I myself wanted to do this, but was told that mantellas still retain their toxicity so that would be a problem. I am not sure of this, as I think they are like darts and get their toxins from their prey (I could be totally wrong here lol). I think the bigger problem would be getting CB animals of both, so that you don't have to worry about parasites and diseases. If you had a nice sized tank (lots of floor space) with lots of leaf litter I think it would work... and would be a great tank. I still want to do one myself, but am going to wait till I finish some other projects and do some more research.
I too have heard of some people doing this, although I've never heard back about how or if it worked. Whenever more than one species is kept in the same cage there are risks involved. Very few species require the exact same care, even species from similar habitats, so generally in order to accomidate two different species in one cage you have to compromise one or both of the species care. Both dwarf chameleons and mantella frogs are most commonly availible as wild caught animals and both can be very sensative during the first few months while acclimating to captive conditions. Captive bred animals can carry parasites just as easily as wild caught animals so even if you went with captive bred animals there is always a risk of spreading unwanted bugs between species, the animals are just generally in better condition if they are captive bred and can deal with internal parasites better.
If you set aside the health risks to the individual animals you are still left with an ethical dilemma. Rhampholeon, Brooksia and Mantella are all genuses that include some rare species that are not commonly bred in captivity. Many of the species have very restricted habitats in the wild and because if this it would be foolish, in my opinion, to jeopardize their health by keeping them together in one cage. Breeding dwarf chameleons (Rhampholeon) and mantella frogs has kind of been neglected by the majority of herpetoculturists because they are widely availible as cheap wild caught imports. I would hope that the first priority of hobbyists working with either mantella frogs or dwarf chameleons would be to breed them and keep them in the best conditions possible, not to set up a super cool terrarium where both would be in the same cage. Good luck,
I know that CB animals can carry parasite and such just as easily as WC, but they are going to be in much better shape then WC's. I was just saying that it would be better to start off with healthier animals, and I prefer CB to WC for other reasons anyways. I too think there needs to be more breeding of mantellas and dwarf chameleons in the hobby, so I agree with your statement... but you can't force anyone to do anything lol. If they want to mix them, might as well figure out what could be best for both animals... right? I plan on getting some of the dwarf chameleons species in the future, and the first thing I m going to do is set them up in their own tanks and attempt to breed them. I would then consider using some of the offspring in a mixed terrarium like the one discussed here. There are people breeding some of the dwarf chameleons and mantellas, and they are available. The less common ones (usually not bred in captivity) shouldn't be used in this sort of tank.
This is gonna sound really weird, and i don't know how they do this, but at the Nashville Zoo, if anyone has ever been there, they have a HUGE enclosure. In this enclosure they have around 10 FAT Auratus, and one enormous Bushmaster (which i believe is a type of pit viper). They've had them there for forever, and while i was there, there was one auratus just hopping all around the 6 foot long snake, and everything was all fine and dandy. I also got to see one of the males call in the enclosure while i was there. So, my point, you can obviously mix some things- why the snake doesn't have a midnight snack every now and then dumbfounds me.
I agree with all of you that there needs to be more breeding of both of these. I dont think that Brookesia is even allowed to be exported anymore. And if this is so its really to bad that more of these werent captive bred to keep them in the hoby. But it seems that there has been a good amount of intrest in hobyists to keep pigmy chameleons in tanks with there frogs. So I think if thought out and done right it would be a worth while thing to persue.
ps. Ive even seen gravid pigmys for sale that werent much more then non gravid ones.
I've kept darts and larger chameleons (panther and veiled)... so I'm not the most qualified to answer here (never kept dwarf chams or mantellas).
Back in my chameleon craze, I did quite a bit of reading. Dwarfs were the only ones that would tolerate a glass cage (larger chams hate their reflection, plus the air circulation issue). I suspect you might run into problems keeping the humidity high enough for the mantellas and the circulation high enough for the chameleons.
BTW, to piggyback on exclusivehawk's comments, dendrobates are kept with eyelash vipers (arboreal pit viper) at the Baltimore Aquarium. With most pit vipers, I'm assuming, they are not attracted to cold blooded prey as long as they are well fed (rely on thermal imaging from pits??). Either that or they instinctually know not to eat darts (doubtful). Or they do occasionally kill a dart, and the institutions just replace them.
I too have kept some of the larger chameleons, before I switched to darts due to space issues. Most of the larger species would be horrible companion animals for dart frogs, in my opinion. Most need more air circulation (like Josh said), so mesh cages are usually used. Depending on the species, most will fight with each other and do get upset at their reflections (usally males fight males). On top of this, if it is small enough to fit in their mouth and moves... they will probably eat it. I have seen chameleons take rather large prey in the wild (didn't see this in person, but in videos, pictures, books, etc.), and some of the larger species have been known to take small birds... so a small frog that is hoping all over the place might look like an easy target .
As for the dwarf chameleons and the mantellas... I think they have basically identical care requirements. They live in the leaf litter just like a lot of the mantellas, and also live in the damp forests as well. The high humidity would just make them breed from what I know. I would do more specific research on the specific species, so I could match one chamelaon and one mantella that have the most similar living conditions. But in general you but the dwarf chameleons in a planted terrarium with leaf litter and branches to walk on. Then you mist 1 or 2 times a day depending on your top and local humidity/etc. That sounds like the same for a mantella to me, minus the small branches... but that won't hurt the mantellas.
Also, I have been talking to a zoo keeper that has kept dendrobates with eyelash vipers... and they do eat them from time to time. I thought it was very cool that they had them together, made a cool looking tank. After asking about it, I was told that they have had mixed results with it. In one tank with auratus and an eyelash viper there was never a problem, and in another with azureus instead of auratus the snake ate a couple of them. So I wouldn't do this myself, as it jeopardizes the frogs' health (or should I say lives lol) way too much for my liking.
I think Josh makes a good point about keeping the humidity at a level that would be acomidating for the chameleons but also hight enough for the mantellas. This would have to be monitered and figured out.
A full grown Mantella should be quite the job for a chameleon to tackle but i would say there is always a chance they might try to snap at them. But keeping them well fed with smaller more managable prey I would expect lower chances of that happening greatly.
I found this on another webpage on Brookesia. "Other Malagasy species with similar requirements can be housed with Brookesia in this sort of vivarium, provided there is sufficient space. Mantellas can add a splash of color, reed frogs (Heterixalis sp.) can add some nighttime activity, rain frogs (Scaphiophryne sp.) make interesting but seldom seen additions, small Uroplatus and Phelsuma can also be added." http://www.chameleonnews.com/year2002/s ... kesia.html
That site has some good info
I was saying that the larger species of chameleons would probably take a shot at eating the frogs, not the pgymy/dwarf chameleons. They wouldn't be able to eat a mantella even if they were starving and it was the only thing available to eat . A Parsons chameleon could easily eat a mantella or even a P. terribilis... they are very large chameleons. So, big chamelons are a bad idea... but they small dwarf ones that this thread was originally started on are a much better idea, and have no chance of eating mantellas. Also, I think the humidity for Brookesia and similar species is pretty much the same as that required for mantellas... but could be wrong.
I have and nothing went wrong. Like everyone sais, try and find CB ones. I mixed a juvi D. Azureus and a CB (it took me months to find CB ones; got it at a show) Brookesia minima in a 80g. Even though it was for a short time, i doubt anything would go wrong if you gave them space. I had to get rid of mine though.
I got two R.brevicaudatus at the reptile show today. I picked up some pin heads on the way home and sat in the parking lot and watched them eat them. So im pretty pleased they were eating. I know they can be very senitive so I think that is a good sighn.
on the subject of mixing species, i just had to post this pic. from the SanDiego zoo, a world class zoo. Aparently they dont care about mixing species or even giving them enough room. i cant think these guys are happy...
I have a 63 gallon i custom built, 17 w, 24 h, 35l, and am going to try out this idea with pygmis and probally auratus, or tincs. I am going to have taller plants in there, if they wanna climb. A corner with leaf litter, and the rest moss. If anyone thinks this is a bad idea let me know, the humidity in my house is around 70 and i will mist 2-3 times a day(before school, after, and before i go to sleep.