National Retailers' Frog Supplier Exposed

Victory Update: Following a national PETA campaign against Brookstone's sale of Frog-O-Spheres, the retailer has discontinued the sale of these little frog prisons, which it purchased from Wild Creations. Learn more about this victory for frogs.

For years, complaints have poured in to PETA about the tens of thousands of African dwarf frogs who are sold as decorations in tiny plastic boxes by various retailers in malls and stores across the United States and Canada. These cruel and terribly unnatural cubes, which confine two frogs in a few ounces of water, have been deemed "unacceptable in failing to meet the basic requirements for good animal husbandry" by experts. They deprive these nocturnal animals of everything that is natural and important to them, including basics such as space to swim and a place to hide.

In November 2009, PETA went undercover at Wild Creations, the company that supplies the frogs and boxes (often called "EcoAquariums") to stores across the U.S and Canada. PETA's investigator documented the rampant neglect and mishandling of these delicate animals and the total disregard for their needs, welfare, and lives―an attitude that trickled down from the company's co-owner to its supervisors and employees. PETA's investigator found the following:

  • Employees carelessly grabbed frogs by the handful and pinched their delicate limbs when picking them up for packaging. Bags of "replacement frogs"—shipped to customers whose frogs had died soon after purchase—were thrown carelessly into bins by the dozen. At the time of PETA's investigation, Wild Creations was preparing and shipping up to 100 "replacement frogs" daily because of the frogs' high mortality rate.
  • Hundreds of frogs were crammed into uncovered plastic tubs. The unfiltered water grew increasingly murky from excrement and molted skin with each passing day before the frogs were finally removed and packaged. Dr. Phil Bishop, senior lecturer at the University of Otago and chair of the New Zealand Amphibian Specialist Group, stated that these living conditions "would result in high levels of ammonia, which would result in stress and pain on the sensitive skin of the frogs" and that they "are the barest minimum that allow the frogs to be kept alive."
  • Weeks passed before PETA's investigator—who worked full-time—saw any of the frogs kept at the Wild Creations warehouse being fed. When customers complained of frogs with "leg deformities," a call from Wild Creations to the Madera County, California–based frog breeder Blue Lobster Farms revealed that the frogs were so starved while at Wild Creations that they were chewing on each other's legs, causing wounds, infections, and, eventually, rot and loss of limbs.
  • No training in basic amphibian health assessment was provided to employees. As a result, live frogs were mistaken for dead ones and sick or injured frogs were thrown into the trash instead of being quarantined and given veterinary care or being humanely euthanized.
  • Frogs suspected of being sick were mistakenly shipped to customers instead of being properly quarantined, as were frogs who were plucked from tubs containing the bloated, fungus-covered remains of decomposing frogs.

In addition to the mistreatment and neglect that Wild Creations employees inflicted on the frogs at the company's supply house, there are other problems:

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified more than 200 people, most of whom are children, in 41 states who were exposed to a unique strain of salmonella that was traced to Wild Creations' frog supplier, Blue Lobster Farms in California. In April 2011, the California Department of Public Health sent an urgent notice to pet stores and distributors of "aquatic pets" urging vendors to "immediately discontinue distribution and sale of these frogs" and asking that vendors share the memo with customers who may have purchased these animals.
  • Wild Creations supervisors confirmed that an estimated 180 shipped frogs froze to death because employees failed to include heat packs with the shipment.
  • Wild Creations owner Peter Gasca, while training salespeople at an exhibition booth, cautioned against leading customers to question how long frogs would survive and discouraged "pitching" the "seven-day warranty" that's advertised with the "ecosystems." Gasca provided his salespeople with a net to scoop out frog "casualties" and instructed them, with regard to customers who voice concerns for the frogs' welfare, "'It's a completely safe environment for the frogs.' That's all you need to tell them."

Your Voice Is Urgently Needed
Stores that carry and sell these cruel products bear much of the responsibility for the systemic neglect and mistreatment of frogs uncovered by PETA's investigation. Our pleas to Learning Express, Toy Jungle Enterprises Inc., Coach House Gifts, Scholar's Choice, Banner's Hallmark and Green Earth Stores Ltd. have fallen on deaf ears. These companies continue to sell these little torture chambers. Please join us in urging them to ban the sale of these cruel frog prisons immediately and to pledge never to sell any live animals again. Please keep all correspondence polite and feel free to personalize the sample letter below.


Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]

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