With the impending major snow storm on the east coast, I talked to several concerned froggers on Monday asking how they could keep their frogs warm in case of a power outage. While options are limited, here are a few strategies to make sure your frogs don't catch a cold.Keep in mind that you do not need to take action unless your pets will see sustained temperatures below 65F, and that dart frogs can take dips into the low 60s/high 50s for a short period of time without issue. That being said, it's always a good idea to be prepared. It's also a good idea to carefully monitor the temps your frogs are seeing so you can be sure you're not unintentionally keeping them too warm.
1. Warm Water BottleSupplies needed: Hot water, plastic water bottles, towel/blanket
This trick can be really helpful, especially if you have a gas stove. Heat up some water so that it's just warm enough to be slightly uncomfortable to touch (around 100-105F or so). Pour it in a plastic water bottle. This bottle can be placed on top of the vivarium (then wrap the entire vivarium in a blanket), or better yet wrapped in a towel and placed directly in the vivarium. This is a great option, as it allows your frogs to stay in their vivaria and eliminates undue stress.It always pays to keep a few water bottles around - when it's warm out, keep them partially filled with water in the freezer and you can use them to cool off your frogs in case of an emergency.
2. EvacuationSupplies needed: Cooler, deli cups, damp sphagnum moss, hot water bottles/heat packs, towel/blanket
If you don't have access to warm water, or if it looks like the power outage is going to last awhile, removing your frogs from their vivarium is a smart choice. Keep a cooler handy so that you have an insulated mode of transport if you can move your frogs to a place that does have heat. If that's not an option, keep heat packs/hot water bottles on hand to keep the inside of the cooler warm for an extended period of time. Remove your frogs from their vivaria and place them in deli cups with damp sphagnum. Put a towel/blanket in the bottom of the cooler, then your frogs, then more towel/blanket, then your heat source on top.
3. GeneratorSupplies needed: Generator, heating unit
For those with a large collection, this is a great option. With many vivaria, moving the animals or heating individual tanks may be impractical. If this is the case, the best option may be to maintain the temperature of the entire room. During a power outage, this is best accomplished with a generator and electric heater. With my frog room at home (~70 vivaria), I have a 750w generator and an electric heater/ac unit. During the winter, I also make sure to keep 5 gallons of gasoline on hand to power the generator. I've only had to use the generator once in the 3 years I've had it, but without it I would certainly have lost most of my animals. It may be expensive, but a generator can be the best investment you'll make if a large collection is at stake. To all of our friends on the east coast - stay safe (and warm) out there!