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We're just as honored as she is! My Frog Blog creator Catherine Shanahan is on hand to give us the lowdown on thoe slimy little sweethearts!

Hi Everyone

Firstly, I want to say thank you very much to Ava for inviting me to do a guest post for her website. I am so honored to be asked to do this and I hope everyone enjoys reading it.

I'd like to start by sharing how I came to love amphibians and discuss caring for them. I would also like to talk about amphibians for beginners and what to avoid if you are a newbie.

My love of frogs started around 4 years ago. It's funny how it started because it came about as a result of me popping into a tattoo studio which had been recommended to me by a work colleague! We'd just been chatting about tattoos generally as she had one done recently so she was sharing her experiences about it.

I decided to check this tattoo studio out and was very impressed as the guys who ran it seemed very friendly and the place was very clean and well run. They were also very happy to answer all my questions. The studio is called Crazy Needles and is run by Danny & Greg who are great guys.

I wouldn't say I was feeling rebellious at the time and necessarily wanted to have a tattoo (not that you have to be feeling rebellious because you don't). I would say I was feeling more adventurous really.

I decided to take a look through all their brochures and there was so many beautiful tattoos to look at - I really didn't have a clue at this stage what I wanted and was only checking everything out anyway. I came across some wonderful tattoos of frogs and that's when the idea came to me that perhaps I could get a tattoo of a frog!

I went away and thought long and hard about it and did some research online and found some spectacular pictures of frogs also. I really needed to know if this was the right thing for me to do or not and I knew it was something I wouldn't go into lightly.

I eventually came back to the studio a few months later and decided to get a tattoo of a frog done which is really lovely. This frog sits just over my right shoulder.

Hence, my love for frogs was born! Okay, I have to agree it's a funny place for an interest to start but they have to start from somewhere!

I'd now like to chat about caring for amphibians and the best frogs for newbies.

Amphibians can make unique and wonderful pets, but caring for pet amphibians is often more difficult than many people realize. In nature, amphibians require a delicate environmental balance, and if that environment becomes disrupted, they can become ill and die. It is the same for amphibians as pets. Keeping their environment stable is critical.

So, you've decided you'd like to get a pet frog.

Amphibians come in three categories:

  • Salamanders.
  • Frogs.
  • Caecilians.

Frogs and Salamanders are the most popular pets. There are over 400 species of frog and 80 species of salamander in the world.

There's plenty to consider here. Your frog or whatever amphibian you choose is going to be like any pet you would buy. You must consider getting a frog like you would get a cat/dog or budgie. Having pets can be a lot of work and one of the most important things you will need to consider is what is going to happen to your pet if you decide to take a vacation? If you look after your frog/salamander, they should live for a very long time. Planning ahead is vital to make sure your amphibians are well cared for while you are away. If you are lucky enough to have someone in your circle of friends who loves amphibians, this is great because you have a reliable source to look after your pet for you. Do plan ahead though and make sure you leave your amphibians in the care of someone who doesn't mind handling live bugs etc., and has some interest in them.

Here's a few things to consider when making choices.

Feeding Amphibians

Amphibians require different types of food. Frogs need to be fed regularly. Amphibians generally require a number of different food sources in order to get the various nutrients they require. When you go out to buy your amphibian, you need to make sure you are buying the correct food for the particular frog/salamander you wish to keep as a pet. If you decide to buy a frog that eats live bugs, then you must expect to find a few stray bugs hanging out around the house now and then! It is not always easy keeping amphibians as pets. It can be fun and very rewarding though. Watching them grow is very exciting and they certainly are unique to keep in comparison to cats and dogs.

If you are looking to keep amphibians as pets, you must firstly ensure you have a proper habitat set up for them before you go out and buy.

Thoroughly research the frog/salamander you wish to buy so you can work out the correct environment for them and build a lovely home.

When you have achieved this, you will need to make sure that you take great care to clean their tank out properly. You must ensure you clean their home in the correct manner as any disruption could cause illness or prove fatal. It is also very important to provide all the necessary materials for your pet amphibians (You will have done your research by this stage) so they have everything they need to lead a healthy life.

Active Frogs

Frogs generally do not do much so I wouldn't advise going out buying a frog that you think looks cool only to discover he doesn't do a whole lot! You can't really snuggle up to frogs either and it is important to bear this in mind when choosing one. Frogs who aren't particularly active will quickly become boring pets! The last thing you want when you buy your first frog is to be left with a big lump that eats and sleeps a lot. The best frogs for beginners are the Active breeds. You need to search for a species that doesn't sit about all day. Aquatic frogs, certain tree frogs and the less "fat" frogs are definitely the better choices for newbies.

When you are starting out and you are considering your first frog, it is not advisable to get a frog you don't know. As I mentioned earlier, there's over 400 species of frogs and many of them have very individual care needs. Some frogs hibernate in winter and some don't. It's also important to remember that many frogs look cute in pet shops so you need to do your due diligence before buying one.

For the newbie, one of the best frogs would be the African Dwarf Frog. These frogs are small, active and cute. They are great frogs to start off with because you don't have to deal with live bugs and they can be kept in the same conditions as goldfish for extended periods of time. They are very easy to take care of once they've adjusted to their new home which takes a couple of weeks. Try to get your frog at a decent size. Do avoid the skinny ones or ones that are very small. If the frog doesn't kick up much of a fuss when the pet shop owner is trying to get it out of the tank, this may indicate that the frog isn't in great shape. Don't confuse this with African Clawed Frogs which look very similar when small.

For the newbie frog owner Oriental Firebellied Toads are an excellent choice also. These guys are fairly simple to care for in so far as they can survive fairly well eating crickets with vitamin supplements and they are incredibly active so if you are looking for an active frog, then this is for you. The other good thing about these frogs is they do not get too big. These frogs also do well in temperatures people are generally happy to have in their homes. You do need to call on that 'frog friend' while you are away though because you need someone who doesn't mind handling crickets or else make sure you brief another friend thoroughly and warn them about the crickets.

A good Tree Frog for beginners is the White's Tree Frog. This frog has a funny personality and seems to be popular with beginners. They do tend to sit around a bit though. Try not to over feed them so they don't get too fat. Also, this frog is one of the few frogs that you can occasionally handle and has certainly warmed the heart of many frog enthusiasts! As well as dealing with crickets, the White's Tree Frog needs a little more care than the Firebellies simply because they live best with humidity and they are happiest when their tank is sprayed with water once or twice every day. However, as far as Tree-Frogs go, they are by far one of the easiest to deal with and because they are quite hardy, they do make great pets.

If you are a beginner with keeping frogs, then it's best not to have Poison Frogs - these guys are absolutely not for beginners. They are not easy to care for and have very specific requirements for healthy captivity. Even if you have done extensive research, it is best to start with an easier breed before taking on the more expensive breeds like Red-Eyed Tree Frogs etc., Frogs that get fat like Horned (Pacman) Frogs can get to be pretty boring as pets for the beginner. These frogs are also very hearty and not as prone to usual frailties of other types of frogs. Make sure you have a good think about getting this type of frog and you retain your interest in it before you make any rash decisions to dash out and get one.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and found it beneficial and you have a lot of fun purchasing your first frog.

Love & Enjoy your Amphibians.

My best wishes

Catherine Shanahan

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