We lost one of our frogs, Buxtehude, today. He was the smaller of the two White's treefrogs, and never really thrived as he should have. He lived for the last three years in the vivarium in the kitchen with Squinky, who, I think, may be a food hog. I wonder if maybe Buxtehude simply couldn't compete with el Chubbo for the bugs we give them every night. It's next to impossible to tell with frogs, unless blood work or an xray are performed, what ails them, and the numbers of vets who will perform diagnostics are few and far between. We have no idea how old the frogs were when we got them, but I assume at least a few years, as they were fully grown. Buxtehude didn't show any over signs of illness, no red legs, no hard abdomen, nothing to indicate encroaching demise. As soon as I saw him in his cage this morning, struggling to move, I removed him and soaked him in purified water over a heating pad, but it was too late. He lasted until about a half hour ago, when he finally passed to the great eucalyptus tree in the sky.
It's awfully hard to truly get attached to pets that are so fragile. We keep them and observe them and wonder over them, and hope that they do well with the meagre resources we can provide. We read everything we can on their keeping and we obsess over research published in the herp journals. It works sometimes, and doesn't others. Amphibian keepers are an optimistic bunch, though, so we keep trying. I know the zoo raises their own bugs for their herps, as that's the only way a large enough variety can be provided to keep them as they would be in the wild, but we're lacking a few of the resources (and space) they have, so we buy our little tubs of worms and pots of crickets and powder them with vitamins. Our vet is extremely against keeping any animal in the home that eats insects as there is no way to give them a wide enough spectrum to keep them hale, and I'm beginning to agree with him. We are lucky with Gus, the turtle, as his species is indigenous to North America, and it's easy enough, from all the observational research, to feed him a complete diet. That, and box turtles are stubborn and tough. I wish the frogs were, too.