diet effects their toxicity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Interesting. I'm not familiar with milkweed bugs. Will have to look them up. Thanks for the lead. I'm considering roaches as well. Red runners are a great cricket alternative, but not legal in Florida I believe. So I'm considering green banana roaches as they are soft bodied at all live stages.
 

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Interesting. I'm not familiar with milkweed bugs. Will have to look them up. Thanks for the lead. I'm considering roaches as well. Red runners are a great cricket alternative, but not legal in Florida I believe. So I'm considering green banana roaches as they are soft bodied at all live stages.
I thought banana roach's were able to climb glass and fly? It says so in my book by Orin McMonigle ALL PET ROACHES Highly recommend his books btw I own a few very very informational and filled with first hand knowledge from the most successful invert hobbyists . What about Oriental Roaches? Florida legal and similar In a lot of ways to Red runners, can't fly or climb either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You're absolutely right about B. orientalis. Plus they're somewhat slow moving as well. Only concern is that there's a high potential for infestations with them. And the green banana roaches do climb and fly as adults. I wish someone would invent a perfect roach for us 😆. I just can't make up my mind on roaches. The green banana at least doesn't look too roachy.

But I am looking into the culturing of milkweed bugs. Not very clear on how to rear them.
 

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You're absolutely right about B. orientalis. Plus they're somewhat slow moving as well. Only concern is that there's a high potential for infestations with them. And the green banana roaches do climb and fly as adults. I wish someone would invent a perfect roach for us 😆. I just can't make up my mind on roaches. The green banana at least doesn't look too roachy.

But I am looking into the culturing of milkweed bugs. Not very clear on how to rear them.
Yep not a lot of info on milkweed bugs all I know is that they do well on a diet of de-shelled sunflower seeds, I wouldn't be to worried about oriental roaches infesting your house I find them all the time around my yard but never in my house save for the few that might get in the garage, they require too much humidly to survive in a home I think, I also have never heard of them really infesting a house in any way, I do find them around hotels near the ocean though, but even then it's not in the rooms or hallways but instead the garages and outdoor showers, places where you can touch the ground and FEEL the moister.
 
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