Update on the Frog-O-Sphere Controversy

In September, we wrote a post about Frog-O-Spheres, a Brookstone kit (not sold in pet stores) that contains live African dwarf frogs. These kits, marketed as educational products, confine two aquatic frogs to a small aquarium, without shelter or a place  to hide.

These aquatic frogs actually need a gallon of water per frog in order to thrive, and it is recommended that they have some sort of water heating, as well as artificial light to simuate night and day because they are nocturnal. But the Frog-O-Spheres’ gimmick is that they are a complete “ecosystem” and have all that the frogs will need to stay healthy. In fact, if one part of the “ecosystem” doesn’t function (for example, if the snails that are supposed to eat the algae die), the frogs suffer.

Some people who buy these kits do take the time to learn how to care for their frogs properly and the frogs may live for a few years or longer.  But many people purchase the kits as an office decoration or as a cute gift for kids, not unlike the hermit crabs people buy at the seashore in the summer. Without proper care, however, the animals usually die within a month or two.

In November, after PETA received numerous complaints about the Frog-O-Spheres, they went undercover at Wild Creation, the company that supplies the kits to Brookstone. They found the following:

  • Hundred of frogs crammed into bins with dirty, unfiltered water.
  • Frogs that were rarely fed. Because the frogs were starving, they were feeding on each other and some customers were complaining about frogs with missing limbs.
  • No training was provided to employees. Live frogs were left for dead, tossed on the floor, or thrown in the trash.
  • Frogs suspected of being sick were mistakenly shipped to customers instead of being properly quarantined. Frogs were plucked from tubs containing fungus-covered decomposing frogs and were also shipped to customers.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control reported a week ago that a national salmonella outbreak afflicting 48 people in 25 states was connected to African dwarf frog pets.

Please see the PETA website for more information, including a film shot at Wild Creation, and suggestions for ways you can take action to urge Brookstone to stop selling Frog-O-Spheres.

image from frogworld.net

A healthy frog from frogworld.net

14 thoughts on “Update on the Frog-O-Sphere Controversy

  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  2. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.You have done a marvellous job!

  3. Thank you for creating such a useful portal. this site is not only useful but also very inventive too. There are very few people who can think to write technical content that creatively. I keep looking for articles on a topic like this. I searched in dozens of websites to build up on knowledge about this.We look forward to much more !!

  4. what do I do, someone re-gifted this frog-o-sphere to me… and I am determined to give them an appropriate home… in a 5-10 gal tank with plants and everything they need. What are the diseases I need to look for and how to I treat them if they occur?

  5. Hi Petra–

    I’ve never kept frogs as pets so I’m not an expert in this, but I recommend you look at the frogworld.net website, then click on African Dwarf frog. It gives information about size of tank, what kind of vegetation they need, and so on. I’m not sure how to recognize if they are sick or if they are infected with salmonella. I will do some research on this and leave another comment if I find out more.

    Thanks for your comment–and thanks for trying to take good care of your frogs.

    Mary Jo

  6. I enjoy my frog-o-sphere. My niece and nephew got a kick out of giving it as a gift and I enjoy watching the frogs race about, from top to bottom. I threw a Beta fish in there to see what would happen. They all get along great. More room for the Beta to swim about now that it’s out of the margarita glass it had called home the last couple months, and a little inter-sepcies interaction always makes things more interesting. Sometimes the Beta swims up behind one of the frogs while it’s lounging spread-eagle at the surface of teh water and nestles his snout into the frog’s backside. Its pretty funny. They do fine as long as you dump out the water and replace it now and again. Some chlorine/fluoride cleaner is necessary, though, otherwise no one is gonna last too long. Feed ‘em every couple weeks, and they’re good. Careful, though – the Beta likes to zip around, snagging the frogs’ food, so I like to keep the Beta distracted with his own at the surface, while I give the frog pellets a little push, dunking them to the bottom. However, it can also be fun when the Beta gets wise to it, spins around, and darts to the little descending man-made food pellet before it hits bottom. The living rocks looked cheesy, so I tossed them, and threw in a few shells from the beach. And, a thin floor of plain, decorative pebbles from Michael’s serves as a nice bottom for the tub of water and excellent back-drop for the more colorful shells. I never did get the bamboo from Brookstone, so after a few months my girlfriend gave me some lucky bamboo that she got in Chinatown. I jammed that in there as well, and the frogs seem to like hanging out entwined in the root systems. In fact, they even seem to prefer that to the nestling underneath the large seashell chunk I propped against the inner wall. Of course, this may be because it’s tipped over now and, thus, quite a bit less roomy underneath. Oh well, just a quick fix next time I change the water in the sink, but I digress. The little tub is another issue – I’d rather a container made of glass, so I’m thinking of sticking them all in the glass head I bought from an antique shop (turns out they have them at Pier One as well), but I’ve already got another Beta in there, so I may have to get another. It’s funny, but come to think of it, I guess the only things I’m really using from Brookstone are the frogs and the plastic tub – for now 🙂 In any event, they’re decent, simple pets and happy as larks in their little Untersee world.

  7. I have a frog osphere and I decided that it is indeed inhumane. Thank u for pointing this out. I let them go outside, and now I feel really bad because they died on the hot pavement. What is a remorseful man to do?? I am SO SORRY for me terrible action!!!

  8. Kevin, Although we don’t approve of the Frog-o-Sphere, and you already have them, we recommend reading more about Frogs so you can take care of them in the best way possible. – Susan

  9. John, We’re very sorry to hear about this, and we’re so glad you commented so others can read this. Susan

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