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Who should breed Dart Frogs ?
#1
I have been wondering who out there breeds frogs. It seems like there is a lack of breeders, if you look on the web for frogs it is hard to find the ones you want. Do you think we have an obligation to make more of an effort as a hobby to raise more frogs? It seems since these animals are a limited resource and there is a large demand that many in our hobby should make more of a push to breed frogs.

In the world of reef tanks there is a big push to culture corals and fish so as to diminish the effect on the natural reefs. There are whole societys devoted to this that provided information and possible resources to accomplish this. Is there such an organization for breeding darts? I have not seem much of a push in this hobby to encourage breeding of frogs. It seems that most people with frogs could make some effort with a 10g tank to at least try to breed one species. I realize that many people are not interested in breeding but maybe if there was more of a push then more would give it a try.

Any thoughts?

Mike
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#2
Hmmm. Interesting post. . .it seems to me just the opposite is true. I think the number of people that keep frogs as purely display animals without trying to breed them is pretty small in comparison to those that try to breed their frogs. It seems like after a few months of keeping frogs, everyone posts a pic of their frogs for opinions on whether its a male of female so they can breed them! Yeah, the number of 'commercial' breeders of dart frogs is relatively small in comparison to other herps. At the same time, I think the number of everyday hobbyists that breed their frogs is high in comparison to other herps. I think this is good because it supports a hobby of people that really know what frogs are all about and really know how to take care of them, as opposed to someone who just saw them in a pet store and bought them because they thought they were cool. As far as finding the frogs that you really want, it might take some searching, but you can always find someone that is breeding it. With the rarer morphs you usually have to get on a list.

Neal
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#3
I think the people on DartDen and other boards are a select group of people who keep frogs and there is most likely a higher percentage of people on this board who are interested in breeding than when compared to the total population of Dart Frog keepers. Many people talk of breeding but how many are succesful? I dont know the answer, I think the lack of breeding puts a lot of strain on people to get them from the wild. I agree that maybe dart frogs should not be easy animals to come by but then again they are not the hardest animals to keep.

There is not any large scale effort to raise these frogs that I know of. It seems as if the hobby is not as well as organized as it could be to help itself. Just an observation.
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#4
I have to agree that the number of people breeding darts is high. There is one downfall to this.
The Darts most people work with are not very hard to breed ( most will breed even when unhealthy). I have read way too many posts with a frogger asking what morph they just bought, if it is a male or a female, and what the best set-up would be for breeding. Anyone else ever read something like that?
There is supposed to be a registry in the works to follow bloodlines. I hope it comes to fruition. I find it very unlikely that every frogger in the U.S. will admit to a registry how he/she procured all of their collection.
I would say that we need to first concentrate on quality ( TRUE quality, bloodlines, health, ect.) before quantity. These are endangered species. One hundred healthy , site specific, true species of Darts are worth way more than a thousand sick mutts.

Rich

www.fryebrothersfrogs.com
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#5
Rich,

I agree the quality needs to be there but I just wonder where all these frogs are going? It seems unlikely to me that a high number of people are breeding when I can hardly find any frogs at my local pet stores. It seems if there are so many breeders that there would be more frogs. Maybe it is just my area but I have only seen maybe 3 species for sale in my area and it is very rare that they actually have frogs. I think a registary would be a start. Can we do a poll on this site? It might be interesting to see how many people have breed frogs to the point they were able to trade or sale them.

Mike
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#6
Mike,
Here is a scenario that happens all too often;
Frogger "A" in the hobby finds that he/she/they now have a breeding pair . Lets say that "A" is fortunate enough to have a specie which is rare and/or hard to procure in the U.S.
"A's" pair produces an average of one healthy froglet every two weeks. "A" ONLY has this one rare pair of Darts. "A" sells the froglets in pairs until one day "out of the blue" the male dies. "A" did not hold back any of these rare frogs for himself/herself/their selves. Let's say "A" kept his pair producing froglets for sixty weeks straight. With the numbers supplied this would mean that "A" sent out fifteen pairs with a fifty/fifty chance (actually less, many morphs are sex heavy!) of being opposite sexed pairs. This brings us to the best case scenario of having 7.5 opposite sexed pairs of these rare frogs. With deaths during shipping, accidents, disease, ect. 7.5 is not a great number.
"A" had this pair breeding for over a year.
What is needed to insure that we do not loose some of these rarer morphs is a mind set to wait to make money off of them until you have a large enough number to be secure in the fact that , one accident, one door being left open, one bacterial infection, one impacted bowel, does not wipe out the ability to produce that morph.
There are many morphs being sold at this time without waiting lists, I see it all the time. You will, most likely, need to have frogs shipped to you, as this is still a relatively new hobby. The rarer morphs do have waiting lists.
I do agree that this hobby is not as organized as it could be. Many people are trying.

Rich

www.fryebrothersfrogs.com
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#7
Rich,

You hit the nail on the head, it is that kind of thinking that has to get out there. You are right I am sure that most people do not consider the things you have talked about and it makes sense. Is their a national society for dart frog keepers, or something like that which could be a source of information and help promote an agenda that would help our hobby?

Mike
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#8
Mike,
There is no national society or registry yet. There may be a group or two that claim to be a national Dart interest group, but nothing substantial.
There are a few issues ( other than the couple I have touched on) that make a national registry or club or society unlikely.
One of the most unsettling aspect of the hobby is the fact that there is yet to be produced a current book which fully covers even the basic aspects of Dart husbandry. The very latest book from the guys who have been doing it for longer than most here in the States ( Professional Breeders Series, by Schmidt and Henkel) has exactly three paragraphs on disease and ZERO mention of quarantine ( something that ANYONE getting frogs from Europe should swear by!!) I also find it impossible to find a chapter, page, or even paragraph with the heading "professional" or "advanced". I do find the word "basic" used more than once though. I guess I have to use a phrase I am sure more than one frogger has used to describe more than one Dart book......cool pics.
We are still at a point where people are either unable to find good info or are just not willing to do some research. Quarantine is one of the most basic/crucial aspects of Dart husbandry , yet I would dare say that more new froggers do not quarantine than do.
Another suggestion is to take in more than one frogger's opinion. There are some breeders that have wonderful husbandry skills and ethics beyond reproach. There are others that are only in it for the $$$$$.
As to the topic of a national registry/society; There are so many froggers with vastly different opinions on Dart husbandry, I see it being a long haul to get to a point that we could actually have a true society with a true registry ( just look at the joke the AKC has become!).
We are still at the point where it is almost easier to pull teeth than to say ( or get people to listen to) " No. No. Cull that frog, don't breed it!"
Good topic/question.

Rich

www.fryebrothersfrogs.com
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#9
Yeah, there is very little published material on dart frog husbandry. It seems like most people that get into them build up their skills by trial and error, from message boards like this, or if they're lucky, they live near someone who has some experience--in that order. With regards to the rarer species, I'd like to see some people really concentrate on one species, really figure out what it takes to keep them healthy and breed them, and then spell it all out for the rest of us so that these species can then be disseminated into the hobby with successful results. Maybe a site, or publication...maybe in the future I'll work on something like that Wink.

I think one thing that hinders the hobby (and most hobbies) is that people tend to break up into factions and let egos get in the way of truly trying to advance the hobby. It's unfortunate because it really hurts all involved.

I have a question about just how much illegal collecting/smuggling really goes on in the US. I've heard about it happening quite a bit in Europe, but not so much here. Maybe I'm just naive, but are hobbyists wanting knew morphs putting that much pressure on the wild populations?

Neal
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#10
Rich & Neal thanks for your responses.

I don't really know how effective a registrary would be, it seems like it is something that would be hard for people to mess with. I don't know how much pressure is on the frogs in the wild either but it seems that anything you could do to lessen it would be good. Given the small area that some of these morphs come from you could see how collecting them might be a problem.

As far as egos go I am sure that is a problem as in any hobby. It really is sad that someone would think they knew the only way or even the best way to go about something to the point that they exclude others opinions.

Maybe we could develops something like "The principles of raising dart frogs successfully" and put it one this site as a separate page. It would be a start and I bet Corey would go along with it. I think the ideas that have been voiced here would be a good start. This is the kind of stuff I have never ran across with all of my online readings about raising dart frogs.
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#11
Neal,
I also think that one thing we have yet to talk about are the responsibilities of the Dart breeders to try to answer all questions and help newbies who have just bought their first dart ( I do not like answering questions that have been discussed to death, unless I have something new to add, this is not what I am talking about though). Maybe if we start asking who the problematic Darts came from, and start asking why there was no info offered upon purchase, this may prod breeders to make sure the purchaser is on the right track.

I have to disagree about the "factions" statement though. I most definitely want to be separate from other breeders that are knowingly practicing bad/unethical husbandry techniques. All breeders are not created equal. Some things that hinder the advancement of the hobby are reasons for the neccesity factions. There are egos in this hobby (and others) but I truly believe it is the passion for the Darts that causes disputes more than anything.

As to the smuggling question; there is a great deal more going on than most would belive. In Europe it is much more rampant than the U.S.
As the F+W monitors these boards, I believe that is enough input on that topic.

Mike,
I am very hopeful that some sort of registry comes about. What I believe will happen is something along the lines of reporting what species a froggers has and who he/she got them from. A voluntary list of bloodlines. This would not be a hard thing to accomplish. Some downfalls would be that the registry (volunteers?) would need to do follow-up to check into the claims, not all froggers want people knowing what they have ( legal or not) , and the fact that some froggers would not want to admit when they loose a whole population (thus taking them out of the registry) of "X" frog , making them look like they were lacking in husbandry skills. These are just a few things that would add sand to the registry Vasoline.

I think it is a great idea to go step by step and talk about exactly what is needed to keep these frogs breeding AND healthy. Let's start it.

Rich

www.fryebrothersfrogs.com
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#12
No, I'm not saying that all breeders or keepers are created equal and that everyone has to be buddy-buddy all the time at all. Also, there's certainly nothing wrong with condemning bad husbandry/breeding practices when it comes up. It's got to be done for the good of the hobby.

So what should be call our new husbandry/registry site? I was thinking we could solicit help from some of the more well-known, or I guess even better, well-respected breeders that might be willing to write some sort of article on a particular species that they have been "successful" with. For the registry, maybe we could find out who has frogs for which true collection data exists and kind of go from there. How should we get this started?

Neal
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#13
Neal,
There is a registry in the works. There are a number of very well respected froggers working on it as we speak. I have nothing but positive thoughts flowing in that needed direction.
A registry and basic husbandry practises are two different things though.
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#14
OK, so I guess I'll just keep an eye out for the registry to come about. So I guess something addressing the basics of dart keeping is something to work on. Hopefully there will be some informative posts on the other thread that you started, Rich. I'd also like to see something that goes species by species and maybe addresses some of the nuances of keeping some of the more problematic species and what it takes to really get them to thrive in captivity. I think I'll try to work on collecting some material for something like that.

Neal
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#15
It seems like a good article on the ethics, problems and need good breeding practices would be helpful.
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