So you've brought a new pet home, and it's wild-caught. What do you need to do to make sure your new wild-caught pet has the best chance of living a long, healthy life in captivity?
Many wild-caught animals are not all that healthy when you bring them home. They've finally completed a long trip, and most likely did not receive the best possible care on their way to you. You'll want to get your wild-caught pet checked out by a veterinarian who's familiar with exotics. The Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians website is a great place to start.
Virtually all wild-caught animals have internal parasites. These parasites may not make your pet sick in nature, but after undergoing the stress of being captured and transported, they may well have developed into quite the problem.
House your wild-caught amphibian on moist paper towels until it poops. Cut the paper towel around the poop, and wrap the poop in a bit of damp paper towel. Place this in a ziploc bag, then bring it to your exotics vet for a fecal float, or mail it to someone who can examine a fecal sample for you, such as Dr. Frye. Depending on what the results are, you may need to purchase and administer a dewormer or other antiparasitic medication.
Remember, just because a fecal exam comes back clean does NOT mean that your pet is not carrying parasites—it just means there are no parasites present in your pet's stool. You should do 2, possibly 3 fecal tests on your animal, 30 days apart, to maximize the chances of catching anything.
Chytrid and ranavirus are ravaging wild amphibian populations. Both are very easily spread, present in many countries that export amphibians to the US pet trade, and are often fatal. Both horrible diseases can also be introduced into the local environment, and impact native amphibians. Don't be a part of the problem—test your amphibians for these illnesses!
Testing is simple. Swab your amphibian's skin, send the sample in to a lab (Josh's Frogs uses and recommends Research Associates Laboratory), and wait for results! To make testing easier, we've put together a Chytrid and Ranavirus Testing Kit.
You'll want to keep your new pets away from any other amphibians you have, so that any possible illnesses or parasites your new wild-caught amphibians are carrying are not transmitted to your other pets. Generally a time period of 3-6 months is recommended. During this time, you'll be wanting to keep an eye on your animals to ensure they are behaving normally, as well as performing the steps above.
Keep housing simple, so that it can be kept clean, and disposed of if the worst happens. Or, make it easier on yourself and purchase a healthy, captive-bred animal!
Click here to learn just a few of the benefits of buying captive-bred!