Amphibian Care in Temporary Shelters


Frogs and Toads eat a pelleted frog or fish food, mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, or cooked chicken as a temporary food. Put food in water for frogs that always stay in the water.
Salamanders eat small insects (worms, larvae, beetles, moths, crickets) or fish food.
Tadpoles eat algae from standing water left in sunlight, or boiled dark green leafy vegetables can be substituted.

HOUSING: Minimum environmental temperature 60 degrees, maximum 80 degrees. Move to indoor climate controlled facility if needed. Use secure wire mesh top for ventilation.
Provide heat lamp when possible at one end of enclosure to allow animal to move to desired temperature up to 80 degrees.
Unchlorinated water must be available at all times in a shallow bowl, tote, or litter box for soaking. Place large clean flat rocks to enable climbing in and out of water.
Spray enclosure with dechlorinated water several times daily.
Use no bedding material, just leave the bottom of the container bare or use paper towels.
Provide branches for climbing and a box or other hiding place.
Never house multiple amphibians together unless they were together in their home and of similar size.

RESTRAINT: Avoid handling if possible.
Wear smooth disposable gloves to avoid injury to the amphibian’s fragile skin, and exposure to or spread of Salmonella, tuberculosis, or other diseases.
Move by scooping animal into a plastic container as nets may injure skin or toes.
NEVER restrain any amphibian by the tail.
Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling. Do not expose amphibians or anything in their enclosure to hand sanitizer residue on your hands.

COMMON MEDICAL PROBLEMS: Poor water quality and excessively cold or hot temperatures cause most problems.
May ingest bedding material or foreign objects.
Injuries to skin from rough handling or drying out from lack of water.

OTHER: Messy eaters may need frequent water changes and cleaning of cages and dishes.
Water must be dechlorinated: Allow chlorinated water to sit in an open container for 24-48 hours so chlorine can dissipate, or use bottled spring water. Filtered tap water run through a sediment and activated charcoal filter can be used if available.

Compiled by Julie Burge, DVM, Burge Bird Services and Burge Bird Rescue, August 2016

Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians by Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Diplomat ABVP-Avian
Immediate Intake Care of Small, Unusual & Exotic Pets by Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary