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Thread: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

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    Default Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    I am the Animal Care Specialist for a small nature center with appx 28 different species of reptile, amphibian, mammal and bird. Among our 5 frogs we had Mateo, a beautiful Argentinian. We purchased him from a reptile breeder approximately 5 weeks ago and he seemed to be doing fine. Coconut substrate, moss, marbled water dish and daily spritzing for humidity. Up until today when a volunteer found him dead, he had a great appetite for crickets and was active (for a Pacman ) Yesterday Mateo was a plump, happy frog sitting in his water dish. Today he was a stiff, completely shriveled corpse under the moss. We are in shock as we love our animals very much and try to do everything right by them. Can someone educate me as to what may have happened? Don't spare the truth, either; I'm from the Bronx and can take it.

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    Default Re: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    Don’t beat yourself up it happens. They are not as hardy a species as people think and sudden unexplained deaths can occur despite proper care. Can you describe the enclosure in greater detail? Was there excessive heating or lighting? Was the water treated with anything such as a water conditioner? Was chemical exposure a possibility? Did anything change recently in terms of husbandry or care? How large was Mateo? Was he kept alone? Was he a froglet, a juvenile or an adult? Was there anything remarkable about the body after he passed such as burns, sores, discharge or redness on the underside or legs? If you could please provide some more information it may shed some light on possible causes.

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    Default Re: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    Quote Originally Posted by DanDrobates View Post
    Dont beat yourself up it happens. They are not as hardy a species as people think and sudden unexplained deaths can occur despite proper care. Can you describe the enclosure in greater detail? Was there excessive heating or lighting? Was the water treated with anything such as a water conditioner? Was chemical exposure a possibility? Did anything change recently in terms of husbandry or care? How large was Mateo? Was he kept alone? Was he a froglet, a juvenile or an adult? Was there anything remarkable about the body after he passed such as burns, sores, discharge or redness on the underside or legs? If you could please provide some more information it may shed some light on possible causes.
    Thx for the quick reply. 5gal tank, moss and coconut substrate, heat lamp over 1 corner...well water treated monthly w/chlorine. No chemicals anywhere. He was about 3" long and almost as wide. Alone, fed crickets. Only remarkable thing about his body is it was shriveled like a mummy...yet he had a bowl of water right there.

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    Default Re: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    Ok. Was the coco substrate moist or dry? What was the ambient temperature in the enclosure and/or under the heat lamp. Temperatures in excess of 90 can kill rather quickly and if combined with a dry substrate the body will desiccate quickly. As far as water goes, well water can pose a host of problems in and of itself but using anything other than dechlorinated /purified can also cause problems. In the future I’d advise using bottled water or at the very least a water conditioner that removes chloramine and chlorine from the source. None of this is to say though that any of these factors necessarily contributed to the frog’s death but in the future make sure to eliminate any environmental variables. Sometimes frogs die suddenly and aside from a thorough necropsy there is no easy way to determine the cause.

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    Default Re: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    Quote Originally Posted by DanDrobates View Post
    Ok. Was the coco substrate moist or dry? What was the ambient temperature in the enclosure and/or under the heat lamp. Temperatures in excess of 90 can kill rather quickly and if combined with a dry substrate the body will desiccate quickly. As far as water goes, well water can pose a host of problems in and of itself but using anything other than dechlorinated /purified can also cause problems. In the future Id advise using bottled water or at the very least a water conditioner that removes chloramine and chlorine from the source. None of this is to say though that any of these factors necessarily contributed to the frogs death but in the future make sure to eliminate any environmental variables. Sometimes frogs die suddenly and aside from a thorough necropsy there is no easy way to determine the cause.
    Thank you again, Dan. Ambient temp was usually 80-85* and we try to keep the substrate as moist as possible. To be honest, it may have dried out between spritzing. Also, we used to use only bottled water (delivered) for the animals but then our well water was supposedly "treated" and was "fine". I am going to use only the bottled water going forward. We'll never know for sure, but I will be much more careful about these issues.

    Thanks so much to this forum for access to expert help. FYI I am a wildlife rehabilitator and lead Admin for www.thesquirrelboard.com, a VBulletin forum very similar to this one. I understand now how our new members feel when they come to our forum desperate for help, or saddened by the loss of a beloved animal.

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    Default Re: Sudden death and dessication of our Mateo, Pacman Frog

    No problem it’s my pleasure. I only wish I could have been more helpful. Good luck with your animals and enjoy the holiday.

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