Vietnamese Mossy Frog
Theloderma corticale

Mossy Frogs, Theloderma corticale, are semi aquatic frog from Northern Vietnam. They live in and around mountain streams in their natural habitat. Adult size is about three inches. They have a beautiful cryptic appearance, and rough skin which gives them their name. In a properly designed setup they can practically disappear, but be right in front of your eyes!

When you initially receive your frogs from us, they will typically be juveniles, about three months of age. At this point it will probably be best to house them in a simple set up for a few weeks, while they get some more size on them, and you become accustomed to their requirements. This simple set up will allow you to more closely monitor the frogs, and make feeding easier and more efficient. While this simple set up is not mandatory, it will most likely result in faster growth, and a higher success rate for you.

Here we are keeping the frogs in large plastic tubs, approximately 20 gallon size, with screen lids. The tubs are translucent. We keep about 25 baby or juvenile frogs in these setups, with about a half gallon of water in them. The water does not cover the bottom of the tub, due to the tubs having a “well” around the outer edge, and a domed center. There is nothing in these tubs but water and frogs. Every other day the water is dumped out, and the bottom of the tub is dried off. Then we add appropriate size crickets to the tub, and leave them in with the frogs for about an hour. Then the crickets are removed, and fresh water added back in. This accomplishes several things all of which are beneficial for these young frogs. First it makes it easy to change the water, and keeps the water clean, as there is no substrate to get dirty. Second it makes it easy for the frogs to catch their food, and eliminates the problem of the crickets drowning and fouling the water. A third benefit is it allows us to easily monitor the young frogs for good weight.

I suggest when you get your frogs that you keep them for a time in a similar setup. A large pet carrier, or critter keeper, with a half inch to an inch of water in it would be good. You might cover two or three sides with paper, on the outside of the carrier, to allow the frogs to feel a bit more secure. A piece of cork bark or other type of wood will allow them to pull out more easily. Just make sure to clean it once a week with hot water. Keep them like this, feeding as suggested above, until they have doubled in size, which should take four to six weeks. Then they will be much safer in your terrarium!

As with most frogs that I am familiar with, mossy frogs need no special lighting. Back ground light is sufficient for the frogs, but it would be a shame to not be able to see the frogs any better, so I recommend lighting the frogs tank. Fluorescent lights will probably be the light of choice, other types of lighting will probably add too much unwanted heat to the tank. When choosing fluorescent bulbs, look for ones called “Daylight” or similar terminology, but don't waste money on “Full Spectrum” or UV – B producing bulbs, the frogs do not require this type of lighting.

As your frogs grow up, they will need a larger tank. Any set up for these frogs should incorporate a large water area, with places for the frogs to pull out and rest at waters edge. A minimum size tank is probably a thirty gallon aquarium, with two thirds water area. The level of the water in the water feature is not particularly important, but it should be at least three inches deep, to allow the frogs room to move in it. They are tolerant of a wide variety of temperatures, although they seem to prefer temps in the mid to upper seventies. Lower temps will be tolerated fine, and warmer temps shouldn't pose a problem either, but they should probably not be exposed to temps above 85. The lid of the tank can be an aquarium hood, or a screen lid with some plastic covering about half the lid, to bring the humidity up. They do not require a particularly high humidity, but will probably spend more time out of water if you give them less ventilation, and higher humidity.

Food is pretty simple, a few crickets each, two or three times a week, with calcium and vitamin supplements added. We suggest Rep-Cal and Herptivite. You can feed them after dark, and just throw the food into the tank, they will track it down and eat it. Alternatively a feeding station can be used, a plastic shoebox is fine for this. Place it in the terrarium when the lights go out, with the crickets in it, and the frogs will learn to eat out of it. This will prevent crickets from running loose through out the tank, and cut down on dead crickets in the water supply.

These frogs seem pretty easy to breed, and will lay eggs on limbs or other wood surfaces just above the water level, or on rocks and other objects at waters edge. They have a quiet call, and are very hardy. Adult males can be distinguished from females by their nuptial pads, on the thumb of the front feet. The frogs seem to do well in a mixed sex group, and breed for us through out the year. Eggs are taken and incubated in Petri dishes.

Tadpoles are raised on the same algae mix we use for our dart frog tadpoles. Tadpoles can be raised in groups, or will grow faster if raised individually. They can be ready to morph in as little as sixty days, if they are kept individually in the mid seventies, or it can take up to a year if temperatures are cooler.



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