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Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 5:56 am
by Antonsrkn
Hi all,

Kind of an odd request for help but I'd appreciate the advice and knowledge you all can offer.

I need to keep frogs from crawling up the walls of plastic tub, the frogs in question are an arboreal species and have no trouble moving vertically on glass, bark, plastic or any other material. I would try some sort of mineral oil, but I'm concerned about the effects on the frog's sensitive skin. Obviously the frogs well being is of paramount importance. So I guess my question is what substances would you deem safe for frogs that I can also use to prevent the frogs from being able to climb the walls?

Disclaimer: I'm not up to something nefarious, nor am I keeping frogs in sub par conditions. I am conducting research for my thesis. The frogs will not be housed in the tub and infact will never be in it for more than ~10 min at a time, however during the time that they are in the tub I need to discourage them from climbing the walls.

Any help or advice is appreciated!


Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 11:50 am
by Kelly Mc
Hi Anton what an interesting, intriguing question.

Yes I would agree that mineral oil would be unhealthy, probably even polymer or medical type slippery gels would also be more of a hassle than they are worth, or have irritating antiseptic components that could marr behavior and incite panic = scrambling/jumping. I dont really know if the goal is just keepng them in.

I can share some observations in placing frogs and other animals in many kinds of temporary containers that may be useful or possible in your situ.

One thing I have noticed not just with frogs but many reptiles as well is that if the container is tall, tall enough so that the animal doesnt register the edge as an escape route they are more likely to be still.
Also avoiding passing motions or hovering above the container.

Putting alternatives to the wall in the container that are amenable for perching and familiar; its kind of all in having them not panic, but not readily seeing the edge of the top of the container has been something I have noticed has often negated my needing to use a lid for brief intervals.

I would love to hear more about your research

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 12:16 pm
by Kelly Mc
If you need the top open, and just the frogs to not achieve escape you might try a clear barrier around the inner perimeter. Cut a squared center out of plexi or rigid plastic sheeting.

Jimi is really good at innovating materials and design stuff.

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 3:43 pm
by Jimi
Thanks for the compliment, Kelly.

Anton, this is an interesting problem. But the way I'd go about it is different than what you might need to do. My application would more likely involve containing or excluding invasive pests than...oh, something else like you're presumably doing. I wouldn't be hung up on killing the things, I would be seeking to maximize long-term barrier performance.

Since you're doing research, how about, uh...doing some research? In my experience individual animals of a given species vary a lot in their athletic abilities and also - perhaps more importantly? - in their stubbornness or their giving-up time. There are plenty of people working with hylids and their ecological (if not phylogenetic) cognates - from ex-situ or in-situ conservation, all the way to containment or even eradication. Some of these people could benefit from knowing what you learn. Heck, you could even get a separate thesis or dissertation chapter and "methods paper" out of it. Besides getting something useful for your actual question.

So what I'm suggesting is considering conducting a battery of standardized, replicated trials using a reasonable number (3-5?) of different likely movement-barrier solutions. Use several (again, some reasonable number of) standardized trial durations (e.g., 10 mins, 12 hrs, 3 days). Use truly escape-proof containers with your intended barriers contained within. I totally suspect you will get a range of answers depending on trial duration and barrier type, as well as individual variation. Even within one species.

OK, now I will play along. How about trying a baffle of aluminum window screen, with the inner edge bent downwards toward the frogs and "fluffed" a bit so the individual wires are a pokey mess?


Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 30th, 2017, 6:01 pm
by Kelly Mc
Yeah! Using - Including the frogs natural behavioral ecology/ethology in avoidance or thwarting ergo that would be a more normalized dilemma to create that deterrence that Jimi stated.

I have seen tree frogs regularly wipe bits of moss and sub from their lower abdomen with hind feet - showing what seems to be some sensate diligence about their osmotic patches, or perhaps just being very acute about contacts on the skin. Frogs are very sensitized and permeable, even the most inert goop you could find could effect unwanted collateral responses. Astute to even PH nuances, an absorbable oil or gel could create warped results.

Without giving too much away, does your study have anything to do with skin chromatophore changes?

I understand you cant really disclose operatives before your formal presentation but youve got me so curious

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 31st, 2017, 9:54 pm
by SurfinHerp
I thought about this for a while and I wonder if some sort of mini-handcuffs might be what you need. Perhaps small rubber bands that hold the frogs' front legs tight against their sides so they can't climb? Or small clear plastic tubes that you can slide the frogs into? I imagine frogs would be fine after being gently restrained for 10 minutes or less.

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 31st, 2017, 10:25 pm
by Kelly Mc
In a plain container when arboreal frogs climb up the side, they usually settle in a typical position and stay there.

Not knowing what the 10 min entails, accommodating this tendency from a lateral aspect might solve the problem without strain.

Hypothetically light, movement, temperature, practically any condition applied at high angle can be repositioned to come from the side. Especially in a tub, that can easily be cut window style and closed up neatly with a few tags of tape.

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: May 31st, 2017, 10:58 pm
by Kelly Mc
If the application must be from overhead, when the frog has settled the lidded tub can be set on its side and the cut out side opened becoming the 'top'. Some or most frogs will stay put for a while.

Re: Preventing Frogs from climbing walls

Posted: June 2nd, 2017, 12:58 am
by Kelly Mc
I guess it depends on how you want energy to be spent. A tub is an easy object to manipulate. In a modest time frame arboreal frogs can be pretty predictable about how they tuck themselves in a container. Styles per phenotype a given, sure.

It sounds like you want them to stay oriented for a short time in direct range or some factor compatible range. Correct? It may be of better energetic economy all around to induce them to station without overtly extraneous tactics. This may be more contingent to what your focus might be. It could also reduce physiological variables for frogs to self-locate in a composed state for your purpose.

Earlier in light of this topic, I re arranged some gear and observed tree frogs settled over a cable I moved from one area to another, under the bottom of the enclosure. They do not know it is the bottom.. to them it is a favorably warmed plane. I took some pics and hope it might be a relevant addition to the discussion. I will post them acknowledging my limited information about the particulars of the study. But really enthusiastic about the thoughts and ideas it brings up.