As these environmental factors are changed it is advisable to add mosses, grasses and dried leaves to the land based section of the enclosure. Eventually as the environment becomes cooler and less pleasant for the inhabitants one should notice their reluctance to move, and they will begin to hide in a state very similar to hibernation, with reduced metabolism, respiration rate and heart beat. As the last of the frosts disappear (around mid spring) it is time to ‘awaken’ the toads.
This can be done much quicker and in a couple of weeks the temperature can be raised to eight or nine degrees C. The temperature can then be continuously increased by around 1-2 degrees each week until back to normal temperature. At around ten degrees approx. 90% of the toads should have awoken, the rest should wake up within the next few days.
The toads should soon become active and search for food and a warm spot to bask. Often there will be great competition to sit under the basking lamp so it is advisable that a second one be placed above the enclosure for the first week or two.Naturally as temperature increases it is advisable to increase the photoperiod gradually until around 16 hrs/day. Water levels should also be increased until returned to around 6 inches, as room will soon be needed for spawning.
Soon one should begin to observe courtship behaviour, which helps greatly in sex determination. The males will make an oop-oop sound in order to attract the females. Where possible one should try and reduce the ratio of males to females to around 2:5. To many males can result in stress to the females and sometimes even results in drowning as several males try and mate with her.The males in the enclosure will begin to guard a territory and attract the females into this territory with his calls, throat actions and leg trashing. It is the females who decide upon which male to choose. Now is a good time to add various species of aquatic or semi aquatic plants to the water section of the enclosure.
Ceratophyllum demersum and Elodea canadensis are particularly suitable. These are required as spawning sites for eggs and provide cover for both males and females not wishing to partake in breeding activity.If breeding activity has still not been induced, or has only been induced in half of the individuals then the use of a watering can, spray bottle or similar is advisable in order to stimulate spring rains.Copulation usually occurs at the height of the summer, around June/July, and most often during dawn, dusk, or the night. It is the female who selects the egg deposition spot. Eggs are usually deposited around aquatic plants in clutches up to one hundred; often around three clutches are laid.
The chosen male will hold on to the back of the female tightly fertilising the eggs as they are laid. As soon as breeding has finished the eggs should be removed into their own tank to avoid being eaten by other frogs either at the egg or larval stage.Hatching should occur within a week, however if possible during this week the hatching tank should be placed outside (if the weather is fine) or at least within reach of natural sunlight. In order to build up algae growth on the sides of the tank.
However care should be taken to ensure temperatures do not reach fatal levels. Complete metamorphosis should take around 50-60 days at 26 degrees. However higher temperatures reduce this time and lower temps increase it. Temperatures too far either side can result in abnormalities (often in size), unhealthy toads or often death.After hatching the tadpoles can be fed on plant matter such as the algae developing on the sides of the tank) and other organic matter which can be added (various varieties of pond-weeds). At around 4cm the larvae will begin to show development of hind limbs, after the initial ‘buds’ appear development will become swift and the hind legs almost spring out from nowhere, though actually they have been developing behind the gills. Through all stages of larval development while gills are still the main source of obtaining oxygen the water supply should be aerated by means of a fish tank air pump or similar.
Once front legs develop a reduction in tail size will begin as it is absorbed into helping the larvae develop into a toad. Almost as soon as leaving the water a change in behaviour and activity will occur. The young toads will soon be seen trying to catch insects and should be offered drosophila, though the wingless varieties may be preferable as these tiny insects are so small they are sure to escape at some point. Once the toads are fully developed a month to six weeks after the eggs were laid depending on temperatures, they can be put in their own tank and treated the same as the adults in the rest of the collection.
Be careful however, not to house toads together which are of great difference in size, although cannibalism is not really common with B.bombina, it can and does occur so individuals should be housed together which are of similar size.Health One essential piece of equipment that every budding herpetologist should acquire is a quarantine enclosure. This is fundamentally the same as the main enclosure, (though it may be a little smaller).
But it is advisable that the quarantine enclosure be kept as free from contaminants as possible. This includes plants and unnecessary aesthetic additions. Ideally this should be set-up in a separate room.
This enclosure should be used as standard procedure for any new arrivals so they can be observed for around three weeks before introducing them to the main collection.Under appropriate conditions B.bombina is remarkably resistant to disease and entry of disease into a collection is usually from some fault of the keeper.
Signs of good health in B.bombina include, activity, (especially at feeding times) a good appetite. Clear, clean skin, free from lesions or sores. Reaction to stimuli such as disturbance or sudden noise, good colour, clear bright eyes.
Normal behaviour specific to the species – including playing dead, floating on and spending large amounts of time in, water.However it is likely that at some point disease will enter the collection here follows a list of the more common diseases and ailments that B.bombina is likely to encounter. Red Leg Red leg is certainly the most notorious disease affecting the captive anuran. It is caused by a parasite called Aeromonas hydrophila. Animals infected with the parasite often become lethargic and may well go off their food they may also be noticed to become bloated.
However the most noticeable sign of red leg will be the reddening of skin on the belly and the inner thighs.Animals noticed to have contracted the disease should be put into quarantine isolation (as previously discussed). Generally red leg is caused by stress. This may include unsanitary conditions, low temperatures and overcrowding, though any degree of poor husbandry can be to blame. Red leg itself is caused by enlarged and broken capillaries resulting in subcutaneous bleeding. Generally most amphibians that contract red-leg don’t survive long, those caught early enough may be immersed in a 2% copper sulphate (or potassium permanganate) solution.This may be helped further through antibiotics such as tetracycline being orally administered twice a day at a rate of 50mg/kg.
It must be remembered that this disease is fatal in most cases, and can easily be prevented. Insuring the enclosure is well maintained cleaned regularly, and that all the toads natural environmental factors are kept to should prevent the disease from occurring. However, should the disease occur it is advisable to seek advise from a suitably qualified vet. Intestinal Impaction Toads are notoriously greedy animals, and will often try and devour anything, which passes in front of their heads. This can cause problems when substrate (or various other non-food items) are swallowed. Grains of sands and fine pebbles should pass through the gut without many problems; however, larger items will probably require a trip to the vets for surgical removal.Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) Metabolic bone disease is a disease common among many captive herptiles.
It is caused by a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D3, which should normally be provided to ones toad through supplement powders or gut loading techniques. However by the time the deficiency has become so severe to be noticeable (though skeletal abnormalities) it is likely that the resulting deformities are irreversible. Though possible supplementations done through guidance of a vet may help. It will also be noted here the importance of not over supplementing ones toad, over-supplementation can result in failure of the kidneys in a condition called hypervitaminosis.