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Free the Frogs–and the Snail

Written by PETA | July 24, 2009
johnelkington / CC

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.”

Written by Karin Bennett

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  • Gabrielle says:

    i completly agree with all of these. Keeping these little creatures in this pathetic excuse of a tank is wrong! I got a frogosphere for christmas and I was so excited. When my brother got his it was dead and he was so upset. I felt bad for the frog not that much for him. But now one of my frogs named bert is not eating not moving. I was doing a little reasearch an I found out he might be anarexic! Anyway as I was surfing the enternet I found the undercover fotage and was heart broken. I want to take my frogs out and put them into my other tank with my betta because I herd they do well togerther SAVE THE FROGS AND SNAILS!

  • Gail says:

    My mum bought a frogosphere from Brookstone. They sent her 2 sets by accident. So They did credit her for 1 set but told her to keep them as they wouldn’t survive the shipping back. So I inherited a set for myself. I am a complete novice when it comes to animals. However I knew the instructions that were given with these cute little guys was wrong. Oh we also didn’t get a snail they said it was because they didn’t include them anymore due to them not surviving the shipping. I went to the local petco and spoke with a guy who was a marine biologist and knew all about them. He told me how to take care of them. I changed the water weekly which was needed as the water was brown and smelled really bad. I tried to keep the temp. of the water between 72 and 80 degrees. I came home one day and one of mine was dead. He was laying on his back at the bottom of the tiny ‘tank’. I was super upset. I took out the living one and put him in a little container until I got rid of the dead one. The living one looked like he was on his way out. He had his legs and arms all pulled in and just didn’t look ‘well’. After getting rid of the dead one I put the other one back in and he started jumping around crazy like he wanted out of that water. So I put him back in the little container and took him to my mums ‘tank’. Needless to say 3 dwarf frogs in that tiny plastic prison wasn’t going to work. I went out and bought a 2 gallon tank with a filter and a light. I got a thermometer and new gravel. I went with a silk plant instead of the real one brookstone sent. I am happy to say that the 3 of them are happy swimming around the 2 gallon tank. Hiding behind the rocks and doing crazy somersaults. They are very entertaining to watch. Would I have bought them for myself? NO. I find it to be cruel. However now that I have them I am doing my best to treat them in the most humane way I can. I feed them some dried blood worms every other day and I do a 25 water change once a week. Plus I rinse off the filter pad once a week and change the filter once a month. I also put in water conditioner to get rid of the things in tap water that can harm them. They are very delicate and the slightest change in water ph can kill them. I didn’t get a replacement for the one that died I didn’t really think about the 1 year warranty at the time. I am semi tempted to get a replacement just to get one out of the cruel hands of brookstone. But I don’t want to have them cramped. Some people say you need a gallon per frog I have to say I think that’s a little much. I mean yeah if you have the space then do it but I think the 2 gallon I have for my 3 is comfortable. I dunno I have become attached to the little creatures and all I hope is that I can make them as comfortable as possible. I have posted a customer review on brookstones website and I am going to write a letter as well plus call the number given to the person in charge of brookstone. For now I have 3 seemingly happy froggies and I am giving them all the love and care I can. I am still blown away that these are being sold as “Starter pets’ for 5 year olds. I mean come on they are living beings and deserve to have the best treatment possible and I don’t think anyone that is following brookstones directions are doing that.

  • frida says:

    Is there a safe way to let the frogs go?

  • David Holmes says:

    I lost the first two snails the third thrived. After 5 dead frogs I gave up. My wife is very sad because she thought she was giving me a good thing. They lied to her and PetSmart says they lied to me about how to care for the frogs.

  • April Silverman says:

    Sell plastic frogs and snails. All living creatures need space and sun and weather and natural food to live full lives and not feel tortured. Do the decent humane thing. Free your remaining frogs and snails. Even tiny creatures with spines and brains feel fear pain claustrophbia and affection.

  • Nancy says:

    Letter sent to Brookstone now on to Coach House. Are these companies so greedy for money that they need to make animals suffer? So sad that our society has stooped so low.

  • Caroline says:

    Well guess what folks it’s not just the Brookstone stores. I was at the local Hallmark greeting card store and Coach house gifts and they both had the frog aquariums. Please stop giving these stores our business till they stop selling animals.

  • Danielle says:

    Are some of you suggesting that the average Koi pond is some sort of abuse and that an iPhone app is better? I believe I saw it posted by Shawna. Just because people keep fish as pets doesn’t mean that ALL of them are keeping them in improper conditions.

  • Shawna Flavell says:

    Eden The koi pond we think that everyone should check out is actually an iPhone app. Check out the linkit’s pretty cool.

  • Eden says:

    Koi ponds are not portable lowmaintenance or inexpensive… It’s a lot more work keeping a 10+ gallon outdoor pond clean and the fish in it healthy then maintaining a smaller aquarium. They used to sell these ‘bioorbs’ things at the Nature Store which has since been long out of business except these ones weren’t even openable. Just gravel some sticks a small tuft of grass and tiny prawns snails andor fish.

  • Manon says:

    Living abroad I hadn’t heard of this. On holidays in the US I walked into a Brookstone happily shopping and left instantly.. nearly crying. Such sadness came over me! Needless to say I have now written to Brookstone and forwarded PETA’s example to my friends.

  • lk says:

    this is so wrong in every way stop it … there is no reason to be confining wild creatures in tiny boxes

  • Rockie Sirico says:

    I will not buy from Brookstone till they stop selling frogs in dirty tanks and over crowded living areas. Companies like this make me sick.

  • amani says:

    please stop using aniamls as experimental things….!! whats fun about that? i cant understand ……so shocked

  • beryl lesmond says:

    I will not shop at your store while you treat animals in such a dreadful manner

  • sue lesmond says:

    I am appaulled by your treatment of all creatures great and small

  • Carla says:

    What sadistic pleasure do all of you get from mistreating and neglecting innocent beings in your care? I use the word “care” loosely. Selling these innocent beings to customers who have no idea how to properly and humanely keep these frogs and snails is criminal. And a store whose management feels obliged to sell animals should at minimum give their employees humane and proper instructions on how to care for these beings. Any animal that is sold should be accompanied by literature explaining how to properly and humanely care for the animal. Frankly no store should be selling any kind of animal. Too many of these innocent beings are ripped from their habitats die before they reach the store or die while at the store in very inhumane ways because no one gets them proper veterinarian help. STOP SELLING ANIMALS!

  • JollaBee says:

    As an employee of Brookstone I would like to add that most of the people that work in the retail sector of the store agree with the idea that the FrogoSphere is wrong. I actually won a ‘sphere’ in a contest and plan to get a much bigger aquarium for them maybe a 6gallon and then see if i can rescue one or two more! I feed my frogs several times a week and they are active and seem fairly content. Most of the snails have died their life span is significantly shorter than frogs. It is unfortunate but i am opting to perform a 12 water change weekly instead of replacing the snail. Keep sending letters most of us at Brookstone agree that these “toys” are awful!!!

  • shari says:

    Help!?! I am hearbroken. I bought these African Dwarf Frogs at Brookstone. I THOUGHT we were giving them a nice life and that the aquarium is ok for them. We’ve had it for 2 weeks and the snail died! I don’t want the frogs to suffer. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how we can save the frogs and perhaps release them into an appropriate environment? I don’t know what to do and I want to do the RIGHT thing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you Shari

  • Matt Greenwood says:

    AWW! I feel so sorry for those poor Frogs Snails.

  • Joanna says:

    Jess My ‘pet sculpture’ would be alot more pleasing than looking at a frog living in hell. Or maybe you just don’t interpret the frog’s suffering as such and see its vain attempts to live in a glass sphere as funny petlike behavior. You know like watching an elephant sway from foot to foot in neurotic stress and then saying it’s happily dancing. Don’t get me wrong I am all for animal companions I live with several I just don’t think you should torture an animal. I had a beautiful gourami fish in a tank he jumped out when I left the top off and died. I wanted to learn about them and the more I discovered about their complex natural life cycle and intelligence the more concerned I became that my fish was bored and unhappy in his tank. Only by comparing them to their counter parts in the wild can you appreciate how awfull their life must be in a bare glass bowl. Frogs and fish are wonderful complex creatures that deserve our respect and protection. Try building a natural frog habitat for your local native frog population if you like frogs. I have constructed several amphibian habitats in my yard and am delighted when I see them being used. You don’t have to make every living thing a pet to enjoy it.

  • Jess says:

    Joanna your glass frog idea is about as good as a pet rock. everyone may buy it until they notice it dont do anything. Then its off to buying frogs again. Or catching them.

  • Joanna says:

    Anybody reading the basic frog info about these animals posted on Wikipedia would realize the care of these frogs is more than that recommended by Brookstone. Also…they are ACTIVE creatures not suitable for a boring sphere. I reccommend people get a pretty glass fish bowl with nice rocks and a beautuful glass frog sculpture if they want a low maintenace ‘pet frog’. Living African frogs belong in streams and ponds in the wild of Africa.

  • David says:

    I agree with this post. But what im wondering is am i being told its wrong to have animals as pets even if you take really good care of them? And provide them more than enough space?

  • Jacob says:

    They’re going to run out of tendollar bills.

  • laura says:

    i’m really glad to see this i was in one of these stores last week and saw these horrible death chambers and was really disturbed! i kept saying to my boyfriend “these are mean!” so i wrote my letter! thank you peta!

  • Chelsea says:

    It is shameful how people sell these animals and even more so how they give out care instructions that are so inhumane. the same goes for Betta fish that are kept in tiny plastic cups and most times kept in small bowls unless owned by someone with a brain There is a store I passed by the other day a small boutique and outside was a sign that read “African Dwarf Frogs.. hassle free.” I plan on bringing in some copies of this article and sending PETA the company information.

  • david says:

    Sent the a polite letter and made a product review for the item on their website… though I doubt they’ll post it. Though I made it very polite too. Come on Brookstone… you’re better than this. Seriously. Have some respect for nature. As PETA says.. “Animals are NOT ours to use for entertainment”

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    If you think this is bad you should go into Los Angeles Chinatown on a busy weekend and see how many stores are selling turtles and frogs in little plastic boxes and fish in water filled bags. We saw this last Easter weekend and I was totally disgusted.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Frogs and snails are blessed creatures of God and as benevolent stewards of the earth we have an obligation to respect and protect them.