The Frog Kindergarten, to learn all about batrachians at the Beauval Zoo

They have electric blue, fluorescent yellow, orange “traffic guard” spots, are smaller than a walnut, and are extremely toxic. The English call them poisonous seeds (poison frogs) and some Native American tribes would use them to coat the tip of their arrows with poison. Their bright colors, unlike camouflage, are a signal that allows them to be identified by predators who know their awful taste or danger and avoid them.

To know all about these toads, and toads in general, Jean-François Lorieux, head of the aquarium-vivarium sector at Beauval Zoo, had the idea of ​​presenting their development to the public in an educational approach. “The idea is that we do not present our subjects enough. I want people to know what we do with fish, snakes, batrachians … “The bright colors of leaf frogs, unlike camouflage, are a signal for identifying predators that know about their awful taste or danger. (Photo by Pierrick Delobelle)

Sometimes cannibalistic species

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After discussing it with Rodolphe Delord, head of the zoo, Jean-François Lorieux and his team were offered an old fast food spot at the end of the gorilla house, which they turned into a small theater for lessons. For example, with leaf frogs.

“We collect the eggs to better handle them. Then the tadpoles hatch and are controlled individually, as these species are sometimes cannibalistic at this stage. They are then led to the metamorphosis of small frogs. A development that the public can observe through a large window that gives views to each of the boxes where the eggs and tadpoles are, and then to a series of terrariums where the frogs grow.

“There are not only dendrobats, warns Jean-François Lorieux. We also do some reproduction in aquariums, for example with a pair of dog sharks (little shark). The same process is shown to the public: eggs, evolution, the formation of small all supplemented by “education panels to come”, as well as video media.From tadpoles to frogs, the animals are visible in a variety of terrariums. (Photo by Pierrick delobelle)

Handle animals, but also their environment

This nursery makes it possible to show a facet of his job, which the aquarium-vivarium manager greatly appreciates: “We not only manage the animals, we also have to manage their environment. And I like that, because it’s a very specialized technique: you have to monitor the parameters of the water, the light, the length of the day, the ventilation, the humidity … “So many parameters that are part of the animal growth. And the public does not necessarily know. a detour through the nursery he will learn all about the development of leaf frogs.Among others.

Arnauld Pasquier

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