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Substrate for spadefoots?

This is a discussion on Substrate for spadefoots? within the Other Anurans forums, part of the Anura: Frogs & Toads category; I have a pair of Spea multiplicata . Right now I have them on moist sand, but was wondering if ...

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Old 29th August 2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Substrate for spadefoots?

I have a pair of Spea multiplicata. Right now I have them on moist sand, but was wondering if anyone with longterm experience has recommendations / experience using other substrates or mixes of substrates. I'm thinking of moving them over to mix of coco fiber and sand. Alternatively, I've had good luck keeping salamanders longterm on the 50:50 coconut fiber:topsoil mix. Would this work for Spea too? I could even do a third of cocofiber, topsoil and sand. With the sand alone, I'm worried there won't be any natural waste breakdown necessitating frequent substrate changes.



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Old 29th August 2010   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate for spadefoots?

Moist sand gets foul, and can also be difficult for some animals to burrow in. I haven't kept Spea, but I don't think they would mind a non-sand substrate as long as they can burrow in it.



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Old 31st August 2010   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate for spadefoots?

A loose substrate is key. I use a coco-fiber/sand mix. It is about 75% coco-fiber and 25% sand.



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Old 31st August 2010   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate for spadefoots?

Topsoil a minimum of ten inches deep. Moist not damp and semicompacted. When the surface dries out heavily mist it till the surface is saturated. Do this late afternoon or early evening. Once nightfall hits, add live insects and watch the show. Only feed after watering or they will not surface to eat. provide a water dish for them to soak in during feeding time. I would avoid coir and compost based substrates. High moisture content speeds up their metabolism and results in starvation during their normal aestivation cycles often leading to death.

Spea species feeding response has been linked to barometric pressure drops and subsonic frequencies. I can confirm this with my specimens. I water and feed them in conjunction with bass heavy music playing. (mine really respond to Juno Reactor and Cypress Hill) I keep an eye on my barometer and use it as my schedule. If the tank is dry and the mercury drops, its time to fire up the music and watch the show!

By observing them in the wild most of this summer, I found their diet consists primarily of crickets and beetles. They seem to ignore other foods.

Keep in mind that these guys are notoriously lousy captives and that you will rarely if ever see them outside of the methods described. Also note this what I use for Spea bombifrons.



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Old 5th September 2010   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Substrate for spadefoots?

I keep mine in straight damp coco-fiber about 4" deep and they do fine. It stays light and loose and easy for them to burrow. But I think it would all depend on where your keeping them. I keep mine in a tub in doors and that's fine. If they are outdoors open to the environment you'll need a much denser substrate.

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Chuck



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