They’re here! They’re spectacular and oh, so fascinating! The frogs have arrived at the museum to wow us for the next couple of months in the exhibition Frogs – A Chorus of Colours.

This could not have started my day better: chatting with one of the live-frog caretakers, Leslie, and getting a close-up look at these marvellous creatures as they were starting to explore their new environments.

This video shows the installation of several frogs into their terrariums. Caregiver Leslie Thompson comments while she releases them from their containers. She also answers questions from museum staff who are helping. Video: Daniel Boivin © Canadian Museum of Nature
Plants, rocks and water inside a terrarium.
The terrariums re-create the frogs’ habitats.

Ah! Fresh flowing water and live bromeliads are welcoming to these frogs, which have been in carrying cases for almost 48 hours, including a 12-hour trip from Pennsylvania with their caretaker.

Each terrarium had been set up a few days prior to have the right temperature and humidity levels ready for the big arrival day… and the frogs could not have been more eager to jump in!

The poison dart frogs, my favourite, were hopping around, each trying to find the best new spot to hang out. This was like high school for them—hilarious!

A black and yellow frog on a thick woody branch.
A poison dart frog (Dendrobates leucomelas) in its indoor habitat. The frog is just one of many live specimens in the exhibition Frogs – A Chorus of Colours, which opens on September 25 at the museum. Image: Charlotte Field © Canadian Museum of Nature

The caretakers are safe when they feed the frogs in their indoor habitat because these frogs are poisonous only in the wild. Why? It’s the toxic substances found in the plants, insects, etc., that they eat in the wild that make them poisonous. In captivity, we feed them baby crickets and fruit flies every day… yum!

Next, the waxy monkey frogs enthralled us with their cool composure and bright green skin. Waxy? I asked. Leslie’s favourite frogs coat their skin with a waxy substance from their parotid gland because they like to bask in a slightly dry and 30-plus degrees Celsius environment.

Two green frogs on a thin woody branch.
A substance from the waxy monkey frog’s (Phyllomedusa sauvagii) parotid gland helps it survive in its slightly dry and hot environment. Image: Charlotte Field © Canadian Museum of Nature

Our biggest North American bullfrog is also part of the amphibian gang, but is alone in its terrarium because he could feed on his young tadpoles. Those young ones have been safely acclimatized in another terrarium further away. Their new habitat is kept at a cool temperature so they don’t metamorphose and remain as tadpoles longer—neat!

If you think our bullfrog is big, you have to meet Jabba, the African bullfrog. This green, mean feeding machine can eat pretty much anything in its path, from small mammals to other frogs! But while at the museum, he’ll feast on 20 crickets per feeding.

A green frog clings to a tree trunk.
A Chinese gliding frog (Rhacophorus dennysi), in its habitat at the museum. Image: Charlotte Field © Canadian Museum of Nature

I could spend my day among the frogs, just watching the African clawed frog eat like Cookie Monster or trying to find the freckled Chinese gliding frogs. Everything about them is fascinating!

As the days get shorter and darker, you don’t need to travel far for an exotic breath of fresh air: Frogs – A Chorus of Colours is just a quick hop away!

In this video, caretaker Leslie Thompson installs a tomato frog (Dyscophus guineti) in its habitat. Video: Daniel Boivin © Canadian Museum of Nature