This is how we ended up with the world’s cutest frog. This tiny frog suddenly appeared in my kitchen, so I built him a paludarium.

Not a moth.

He showed up on the counter, near the teapot, one day in late November 2020. Maybe he was attracted to the warmth?

Most of the shrubbery outside had just been cut all the way down, it was hard to find insects, it was getting cold, I’d brought some plants in a few days previous, but who knows how he really got there.

Leaves = comfort.

It didn’t seem frog friendly outside, so we (I) decided to keep him temporarily. I put him in a plastic box with some sticks and rocks. He actually ate a worm I found. It wasn’t gradual; he eats by lunging onto his food. He was probably very hungry.

I made a hollow tree! And he likes it!

I researched what frogs eat afterward, because I was wondering if I’d accidentally fed him something toxic. Maybe you didn’t know that frogs can only vomit by turning their stomachs inside out, outside their bodies. Worms are OK frog food, though, I was relieved to discover.

How can a frog be this cute?!?

Now I can’t bear the thought of a bird eating him, so he might be here for a while.

Earlier photos of Evan:

There was an aquarium full of crickets behind him with which be became obsessed, so I put a large flat box next to him to block the view. It was a box of metal puzzles with words of encouragement on it. This photo was a fluke.

I learned what a paludarium was (it’s a terrarium/aquarium combination). After a few weeks, more research, and some shopping, I put one together. Evan doesn’t really need that much moisture, but the enclosure we got would allow about 4″ of water in the bottom, and I’d always wanted to build a little woodland water feature in my house, so I went for it.

Hobbies include: sitting on smooth things; sitting partially under things; both at once.

I took a while to come up with a design; ended up with a right stream bank, a left bank, a rock tower in the back for a waterfall, and water area with a stone island in the middle.

First day in Evanland

Either from stress or trying to blend in to a new environment, Evan changed colors much more extremely than previously, starting with a pale ashy white that made me wonder if he was hemorrhaging somewhere.

The first thing he did was turn whiter than I’d ever seen a frog be. I got really worried, even though Hyla chrisoscelis is known to change color. Does this seriously look healthy? It turned out he was fine.
And now he’s darker (not just a photo exposure issue – that’s the same leaf). Maybe there aren’t enough branches and leaves in this version to make him feel safe, so he’s trying all the colors so he can hide? He was also not yet fully grown; maybe he was experimenting.

A few days later he started singing. Maybe it’s not that bad in there.

More photos.

leaves!
Sometimes he sticks to the glass door of the vivarium. I think he does this when he’s hungry, because he now knows that crickets come from the tank nearby.

Eventually it dawned on me that the teeny tiny frog in my care might feel safer with more leaves to hide in. Fortunately, I’d been taking care of a vigorously enormous pothos vine for years without really knowing why. Finally it had a purpose, and maybe so did I. I kept adding pothos.

He likes vines too. You can see a tiny bit of the waterfall over the lower left rock.
Doesn’t he look macho with his throat all big?

Notice the how his neck inflates? That, and the extremely loud singing sound he makes (kind of a high buzzing call – you can look for a recording), proves he’s a boy.

He’s much more cat-like than I’d expect.
I had some snake plant that had grown up in my own containers, so I knew it wouldn’t have fungicides or other poisons on it. He seems to like it and the two other houseplants-of-long-standing I gave him.
Leaves are the best!
The green on his skin here is mainly reflected light from the leaves; he was more of a pale gray color. I’ve never seen him really green. Just very dark black-gray, white, slightly tan, and various medium grays.
I love it when he turns his head to look around. I did not know frogs had necks.
I got a tiny mist humidifier. Maybe not necessary for a NC piedmont frog. So dramatic though.
I love it when he’s curious! Frog enrichment ideas are few and far between.
Huge irises and intense looks — he hunts at night.
UVB light on the right. I don’t use it a lot just in case it sunburns him, but he seems good right now.

contact: lina at makeitgo.com

4 Comments

  1. This is awesome!! He’s the cutest and this Paludarium rules.

  2. Evanland is a mini paradise for the little Prince for whom it’s named. He looks very happy in the home you’ve built for him. What a delightful friend you found in the hearth of your home. Heartwarmingly adorable!

    1. Author

      Awww thank you, Corey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *