Friday, October 12, 2012

Here's lookin' at you kid...

Over & over, we get comments in emails and on our facebook page, about how captivating these African Dwarf Frogs are. Everyone enjoys how these little frogs seem to stand up and watch the goings on outside their EcoAquarium, or even swim to the surface to see what's going on. It's common for someone to comment that "...my frogs come over to the side of the tank and watch me...".

While we'd love to say that these frogs have the smarts to recognize their owners, we can't, we know better.  Frogs are, like most amphibians, a creature that relies more on instinct & less on self-awareness. On a practical level, lets shed light on what is happening for real when your frogs come over and investigate whats happening over on your side of the EcoAquarium.

In nature, the water world of the African Dwarf Frog is a shallow rain forest swamp. If you have ever been around a swamp, one of the first things you'd notice is how murky the water is. The "turbidity", or the cloudiness of the water, is due to the high amounts of algae and tannins, the byproduct of decomposing plant matter. It is a world where the ability to see clearly is less as important than it is to determine light & dark. A world these frogs are well accustomed to.

An African Dwarf Frog doesn't see things like you & me. Instead of sharp eyesight, the frogs sees shapes, colors, darkness & light. It sees enough to sense movement. Smear a pair of dark glasses with a lot of Vaseline, you'd get the idea of what your frogs see in it's swamp water home.

On the other hand, the world of the EcoAquarium, the water is a lot cleaner and more clear than a rain forest swamp, and the world outside is a world full of light, shapes & colors, & MOVEMENT. Sitting on your desk or counter, your frogs are always on the lookout for movement. To them it means food or foe... something to eat, or something that may eat them. That's why when you come up to the EcoAquarium, you'll likely see your frog scamper behind something...reacting to some big shape moving nearby. But most of the time you'll glance over at the EcoAquarium and see them standing up watching the big world outside.

But why do they sometimes swim to the surface when you come over to the tank, often during feeding time? While for the most part, our frogs rely on instinct, they do learn, they learn when something appears over the tank, food sometimes magically appears.

Personally, do my frogs recognize me? I don't know. I think they do, or at least sense that the big moving shape out there is about to rain down some food pellets their way.
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