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Housing Tincs in Groups

Why can't everyone just get along?

Dendrobates tinctorius is one of the most popular species of poison dart frogs, and for good reason. Their bold disposition, colorful patterns, and ease of keeping, paired with a relatively low cost and wide availability, makes this the species many start out with when getting into the hobby. Those reasons are largely why Josh's Frogs has a large variety of Dendrobates tinctorius for sale. They make a great first frog, but there is one big thing to keep in mind when keeping tincs - sometimes they don't play nicely! As they mature (10-16 months of age), female tincs may act aggressively towards other females in their territory - aka the entire vivarium. Keep in mind that the average home vivarium is smaller than the home range of one of these frogs in the wild, and most keepers will be housing multiple animals in that space.This aggression may display as wrestling, where the aggressor grabs the other frog from above and behind, wrapping the targeted individual in a bear hug, then trying to press the frog into the substrate. Aggression can also be much less overt - some frogs seem to simply monopolize a feeding area and keep other frogs from getting enough food. In general, watch out for frogs that lose weight, become unusually shy, or seem unresponsive or uninterested in food.If you notice a frog displaying the above behaviors, it should be removed and housed in its own vivarium. You can try reintroducing the frog back into the group after it's gained weight and resumed normal behaviors, but this typically does not work.Fortunately, female aggression is not a sure bet. There are some things you can do to limit aggression or reduce the chances of it rearing its ugly head. 

1. Raise tinctorius together in groups from froglets

Raising tincs in groups from 2-3 months of age to maturity seems to increase the odds that the frogs will get along once they reach maturity. This isn't a sure bet, but as long as they are housed in a large, well-planted vivarium, this strategy has a fair chance of working. 

2. Keep dwarf tincs

'Dwarf' locales, such as Bakhuis, Boulanger, and French Guiana Dwarf Cobalt tincs have, at least in my experience, a better chance of getting along though adulthood than other varieties of tincs. Why this is I have no idea, but I rarely need to separate groups of dwarf tincs. 

3. Understock/Overhouse

We all are familiar with the general '1 frog per 10 gallons' suggestion, but when housing tinctorius in groups, the more space the better. Utilizing a larger vivarium, or housing fewer tincs in what you have, can help maintain group integrity.

4. Plentiful Visual Barriers

Like any other roommate situation, the less your frogs have to stare at each other, the better. Provide visual barriers through vivarium wood, cocohuts, live plants, etc. Contrary to what you'd expect, this will result in bolder frogs, too - the more they can hide, the more they'll risk venturing out into the open. 

5. Utilize Feeding Stations

don't offer fruit flies in just one area - feed in multiple areas of the tank! Adding a few pieces of banana to multiple locations will help distribute food, and reduce the chances of one frog getting the bulk of the flies. Though dart frogs are hands-off animals, it's important to keep an eye on environment and behavior. When housing multiple frogs together, be sure to have a backup plan in case of froggy disagreements. 

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