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Surinam Toad

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Is this toad right for you?

Other common names: Common Suriname Toad, Star-Fingered Toad, Sapo Chinelo

Scientific name: Pipa pipa

The basics:
A “toad” in name only, this bizarre aquatic beast is unlike any typical toad – or, in fact, nearly any other amphibian! As flat as a pancake and with an odd, triangular head, the tongue-less female Surinam Toad carries her eggs and tadpoles below the skin of the back….what more exciting pet can the experienced keeper ask for?!

The Suriname Toad ranges throughout much of eastern South America, from Suriname and Guyana through the Amazon Basin region of Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. It also occurs on Trinidad.

Entirely aquatic, the Suriname Toad’s natural habitat is mud-bottomed, “black water” streams, rivers, and oxbow lakes within wet forest habitats.

Appearance / health:
The 4-7 inch-long body is flattened and greenish to dark brown in color. The long, muscular rear legs bear large, webbed feet and the tiny eyes are set high up on the triangular head. Star-shaped sensory organs tip the long, slender fingers.

Well-cared-for pets may live to 10+ years of age. Surinam Toads frequently swallow quite large rocks and gravel, resulting in intestinal blockages. If ammonia levels are not monitored, they will succumb to “Red Leg” and other bacterial/fungal infections.

Behavior / temperament:
Suriname Toads adjust well if given proper care, but are shy animals and become stressed if removed from the water.

As is true for all amphibians, they should be handled only when necessary, and then by being urged into a water-filled container so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. They are “beyond slippery” and should not be grabbed by hand. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.

Housing:
A 30 gallon aquarium can house a single adult. The tank should be stocked with floating and submerged plastic or live plants. Gravel is best avoided due to the danger of ingestion. Suriname Toads jump from the water’s surface at night and will escape an un-covered aquarium.

A powerful filter and weekly partial water changes will help ensure a healthful environment. Blackwater extract sold for use with tropical fish may help to convey a sense of security, and low light levels are preferable. An aquarium test kit should be used to monitor ammonia level. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water via commercial preparations sold for use with fish.

Suriname Toads do best at temperatures ranging from 75-79 F. and a pH of 6.7 to 7.0.

Diet:
Surinam Toads should be provided a varied diet of shiners, minnows, earthworms, and tropical fish such as guppies, platies’ and swordtails.

Breeding:
Females are larger and stouter than males, and when in breeding condition develop a ring of swollen skin around the cloaca.  Mature males give forth a “metallic” clicking call.

Breeding can be stimulated by decreasing the aquarium’s water level by half for 2-4 weeks, followed by a re-fill to normal levels. Pairs in amplexus swim in a circle while the male guides 50-100 eggs onto the female’s back, after which they sink into the skin. Tiny, fully-formed froglets pop out of their mother’s back 80-110 days later.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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trickle filter, Breeding Surinam Toads, large aquarium, oddest eggincubating methods, dead leaves

Health Tip

Surinam Toad

From Jun 17 2013 11:40PM

5/5

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