Marietta College

Animal Care

This document gives an overview of animal care at Marietta College, including instructions on how to care for individual animals and community enclosures.

General Principles

Overview:  Why maintain living animals?

It seems ironic that biology - "the study of life" - is often taught from textbooks, PowerPoint Presentations, and preserved specimens and models.  There is much that cannot be learned without close observation of, and contact with, living organisms.  For this reason, Marietta College maintains select animals in captivity for educational purposes including but not limited to:

  1. To allow for behavioral observations by classes and students and faculty pursuing independent research.

  2. To provide observational examples for students in labs and classes.

  3. To provide educational experiences for community groups (Head Start, school classes, scout groups, etc.)

  4. To provide models for use in classes such as Scientific Imaging

  5. To provide animal care experience for students

All of the above purposes are essentially benign in nature and do not actively harm the animals.  In some cases, however, animals are maintained for purposes where they will be harmed in the course of their captivity.  Marietta College pledges itself to the highest standards in these cases and seeks to minimize any pain and suffering on the parts of these animals.  Some of these purposes include:

  1. Rearing of animals as food for carnivores in captivity (example: mealworms, fruit flies, guppies, occasionally mice)

  2. Use of animals as experimental systems for the study of particular phenomena such as cancer.

  3. Preservation as museum specimens.

It is up to the faculty to ensure that animals kept for these latter purposes are sacrificed for worthy educational purposes and that pain and suffering are controlled by use of the best available practices.

Overall, any animal kept for any reason should be kept in a manner that meets these criteria:

  1. There is a valid educational or humanitarian reason for the captivity.

  2. Housing and care are adequate, and where feasible simulate wild conditions as far as is practical and humane.

  3. Animals are spared any unnecessary pain or suffering.

Use of animals from the wild:

In general, Marietta College will maintain only captive-bred animals to avoid impact on wild populations.  Wild-caught animals (either caught by Marietta College faculty or students or purchased from a vendor) may be used only if:

  1. They are collected with appropriate permits.

  2. They come from natural populations that are reproducing adequately -or- are removed for conservation purposes (captive breeding, salvage of populations in danger, etc.).

  3. They are being held temporarily for educational purposes and will then be released.

  4. They are brought to the college by a member of the public and release at the point of collection is not practical.

Taxonomic considerations:

While Marietta College will strive to maintain all specimens with care, it should be recognized that not all animals are the same.  In general, captivity and use of more "complicated" organisms, such as Chordata, must be justified by more rigorous academic and humanitarian standards than would be required for less "complicated" organisms such as invertebrates.  For example, insects might be caught, killed and pinned for student collections with relatively little concern, while use of mice in experiments will require greater care, concern, and academic justification.  

Animal Care - General

Care for each individual animal is the ultimate responsibility of the supervising faculty member.  This would be the faculty member conducting or supervising research or a class.  Certain animals being held as part of the general educational collection of the College will be under the supervision of various faculty members.  Unless other arrangements are made, ultimate responsibility for care falls to the faculty member under whose auspices the animal was first obtained.

Most animals will be under the direct care of one or more students.  Typically, these students are either the students actually carrying out the research, or students in a class who have collected the animals, are using them for observations or experiments, or who have been assigned or volunteered to care for the animals.  All animals not being cared for by these students will be assigned to the animal care technician(s).  It is the responsibility of the supervising faculty member to ensure that the students understand who is responsible for the care and that they understand how to care for the animals and where and how to get supplies and food.  It is the responsibility of the students to care for the animals, inform the faculty member of any problems, and ensure for continued care by trained individuals over breaks or during any time when the students will not be able to carry out their duties.

Animal Care Technician(s):  These students are hired or volunteer to care for animals in the department which are not being cared for by other students.  Typically, these are the animals held in the greenhouse and in the classrooms as part of the general teaching collection; experimental animals are typically under the care of the researchers.  However, the animal care technician may be asked to take care of research animals as well, and will also act as a supervisor and resource to other students maintaining animals in the department.  The animal care technician will report to the faculty members ultimately responsible for the animals in the technician's care.

Housing:  Animals will typically be housed in one of several situations:

Outdoors:  some animals may be housed outdoors on the campus or at a faculty member's house, particularly in the summer.  This, for instance, is the pattern for the box turtles most of the year.  Outdoor care does the best job of maintaining the animals under "natural" conditions.

Greenhouse:  Animals may be maintained "free-living" in the greenhouse.  Examples are turtles in the greenhouse ponds, frogs, toads and lizards living on the greenhouse floor and among the plants.

Community tanks: several species held together, often under naturalistic conditions, usually for display purposes.  Examples are the display tank on the first floor and community tanks in the classrooms.

Species-specific housing:  Some species cannot be maintained in a community tank and are maintained in species specific housing.  Examples include all rodents and scorpions.

General instructions for housing types:

Outdoors:  Ensure the animals are protected from the most adverse weather, predators are excluded, and that moisture is adequate.  Check animals daily.  Supplement feed and water as conditions warrant.

Greenhouse:

Animals which are loose in the greenhouse require no specific care, although supplemental feeding stations, if present, need to be checked and stocked as needed.

Turtle ponds/biofilter:  The turtle ponds should be checked daily.  

  1. The water should be clear.

  2. The water level should be within 3" of the rim of each pond.

  3. The pump should be supplying a good stream of water to the biofilter.

  4. Excess algae growth should be removed by manual means (filamentous) or by partially draining the tanks.

  5. There should be some plant material in the turtle ponds.  Excess growth in the biofilter can be recycled here.  Other excess growth in the biofilter is to be discarded.

  6. There should be guppies and comet goldfish in the turtle ponds.

  7. Once a week stir the sediment.  If there is excessive, black sediment then drain and clean the tanks.

 

Classrooms:

Aquariums:  Check daily:

  1.  The water should be clear.

  2. The front glass of the aquarium should be clear.

  3. The water should be at the indicator mark on the glass.

  4. The filter should be running normally.

  5. If an air pump is present it should be running normally and producing bubbles.

  6. The filter/air pumps should not be making any noise.

  7. Check water temperature.

  8. Check lights.

  9. Once a week stir the sediment.  If there is excessive, black sediment then vacuum the gravel.

  10. Saltwater tank: check hydrometer after adding any deionized water. Clean off any encrusting salt.

Terrariums:  Check Daily:

  1. Front glass should be clean.

  2. Water bowls or water level should be checked.

  3. Do visual check on each animal.

  4. Be sure proper humidity level is maintained - water/mist as needed.

  5. Be sure lid is in place and secured.

  6. Check lights and temperature.

Rodents: Check daily:

  1. Be sure food and water are provided (note: animals under some experimental protocols may have specific requirements; check with researcher).

  2. Check for cleanliness of litter.  Clean/replace litter on regular basis.

  3. Be sure water bottle tip is not in contact with bedding.  Replace bedding if wet.

  4. Visually check each animal.  Note and report any health problems (sneezing, wheezing, listlessness, etc.)

  5. Be sure lids are replaced properly.

 

 

 

Animal Care - Specific

Note: not all of these species will be in captivity at any given time.

Rodents:

Rodents (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, etc.) are kept in specially designed cages and/or aquariums.  They may be housed in research areas, classrooms or the animal room in the basement.

Diet:  Most of the rodents are fed solid food blocks obtained from a local farm supply store.  Often these are labeled for use with swine or chickens.  In general, the food is placed in a receptacle on the cage and the rodents are free to eat as the please.  Keep food in the receptacle at all times.  Supply water via water bottles.  Water bottles and tubes should be cleaned with soap and water before refilling. Check with researchers about special diets, water additives, restrictions, etc.  Classroom animals should receive food/water ad libitum (as much as they want).

Housing:  Rodents are social creatures and should be housed together.  Unless it is desirable that they breed, they should be separated by sex into separate containers.  

Mouse cages are the smallest plastic containers and can hold up to 4 adult mice/gerbils/hamsters.  These cages are too small for rats.

Rat cages can hold up to 4 adult rats.  Do not place mice in these containers as they can escape.

Aquariums can hold a number of mice or other rodents.  Use the size allocations above to estimate how many animals to place in an aquarium, for instance a 10-gallon aquarium can accommodate up to 12 mice but perhaps only two rats.  Provisions will be needed for a lid and a way to suspend water bottles in aquariums.  Enrichment devices such as exercise wheels, cardboard tubes,  etc. can be added.

Enrichment:  Unlike most of the other animals listed, rodents can benefit from various enrichments.  The rack-style cages for mice and rats preclude the use of exercise wheels, but cardboard tubes (from toilet paper and paper towel rolls), chewing blocks, small cubes, etc. can be added.  Crickets and mealworms are welcome treats.  Some of the animals may enjoy gentle handling from time to time, but be careful, all rodents can bite.

 

Painted Turtles:

Painted turtles are normally kept in the greenhouse ponds and/or the display tank.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of dog or turtle food and vegetation, preferable aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Lemna, Pistia, water cress, etc.  Feed 1 small palmfull of dog or turtle food 3 times weekly; if food is not eaten within 5 minutes reduce future feedings.  Be sure live fish such as comets or guppies are available.  Live aquatic insects and crayfish may also be fed.  Feed by hand (carefully), by placing the food in the water, or by placing the food on a basking site.

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained in a 20 gallon or larger tank.  There should be a basking area; in an aquarium this should be 1.25x the length of the longest turtle from the top of the tank (or a lid should be provided).  Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun; if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly.  A florescent lamp should be operated on a timer for the tanks set on a 16:8 light dark schedule. Painted turtles in the display tank should be rotated monthly back up to the greenhouse. Hibernate for at least 3 months if possible.

First aid/injuries.  Turtles establish a pecking order and may fight at times.  This will result in bites on the head, neck, tail and appendages.  Monitor such wounds; if they get worse notify a faculty member for treatment.  Infected turtles will have to be isolated and receive special care.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite.  Males have long front claws.  Always eat in the water.

 

Red-eared Sliders:

Red-eared Sliders are normally kept in the greenhouse ponds and/or the display tank.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of dog or turtle food and vegetation, preferable aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Lemna, Pistia, water cress, etc.  Feed 1 small palmfull of dog or turtle food 3 times weekly; if food is not eaten within 5 minutes reduce future feedings.  Be sure live fish such as comets or guppies are available.  Live aquatic insects and crayfish may also be fed.  Feed by hand (carefully), by placing the food in the water, or by placing the food on a basking site.

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained in a 20 gallon or larger tank.  There should be a basking area; in an aquarium this should be 1.25x the length of the longest turtle from the top of the tank (or a lid should be provided).  Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun; if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly. A florescent lamp should be operated on a timer for the tanks set on a 16:8 light dark schedule. Turtles in the display tank should be rotated monthly back up to the greenhouse. Hibernate for at least 3 months if possible.

First aid/injuries.  Turtles establish a pecking order and may fight at times.  This will result in bites on the head, neck, tail and appendages.  Monitor such wounds; if they get worse notify a faculty member for treatment.  Infected turtles will have to be isolated and receive special care.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite.  Males have long front claws.

 

Yellow-bellied turtle:

Yellow-bellied turtles are normally kept in the greenhouse ponds and/or the display tank.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of dog or turtle food and vegetation, preferable aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Lemna, Pistia, water cress, etc.  Feed 1 small palmfull of dog or turtle food 3 times weekly; if food is not eaten within 5 minutes reduce future feedings.  Be sure live fish such as comets or guppies are available.  Live aquatic insects and crayfish may also be fed.  Feed by hand (carefully), by placing the food in the water, or by placing the food on a basking site.

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained in a 20 gallon or larger tank.  There should be a basking area; in an aquarium this should be 1.25x the length of the longest turtle from the top of the tank (or a lid should be provided).  Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun; if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly.  A florescent lamp should be operated on a timer for the tanks set on a 16:8 light dark schedule. Turtles in the display tank should be rotated monthly back up to the greenhouse. Hibernate for at least 3 months if possible.

First aid/injuries.  Turtles establish a pecking order and may fight at times.  This will result in bites on the head, neck, tail and appendages.  Monitor such wounds; if they get worse notify a faculty member for treatment.  Infected turtles will have to be isolated and receive special care.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite.  Males have long front claws.  Always eat in the water.

 

Stinkpot:

Stinkpots are normally kept in a shallow aquarium - they are good climbers and should be kept at least 2x their shell length from the top of the aquarium.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of dog or turtle food and vegetation, preferable aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Lemna, Pistia, water cress, etc.  Feed 1 small palmfull of dog or turtle food 3 times weekly; if food is not eaten within 5 minutes reduce future feedings.  Be sure live fish such as comets or guppies are available.  Live aquatic insects and crayfish may also be fed.  Feed by hand (carefully), by placing the food in the water, or by placing the food on a basking site.

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained in a 20 gallon or larger tank.  There should be a basking area; in an aquarium this should be 2x the length of the longest turtle from the top of the tank (or a lid should be provided).  Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun; if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly. A florescent lamp should be operated on a timer for the tanks set on a 16:8 light dark schedule. Do not place in the display tank. Hibernate for at least 3 months if possible.

First aid/injuries.  Turtles establish a pecking order and may fight at times.  This will result in bites on the head, neck, tail and appendages.  Monitor such wounds; if they get worse notify a faculty member for treatment.  Infected turtles will have to be isolated and receive special care.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite.  Bite can be more severe than the other turtles; be very careful about feeding by hand.  Always eat in the water.

 

Snapping Turtles:

Snapping turtles are normally kept in a large plastic container in the greenhouse - they are good climbers and should be kept at least 2x their shell length from the top of the tank.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of dog or turtle food and vegetation, preferable aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Lemna, Pistia, water cress, etc.  Feed 1 large palmfull of dog or turtle food 3 times weekly; if food is not eaten within 5 minutes reduce future feedings.  Be sure live fish such as comets or guppies are available.  Live aquatic insects and crayfish may also be fed.  DO NOT FEED BY HAND!

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained in a 20 gallon or larger tank.  They do not need a basking area.    Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun;  for hatchlings only if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly.  Do not place in the display tank. 

First aid/injuries.  Don't worry about the turtle - worry about yourself.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite.  Bite can be more severe than the other turtles; DO NOT feed by hand.  Always eats in the water.  DO NOT PLACE HANDS IN THE WATER WITH THIS TURTLE.  IF YOU MUST WORK IN THE TANK, REMOVE THE TURTLE WITH A NET.  GET PROPER INSTRUCTION BEFORE HANDLING A LARGE SNAPPING TURTLE.

 

African Spurred Tortoises

The tortoises are housed off-campus during warmer weather and in the greenhouse desert room during cooler weather.  In the greenhouse they are either housed in large plastic containers or simply loose in the desert room. 

Diet: They are herbivores, and need a diet of plant material, mostly grasses.  Some store-bought green can be used, but not all.  A fairly complete listing of diet elements can be found at: http://www.chelonia.org/articles/sulcatacare.htm and is summarized here:

DIET - A high fiber, low protein and calcium rich diet will ensure good digestive tract function and smooth growth. Geochelone sulcata fed on cat or dog foods frequently die from renal failure or from impacted bladder stones of solidified urates. Avoid over reliance upon 'supermarket' greens and fruits, which typically contain inadequate fiber levels, excessive pesticide residues and are too rich in sugar and should be avoided. African Spurred tortoises are a grazing species; every effort should be made to duplicate this diet in captivity.  Fruit should be offered very rarely or not at all as the Spurred Tortoise’s digestive system is not equipped to handle high sugar content foods.

 

  • Diet:

  • Orchard grass or hay

  • Timothy or Bermuda grass or hay

  • Leafy greens  (dandelions, clover, endive, grape leaves, mulberry leaves, weeds etc.) 

  • Cactus pads 

Additional calcium supplementation is essential. Powdered calcium can be sprinkled all foods. It is suggested that one use calcium supplemented with vitamin D3 if the animal is being maintained indoors and calcium without D3 if it is outdoors.  Provision of a cuttlefish bone, which can be gnawed if desired, is also recommended.

 

Housing - At the college, these tortoises are housed in the greenhouse desert room, which will normally be maintained at the warm, dry conditions that the tortoises need.  UV light through the glass combined with their summer exposure should be sufficient.  

First aid/injuries.  The floor of the greenhouse is very rough and can abrade the shells.  Monitor the bottom of the shells for abrasions.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite. Usually they take food from the hand gently, but be careful.  Defecate copiously, be sure to clean up feces daily.

 

Box Turtles

Box turtles are normally housed off-campus.  They may be occasionally brought on campus and housed in the greenhouse or in a terrarium, particularly hatchlings.  They are good climbers and should be kept at least 2x their shell length from the top of the aquarium.  

Diet: They are omnivores, and should receive a diet of live insects and worms as well as some fruit.  Live food can be placed in front of them preferably early in the morning as that is the period of greatest activity.  They are particularly active on rainy days.  Older turtles will also accept hard-boiled eggs (with shells) and turkey or chicken canned dog food (not the "ground beef" bagged dog food used for the other turtles).  Hatchlings should be fed mealworms which have been placed in a container of calcium-rich food for at least 2 days prior to feeding.

Housing - The turtles should have plenty of room.  They may be kept in a 10 gallon tank when they are under 4" of size; after that they should be maintained outside whenever possible.  The height of the enclosure should be 2x the length of the longest turtle from the top of the tank (or a lid should be provided).  They may be left to wander freely in the greenhouse. Light should be natural sunlight with at most one pane of glass between the turtle and the sun; if there is more glass or inadequate light a UV bulb should be provided and changed yearly.  The substrate should be organically rich and should be kept moist at all times. Hibernate for at least 3 months if possible.

First aid/injuries.  Turtles establish a pecking order and may fight at times.  This will result in bites on the head, neck, tail and appendages.  Monitor such wounds; if they get worse notify a faculty member for treatment.  Pay attention to swelling on the side of the head and/or gaping of the mouth or wheezing or bubbling discharge from the nose.  These, along with swollen eyes are serious conditions which should be reported. Infected turtles will have to be isolated and receive special care.

Other notes:  Readily tamed, will come to the hand for food, may bite. Usually they take food from the hand gently, but be careful.

 

Corn Snake:

The corn snake is kept in a 20 gallon high terrarium (or larger) with a secured lid. 

Diet: The snake is a carnivore and should be fed an adult mouse every other week.  The mice can be obtained from the pet store or from experimental animals left over from other experiments.  Place the mouse in the cage, replace and latch the lid, and observe from a distance.  The snake should strike, constrict and kill the mouse within a few minutes.  At this point leave the room, as any movements (particularly by the hands) can distract the snake and keep him from eating the dead mouse.  If, for some reason, the snake does not eat the mouse in 10 minutes, carefully capture the mouse, house it overnight by itself (follow instructions for housing mice) and try feeding the next day.  NEVER LEAVE A LIVE MOUSE IN WITH THE SNAKE.

Housing - The snake is kept in a vertically oriented terrarium of at least 20 gallons.  The bottom should be lined with 3" of clean shredded aspen (do not use pine or cedar as the oils are irritating).  A plastic shoebox with clean water should be placed on top of the aspen, and a rock, hide box, and climbing sticks placed in the terrarium.  A heating pad is placed under the terrarium on the end near the rock, and an incandescent bulb outside the aquarium should be placed to shine on the rock as well.  The screen lid should be secured by two straps and several heavy books (placed on the frame, not the screen).

Health: Monitor for obvious injuries. 

Other notes:  Be careful.  Do not handle snake unless trained to do so, however gentle handling of the snake is encouraged once you have been trained.  Do not handle the snake if it shows signs of agitation, if it is molting (eyes cloudy), if it has eaten in the past 24 hours, or if it hasn't eaten in over a week.

 

American and Fowler's Toads:

Toads are normally kept in the greenhouse or in terrariums. 

Diet: They are carnivores, and should be fed mealworms, crickets (from the pet store), worms (from the worm bin).  Feed a serving about equal to the animal's head 3 times/week.  Extra insects/worms can be allowed to live in the cage to be eaten at will, but watch for obesity.

Housing - Toads are kept in terrariums with at least 3" of soil on the bottom.  The soil can be a loam or a mixture of sand and peat moss.  A layer of gravel under the soil can help maintain moisture levels; in general this gravel layer should be water-saturated allowing the upper layers to wick up enough moisture to stay moist, but not wet.  The terrarium can be planted and enhanced with native plants, moss, bits of rotting wood, etc.  No special light or heat source is needed.  A soaking bowl or wet area of the terrarium should be provided, kept wet, and kept clean.  Toads will burrow and will not always be apparent.

Health: Monitor for obvious injuries; do not let toads get too obese.  If they get fat, cut down on food for a while (continue feeding, but smaller portions).  

Other notes:  May come to hand for food.

 

Oak toads:

These toads are much like the toads above.  The substrate should be sand with some peat moss.  Allow sand to -almost- dry out periodically.

 

Marine Toads:

These toads are released in the greenhouse and should not require special care.  If circumstances warrant, a feeding station with dog food may be established.

 

Newts: 

Newts are normally kept in aquariums, with or without fish. 

Diet: They are carnivores, and should be fed mealworms, crickets (from the pet store), worms (from the worm bin).  Be sure there are quatic snails in the water at all time.  They may also eat fish flakes or shrimp pellets. Feed only as much as will bee eaten in 5 minutes; feed 3x week. Extra insects/worms can be allowed to live in the cage to be eaten at will.

Housing - Newts are kept in aquariums which are maintained like aquariums in general, except that the water level must be at least 4" from the top of the tank to prevent escape.

Health: Monitor for obvious injuries. 

Other notes:  May come to hand for food.

 

Bullfrogs and Greenfrogs

These aquatic frogs are normally kept in aquariums with lids.  They may also be placed in the ponds in the greenhouse.

Diet: They are carnivores, and should be fed mealworms, crickets (from the pet store), worms (from the worm bin).  Feed a serving about equal to the animal's head 3 times/week.  Maintain guppies and feeder comets in the tank as well.  Watch the abdomen at the base of the legs; if this area looks thin the animal is not eating and you may have to transfer the animal to a separate tank for feeding.  To do this, place the frog with food items in a damp aquarium ( a little water or wet paper towels on the bottom), cover the tank with a lid, and leave undisturbed until it has eaten at least some of the food.  Repeat daily until weight is regained.

Housing - Toads are kept in aquariums or terrariums with a majority of the bottom space devoted to bottom.  About 3" of water is fine; there should be a place where the frog can get clear of the water as well.  There must be a lid on the tank.  The terrarium can be planted and enhanced with native plants, moss, bits of rotting wood, etc., but place these in containers so they can be removed when the tank is cleaned.  No special light or heat source is needed.  The substrate in the tanks should be gravel to facilitate cleaning.

Health: Monitor for obvious injuries. 

Other notes:  May come to hand for food.

 

Tree Frogs (various species, including poison dart frogs)

These frogs are normally kept in the greenhouse or in terrariums. 

Diet: They are carnivores, and should be fed mealworms, crickets (from the pet store), worms (from the worm bin).  Feed a serving about equal to the animal's head 3 times/week.  Extra insects/worms can be allowed to live in the cage to be eaten at will, but watch for obesity.  Small specimens may be fed flightless fruit flies, preferably dusted with calcium supplement.

Housing - These frogs are kept in terrariums with at least 3" of soil on the bottom.  The soil can be a loam or a mixture of sand and peat moss.  A layer of gravel under the soil can help maintain moisture levels; in general this gravel layer should be water-saturated allowing the upper layers to wick up enough moisture to stay moist, but not wet.  The terrarium should be planted and enhanced with native plants, moss, bits of rotting wood, etc., and include some vertical elements for climbing.  No special light or heat source is needed for native species; poison dart frogs have more specific reqirements).  A soaking bowl or wet area of the terrarium should be provided, kept wet, and kept clean.  

Health: Monitor for obvious injuries. 

Other notes:  May come to hand for food.

 

Tadpoles:

Tadpoles of various species are kept in aquariums or more extensive wet areas of terrariums.  They do not need special care other than to ensure that they have clean water with some vegetation in it; lettuce and spinach can be used for this.  After hind legs appear they should be placed in shallower water and once front legs appear they should be placed in a situation where they can move to dry land as required.  Once front legs appear they no longer breather through gills so some means of support is needed near the surface in deeper water.  They also stop eating at this time.  Food can be discontinued until the tail is almost reabsorbed, at which point small live food items can be offered and care and housing can switch to that appropriate to the species (see above).  

Many species are cannibalistic.  Do not house amphibians of greatly varying sizes together.

 

Fish:

Many varieties of fish are kept in aquariums and in the greenhouse.

Diet:  Fish are fed either fish flakes (small fish), shrimp pellets or dog food (larger fish).  Carnivorous fish will also eat smaller fish placed in the tanks.  Feed 3x week as much as will be consumed in 5 minutes.  If food remains in the tank after 5 minutes reduce the amount of food on subsequent feedings.  Monitor tank for thin fish and try to distribute food to all fish in the tank.  Fish in the turtle tanks are generally not fed as they will clean up after the turtles.

Housing:  Most of the fish are kept in community tanks.  These range in size from under 5 gallons up to the 55 gallon display tank.  10 gallon tanks and up should have an external water filter that withdraws, filters and returns water to the tank.  Most tanks also have an air pump and air stones to aerate the water.  The bottom of the tanks is normally clean gravel.  Most of the tanks have living or plastic plants for aesthetics and to provide fish with a place to hide.  Water levels should be maintained high enough to keep the filters working (most tanks have a black mark on the glass to indicate an appropriate level).  A florescent lamp should be operated on a timer for the tanks set on a 16:8 light dark schedule.

Cleaning:  Once a week stir the gravel.  If a cloud of black detritus arises, use a gravel vacuum/siphon to remove about 1/3 of the water from the tank while removing the detritus from the gravel.  Top the tank off with fresh tap water.  Check two days later and repeat as needed.  Frequent cleaning is a sign of overfeeding.  Use a razor, magnetic cleaner or glass slide to clean the front of the tank; allow algae to grow on the sides.  Check the filter for proper operation and wash the filter pad once a week.  Once the filter pad can no longer be cleaned replace it with a new pad.  Some of the filters need to be primed by adding water directly to the filter chamber until it begins pumping.  If a filter or pump is noisy, remove, clean and replace components to be sure they are all seated properly.  If noise persists parts, particularly the impellers, may need to be replaced.  If airstones are not proving many small bubble replace the airstones and/or the air pump.