Frog Squeegee

May 13, 2008

Poison Frog terrarium, morning mist

Poison Frog terrarium, in morning mist

Anyone who has maintained Poison frogs has probably noted this phenomenon at one time or another. A beautifully planted terrarium will undoubtedly fog up overnight. In the morning the oddest streaks and prints will cover the glass from top to bottom, an occasional horizontal path as well. What you realize is at the top is a frog print complete with toes and, like a snail’s trail, the little buggers have hiked up a vertical wall.
As difficult as it is and, of course, never with a camera in hand, the best part is catching the frogs in the act. Watching them as they attempt to scale a slick, wet, completely vertical surface can be endlessly amusing. My favorite memory is of a D. azureus who was climbing and started to slide.

poison arrow frog 2

D. azureus, similar to our
own frog squeegee.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Traveling Fools of America

He pressed his belly to the glass, still slid… pressed his throat and neck, still slipped… pressed his whole feet and thighs, slipped a fraction and finally stopped by pressing his upper arms as well. It was amazing! Almost every ventral surface was adhered to the glass. When I asked a fellow herper about this, she jokingly replied, “mine are trained to clean their own glass, like little frog squeegees.”

Frog prints with D. azureus in background

Frog prints with D. azureus

in background

You are welcome to visit our very own frog squeegees in the entrance of the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Of all the frogs we have had here, the only other frog I have witnessed doing this behavior is the Red-eyed Tree Frog. A fellow coworker, Eydie R., was fortunate to video one of our Red-eyes during the Frogs! exhibit.

I hope you enjoy! If you have seen any aforementioned squeegees among your frogs, please let me know!

Authored By Christine Battan

Christine manages the live animal collection, teaches weekday dissection labs and summer camp classes, and presents Wildlife on Wheels programs. It has been said that she is "usually carrying something interesting."

2 responses to “Frog Squeegee”

  1. Claire says:

    That is so so much fun to watch!! Ya’ll show us the collest things! Thanks.

  2. Angela says:

    I’ve never heard of poisonous frogs before. They are beautiful though. Thanks for the informative post, and thank you for the comment on my website. 🙂

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