LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — As part of a conservancy effort, the Potter Park Zoo shipped off 1,800 Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico.
According to Potter Park Zoo, the Puerto Rican crested toad was believed to be extinct until 1967, when a small population was discovered in northern Puerto Rico.
In 1984, the Puerto Rican crested toad became the first amphibian to receive the Species Survival Plan (SSP) status with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The tadpoles were released as part of the Puerto Rican Crested Toad Conservancy (PRCTC) efforts to restore the population.
For Puerto Rican crested toads, a very specific environment is necessary for breeding when in human care, requiring similar conditions to that of the spring and fall rainy seasons in Puerto Rico.
The Potter Park Zoo team cools the toads to 66 degrees for one month to promote gamete development. During this time, they are in a state of inactivity, or torpor, and do not eat.
When the torpor period is over, the toads are warmed to 82 degrees and begin feeding again.
Additionally, the toads are given daily anti-fungal baths for a week prior to the breeding event.
While some toads can breed without any assistance, most require hormones to encourage egg laying and fertilization.
Though the eggs develop quickly; tadpoles hatch after just 24 hours.
Adult toads are carnivorous, but tadpoles eat algae and other plant material.
The tadpoles stay at Potter Park Zoo for around a week after hatching,
Despite the quick transformation into a toad, it may take many years for them to grow to their adult size of 2-3”.