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LONE PINE KOALA SANCTUARY
World’s First and Largest Koala Sanctuary

Building a Rainforest for our Tree Frogs

One of our greatest privileges is providing safe and enriching homes for the animals within our care. When designing these homes every effort is made to provide as natural of an environment as possible. For our Magnificent Tree Frogs, this meant recreating a tropical rainforest.

Replicating a habitat as complex as a rainforest was no small task, however, our creative team of keepers was up to the challenge (with the assistance of some small, and unexpected helpers).

Setting the Groundwork

Magnificent Tree Frog

You can’t have a rainforest without plants, but as any house plant enthusiast will tell you, keeping them indoors isn’t always easy. One of our first challenges was getting the soil just right. We achieved this by assembling layers of leaf litter, soil, sand and clay into a “substrate trifle” if you will, with a layer of river stones on the bottom for drainage. Once the soil was perfected, we were able to establish shade tolerant plants to provide valuable hiding places for the frogs.

Let There be Light

In addition to nutrients from the soil, plants (and frogs) also need light, of which our mini-rainforest has two sources. Heat lamps provide comfy basking spots for the frogs to thermoregulate while full-spectrum UV and infrared lights allow the frogs to see and give the plants what they need to survive.

Creepy Crawly Cleaner-Uppers

No rainforest would be complete without bugs. Decomposers such as worms and cockroaches play a vital role in the ecosystem by recycling nutrients and curbing the build-up of debris on the forest floor. In our mini-rainforest, we’ve recruited a carefully selected “bug-battalion” as our clean-up crew. Earthworms aerate the soil while adding nutrients, millipedes and isopodes munch away on decomposing debris, and springtails do their part by keeping fungi and moulds at bay while also happily feeding on frog faeces (talk about taking one for the team!).

Pure Hoppiness

The result is a biodynamic micro-habitat that provides our colony of frogs with a full range of experiences such as foraging for food, exercising, and of course, relaxing.
Providing the best environment possible is just one of the ways in which we achieve positive animal welfare as part of the Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Five Domains Model. Hop in and enjoy a moment of rainforest Zen with the Magnificent Tree Frogs during your next visit.

 

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    Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has created a Green Team to research and evaluate our environmental impact and we

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