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talk to the frog / Help / deformed green tree frog
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angela
Member
7 posts
7 posts

# Posted: 20 Aug 2003 06:23


Hi. My name is Angela. We recently moved to a house where 10-15 cute little green tree frogs come to the front door every night to wait by the porch light for dinner. There is one frog who has captured my heart. I named him Louie. I think he is an adult, about 2" in length, not including legs. He has a significant lower leg deformity. One of his hind legs drags behind him fully extended. He also has a rigid "hump" where I'd call the pelvis area. I'm no vet, but I am a Registered Nurse, and this does not seem to be an injury, but perhaps a birth defect. The skin of the leg looks healthy, same color as the rest of his body. There are no scars or necrotic tissue. He doesn't seem to have feeling in that leg though. When I touched it, he didn't move, but when I touched his body, he jumped. Yes, he can still jump, but not easily. Is there anything I can do for him? Would amputation of the leg by a vet help his agility? Or should we just let him alone? Any suggestions?

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 20 Aug 2003 06:55


I have a GTF whose leg is somewhat deformed or something, and I've considered possibly having it amputated, since it would grow back in time, hopefully normal.

Just the same, I also have a GTF who I cought when it was missing the foot part of one of its legs. It's taking forever, but it's steadily growing back and she already has some toes and toepads (She had one toe pad that grew on her ankle before, now she has a few).

So, my opinion is that although it's a wild animal, it's living in front of your home (where do you live, btw?) and is benefiting from the lack of predators and the bugs attracted to the light there, so you might as well take it to a vet and ask them what they can do. It living there is probably the only reason it has lived this long.

You can help nurse it back to health (no pun intended, just don't have a better word) if you can, and then either keep it or re-release it. I don't personally think it would be a bad thing, but it's up to you and I wish you and the frog the best.


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
Brian
Member
2274 posts
2274 posts

# Posted: 20 Aug 2003 08:09


If you ask me it sounds like a early spinal injury/birth defect resulting in severed nerves. If you do have the leg removed you might want to just keep him since it's probably used to the dead weight by now.

Funny thing is the frog sounds like a human case study they gave me in a neuro class I took.

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 01:51


Brian, what are you studying/have studied? I'm in love with neuroscience, but haven't gotten that far in my academics yet


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
angela
Member
7 posts
7 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 03:18


Thank you so much for the replies! My husband says, "Who knew there are all these people who would help you with a little tree frog." ha ha Well, we both love animals and respect wildlife and try to help when we can. It's good to know that there are other caring people in this world too.

WOW! We didn't know that their limbs could grow back! Thanks for the fascinating info. I'm going to watch him for a few more days, and if he seems to be too badly affected by the leg, I will take him to our vet and see what he can do. Can frogs be put under anesthesia so it won't hurt to have that done? I'd hate to hurt him or traumatize him to death.

As for your comment, Brian, regarding the neuro injury, you sound exactly right! I'm an Operating Room Nurse and I specialize in Neuro Surgery. I wonder if his nerves would ever regenerate in that leg, knowing that human nerve tissue is slow and difficult to heal.

But whatever we do, I promise to look after this little fellow. I may need some advice on how to care for him, as I've never taken care of a frog. This website seems to be a great source of info. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again. Angela

angela
Member
7 posts
7 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 03:29


Oh, I almost forgot to answer your question, cheshireycat, regarding where I live. We built this house and moved in about four months ago. Ever heard of Leland, North Carolina? It's just 5 miles from Wilmington, which is a large caostal city. We live in a very quiet and private neighborhood. We have almost two acres of land. The climate is perfect for lots of wildlife. We have 13 tree frogs on the porch tonight. I go out and speak to them every night. We have a fox that trots by in the back yard frequently. There are lots of gray squirrels which I feed corn on posts. Many birds drop by the feeders regularly. And my husband's favorite are the deer. Just last week, we looked out to see a big doe with her twin fawns. They still had spots. We put corn out for them.

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 04:31


Oh my, I'm so jealous! I want a fox in my yard.. I love foxes


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
lostriver
Member
1737 posts
1737 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 04:32


Yes, a good herp vet can put a frog under anesthesia. It's a new one on me that anurians can regenerate entire limbs, however. Toes and pads may come back, but not entire appendages. Many newts and salamanders can regenerate entire legs, but frogs are usually left three-legged, especially since this particular amputation would probably be above the femur if the whole leg is dragging behind.

I agree with Brian that if the frog is functioning with the dead weight, it might be the better part of valor to just leave him alone, care for him and avoid the trauma and stress of an amputation, as well as causing him to get used to another type of imbalance. No anesthesia is really good for anyone, human or frog, but it's better than pain.


Lee
cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 04:38


No, at least GTFs can regenerate partial limbs. That's all I can speak for, and I'd be able to supply that with visual evidence if I hadn't lost my older pics, although some people here saw them


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
becki
Moderator
1262 posts
1262 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 14:24 · Edited by: becki


Editting here - I just saw lostriver's post and Chesh's reply so excuse me for echoing him somewhat but I am truly amazed at this....
Chesh - amputate a leg and it will grow back??? How is that? I can see that toe pads would maybe grow as they are tissue only but there is no way I can see you could amputate a leg - bove, muscle, and all - and it grow back. One of my WTFs with redleg lost some toes along the way and I was told by the vet they would never grow back. That's a heavy suggestion to make and I'm curious as to your source for this info. I'm going to research this a bit now myself and see what I can find but please explain more to me about what you know on the subject.
Thanks.
Becki

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 21 Aug 2003 22:18


Sorry, sorry, I just re-read up there and I noticed my "possibly" wasn't in the best place. I meant it could possibly grow back, since my frogs leg has grown back.

Anyway, when I caught Sticky, my first of these GTFs, she had no foot on one of her back legs. Just one toe pad at the end of her stub where her ankle would be.

But, with time, it's been growing and she has a foot now. She's got a few toes, although they're not as long as they should be yet, and a toe pad for each of those toes.

So I figured that all frogs would be just like my sticky, especially since salamander's feet grow back if bitten off. I mean, I can only assume that another GTF would be the same, not that my Sticky is evolutionarily advanced (although I'd like to believe ), but if someone took it to a vet the vet would know what to do. I haven't really talked about this to anyone before, it's just seeing my own frog's leg grow back.


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
lostriver
Member
1737 posts
1737 posts

# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 02:18


Without before and after X-rays it would be hard to tell just what regenerated-- i.e. only tissue, or was there some genuine bone regeneration? There may have been fragments of each toe bone left that healed over, then the toe pads regrew. That would explain it.

Cheshirey, I wasn't doubting what you experienced and observed at all. A "leg" to me means the entire appendage, or at least from the knee down--tibia and fibula, so I misunderstood what you were describing, and it surprised me.

Let us know what you decide to do, Angela-- and how it turns out.


Lee
Anonymous


# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 02:34


I've read through all these interesting responses, and I really appreciate the input. I've been watching Louie, and he seems to be functioning adequately, perhaps slower than the rest, but he seems to be eating his share of the bugs at the porch light. The tissue on the leg still looks healthy and he doesn't appear to be in distress of any sort, so we've decided to just let him be. He'll be safe on the front porch from predators, and there are enough bugs here to last him a lifetime!
Lee, I really appreciate the insight regarding amputation and the fact that he has already adjusted to this disability. And I agree that no anesthesia is "good" for you, but if I ever did take an animal in for surgery, I'd insist. Like you said, It's better than pain.
Could anyone please answer a few questions for me with my new found interest of these little creatures? What will the frogs do in the winter when the bugs die off here? And do GTFs have any kind of "family", I mean, are they social with each other? Is there a hierarchy in bunches? I've noticed that the bigger leaner darker colored ones always get the best spot right under the light and the little fatter lighter colored ones usually keep a distance from the bigger ones. And how do you tell if they are male or female? Thanks guys!
angela
Member
7 posts
7 posts

# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 02:37


Oops, I wasn't logged in, but that was me. Angela

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 03:34


Sexing with GTFs is pretty easy sometimes, but sometimes it's kind of vague (especially without a comparison). And, while they do pretty well with eachother, they do perfectly fine alone and don't need froggy friends.

Anyway, Lee, I'm sorry about the misunderstanding. Although it looks like bone or cartilage, I certainly don't know what it is... Other than it's pretty impressive how much its foot has grown! It's certainly not the equivalent of a shin bone or femur in a human, but more like the whole foot (like how in frogs it's longer, though).

I'll try to get some photos where it's obvious that that part of the appendage is new and growing in all strange. It really is very cool to look at


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
Brian
Member
2274 posts
2274 posts

# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 05:51


Brian, what are you studying/have studied? I'm in love with neuroscience, but haven't gotten that far in my academics yet

Started out as a psych major doing neuroscience. Switched into bio and was still doing neuro/anatomy. Eventually got bored with it and started animal behavior/ecology/etc. stuff. Now I'm doing bio and psych and trying to go into animal behavior/cognition.

Now about the regeneration thing. If you ever find those pics I'd love to have a copy or at least see them. I'd bet that a lot of the bone might have been cartilage but if it works it works. How old was the frog?

About the social thing, basically it depends on how you define social. The thing that matters most probably for pet ownership is how territorial something is. Both for "fighting" and stress.

cheshireycat
Member
3789 posts
3789 posts

# Posted: 22 Aug 2003 17:12


Yeah, I was thinking of taking pics of it because it looks so strange, but I lost some older pics of it It's still growing, though, from the looks of it The frog was a wild-caught adult, although I think I caught it at around one year of age because the frog has grown in length in the time I've had her.

Wow, and very cool about the schooling. All very interesting subjects I've always wanted to study it and get my ph.D, but never actually become a neurologist, although researching would be cool. I think I might be a veterinarian, though. No, I don't mind going to school forever (might as well if my boyfriend is going to also :tongue, but I'm still pretty undecided and it's kind of late to be so.


- Evolution is a theory, not just a fact. -
lesley
Member
22 posts
22 posts

# Posted: 26 Oct 2003 15:19 · Edited by: lesley



We had a bunch of tadpoles that morphed into disabled froglets with poorly developed hind legs (one or both) - couldn't hop, just dragged themselves around.

Check with Prof. Mike Tyler of the Adelaide Uni and he said that it was a well known indication of cross breeding between two lots of frogs of the same species, but slightly different gene pools.

With ours (green tree frogs L.moorei?), he said that genetically they have a geographical spread of about 10 kms across the radius of their territory. After that, there is a risk of some genetic differences showing up. He said that my deformed froglets were a clear sign that a male frog from outside our 'gene pool' had come into our breeding circle. (My frogs are free range in a big shadehouse).

We tried to take care of them, feeding, housing, etc, but they couldn't feed themselves at all and were too small to be able to manage hand feeding, because we didn't have anything to use, except a few vinegar flies. No crickets, especially.

If your frog is feeding and turning up regularly on your porch - he's OK.

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