Hyperolius fusciventris ‘burtoni’

Hyperolius fusciventris ranges throughout Middle and West Africa, and occurs and Sierre Leone, Guinea, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon.  The ‘burtoni’ type occurs from Ghana to Nigeria.  I got these frogs in 2013 or so, for a sad $7 each from an importer.  They arrived in the dead of winter to me in Rochester NY, and one was DOA.  Speaking to the importer prior that week, they mentioned they had just gotten them in.  So, in the span of two-three weeks, they had been collected, shipped across the Atlantic, landed in Florida, been unpacked, put in cages, packed up again, and shipped to a state where temperatures were about 10F without windchill.  They had varying degrees of nose rub and all had noticeable but not festering scratches all over their backs.

Shockingly, they began eating immediately when I offered them small crickets.  It was love at first mealtime! One of the reasons I keep going back to reed frogs is for their hardy nature and resilience to stress.  After a month-long treatment of silver sulfadiazine for the nose rub and back scratches, Baytril for any lingering bacterial infections, and Panacur for good measure, they looked a lot better.  It took two or three years for the scratch marks on their back to fade, and even longer for one with particularly bad nose rub to totally heal, but they have acclimated well to captivity.  At first, as with young reed frogs, opening the cage for feeding was like popping corn.  But now, after years of routing feedings and tank maintenance, they no longer jump around when I stick my hands in the tank or open the lid.  Sadly, all five frogs proved to be females, so no breeding ever took place, but they have been wonderful pets.

As with other reed frog species, they can go weeks without food and show no sign of narrowing their girths.  Some nights, I check on them and they are still sleeping.  I think their metabolism slows down significantly with age, as froglets and juveniles eat enormous amounts of food for the first two years, and are incredibly jumpy.

In their terrarium are some small-leaved Bulbophyllums, whose undersides are a favorite sleeping place.  On larger leaves, two frogs will often lie right next to each other.

Their terrarium can be viewed here.

Their ventral side is perhaps their nicest side.

Here, a seven-year old frog showing signs of aging.  My oldest reed frogs have lived to about twelve years (Heterixalus) but this species seems to be much shorter-lived.  In 2013 or so, I received five individuals, and now in 2019, only two remain.  When reed frogs age, it is primarily the pigment of their skin that reflects their age.  In other species, some pigment is lost entirely, but in this individual (and perhaps this species), a bronze freckling occurs.