terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

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terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby joneill809 » Fri May 20, 2016 1:03 pm

The "terrestrial" versus "arboreal" discussion topic seems to pop up frequently across multiple threads, and I thought it was an interesting debate that warranted a dedicated thread. As a D. tinctorius keeper, it bothers me to see them incorrectly characterized as "unable to climb" or "terrestrial so they cannot use vertical vivariums".

I maintain that 18" to 36" of vertical space cannot recreate a delineation between terrestrial and arboreal habitats.

Assuming the designer of a vivarium has made the upper reaches of the enclosure accessible through hardscaping (no frog can take advantage airspace), then any animal currently in the dentrobatid hobby is capable of using vertically stacked space. I have 50+mm Robertus that have scaled a 30" tall glass wall to catch a fly and they as well as my Azureus are adept at climbing cork bark and finding roosts in the upper portions of their vivs. Given adequate ledges and back / side wall hardscapes, larger animals will absolutely use all available space in a taller vivarium.

As additional discussion points, I often refer to these two snippets. First, from the document describing the discovery of D. tinctorius Azureus:
http://www.sipaliwinisavanna.com/docs/discovery_of_the_blue_arrow_poison_frog.pdf wrote:After about 20 minutes I saw my first blue Dendrobates in the wild. It was sitting on the forest floor on fallen leaves, and when I moved nearer it hopped away with short, quick movements. Its bright blue colour contrasted beautifully with the brown dead leaves. It was easy to capture. During my trip through the creek valley I saw many more and collected some of them, restraining myself of capturing more than a few because I had no idea about the extent of the forest island and the size of the population of the blue Dendrobates. Also, at the time, I had no idea whether this species would occur in other forest islands in the region or not. Most specimens were on the ground, but a few were moving up the trunks of large trees to…..where?

And:
(Born, M., 1994, MS dissertation) wrote:Dendrobates tinctorius is mainly terrestrial, although we observed frogs climbing tree trunks to heights of 40 m.

Scaling two to three feet off the ground is still well within an expected range for any "terrestrial" animal. I suppose my question is, why do we think we can distinguish between a terrestrial and an arboreal habitat within the confines of a 24" tall glass box? Any dendrobatid, terrestrial or arboreal can make use of an 18" to 36" tall enclosure.

In terms of housing discussions, as with the argument that we should size in terms of square inches per frog and not gallons, the vertical versus horizontal discussion should be framed the same way - usable square inches per frog. In my opinion it does not matter if those square inches are tiered vertically, or if they are one continuous horizontal space. In fact, vertical tiering can help with increasing visual barriers, providing more hides.

Thoughts?
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby Philsuma » Sat May 21, 2016 12:06 pm

You're correct on all your points, however there is one overriding consideration that you have not, as of yet, accounted for.

The majority of the uninformed newb part of the hobby must choose between a ready made aquarium or Zoo Med / Exoterra that is configured either 'High" or "Low" - very few cubes. So I think when we discuss climbing and arboreal vs terrestrial, we must first dumb it all down for the new hobbyists and their initial choice of enclosure.

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby joneill809 » Sat May 21, 2016 3:12 pm

I completely agree that we need to discuss tank orientations and usable space, but to say that a thumbnail or a pumilio is going to use all parts of a properly constructed vertically oriented 24" tall vivarium and a D. tinctorius will not because it is "terrestrial" is, well, silly, no?

The "dumbing down" (personally I'm not a fan of "rules of thumb" and "dumbing things down") should really focus on square inches of usable space, including a tiering ledge strategy to make vertically oriented vivariums more usable. I see the advice twisted into "tincs are terrestrial and can't climb" when we know they can. We can talk about climbing and putting in ledges / shelves, but arboreal and terrestrial Dendrobatids will climb and use any ledges we provide within the confines of 18" to 36" of vertical space. It's not like a tinc is afraid of heights and gets above 18 inches and goes "oh crap, I'm terrestrial, this is too high."
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby Philsuma » Sat May 21, 2016 4:00 pm

Just 12 hours ago at Rana Verde in NY, I watched a full grown chunky azureus climb from the bottom of a 8 foot tall enclosure to a couple of jungle vines near the 7' mark to stalk flies. AND that's not even the best part. The frog climbed onto an Emerald Tree boa and picked off some flies that were resting on the snake.

AND

AND

that's still not the best part. Chris Sherman unwound the snake and tailed it without a single strike. Now I must admit I WAS rooting for the boa, but hey. It's so seldom you 'get ta see it happen'.

Good times and yes Virginia, they do climb.

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby Philsuma » Sat May 21, 2016 4:06 pm

It's actually not so much the FROG that we need to worry about, as you say, it will climb and do as it does. The worry is that the newbies will fail so hard in the hardscape attempt so as to really cause so much less useable space.

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby joneill809 » Sat May 21, 2016 8:38 pm

8 feet! Did you get a picture?

+1 it's about the hardscape
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: terrestrial / arboreal and a 24" glass box

Postby Philsuma » Sat May 21, 2016 10:38 pm

Gotta call Chris on this, but there were about 25 people with phones in attendance, so someone has to have a good shot of that massive tank.


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