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Free the Frogs—and the Snail

Posted by at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)


Free the Frogs—and the Snail by Guest BloggerThis post, written by Karin Bennett , originally appeared on The PETA Files.

When I was eight years old, I swore off aquariums forever after my dozen or so guppies committed suicide in the middle of the night. Rather than remain in a crowded, dirty tank, they leaped to their slow, suffocating deaths on the carpet.

The guilt that I carry around because of those poor fish has recently been rivaled by my anger and sadness at learning that Brookstone stores are hawking the “Frog-O-Sphere,” a tiny aquatic prison that comes stocked with two African frogs and a snail (called “the janitor”).

Brookstone tells its customers and employees that these frogs only need to have their water changed twice a year and to be fed twice a week. I can only imagine that those frogs will try to jump out of their cruel confines the first chance they get, so that they don’t starve to death or die from poison.

Brookstone is offering a one-year warranty on the lives of the frogs, who can survive for five to 15 years in the wild. I guess that when the snail dies, the customers (and the frogs) are SOL-“the janitor” gets chucked into the garbage. And when customers place a complaint with the company, Brookstone offers up lame reasons why the Frog-O-Sphere is fine for these animals-reasons like “This species of frog will not out-grow the aquarium,” and “when in the wild the African Dwarf Frogs generally live in a very small area of a pond or a stream.” Then the company sends ‘em 10 bucks.

PETA is squaring off with Brookstone, and we need you to write polite letters to the company urging it to join Magic Beans, “Tarjay,” and other retailers that have stopped selling similar products prisons.

For anyone who insists on owning a portable, inexpensive, low-maintenance “aquarium,” I have two words: “Koi Pond.”

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14 Comments

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    Laura Guttridge says...

    July 31st, 2009, 9:34 am

    When I was at the mall I did see these poor little frogs on display at Brookstone. I went in and complained. On the advertisement is implies that it is “self contained” basically care free! Then in the fine print, it has the feeding instructions. I told the employee that I hope he explains to buyers, that these little frogs do require care! He did agree that it was misleading. I sure hop thet stop selling these poor little fellows.

    Laura Guttridge says...

    July 31st, 2009, 9:44 am

    I just wrote Brookstone my letter. I told them that I thought they were susposd to be “high tech.” There is nothing “high tech” about keeping helpless little frogs in tiny enclosures. So sad. :(

    Anonymous for obvious reasons says...

    July 31st, 2009, 1:57 pm

    Unfortunately, these poor little froggies require far more care than even the fine print says and Brookstone management team is sending notices to stores with bold faced lies to tell the customer. I fear that much of the efforts made with the action alerts are falling on “deaf” mail marshall blocking, and every close effort to date with actual face to face dealings with the stores have caused HQ to inform the stores to “take down signs and hide frogs in the back for the night”.
    With such a disgraceful company, the best efforts to be made will attack their finances only, we can’t expect the management to grow a soul.

    Dan Bekkering says...

    August 1st, 2009, 1:16 pm

    Keeping animals in confinement is not animal friendship, it’s torture.

    Dan Bekkering, Holland.

    Naila M. Sanchez says...

    August 1st, 2009, 2:21 pm

    I am shocked and angered that Brookstone would enter into a shameful business of selling frogs and snails!!! This is disgusting and I will never shop their stores again! Everyone, pass the word to stay away… AND complain to the management for their disgraceful actions!

    Kathryn says...

    August 2nd, 2009, 2:02 pm

    No matter the size or species . . . . humans will find a way to exploit and mistreat it! May the day come that humans will be an endangered species!

    Gail Richardson says...

    August 2nd, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Thank you for the post. I just sent my letter to Brookstone too. In personalizing it, I wrote that I used to think Brookstone was the coolest store and I used to shop there, but that now I will never shop there again unless or until they stop selling the poor little frogs. I also wrote that the Frog-O-Spheres are nothing less than animal cruelty, and thanked them in advance for making the only humane decision to do the right thing.

    Vanessa says...

    August 7th, 2009, 6:30 pm

    It’s the same with Siamese Fighting fish. Just because in the wild they’ve been found in the water filled hoof print of a water buffalo, they think it’s perfectly fine to put them in 1 pint bowls maybe with a bamboo plant stuck in their for decoration and “food”. I’m so tired of people wanting animals to live in neat little packaged places–which make them less of an “inconvenience”.

    (The hutches they sell for rabbits and guinea pigs are no better.)

    Thank you for sharing this information about Brookstone.

    Ryan says...

    August 9th, 2009, 12:26 pm

    Wow, you really can jump to conclusions. For any one that thinks that these aquariums are harming these frogs or is causing some damage to our own environment, they should try reading a little literature about the subject. Marine biologists had spent years specifically developing these aquariums for the dwarf frogs so they could help prevent the extinction of these little guys. For there size, they have a lot of predators. The average life span of one out in the wild is only about a year, while the ones in Brookstone, if taken care of properly, can live to be more than 5. The sails of these aquariums also go towards promoting the preservation of the dwarf frog. Instead of window shopping, maybe someone should go in and ask them about the frogs, and the store associate will be glad to direct you to some literature.

    annon. says...

    August 9th, 2009, 5:43 pm

    I work at a store that sells these “Frog-O-Spheres” (not Brookstone). The “Frog-O-Sphere” has been very popular with not only our regular customers, but teachers especially. It is a way to teach about eco-systems. The entire aquarium acts as an eco system, with brown rocks on the bottom which is the filter, a snail to clean (while it is eating), and bamboo to provide oxygen, the solution made by the filter is used by the bamboo. The eco system comes with a year supply of food. You only need to give the frogs four pellets twice a week. This is because the frogs do not eat the food right away, but tend to wait. The frogs also eat their skin when it sheds, because they are bottom feeders in nature.
    We do let our customers know how much and when they need to be fed, how often water needs to be changed, the type of water to use, and the importance of keeping the frogs out of direct sunlight. The frogs come with a pamphlet of instructions.
    We have had a few snails not make it, but we just put in new ones and the eco system is fine. We have gotten great feedback from our customers who have bought them.
    Remember, these frogs were born on a farm, not in nature. Nobody picked them up and put them in a cage. Letting them go in the wild would probably kill the frog, or have a possible effect on the environment. However, if you are determine to not have frogs live in the eco system, I suggest buying them yourselves and you can decide what happens to the frogs.
    Watching these frogs is a delight everyday. They are playful and have a lot of personality. The information I have read online about these animals and their behavior in nature is exactly right to how they act in the eco system. We have only started selling them, and are already about to place our fifth order for more. In fact, they are our most popular item in the store. Yay, for the frogs!

    Susan says...

    August 10th, 2009, 10:11 pm

    Don’t be fooled by retailers defending the Frog-O-Sphere. I purchased one from Brookstone several weeks ago, and 2 snails died…one not making it 24 hours. The snail was shipped 2nd day ground. We all know how hot the trucks can get in the summer. The box was not even labeled, “Live creature”. The cool pack was warm and the snail had a thumb-sized amount of water in the bag. I was told by a rep. from Brookstone’s supplier, WILD CREATURES, in SC that the cold pack would only be good a few hours, no matter how many packs they put in the box. Also, she said, some of the frogs need more food than others, so increase the food pellets to 3X per week…I believe the frogs ate the snail. They seemed very hungry and agressive, even though I followed CBrookstone’s directions to the Tee, including the phone calls to the customer service reps, who could only read from FAQ cards…that’s the expert advice. It is clear, these frogs need more space than the cube, with some rocks, bridges or plant leaves to hide/rest. I have done much searching for info, including from WILD CREATURES, the suppliers…whose customer service rep. was as clueless as the Brookstone people reading from a card. The professionals seem to be unanimous, that the frogs should have 3-5 gal. of fresh water each…feeding daily to frogs under 1 year, and over 1 year, 2-3 times per week…bloodworms fed sparingly, as they need a varied balanced diet, according to guidelines…and that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of exposure to disease, as there is a risk, as a Brookstone rep. with tell you, of exposure to Salmonella, if not handled properly.

    the frogs are more maintenance and worry than caring for my two cats put together.

    easterli says...

    August 20th, 2009, 11:46 pm

    Ryan and annon: Exactly how much corporate nonsense can you swallow before you start thinking for yourselves? “Ecosystem”? “Environment”? The little plastic box is neither of those things. These are living beings and should be treated as such, not as a means for Brookstone, et al, to make money.

    easterli says...

    August 20th, 2009, 11:49 pm

    The Brookstone website features the Frog-O-Sphere. It also gives purchasers the opportunity to leave an online review of the product. (hmmm…) Here’s the link: https://www.brookstone.com/home-office-desk-accessories_Frog-O-Sphere-frogs.html Sounds like an opportunity to voice your opinion to me!

    will says...

    September 16th, 2009, 9:59 am

    I recently “inherited” this frog-o-sphere, I agree with the cruelty aspect. So, now that I have one, I notice the water level is dropping, they eat more then 2 pellets twice a week!! What type of water am I to refill this “sphere” with, as the instructions make no mention of this. also, i dont think one little snail is able to clean all the poop from 2 frogs, so, is it wise to rinse the gravel. who ever said this item is easy to maintain, they must not pay much attention to theirs. I interact with the frogs daily, it seems to stimpulate them to move about. thanks for any advice.

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