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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

The Houston Zoo has just finished building its "Natural Encounters" exhibit which according to the keepers is a very new concept in zoos and will lead to research about large exhibits that aren't only multi-species, but also multi-class and multi-phyllum.

Of interest to dart froggers, is their intent to introduce PDFs, specifically d. auratus into the Rainforest canopy exhibit. Since a lot of what they are doing is pioneering work, they are having to make decisions about which animals to introduce into the enclosures and how they will get along. They are on the fence about the dart frogs for two reasons (from what I can tell): (1) fear of them decimating the butterfly population (larvae, I presume) and (2) fear of them being eaten by the resident lizards (sailfins I think). For the most part all their animals seem to be herbivors and I think the website has a somewhat complete list (I will try to get a complete list soon if necessary). Other issues of concern were (1) animal tracking in such a large enclosure and (2) the inability for visitors to ever see the animals. At the time, the misting system was out so the enclosure was nowhere nearly humid enough, but it seems that they are working towards a fix.

What I would like to know is if any of you have particular advise or recommended reference material that I can take to them. The keeper at the reptile house, who takes care of a d. auratus and d. azureus pair enclosure and keeps darts at home, is helping them get setup, but I figure the more information the better.

Initially, my impression is that they may want to go with a bolder frog that may be more visible and can perhaps eat a larger variety of insects with p. terribilis coming to mind. It also seems that feeding might be a challenge, but there is plenty of soil for local insect populations to take off. Aside from that, I would like to know what you think. Similarly, it looks like if they decide to go ahead with this, they are looking for a somewhat large number of animals so anybody who breeds one species in pretty good numbers might be able to help them with the project. It sounds like they were interested in rearing tads so even eggs or tads might be helpful.

Finally, I think they are also looking at keeping PDF's in smaller enclosures in the back that they can bring out to the visitors for presentations. Information about suggested enclosure setups that are portable, such as FCA's cubes, might also be helpful.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity to help the hobby and help an institution looking to do research about innovative animal enclosures. Your input is much appreciated as I plan on printing the thread and taking it to them once it fleshes out.

Best,

Marcos
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
KeroKero said:
Is this an open exhibit like NAIB, or just large tanks cut off from visitors?
All,

Thank you for the great information so far!

Corey,

The exhibit is a large enclosure cut off from visitors. As far as I can tell, most sailfin lizards are from the South Pacific. Just wondering if you could elaborate on your "finger tingling" experience. Did you get a hold of a hot phyllobates? :eek:

Best,

Marcos
 
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