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    Default American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Hey everyone,


    First of all sorry, because this post will be long. I've been a lurker on this site for quite a while now, but this will be my first post. It sucks that it must be under these circumstances, but I really need some advice here. I've had my 2 babies for about 3 months. They are both some types of American Toad, and one is only slightly larger (Terry) than the other (John) . So a few nights ago, it was feeding time and we couldn't find Terry. he's normally very enthusiastic to eat every night, so my fiance lifted up the tree hiding place that we have in their tank, and i happened to look away and when i looked back Terry was on the substrate, where he hadn't been before. I believe he fell out of the tree (at most a 6 inch fall), but my fiance says he was looking and that he didn't. I'm not sure what really happened, but I figured I would include this information just in case his symptoms line up with some possible injury :/. So when this happens he starts moving to hide again, except he is walking very strangely, like trying to drag himself and not use his legs right. We determined that he was in the middle of shedding, because we saw some skin coming off around his legs and he was doing the mouth-rubbing motions that they do when they shed. So we left him alone for the night.
    The next day, I wake up and he looks like this. (IM SORRY the image is sideways i couldnt figure out how to fix it)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whatever is in his mouth looks covered in substrate. So I took him out of the enclosure and put him in a bath, to try to figure out what this was. When it rinsed off, i could tell that it was skin hanging from his mouth. it looked like a foot or hand piece, with clearly fingers hanging out. Then, something pink emerged from his mouth (pictured). After some minutes it went back in, but the skin was still hanging out, and he was repeatedly opening his mouth trying to swallow it but nothing was going down. i looked in his mouth when he opened it and couldn't really see anything big in there other than his tongue.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    There was skin hanging off of his legs, making it hard for him to walk. It was attaching them to his sides. So I peeled the skin off for him as much as I could, thus restoring most function to his legs. I ended up giving him another warm water bath after this, and peeling off more skin. I also cut the skin that was hanging from his mouth to reduce the amount he had to swallow because it wasn't attached to him. I put him back in the enclosure and left him alone for a while, and he didn't eat that night either.



    The next day, he still wasn't eating or moving very much, and he was very bloated this whole time but I haven't found any poop, so I thought maybe he was impacted and that's why he couldnt swallow his skin... so i thought maybe a honey bath would help. So i gave him a warm bath with a couple drops of honey, followed by a regular warm bath, and he didnt poop but some more skin came off. He seems to bob his head up and down very slightly, like he's still trying to swallow something. When I flip him over i can see there are still patches of dead skin attached to his belly.


    I put him back in, and now he's been buried in the same spot for 2 days. he isn't interested in eating at all. His color is lighter than usual. And i'm very worried. What do you guys suggest I do? I am at a loss here :/


    here's some other information that may be useful. I've been making some upgrades to their routine since terry got sick so i will include this info as well...
    -The 2 toads are in a 10 gallon tank. When i got them they were both only about a half inch. Now the larger one and he is about an inch and a half, and i was getting ready to upgrade them to a 20 gallon before this all started happening.
    -they were on a nightly feeding schedule, with their food getting dusted with Zoo Meds reptivite with d3 twice a week. They just recently got off fruit flies and started eating dubias and extra small crickets. (after all of this i am leaning towards switching them to an every other night feeding schedule, and I also picked up Repashy's Calcium Plus that i am going to use every night instead of the reptivite twice a week.)
    -they did not have any special lighting. we have a regular LED lamp that we turn on during the daylight hours to give them a sense of schedule. We feed them around 8-10 pm and shut off the lamp afterwards. I just picked up a Daylight Blue 40w bulb that gives off UVA, and today is the first day using it
    -Temps are around 65-70 during the day, and 60-70 at night. During the warmer months (we got them in July) it would stay around 80. Humidity is usually around 60%, and when i mist it spikes up to 80 and drops fairly quickly, so i think my meter may be off. Sometimes in the morning it is as low as 40 so i mist it up to 80.
    -water gets changed daily and we use water filtered by Brita.
    -substrate is Eco earth coco fiber. We did indeed have sphagnum moss in there (frog moss from petco. it was recommended to me by an employee there...now I know that that employee is very wrong and after i suspected that Terry could be impacted I took all of it out.)


    Any other questions please ask. i can use all the advice i can get here. If he doesn't eat tonight, it will be night 5 with no food. I really want my baby to be okay and feel terrible if something i did could have caused this ): ):
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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Not sure if this will help but here is a photo of both of them when they were healthy. John is on the bottom, and Terry is the one sitting on the moss.
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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    This all sounds like a typical shedding. They'll puff up to stretch and tear the old skin, so that's normal. They'll be discolored as they're between old, dingy skin and the not yet fully exposed new skin. The hiding during the process is also normal since they know they're vulnerable all the while. (I don't think I'd want to do something like that out in the open either. ) They'll also be stiff before and during a shedding again, owing to the old, relatively dry skin being shed. The substrate caking onto the old skin is very likely depending upon what it is. That you can easily make a positive change of right away to help the little guy, so not a dire emergency as long as he hasn't ingested enough to impact his gut.
    Seems like he's just had a particularly arduous shed this time. Maybe change their habitat to help them avoid the caking of substrate on old skin problem but otherwise he should be fine once he's done.
    He actually looks quite good in your photos. Good color, robust stockiness, bright eyes. I'd say he's ok.

    Also, they'll eat less prior to a shedding and they won't eat again until after they've been done for a little while, nothing to worry about there either. And always leave them alone to eat their skin, they need it.

    Almost forgot, that "something pink" hanging out of his mouth is his tongue.

  4. This member thanks KP for this post:


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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    This all sounds like a typical shedding. They'll puff up to stretch and tear the old skin, so that's normal. They'll be discolored as they're between old, dingy skin and the not yet fully exposed new skin. The hiding during the process is also normal since they know they're vulnerable all the while. (I don't think I'd want to do something like that out in the open either. ) They'll also be stiff before and during a shedding again, owing to the old, relatively dry skin being shed. The substrate caking onto the old skin is very likely depending upon what it is. That you can easily make a positive change of right away to help the little guy, so not a dire emergency as long as he hasn't ingested enough to impact his gut.
    Seems like he's just had a particularly arduous shed this time. Maybe change their habitat to help them avoid the caking of substrate on old skin problem but otherwise he should be fine once he's done.
    He actually looks quite good in your photos. Good color, robust stockiness, bright eyes. I'd say he's ok.

    Also, they'll eat less prior to a shedding and they won't eat again until after they've been done for a little while, nothing to worry about there either. And always leave them alone to eat their skin, they need it.

    Almost forgot, that "something pink" hanging out of his mouth is his tongue.
    Thank you so much KP. I'm relieved that you think my Terry is okay. So should I expect their sheds to always take 4 days to go through? because it just seemed like a long time and I was under the impression that shedding happened relatively fast, fast enough for owners to miss it. I also thought it was normal for it to come off in one piece, so when I saw that it was coming off in some pieces that concerned me. thank you again :')

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    This session took longer than it reasonably should have as I noted, now don't feel bad about this, but in part because of your help, and also because it began with entanglement in the substrate which of course necessitated your loving interferance. The skin won't come off like a snake's does, in one piece. It'll always have to be done as they can reach it with their limbs and push it into their mouths, so piece-bypiece is all good. They go through a whole lot of gyrations and contortions to get it all.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Aw man, now I feel bad for messing with him as much as i did hah, looks like i may have to regain his trust for a bit. one more question, I currently have a 20 gal tank that I would like to upgrade them to. do you think it would be ok to do it now, or would it be too stressful for him after all of this happening over the past few days? Should I wait to move them until he starts moving around again and eating like normal?

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    And you're quite welcome. I'm glad I found your post so soon. As I've indicated in previous threads, I have Tree Frogs, Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis for the last few years but my early and longest-term specialty was Toads like yours of the Anaxyrus group. All I do with them nowadays is promote their increase in and around my compound but they remain one of my most favorite little creatures to have around.

    I'm sure yours will be fortunate to have you.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    The other thing I'd add is that it's really important under normal circumstances that they be left alone to shed and part of his reluctance to eat could be the measures you attempted as he was shedding, not to say that taking the clump out of his mouth wasn't the thing to do as in this case it certainly was but the bathing and removing of old skin for him may have left him more tender than usual from a shedding since the new skin comes with the same kind of heightened sensitivity we'd have from something like an abnormally abrasive exfoliation treatment at the spa or one of those microderm abrasions people get.

    I know people don't like to do things au naturalle in the pet world but of all the substrates available I recommend using good, clean dirt which is what Toads of this kind live in. They burrow, and they love doing it, so if they can't burrow to their hearts content they need to be able to do that as much and as soon as you can make that possible.

    You should have as much of a larger tank for them as you can find and/or afford with a good six(6) inches of soil throughout for them to get as down and dirty in as they please. Drop their food onto the surface and they'll emerge at night to hunt it like they do in the wild.

    On top of the soil you can put large pieces of tree bark which they'll happily burrow under. They'll love you for all of these things.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    I'm not trying to sound negative but frogs and toads do not have the same emotions as what people do. They do not share compassion. If you keep too many toads in one setup they will try to starve each other just so that way they get more food. They are much smarter and are actually more strategist than what people believe but I do not believe they show compassion. regardless on if you have a wounded animal or a healthy animal their natural instinct is to try to get away and that is still something they are going to do regardless on how long you keep the animal. it's important to understand the slower and the more gentle you go with the frog or toad the better the experience and the more comfortable they feel so they're not as willing to try to escape and assume you are a predator. there is no scientific proof that shows these animals can show human emotions. The one thing that I am arguing that these animals possess that many people do not believe specifically for the North American tree frogs and toads is that they can become territorial in captivity and can establish a hierarchy. This is not something that is scientifically proven because some people do not believe this while others strongly believe this. I know from experience where I stand and someday I hope to write something about this becoming a researcher. But I just wanted to make it clear the only way they would know the intent is if you're going slow and you are not seeming as a threat to them.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Wardog View Post
    I'm not trying to sound negative but frogs and toads do not have the same emotions as what people do. They do not share compassion. If you keep too many toads in one setup they will try to starve each other just so that way they get more food. They are much smarter and are actually more strategist than what people believe but I do not believe they show compassion. regardless on if you have a wounded animal or a healthy animal their natural instinct is to try to get away and that is still something they are going to do regardless on how long you keep the animal. it's important to understand the slower and the more gentle you go with the frog or toad the better the experience and the more comfortable they feel so they're not as willing to try to escape and assume you are a predator. there is no scientific proof that shows these animals can show human emotions. The one thing that I am arguing that these animals possess that many people do not believe specifically for the North American tree frogs and toads is that they can become territorial in captivity and can establish a hierarchy. This is not something that is scientifically proven because some people do not believe this while others strongly believe this. I know from experience where I stand and someday I hope to write something about this becoming a researcher. But I just wanted to make it clear the only way they would know the intent is if you're going slow and you are not seeming as a threat to them.

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    First thing here is that at no point did I or anyone say that frogs and toads "have the same emotions as what people do" as you put it. No where did anyone state as you also put it that they "share compassion". You managed to take all of what I and then apr0705 said and come up with your own twisted misinterpretation of it to mean something completely other than what was stated. Perhaps you should try reading those posts again. You seem to insist upon disagreeing with almost everything I post which is begining to get old and looks a little trollish.

    Now, with regard to how these or any animals behave in captivity as opposed to in the wild, it's a fact that they don't behave the same in both circumstances.
    Of course, if you put too many of any living thing into a confined space they'll exhibit a wide range of aberrant behaviors such as you describe and more.

    Many animals, if bred in or taken into captivity when newly brought into the world will depart from the norm of their specie's observed behavior with daily human interaction, i.e. a degree of domestication.

    As for the Anaxyrus family of Toads and the Gray/Cope's Gray tree frogs native to the region in which I am, I have a unique place from which to observe their behavior as they live on and around the house, the trees and shrubs on the grounds, and from there out to the vast acreages of forests and fields surrounding it. My pool cover measures 20x40 feet and is a central spawning pond for both Tree Frogs and Toads as well as other species of amphibians which I've noted in other threads, all of which come from as far away as a quarter mile from 3 cardinal points to spawn in it. This gives me the absolutely perfect, immediately up-close observation post from which to gather data every year.

    In addition to my constant observation of both the Tree Frogs and the Toads outside the house, I have four Grays, each with their own personality who respond to me each as individuals in individual ways, including but not limited to, with their color changes. They will all climb onto my hand without prodding, never trying to flee. One of them whenever taken from the tank climbs onto my hand, then crawls by whatever route he can to the top of my head where he has sat for as long as 4 hours as I go about my business around the house, watch a movie, get online, make dinner, eat, etc. and he will only come down when I remove him when I have to return him to his tank. The other three exhibit the same comfort with human contact. None of them exhibit any defensive responses toward me at any time. Once in a while they'll defecate on me but that's not a defensive threat response, in fact they have to be completely comfortable to relax and do that when being handled by a huge creature they would see only as a potential predator or a general threat if they were not domesticated. They all will sleep in my hand or on my shoulder, on my arm, torso, leg, whatever, and turn their most relaxed gray shade the entire time they're being handled.

    They also love to play, climbing on my hands and arms and jumping from one part of me to another, all while being completely at ease and enthusiastic, never displaying their threat colors of the darker shades of their spectrum. Then after burning off some energy, they'll fall asleep on me. But one can only know these kind of intimate aspects of their potential, latent nature by being close to them on the level I have been and am currently and by putting the time in to domesticate them from their first day as a froglet.

    Maybe you shouldn't keep these animals as captives if you don't feel you're able to connect with them.
    By keeping them in small boxes and telling yourself you're doing something akin to scientific observation, you fail to understand that you won't see them as they would be in the wild. Barring having an ideal circumstance as I do, only by immersing yourself into the wild where they live and becoming a part of the immediate environment they're at home within will you ever gain any real understanding and appreciation of their nature and complexity. This is true for observation of any animal. Even if you should take that step, your very presence will alter their behavior to the degree that it may take a generation or two before you're taken for granted by the community you're surrounded by and no longer having much effect on their behavior just by the fact of your being there, but that's not a committment most can make.

    I've had the advantage of having both Anaxyrus Toads and both Hyla Tree Frogs draw close to me in large numbers by the fact of my pool cover pond of snowmelt and rain in the spring, coupled with my immediate proximity to their purely wild habitat, so I'm able to observe them both in their wild, individual (Toads) and communal (Tree Frogs) context directly outside of my house and in the case of the Tree Frogs, a domesticated condition within my house as well.

    Finally, when I say "
    These little critters do have feelings and they do sense human intent and love." , this doesn't mean they have human emotions as you misunderstand it to mean.

    Gray Tree Frogs, when domesticated, change color in response to a variety of conditions and not merely in response to the colors of their surroundings as some observers like to assert. They change colors according to their mood as readilly as they do to camouflage themselves as those in the wild do.


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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    First thing here is that at no point did I or anyone say that frogs and toads "have the same emotions as what people do" as you put it. No where did anyone state as you also put it that they "share compassion". You managed to take all of what I and then apr0705 said and come up with your own twisted misinterpretation of it to mean something completely other than what was stated. Perhaps you should try reading those posts again. You seem to insist upon disagreeing with almost everything I post which is begining to get old and looks a little trollish.

    Now, with regard to how these or any animals behave in captivity as opposed to in the wild, it's a fact that they don't behave the same in both circumstances.
    Of course, if you put too many of any living thing into a confined space they'll exhibit a wide range of aberrant behaviors such as you describe and more.

    Many animals, if bred in or taken into captivity when newly brought into the world will depart from the norm of their specie's observed behavior with daily human interaction, i.e. a degree of domestication.

    As for the Anaxyrus family of Toads and the Gray/Cope's Gray tree frogs native to the region in which I am, I have a unique place from which to observe their behavior as they live on and around the house, the trees and shrubs on the grounds, and from there out to the vast acreages of forests and fields surrounding it. My pool cover measures 20x40 feet and is a central spawning pond for both Tree Frogs and Toads as well as other species of amphibians which I've noted in other threads, all of which come from as far away as a quarter mile from 3 cardinal points to spawn in it. This gives me the absolutely perfect, immediately up-close observation post from which to gather data every year.

    In addition to my constant observation of both the Tree Frogs and the Toads outside the house, I have four Grays, each with their own personality who respond to me each as individuals in individual ways, including but not limited to, with their color changes. They will all climb onto my hand without prodding, never trying to flee. One of them whenever taken from the tank climbs onto my hand, then crawls by whatever route he can to the top of my head where he has sat for as long as 4 hours as I go about my business around the house, watch a movie, get online, make dinner, eat, etc. and he will only come down when I remove him when I have to return him to his tank. The other three exhibit the same comfort with human contact. None of them exhibit any defensive responses toward me at any time. Once in a while they'll defecate on me but that's not a defensive threat response, in fact they have to be completely comfortable to relax and do that when being handled by a huge creature they would see only as a potential predator or a general threat if they were not domesticated. They all will sleep in my hand or on my shoulder, on my arm, torso, leg, whatever, and turn their most relaxed gray shade the entire time they're being handled.

    They also love to play, climbing on my hands and arms and jumping from one part of me to another, all while being completely at ease and enthusiastic, never displaying their threat colors of the darker shades of their spectrum. Then after burning off some energy, they'll fall asleep on me. But one can only know these kind of intimate aspects of their potential, latent nature by being close to them on the level I have been and am currently and by putting the time in to domesticate them from their first day as a froglet.

    Maybe you shouldn't keep these animals as captives if you don't feel you're able to connect with them.
    By keeping them in small boxes and telling yourself you're doing something akin to scientific observation, you fail to understand that you won't see them as they would be in the wild. Barring having an ideal circumstance as I do, only by immersing yourself into the wild where they live and becoming a part of the immediate environment they're at home within will you ever gain any real understanding and appreciation of their nature and complexity. This is true for observation of any animal. Even if you should take that step, your very presence will alter their behavior to the degree that it may take a generation or two before you're taken for granted by the community you're surrounded by and no longer having much effect on their behavior just by the fact of your being there, but that's not a committment most can make.

    I've had the advantage of having both Anaxyrus Toads and both Hyla Tree Frogs draw close to me in large numbers by the fact of my pool cover pond of snowmelt and rain in the spring, coupled with my immediate proximity to their purely wild habitat, so I'm able to observe them both in their wild, individual (Toads) and communal (Tree Frogs) context directly outside of my house and in the case of the Tree Frogs, a domesticated condition within my house as well.

    Finally, when I say "
    These little critters do have feelings and they do sense human intent and love." , this doesn't mean they have human emotions as you misunderstand it to mean.

    Gray Tree Frogs, when domesticated, change color in response to a variety of conditions and not merely in response to the colors of their surroundings as some observers like to assert. They change colors according to their mood as readilly as they do to camouflage themselves as those in the wild do.

    I appreciate your responses but I also feel obligated to give responses as I always have for many years. You give some good thought in your posts but I'm sure anyone would have read what you wrote and assumed you really meant they have feelings like people.

    I am not trolling you I am subscribed to these two areas as I'm sure you are so I comment on posts that I feel need my help. It has nothing to do with you. Unless Bill, Xavier or Dan post I don't assume a post is covered so I attempt to help the best that I can.

    As for your comments about my small boxes I actually have not known of anyone even a zoo to keep toads in a 6 foot long enclosure so I don't have to really entertain that statement. I am going to have 3 tanks over 100 gallons by the end of the year and that's 3/4 of my enclosures that size. All my animals are given the biggest enclosures I feel possible to have.

    I do not just keep these animals in captivity. I have been exploring many parts of the state and observing toads and pond frogs especially as to their behavior which is of greater distance then the compound you mention. From the old abandoned turnpike up to Potter County to Fayette County all around the western and central part of the state I observe these animals. I have seen suburban, forested and in some small cases urban habitats of these animals and as I observe the animals in these habitats I learn more and more about them. I also am beginning work with other researchers this spring and am attempting to reach out to the state fish and boat commission. So I have a lot of great resources to help me and I'm not perfect and I am wrong sometimes but I'm passionate about helping people care for their animals and I want to do the best that I can. It's not to offend you but if I can help educate someone or teach or show someone something about these animals then I will attempt to do so.

    I apologise to the OP and do not wish to go down a rabbit trail from your post. If you do wish to have my help tag me in your post so I can see.

    Thank you.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    I live with them 24/7. You can't get a better opportunity to observe them and collect data no matter how much you travel around the state.
    And an enclosure no matter how large will not be in any measure equal to observation of wild animals by immersion in their habitat.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    I live with them 24/7. You can't get a better opportunity to observe them and collect data no matter how much you travel around the state.
    And an enclosure no matter how large will not be in any measure equal to observation of wild animals by immersion in their habitat.
    I live with them too, but what you seem to be missing is that observations from different populations is a more detailed understanding of a species. It's good to be around them in a forest but to see them in different environments is even better for observation.

    I don't know what you are trying to say with your second part of your response? You own frogs too and your frogs are probably not kept in larger setups. You are keeping deformed frogs and I'm keeping rescued frogs and toads in massive enclosures with advanced climate control and attempting to breed them to replenish their numbers from the area they came from. Of course I can observe them and get good information. I will have wild and captive information which is what I want anyways. That said they are two different categories and I'm not comparing wild to captive amphibians. I will have two types of research.

    If you have a disagreement with me pm me I don't want to continue to get further away from the OP original post.

    Sorry again to you btw!

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