Approximately 40% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. The welfare of amphibians maintained under managed care as assurance populations is of vital importance to guard against extinction and provide a viable source population for future reintroduction. To manage amphibian species properly ex situ, it is important to understand how stress levels change over time when animals are removed from the wild and placed into managed environments. Corticosterone was analyzed in urine samples from free-ranging cane toads (Rhinella marina, n = 55) in Miami, FL, and under managed care for 22 (n = 48), 50 (n = 11), 81 (n = 25), or 119 (n = 10) days. Concentrations of corticosterone in free-ranging toad urine averaged 1.74 ± 0.195 ng/ml urine specific gravity (sp. gr.), which was greater (P < 0.05) than other time points (day 22: 0.77 ± 0.114 L; day 81: 0.85 ± 0.191 ng/ml sp. gr.; day 119: 0.58 ± 0.093 ng/ml sp. gr.), except day 50 (0.91 ± 0.274 ng/ml sp. gr.), which was not different from free-ranging or managed care values. Thus, corticosterone was lower in cane toads under managed care compared with those sampled in the wild, suggesting that managed care is not a stressor for this species.
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16 December 2021
URINARY CORTICOSTERONE CONCENTRATIONS IN FREE-RANGING AND MANAGED CANE TOADS (RHINELLA MARINA)
Larry J. Minter,
Troy N. Tollefson,
Janine L. Brown,
Kimberly Ange-van Heugten