The romance of the reptile

After rubbing snouts with his girlfriend and showing off his dance moves, the male poison-dart frog let loose a mating call that made his bright yellow-and-black underbelly pulsate.

Even though he and the object of his desire each weigh less than an ounce and are a mere inch or so long, the frog’s alluring trill filled the humid air in a small renovated barn in Ellicott City.

“Poison-dart frogs are very social creatures,” said Sean Stewart of the pair, whose courtship rituals will be repeated by other amphibious couples living inside the 100 clear plastic terrariums at Herpetologic, the frog and snake “farm” he owns.

“That quality, combined with their coloration and beauty, makes dart frogs the best pets,” he said. And they aren’t toxic when raised in captivity – another bonus.

Corey Wickliffe, who works part time for Stewart, said the frogs’ public display of affection is just the beginning.

“They’re at the point now where she’s given him her phone number,” she said, playfully describing the 2-year-old creatures’ budding romance. “They’re just in the first stages of mating.”

Breeding is the name of the game at the facility that supplies a 10-year-old online business, which is an outgrowth of Stewart’s longtime passion for amphibians and reptiles that dates to his childhood in Columbia.

“The county was more rural when I was growing up as a typical boy who liked frogs and snakes and spent a lot of time outside,” recalled Stewart, now 39.

He started collecting poison-dart frogs when he was 14 and began selling them at age 21, nearly a decade before switching to Internet sales.

Read full story HERE.

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About Candace M Hansen

Wildlife advocate, conservationist and environmentalist.
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