Tadpoles and frogs "playing dead"

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Both Jason and I have observed thumbnail frogs "playing dead" if suprised or in cases of attempted capture. If you sneak up on them they will simply simply splay their arms and legs out and lay there on the ground. I often see this in the large 55 gallon imi tanks. They spend lots of time in cups that are translucent and their field of vision is obscured. I have suprised many frogs this way and there are some that will simply float around in the cup after being suprised. Has ayone else seen this behavior?

I have never seen a larger type of frog do this in either the adult or juvenile form, but sometimes the tadpole of a large frog (like a tinc) will exhibit the same same behavior. Often if I approach a clear cup containing a tadpole it will suddenly play dead and float.
Are you sure it isn't a seizure from shock and stress ?


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
Shock and stress is a possible explanation for this behavior, but not the only possible explanation. I believe that more needs to be known about dart frog behavior before correlating the behavior with a specific explanation will be possible. Other animals exhibit the same type of response to predation attempts. The frogs exhibiting this behavior are non-toxic even when in the wild and may behave in different ways compared with a toxic species. There are more explanations to this behavior, including shock and stress. Until one of use cracks the "code of the frogs" that is.......,
I have never seen this with any of my thumbs....I will keep an eye out on it and report if I ever see it.
I have with my lamasis. I had 1 get out a while back, while trying to catch her, she all of a sudden flipped on her back and remained completely motionless. I put her in a cup, back into the viv, and the second I closed the door, she righted herself and took off.
1.5 kids and a bunch of frogs
Here's three quick shot I took back to back as I watched one of our blue vents dart into the film cup. Soon as he was in water he threw out all limbs limp. floated, (I remained completely still) then moved to side of cup then out of it as though nothing happened. I have witnessed this behavior in tadpoles as well. I had dismissed it in the tads until I saw similar behavior in adults as well. I believe it's a natural defense. Seeing as to how they won't eat anything that doesn't move, it's possible they hold this close in regards to defending itself in some way.

Just a thought.

Very cool observations. Stuff like this cannot be reported often enough.


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
I have never whitnessed what your taking about but slightly off topic here is a pic of one of our mysties as we put it into its quarrantine tub,the classic playing dead,if you like, which i thought might be of interest as you can see from the following picture it stayed like this without movement even when righted and continued untill dark so several hours only movement being the throat,poor Shaz thought it was DOA but after an agonising few seconds my brain kicked in and i realised what the game was the frog is fine by the way
[Image: IMG_2084.jpg]
[Image: IMG_2085.jpg]

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