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My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

My Critters
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Building Large Terrariums
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Making Outdoor Critter Houses
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I want to raise poison dart frogs, my only problem is I'm not terribly successful at it. I had a pair of Dendrobates Azureus but lost them in the evacuation from hurricane Rita. I left without them thinking we'd be back shortly, two weeks later I was allowed back, just to bring them and my leopard geckos in tupperware back to where we were without electricity for several more weeks. I managed to find them some 10gal tanks but it just wasn't the same. Ants got into my fruitflies and the crickets were so gone my hubby was helping me catch little grasshoppers in the evening for the geckos. I think they just couldn't handle being out of their own conditions even though it was pretty humid hot for all of us without even a generator.

It was very disappointing, especially with a species of dart frogs depending on private owners for its major propagation due to loss of habitat and everything I had done to a tall 20gal tank just to get them.

I still had my tank set up when we got back, so I decided to start out a little humbler. I caught some hyla tree frogs out of my backyard and I'm raising them with hopes of breeding and then re-introducing the siblings to the backyard. So far so good, I have three babies that kind of snuck up on me, just showed up as extra numbers counting my frogs. They're pretty small but not as small as I thought I'd find babies if I missed the tadpoles.

I have various different environments going on that I'll get into in Terrarium/Vivarium Set Ups. Basically I have a small number of tanks running from dry, semi-aquatic to a dry tropical, to very wet tropical.

I'm also raising feeders like crickets, they're covered in Live Food but I plan to make another site on feeder caresheets alone.

I'd like to note, while I caught my tree frogs from my backyard, none of them are endangered. For the most part I want to learn how to breed them and put the babies back into my backyard. I caught them young, as the stress of captivity on a wild adult is just too much for them and they'd be more likely to die just for being home sick.

The Critters

Leopard Geckos: Eublepharis Macularis
I have leopard gecko's with their own site. They live in a very dry vivarium with allot of sandstone slate and newspaper with a moist substrate box and some hides. They mostly eat crickets from 1/2" to adults with an occasional snack like mealworms.

Green Tree Frog:
Hyla Squirella - Their tank was the original dart frog tank, tropical moist, there's six in all. They mostly eat fruit flies and 1/2" crickets but I also rummage around my yard in the warm months with a fishtank net and jar for bugs.

Fire Belly Toad: Bombina Orientalis
I have two males and two females who love any sized cricket or anything else that moves that could fit into their mouths for that matter. Semi-aquatic tank. They love to sing and are making tadpoles. I've recently put them in a bigger tank.

Crickets:
Regular store bought from my regular supplier, FlukerFarms.com, I put a handful in a tropical damp 10gal just to breed for me. My last tries with breeding crickets have not been successful mainly due to fruit fly invasion or the pinheads just didn't like my idea of how to make them get bigger. This time I'm having much greater success with two ten gal tanks set up like a vivarium with just peat moss over gravel, a hood/dome light on one side and a potato growing as the live plants with coconut shells for homes. I feed them cut potatoes and fish flakes with an occasional light misting.

I really like the sounds around here in my house, crickets chirping when there's enough left to adult size, and frogs hooting, it's great. In my puter room and the living room, it's just a jungle around here and I like the feel of it.

At present I'm converting what I was using as a terrarium indoors to start difficult seeds (see Building Indoor Terrariums) into a vivarium with plexiglass. It doesn't have to be fantastic, just hold water in the bottom and protect the 'inside' wood and lighting from moisture.