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I am purchasing two whites and a red spotted toad from a woman who has co-habitated them. Anyone have thoughts on this? I thought it wasn't wise to mix toads and frogs....
 

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Ed: In keeping with the thrust of your reference, what of keeping herps from the same biogeographic region that do not really compete? E.g., diurnal with nocturnal, terrestrial with arboreal, etc.? Some simple ones:

--Grey tree frogs with Anolis carolinensis in a tall tank;
--Rough green snake with small American Bufo;
--Leptopelis with big Phelsuma in a tall(er) tank;
--African skinks and small Cordylus in a big tank;
--Flying or golden geckos with some small Asian arboreal agamine;
--White's TF with Lophognathus in a huge display, etc.

Five rules:
--Large enclosure
--Same biogeographic region
--Different "niches" (e.g., terrestrial/arboreal, etc.)
--Similar size
--Quarantine

At least two obviate the White's with the red spotted toad!
 

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Ed: In keeping with the thrust of your reference, what of keeping herps from the same biogeographic region that do not really compete? E.g., diurnal with nocturnal, terrestrial with arboreal, etc.? Some simple ones:

--Grey tree frogs with Anolis carolinensis in a tall tank;
--Rough green snake with small American Bufo;
--Leptopelis with big Phelsuma in a tall(er) tank;
--African skinks and small Cordylus in a big tank;
--Flying or golden geckos with some small Asian arboreal agamine;
--White's TF with Lophognathus in a huge display, etc.

Five rules:
--Large enclosure
--Same biogeographic region
--Different "niches" (e.g., terrestrial/arboreal, etc.)
--Similar size
--Quarantine

At least two obviate the White's with the red spotted toad!
With respect to the lizards, you really would have to pay attention to make sure that they aren't showing territorial behaviors towards one another as many may have similar behaviors that can trigger territorial or aggressive behaviors. As an example, at zoos I've seen bearded dragons and chuckwallas doing territorial displays at one another. The push up displays trigger the responses between one another so there is a real need to know how the lizards are going to behave.

Typically snakes are often the easiest to determine if they can share the same enclosure and it often comes down to, will they eat each other and being able to seperate them for feeding.

Similar size, doesn't always ensure that it will work either.. for example, there is a report of a zoo trying to house rough green snakes with broad-headed skinks and the skinks treated the snakes much like a long piece of sphaghetti.. any toad/frog of a decent size can also ingest a thin bodied snake in the same way (the excess that doesn't fit, is left hanging out of the mouth to be swallowed as room is made through digestion).

One of the things that is commonly seen in enclosures is that not enough attention is given to niche partioning, and this is a thread in large and small enclosures. Size of the enclosure is of lesser importance that providing the appropriate niches.

It is a good topic to discuss.. The five rules are a good rule of thumb process but shouldn't be cast in stone.

Ed
 

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Thanks, Ed.

1) You know, I could have anticipated the chucks and bearded dragons. You know the bit about how some chameleons, especially males, cannot even see each other? Now I do not keep chameleons, but i know that some are agitated by the sight of any larger arboreal lizard.

2) The example of Eumeces and the green snakes does not surprise me, either.

3) I subsume niche partitioning under my different niches; maybe I should have more clear. I think that three big concerns are:

--Tank size and niche partitioning. One has more latitude with real three-dimensional space;
--Not paying attention to the animal's real size. When I say "green snake with small Bufo," this does not mean baby Bufo marinus; when I say grey Tf woth anoles, it does mean a young A. equestris (with that big head)!
--Not really understanding one's animals. There is a huge difference between "insecitvore, "omnivore" and "eats whatever fits." My barking tree frogs ignore smaller frogs, but not cicadas. THis would never work with a 2 1/2" Ceratophrys, a frog eater. (Bert Langerwerf noticed that his Polypedates dennysii never viewed the resident American hylids as food. I noticed the same thing with my P. dennysii and P. leucomystax, and never worried about the smaller frogs). So, speaking only in terms of size and behavior, a 4" Polypedates is safer around a grey TF than a 3" Leptoplelis or Osteopilus.

My question for you, Ed: I am going to assume (optimistically) that the chucks and bearded dragons* were in separate, adjacent enclosures. Is this usually a problem (like my chameleon example)? When I kept and bred Corytophanes cristasus, I fould that having two males in line of sight actually triggered a whole array of ritualized, agonistic behaviors that seemed to stimulate breeding behavior (successfully!) But it never eventuated into actual fighting. As they were similar-sized lizards, I don't think it even bothered one of them. Just a couple o posers... I have also seen japaluras and small anolis find their preferred spot and just bob at each other--in big tanks.

*The chuck-beardie combo is one I would not have attempted. I've seen chucks with uros in big enclosures, I would be inclined to partition them. But I have seen chucks with desert iguanas or collared lizards or leopard lizards, in big enclosures with stacked cliffs--seems to work. Come to think of it, I know a couple of guys who keep multiple pairs of collareds together--the males, each claim a rock and basically keep the peace. Not like two, say, male lacertas or day geckos!
 

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--Not paying attention to the animal's real size. When I say "green snake with small Bufo," this does not mean baby Bufo marinus;
I understood that but we're not the only people reading this thread, so we should try to be more complete in the answer. Even a moderate sized Anaxyrus americanus or A. fowleri (not trying to correct just trying to get myself to using the correct name (Bufo just seems so much more elegant)) may be as significant a threat to a small bodied snake like a green snake (rough or smooth). I would probably lean towards A. quercicus as being the safest option since it wouldn't grow into an animal capable of eating an decent sized green snake.


--Not really understanding one's animals. There is a huge difference between "insecitvore, "omnivore" and "eats whatever fits." My barking tree frogs ignore smaller frogs, but not cicadas. THis would never work with a 2 1/2" Ceratophrys, a frog eater. (Bert Langerwerf noticed that his Polypedates dennysii never viewed the resident American hylids as food. I noticed the same thing with my P. dennysii and P. leucomystax, and never worried about the smaller frogs). So, speaking only in terms of size and behavior, a 4" Polypedates is safer around a grey TF than a 3" Leptoplelis or Osteopilus.
Some of that may be due to palatbility issues as we know that most anurans have peptide secretions that impact predation by certain animals.. Some animals are more resistent to certain predators than others.. However I think if you attempted to house small metamorphic frogs with any of those species, you would see some level of predation.
There are some papers along those lines that are interesting, such as testing palatibility of certain Ranids to shrews and other animals.

My question for you, Ed: I am going to assume (optimistically) that the chucks and bearded dragons* were in separate, adjacent enclosures.
In seperate enclosures set at a significant angle to one another.

Is this usually a problem (like my chameleon example)? When I kept and bred Corytophanes cristasus, I fould that having two males in line of sight actually triggered a whole array of ritualized, agonistic behaviors that seemed to stimulate breeding behavior (successfully!) But it never eventuated into actual fighting. As they were similar-sized lizards, I don't think it even bothered one of them. Just a couple o posers... I have also seen japaluras and small anolis find their preferred spot and just bob at each other--in big tanks.
With respect to the casque headed iguana, there are studies in iguanids that demonstrate territorial displays in males are relient on testosterone levels and testosterone levels are important for successful reproduction. So it isn't a clear case of cause and benefit in this case. It can be a significant problem if the territorial displays are increasing stress (from the other animal not reacting appropriately), or the perception that the animal is crossing over into it's space. This is why we see issues with reflections in chameleons. Territorial defense displays are considered to be energetically expensive which is another reason why we can see stress causing issues. If the territory responses are correct and/or the other animal doesn't cross into the claimed area, then a relatively stress free détente may result.

*The chuck-beardie combo is one I would not have attempted. I've seen chucks with uros in big enclosures, I would be inclined to partition them. But I have seen chucks with desert iguanas or collared lizards or leopard lizards, in big enclosures with stacked cliffs--seems to work. Come to think of it, I know a couple of guys who keep multiple pairs of collareds together--the males, each claim a rock and basically keep the peace. Not like two, say, male lacertas or day geckos!
The bearded dragons were the ones who had the issues with the chuckwalls and that was because they would do the head bob and not respond to the arm waving dominance/submissive gesturing. This resulted in the beardeds attempting to get at the chuckwallas as a percieved territorial intruder and ended up requiring the bearded dragons to be moved to another enclosure with a much more limited line of sight.
We can see this sort of inappropriate response as an issue even in cross class interactions, for example, there was (not so much with the decline in iguana ownership) an increasing body of literature discussing attacks by pet sexually mature male green iguanas on owners who engaged in head bobbing displays with the lizard. When I worked at a pet store, I had a customer come in on a regular basis who would brag about head bobbing with his iguana as a way of keeping him "tame" and one day he came into the store with a perfect hemisphere of stiches across most of his upper lip... turned out that during a head bobbing event with his iguana, he got close enough that it jumped at him and bit the piece out of his upper lip and he had to have emergency surgery to sow it back into place... He didn't appreciate it when I told him, he was lucky the iguana didn't swallow it.....

With respect to the multiple pairs of collards together, that is effectively classic condensing of resources in action, but for the best long term health of the animals, basking (both heat and UVB (for choice)) really need to be kept the same at each pile of rocks since a death or change in the hierarchy (there is one, based on preference) can result in a lot of stress. There is a classic study done with Sceloperus demonstrating this in captivity as opposed to wild animals (sorry not free access but see Dominance hierarchies in male lizards: Implications for zoo management programs - Alberts - 2005 - Zoo Biology - Wiley Online Library)

I think you would enjoy Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles (see Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles) the soft cover version is much cheaper. I purchased a copy years ago and it has given me a lot of good perspective.

Lizards overall can be one of the most challenging taxa to integrate into a multispecies enclosure with conspecific species as a working knowledge of the behaviors and how they change in captivity are both equally important.


On a closing note, you may find this interesting (free access) http://www.breb.ro/Publicatii/Definition_of_teritorialitty.pdf

Some comments

Ed
 

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I understood that but we're not the only people reading this thread, so we should try to be more complete in the answer. Even a moderate sized Anaxyrus americanus or A. fowleri (not trying to correct just trying to get myself to using the correct name (Bufo just seems so much more elegant)) may be as significant a threat to a small bodied snake like a green snake (rough or smooth). I would probably lean towards A. quercicus as being the safest option since it wouldn't grow into an animal capable of eating an decent sized green snake.

I think you would enjoy Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles (see Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles) the soft cover version is much cheaper. I purchased a copy years ago and it has given me a lot of good perspective.

Lizards overall can be one of the most challenging taxa to integrate into a multispecies enclosure with conspecific species as a working knowledge of the behaviors and how they change in captivity are both equally important.


On a closing note, you may find this interesting (free access) http://www.breb.ro/Publicatii/Definition_of_teritorialitty.pdf

Some comments

Ed
Thanks, Ed. (Let me apologize in advance to anyone if it seems I am about to hijack this thread; I am fascinated by the policy and philosophical implications of ethology.)

No argument on the first point, I would not try to keep a green snake with any animal with a big mouth, or a Takydromus with a Striped Gecko. This is just sensible. My basic thrust is that--in a huge enclosure--pathogens may be a greater threat than potential aggression, especially if the habitat is sensibly stratified (mutiple basking sites, hides, etc.) I maintain that a big tank with American Anolis and American hylids, or small Phelsuma and mantellas, or yes, Corytophanes and appropriate sized frogs can be rewarding and educational.

It does raise this ethological question: I have seen many reptiles behave in a "desired" manner if they're raised with the other animals. This begs at least three questions:

1) Isn't this a simple example of operant conditioning? I have never had a water dragon, for example, that when raised with smaller lizards, eventually viewed the smaller guys as prey. Then again, I never let anyone get that hungry... Do you suggest I've just been very lucky?
I would never try this with a tegu or plated lizard.

2) Regarding agonistic behavior: Well, Pogonas are punks. People like them, but they really are the saurian version of bully breeds--nice to people, aggressive with other lizards. I've wondered about this--the result of being an opportunistic omnivore in a sparse environment? Conversely, I have kept Takydromus ever since I was a kid; they are sweethearts, even males with males--result of evolving in abundance?
Chlamydosaurus will attack what they eat--there are several examples of the gang getting along just fine. (Then again, Hydrosaurus are no prize either, even girls with girls! Why so much intra-specific aggression in a herbivore? Nesting sites?)

As to learning; Hmnnnn.. .. having done this for 29 years, my observation has been that many saurians can be among among the easier to integrate, with "iguanomorphs" (Corytophanes, Anolis, Uraniscodon, Physignathus, Acanthosaura, Japalura) demonstrably easier than many "scincomorphs," skinks, cordylids or lacertas (with the notable exceptions of Cordylis and Eutropis/Mabuya, which can be very well-behaved. In my experience, alligator lizards are cool, as long as one is not a pinky, anole or fledgling bird).

In fact, one thing that quickly impressed me was the relative speed with which animals learn each other's signals. For years, I had to listen to how $#@$% smart cichlids are. I know many aquarists would concur with this: The real problem with keeping neotropical and African cichlids together ain't water chemistry--fish acclimate (especially if one is not breeding). The problem is they employ different signals, and they do not recognize "syntax"--and the fight is on. I have seen many lizards who do not employ arm-waving quickly learn what it means.

Second point: I have mentioned before that I often let my big agamines interact with my dogs and cats. When the males bob at the bitches, even the female bully breeds defer. The male pit and rottie do not--they bob back, and when the lizard flattens, the dogs put their heads over the lizard. Kind of comical, actually. Again, have I been lucky?

3) Will check the territoriality reference. I am familiar with a lot of the territoriality lit (Anthro/biol, and we do this in primatology, e.g., "why a herd is not a social group," Is it resources or sexual competition," "Females compete for resources/males compete for females," "Why does this drive feminists crazy, etc." etc.)

4) Serious philosophical question, Ed--or to be more specific, an epistemological question: When, on another thread I brought up the example of tame pythons, you told the story of a python attack. That's like the Youtube vids showing lovable pits and vicious pits--one can find whatever they want to see. Okay, if a person was to say to you, last three times I went to South Philly, a %$#@ _____ jacked me up, ergo one cannot trust _________, is this not a valid analogy? I understand the difference between evidence and anecdote, and I do not favor any joe keeping big five constrictors (but there are still nice big snakes).

The real question is this; To what extent is the Philly bad guy's behavior learned or innate? Same question about the pit bull who turns, or the python at your demonstration, or the anacondas that ate basilisks... When one pit turns and another dog raised similarly does not, can we conclude it is "genetic?" It is a logical conjecture--but to paraphrase Dr. Zaius, it is still conjecture, not proof.

Are you familiar with Sam Harris's latest, Free Will? (His basic thesis is that it's a myth; the nutjob is destined to be a nutjob; we should lock him away to protect ourselves, but we should learn not to hate him...). I do not equate people with water dragons or pit bulls, but I do think that we are part of a continuum. My primary focus is: To what extent are various animal behaviors malleable, and ours are not.

P. S.

Anaxyrus, eh? Hell, I still try to get away with Brontosaurus...
 

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I'm not ignoring you I'm just really tired and want to have more brain cells working when I respond.
Give me a couple of days.
Ed
 

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Think of it as a human living with a gorilla, in a 1000 square foot room.
 

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Sound like a good analogy in that, neither would be very comfortable:rolleyes:

You know, Mighty Joe Young was on last night... Seriously though, you guys see Rise of the Planet of the Apes? I'm sorry, but it's bullshit--the species with firearms wins.

Having said that, I still think I'd rather room with a gorilla than a chimp...
 

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You know, Mighty Joe Young was on last night... Seriously though, you guys see Rise of the Planet of the Apes? I'm sorry, but it's bullshit--the species with firearms wins.

Having said that, I still think I'd rather room with a gorilla than a chimp...

Depending on the age, sex and neurosis of either one, both can be an equally very bad choice.... There is I think only one gorilla in private hands (Gorilla Haven) in the US at this time... so the risk to non-zoo employees is much smaller than that posed by chimps, large numbers of who are still being held in non-institutional settings.
Ed
 

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Well Ed, I certainly wouldn't try either combination... Sorry about your friend's wife (a bit annoyed at the comment thread, though--people can be quite callous...)
 

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Well Ed, I certainly wouldn't try either combination... Sorry about your friend's wife (a bit annoyed at the comment thread, though--people can be quite callous...)
I put the question to the wife since she spent many years working with both gorillas and chimps (and other primates) and she said that they were both probably equally bad but there are a lot of qualifiers and that if the animals weren't neurotic, then chimps could be worse since they can be more aggressive....
I'm going to try and get back your post above in the next couple of days.
Ed
 
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