Cold Moving Moss
Many reptile and amphibian species have cryptic coloration that allows them to blend into their surroundings. A few species even have textured skin to help them completely disappear into their surroundings. Mossy Frogs are one of the species that combine both cryptic coloration of greens, browns, and reds, with bumpy textured skin to make them one of nature’s best camouflage artists. These semi-aquatic frogs spend the majority of their lives in flooded caves and tree hollows on the walls and in the water. They can also be found along the edges of cold mountain streams blending into the moss and vegetation.
The Vietnamese Mossy Frog comes from the northern regions of Vietnam and adjacent southern China. Their habitat consists of moist, lowland evergreen tropical or montane rainforests and woodlands, and the adjacent caves and rocky cliffs. Average elevation where they are found is 3,000 feet above sea level! This means that these frogs are used to much a much cooler habitat and rarely see temperatures over 75°F. These incredible frogs are nocturnal so they are the most active at night. They are also semi-aquatic and spend a lot of time in stagnant water in tree hollows and flooded caves.
Housing must be sealed and escape proof. Zilla Front Opening Terrariums make a great option for this species of frog due to the ease of access, plastic insert that holds in humidity, and water-tight bottom. For frogs that are 1.5” long or smaller, you’ll want to use a smaller habitat such as the 8”x10”x15” Front Opening Terrarium, but for adults an 18”x18”x25” Front Opening Terrarium or larger makes an incredible habitat. For substrate, the best option is a pool of water with a small filter and sticks, plants, and cork bark to allow them to get up out of the water.
Temperature and Lighting
It’s important to create a thermal gradient (or a warm and cool side) in the cage/enclosure, but this species should never get above 75°F. They are extremely cold tolerant, however, and can handle temperatures down into the 50’s. For most homes, this means keeping them at room temperature with no heating. If you’re home gets above 75°F, especially during the summer, this may not be a great species for you to keep. These animals, like so many other, benefit highly from access to UVA/UVB lighting. If you use live plants or want to brighten the terrarium, you can also add Zilla Mini Plant LED Bulbs. Spot clean the enclosure for urates, feces, or uneaten food at least once per week. Make sure to do a 50% water change every month to remove dead crickets and waste.
Feeding / Diet
With the cold temperatures that these frogs live at, they have a much slower metabolism and only eat about 6-10 insects a week. In captivity, the best option for food is live crickets or roaches. Feeder insects should be fed a nutritional gut-load insect food and given Zilla Gut Load Cricket Drink. By feeding these products you will increase the nutritional value of your feeders and help pass important nutrients on to the mossy frog. When feeding spray the insects with Zilla Calcium Supplement and Zilla Vitamin Supplement 1-2 times weekly for additional calcium and vitamin D3, along with other essential nutrients.
It’s never advised to hold amphibians unless absolutely necessary. Their skin helps them to breath and can absorb any chemicals or toxins from their surroundings into their body. Make sure when handling the frogs your hands are clean and wet. This will ensure you don’t get your frogs sick or dry them out with your hands.
Also be sure to wash your hands after handling any animals.