Thursday, December 1
Hello everyone, my name is Char, and I have just completed my first month here at Zoo Atlanta in the Herpetology Department. If anyone is wondering what herpetology is – it is the study of reptiles and amphibians. Not only have I just finished up with my first month at the Zoo, but also my first month in Georgia. I moved down here from Buffalo, N.Y. I know the weather is changing, and it can be a bit chilly, but I am just so happy to not need a parka this fall/winter. I am also super excited to work at a facility that cares so much about their animals and about supporting conservation efforts for their wild counterparts.
In the Herpetology Department here at Zoo Atlanta, we get to do a lot of cool hands-on conservation projects. Like working with Panamanian golden frogs (which you can come see at Scaly Slimy Spectacular). Behind the scenes, we are actually breeding these little frogs, so that we can make sure that we maintain a healthy population in captivity. That is so important with the golden frogs because they are extinct in the wild. So, when you come to zoos that participate in Project Golden Frog, like Zoo Atlanta, you can see a rather beautiful little frog, that unfortunately doesn’t exist in the wild. If they were to be found in the wild, you would find these guys in the cloud forests of Panama.
Like I said, we are currently breeding some of our golden frogs. Right now we have both tadpoles, that just hatched from their eggs within the last two weeks, and we have froglets (which are adorable miniature versions of the adult frogs). Golden frogs will lay their eggs in fast moving stream systems, attached to the side of rocks, hidden from the sunlight. That’s because until the eggs hatch into tadpoles, and the tadpoles develop some color, the sunlight will actually kill them. Even though the tadpoles hatch out relatively quickly (usually taking no more than 10 days), it can take up to 240 days for the tadpoles to become froglets. So it can be a pretty slow process when compared to other frogs (luckily, so far none of our guys have taken 240 days).
I am really happy to be able to work on so many amazing projects at Zoo Atlanta – like the Panamanian golden frogs, and I hope that within my lifetime I get to see these guys return back to the wild and thrive once again in the cloud forests of Panama. Next time you are at the Zoo remember to stop by Scaly Slimy Spectacular to visit these cool little frogs.
Keeper I, Herpetology