Amphibians Invade The Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium's special exhibit, Amphibians, features 40 species of frogs, salamanders, newts, and rarely seen caecilians. They come from all over the globe and also live in our backyards. They are as small as a quarter or as large as 2.5 feet long. The Shedd Aquarium's Special Exhibits Collection Manager, Mark Schick, joins us to talk about the various creatures that will call Chicago home until 2017.

Read more about the amphibians that visited Chicago Tonight’s studio and are on display in the Shedd’s special exhibition.

Tiger Salamander
Appearance: Large head and thick body that is dark brown or black with tan or yellowish spots, splotches or stripes.
Length: 8.5 inches
Life Expectancy: 16 years
Diet: Beetles, snails, insects, centipedes, slugs, worms, and other invertebrates
Range: Most of North America with soil suitable for burrowing and a nearby water source
Behavior: Seeks or creates burrows to hide from predators

Cane Toad
Appearance: Large (females can weigh up to 3 pounds), and warty with tan, brown, green or black skin
Length: 6 to 7 inches
Life Expectancy: Up to 10 years
Diet: Just about anything—insects, snails, and slugs, plants, and other toads
Range: Prefers tropical climates with nearby water
Behavior: This species spends most of its life on land only enters fresh water to breed

Tomato Frog
Appearance: Yellow-orange to orange-red with a pale belly
Length: 2.3 to 2.5 inches
Life Expectancy: About 10 years
Diet: Small insects
Range: Northeastern Madagascar
Behavior: Its bright red coloration serves as a warning to potential predators of its toxic secretions

American Toad
Appearance: Short, stout bodies and thick brown, brick-red or olive-colored skin covered in warts
Length: About 3 inches
Life Expectancy: Less than 5 years
Diet: Nearly anything they can catch—insects, snails, beetles, and slugs
Range: Eastern half of North America
Behavior: Their mating calls can last up to 20 seconds

Hellbender
Appearance: Yellowish brown to black with faint light or dark spots and short, stout limbs
Length: 11 to 20 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Life Expectancy: 29 years
Diet: Crayfish, insects, and worms
Range: River drainages in southern New York state down through the Appalachians, west to southern Illinois and Arkansas
Behavior: A nocturnal animal, the hellbender hides under cover during the day unless it’s mating season

Fire-bellied Newt
Appearance: A fiery red or orange belly with scattered black blotches
Length: 2.3 to 3.1 inches
Life Expectancy: Unknown
Diet: Aquatic worms and insect larvae
Range: Southwestern China in still-water habitats up to 3,200 feet
Behavior: In colder areas, this newt will spend the winter under water or in crevices in the ground


Watch a video of amphibians that will be on display.

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