Deep in the scrublands of the Brazilian Caatinga, lives a little frog known as the Greening's Frog (Corythomantis greening). But this is no ordinary little frog. The Greening's Frog's head is covered in deadly spines that inject its victims with toxins more potent than the venom of Brazilian pitviper snakes.
This frog is one of two first known frogs to be venomous (The other venomous frog also calls Brazil its home). While many frogs and toads can be poisonous, venomous frogs deliver their toxins into the bloodstream of the predator as opposed to the predator ingesting poison. These venomous spines grow out of the frogs' skulls.
The Greening's Frog lives in holes on rocks and trees, with the head appearing to be very similar to the barks of trees, making the frog hard to find for predators. They close the holes up with their body, only leaving the venomous, spiny head exposed. This also helps maintain humidity inside the hole and reduce water loss from the body.
Nature is so amazing! We are still finding new species on this planet, and perhaps many undiscovered species have recently become extinct as we continue habitat destruction. This is one of the reasons we must continue our mission of educating as many people possible, so that we may continue to conserve our precious ecosystems!
“Now this is a story all about how my life got flip-turned upside down…”
In 2010 I was entering my last year of high school and I was beginning to take on more responsibilities. Between homework, studying, and preparing for the next day, I began helping take care of the animals. At this point in time, we were focusing on animal breeding. Our goals were vastly different back then! When I graduated in 2011, I was in a bit of a mental hard spot regarding how I wanted to continue my life. The recession was in full swing, and for anyone graduating at this time the world was intimidating. Ultimately, I chose to stay with my parents and help their fledgling business. This was a smart move.
I quickly learned a lot about how to manage a business, but my primary role was taking care of the animals, as well as receiving a healthy dosage of fecal matter from our animal friends! We also became accustomed the tedium that is business work as well. For example, we once spent an ENTIRE MONTH organizing a collection of over 12,000 old reptile magazines! We slowly refocused our business to educational programs, and that’s where the fun began! Over time, my role began to shift within the business. Before, I had been the “Reptile Maintenance Manager”. Now, with a much more diverse collection of animals as well as my knowledge becoming greater and more important, I recently became the Assistant Director and Wildlife Educator. This was a proud moment for me, especially working as the wildlife educator, because seeing the crowds or birthday attendees become so excited is such a great experience.
I am now into my third year performing shows. I was nervous in the beginning, but after continuing to do shows, my confidence and excitement grew. Now it’s a blast, getting everyone to laugh, stare in awe, and rush as fast as they can to get in line to touch the animals. After a program I always feel great, because I made everyone excited, happy, and inquisitive, while teaching everybody new facts and opening them to new ideas. I look forward to continuing to do shows down in Texas, meeting new people and making new friends!
The green cheek conure is a small parrot that is sometimes seen in the pet trade. It is native to Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Mato Grosso. This species of conure is endangered in its natural habitat (CITES II). They are typically 10 inches long and are mainly green in color with blue primary wing feathers, a maroon tail, a brown/black/gray crown, and a red abdomen. Males and females look alike.
These birds live in flocks of 10 to 20 individuals and live at treetop level in forests and woodlands. They eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and seeds and lay 4-6 eggs in a clutch. The green -cheeked conure can learn tricks, but they do have a limited vocabulary compared to other parrots. They are intelligent and are known as having a big personality in a small body. Time and patience can cure them of biting behavior. Their lifespan can be 30-40 years, although they often only live an average of 10 years in captivity due to their owners not giving them the proper diet. In aviculture (keeping and breeding birds) they can come in cinnamon, yellow-sided, pineapple, and turquoise color mutations.
The green cheek conure (Pyrrhura molinae) can make a wonderful companion pet for the individual dedicated to their proper care, socialization, and long lifespan. To learn more about these beautiful birds and see the green cheeked and the pineapple green cheeked conures in person, contact REPCO Wildlife Encounters for a booking at your school, library, event, or other special occasion.
Pretty soon spring will be upon us and the kids are eager to be outdoors. No matter if you live in the city, the suburbs or are living the rural life, REPCO has some ideas for your family.
While visiting parks and forests are great, you can also do this project in your own backyard, or even outdoors of your apartment complex. See how many different species you can find in your grass, on trees, or even on the outside walls of your home. Note the different birds, spiders, beetles, ladybugs, caterpillars, snakes, etc. that may be living in your own backyard. For small bugs, using a magnifying glass is a good way to observe these little guys. Birds and turtles can be seen better with binoculars. If you enjoy building, make a bird house or bat house. If you enjoy gardening, let your kids plant a small herb, vegetable, or flower garden. City dwellers can do this too! You can plant flowers, herbs, strawberries, and tomatoes in pots and other containers on your balcony or patio. Like butterflies? Plant flowers that will attract them. Hang bird feeders around your home to watch hummingbirds, chickadees, and finches.
Just being outdoors is beneficial. Some things you can do outdoors is coloring, painting, reading, and crafts. You can also build a fort, go swimming, hiking, kayaking, fly kites. Remote control cars, boats, and planes are fun to do outdoors, too. If travel is up your alley, visit a petting zoo or a pick-your-own farm. Seeing where our food comes from is a great lesson for kids. Other great nature related travel trips include fossil hunting, visiting a park with different rocks and minerals and even historic battlefields. All these ideas incorporate letting children be outside, get exercise, and use their brains! As our society gets more disconnected from nature, be a great parental role model and get on that bicycle or swing with your child. Your children will love it and you will create long lasting memories.
About Crystal Poyfair