Caudiverbera-- helmeted water toad


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Sep 28, 2009
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Anyone working with this species of Leptodactylid frog? I heard this frog gets HUGE, 12 inches for a full grown female.
yes females get that big males get 5" to 6" I bought 3 of them they are still small.
Yeah, the females get huge...but there appears to be potential problems with keeping them healthy in least for some of them. The guy I bought my trio from said that roughly 50% of the animals sold get cloudy eyes for no apparent reason...and spiral down from there. It may be keeping them too hot (70's???), may be that they are incredibly sensitive to water quality, or it may be some bug that lives in their eye in nature then freaks out when the frogs are stressed. I have one dead and two others swimming in circles to prove it...something weird happened with mine.

I pm'd Marlon about his. I hope they are well and were not affected. I have a 125 gallon tank that I want to use for a pair, but have to get healthy animals first.

The guy I bought mine from said the main problem he has with them is when they get around four inches they start to eat each other and must be housed seperately.
What diets are being used for these animals, and are they exposed to UVB?

Isn´t this species seriously endangered? Are the animals available WC?
The IUCN lists it (now as Calyptocephalella gayi) as Vulnerable. The animals I have seen for sale are listed as CB, and the fact that they are all juvenles supports that. It really does sound like something metabolically related; deposition of lipids or calcium in the eye. Has anyone done a PM to see if othr organs are affected?

Note: PM is "post mortem" in this usage...just in case anyone was confused.;)

I have actually seen a few of these around town here.( But, due to sheer numbers of critters in my house, I have moved all the frogs from my collection on to other homes.need the weather to cool down to move many of them on...)

To date, all appeared to be juveniles, but neither store could prove CB status to my satisfaction. I admit, every one of them had milky eyes too.
They will eat anything that moves, just like most frogs. Mine were eating f/t silversides and krill from tongs before they got sick along with crickets and earthworms.

My experience says something like the following is mostly going on: juveniles in their first year are captured somewhere opportunistic shortly before going into hibernation or aestivation at the same time each year. Chile is in it's winter now, and the high temps for Concepcion Chile three weeks ago were in the low 50'sF. I have found one note of capture in Concepcion, that is how I new to check the temps there.

Any claims of cb animals are, in my opinion, bs. Just because the animals are small doesn't mean they are cb. If someone was breeding them, finding info on their care would not be the needle in a haystack that it is now.

I have heard the Chileans farm breed them for food, but have found no reliable reports of where, how, or anything else. Three or four dealers bring them in each year at the same time and they sell fast. They are not expensive, I paid $22 each for mine.

I am really starting to lean towards the possibility that these frogs need real cold, super clean water. After all, they only come from Chile, and maybe northern Argentina, although no one seems to know this for sure. Coming only from such a thin strip of land (Chile) between Mountains (Andes) and an ocean says to me specialization.

Below is a great picture of an adult female. If you consider that the planks on the decking are most likely four inches wide...that is one monster frog.
If this is the pattern of imports, then I suspect that you may be correct. A genetic analysis would porbably solve the puzzle as CB animals would likely be all very closely related, if not siblings, but I suspect that no-one will be doing that in the near future! Does this animal receive any national protection in its home range - are they sold as CB to cover illegal import tracks (enough WC animals of other species are sold, and these animals seem widely available enough not to be restricted to specialised keepers, to make me think that this might not be solely marketing)?

That is one big frog.
The guy I bought mine from was not selling them as cb. The frog network is pretty tight after thirty years or so. If these things were being bred in the U.S., I feel like someone would have dug it up by now.

By the way...the tadpoles are huge (over six inches long) and take a couple years to morph, so captive breeding would be no small task.

I really want to work with this species, so by all means, if someone can prove me incorrect and knows someone who is breeding them, I would love to know who that person is. That is, if they don't mind being "keyed out".
I read a couple of papers about this frog (unfortunately nothing on ecology etc.) which contained a small amount of detail on habitat etc. The frog lives and breeds in large lentic (i.e. still-water) water bodies, and is restricted to the Andes. This support the cool, clean water idea. Specimens from one study were collected in Curico, Chile (from a pisciculture facility, but it is not clear if they were being farmed or were incidentally occurring in the ponds), which has a climate as follows on this site:

Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Curico, Chile

Unfortunately, I can't find specific data as to water temperatures, but one paper records keeping adult frogs at a temperature of around 20 degrees Centigrade. However, this is a physological study so the animals were not maintained long-term.

Sorry i havent been here. yes my frogs are from Mark lucas yes they doing very well and growing. my room does get warm i say its 80 degrees due to the sun hits my roon in las vegas. Ive been feeding my frogs crickets. i got my frogs in small enclosere. i use arrow head water.
I have mine since may 29. two of the larger ones are together and the smaller one is separated due to these frogs will eat each other i separated them. nex month i will be puting them in a larger tank. i heard one was calling dont know which one.
here s a picture of one. i will post better pictures
I have mine since may 29. two of the larger ones are together and the smaller one is separated due to these frogs will eat each other i separated them. nex month i will be puting them in a larger tank. i heard one was calling dont know which one.

I am glad your frogs are doing well. One of mine seems to have recovered and is eating earthworms like a champ now. However, I fear that his affliction may have done permanent damage to his eyes...we'll see.

During my years working at the Bronx Zoo, a number of amphibians and largely insectivorous lizards (tiger salamanders, basilisk, White's treefrogs,) were found on necropsy to have lipid deposits in the eye; such individuals usually had kidney and liver abnormalities as well. Vets linked this to diets rich in pinkies and small mice, which many of these animals relish but likely rarely encounter in the wild. I've not looked into the water toad, but as it is large I imagine mice feature in the diet of many captives. Fish generally better, although I would use caution with marine species such as silversides and prawn (mentioned by one responder).

This article which I wrote on feeding African Bullfrogs addresses the topic further..African Bullfrogs and Horned Frogs seem better able to handle rodents than many others, but something perhaps to keep in mind.

Best, Frank
Hola amigos, yo tengo 6 adultos que compre en Mayo del año pasado, en Abril de este año empezaron a croar repetidamente y desde alli no han dejado de poner masas de huevos con espuma, la semana pasada ya realizo metamorfosis la primera larva, perdio ya la cola por completo.

Tengo unas 200 larvas creciendo de todos los tamaños, desde 4mm. hasta 12 cm.

Los adultos no les gusta salir del agua, los tengo al aire libre y pasaron el invierno al aire libre sin problemas a una temp. de 2-4 ºC.

Comen muchisimo, si alguien desea mas informacion con gusto se las proporciono, pero hasta ahora no han mostrado ser exigentes.

I have a male and female Chilean Helmeted Water Toads and I am struggling to find care instructions....mainly temparture of water....heater or no heater?
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