Encouraged by my parents from the beginning to be inquisitive, I regularly brought plants and animals home for "study" in glass jars. Monarch caterpillars and their milkweed hosts, pond water and algae, American toad tadpoles, ladybug larvae and aphids, assassin bugs and inchworms - if it could be caught and put in a jar I had it in the house.
I discovered pet stores by age 8 and was determined to keep an Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens, as my first pet. My mom, being a school librarian, had me write a one page research paper on the care of newts. probably as a deterrent. It failed. I went on to keep Fire Belly Toads, Bombina orientalis, before making the jump to Reed Frogs, Hyperolius sp.
Around the age of twelve, I discovered orchids while visiting my Grandmother in Santa Barbara, CA. Reading up on them during that visit resulted in me "borrowing" backbulbs off the Cymbidium hybrids in her yard. The bulbs took up too much room in my backpack so I had to stash some dirty clothes in the guest room before I left.
By sixteen, I spent all my available free time at pet stores and Orchids by Hausermann's in Addison, IL. My first time driving solo to a place other than work was Hausermann's and the majority of my first paycheck as a grocery bagger was blown at Hausermann's. Around this time Larry Marshall took me under his wing, giving me my first dart frogs. I guess it was him getting caught up in my excitement or maybe he needed to make room for different frogs, but what an amazing experience, getting to work with a breeding group of Phyllobates vittatus. It's something I wish we saw more of in the hobby today - less of an eye toward profit and a stronger sense of community.
Over time my collection of orchids and frogs has morphed and changed, being pruned due to time or interests, slowly moving towards each other. Now I have frogs with orchids and orchids with frogs. Of course there are still frogs in orchid free enclosures and orchids that don't live under glass for various reasons. I hope you enjoy the website and find some use in the information it contains.
This website started when I (Chris) gave my dad (Darryl) some Ranitomeya variabilis for Father's Day in 2009 and he became interested in doing more with frogs in his retirement. After being in the frog hobby and watching what happens to frogs with the popularity booms and busts, I decided the best thing that people could do for frogs would be to focus on some group of species and secure their place in the hobby. My dad died in January of 2016. While I'm sure we would have grown closer as we aged, especially with the birth of my daughter, we wouldn't have had the relationship we did without the frogs. I've merged both of our collections, keeping his favorite frogs and mine along with adding some that I wanted as a little kid (fine spotted Dendrobates leucomelas - that Jewels of the Rainforest pic got to me).