Chapter 10 Amphibians

Amphibians are a popular group of pets amongst herpetologists and some aquarists. Popular species include a number of Anurids (frogs and toads) and some Urodeles (salamanders and newts).

Table 10.1 Popular species of amphibians: Key facts

Species Notes Common disorders
Horned frogs (Ceratophrys spp) From South America, these sit-and-wait predatory frogs grow large and have a strong bite Aeromonas infections, gout, corneal lipidosis
Poison-arrow frogs (Dendrobates spp) South American. Skin toxins are based on plant alkaloids ingested by native prey insects. Captive bred and long-term captives usually safe to handle with appropriate precautions Bacterial and fungal infections
White’s tree frogs Littoria caerulea A large Australian tree frog requiring high temperatures (26–32°C daytime; 20–24°C nighttime) and a comparatively low humidity (50–60%) Bacterial and fungal infections
African clawed toad Xenopus laevis (in both wild and albino forms) Totally aquatic. Extremely popular Bacterial and fungal infections. Poor water quality
Axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum A neotenous salamander originating from Mexico. Keep cool (15–20°C) Poor water quality, ingestion of foreign bodies, bite injuries from other axolotls
Caecilians, such as Typhlonectes compressicauda These aquatic and moist subterranean worm-like amphibia are occasionally available in aquarium outlets Fungal skin infections, poor water quality

Nursing care

Provide appropriate environment including provision of:

Skin disorders

The amphibian skin is thin and covered with a layer of mucous, which acts as an antibacterial and antifungal barrier. It is highly porous to medications and toxins; many treatments can be administered topically to achieve systemic effects. Normal flora are G −ve, such as Aeromonas spp, Pseudomonas spp, Proteus spp and E. coli. However, these can also be pathogenic and so results may require a degree of interpretation.

Hypovitaminosis A may contribute to secondary skin infections, e.g. chytridiomycosis, possibly by reducing cutaneous mucous production (see also ‘Hypovitaminosis A’, in Gastrointestinal Disorders).

Treatment/specific therapy

Respiratory tract disorders

Amphibians respire through a variety of organs – namely the lungs, buccopharyngeal lining, skin and gills (larval amphibia). In terrestrial amphibia dehydration may affect gaseous exchange at the skin leading to hypercapnia and acidosis.

Aug 21, 2016 | Posted by in EXOTIC, WILD, ZOO | Comments Off on Amphibians

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