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Thread: What animals can I keep in a greenhouse?

  1. #17

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    You don't say how large your greenhouse will be but if its large enough to have a small pool you could keep fish, aquatic amphibians and aquatic Utricularia. Another thought is keeping the Cuban tree frog aka Osteopilus septentrionalis. Its hardy and large enough so that you should see it occasionally.

  2. #18
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    Have you considered spider mites or scale? I know a few people who successfully raise healthy colonies of these arachnids/insects in their greenhouses year round.
    Last edited by mato; 10-03-2014 at 03:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George_Adams View Post
    What about stick-insects and praying mantids?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cthulhu138 View Post
    As far as stick insects go, I can't think of a worse idea than releasing a bunch of plant eating bugs into a greenhouse. Mantids may be possible but again, you run into the problem of supplying adequate food for these free roaming carnivorous animals.
    Depending on the type of stick insect, it could be possible. Most stick insects have rather strict diets and only feed on a small number of plants. They will not bother a majority of plants you may like to grow, however you will need to supply their food plant in abundance. Half your greenhouse may need to be one specific food plant. And you'll have to cull them or they will devour their food plant faster than it can regenerate.

    As for mantids, I think that is your best option for an invertebrate. You can easily feed them by ordering blue bottle fly and fruit fly pupae or eggs. You can even raise flies yourself as a constant food source. Mantids can be bought in their egg cases or at any other life stage. You will eventually have many of them but they will keep themselves in check by eating their siblings. You will need a large enough greenhouse or you'll end up with one fat mantis. I would suggest a double door to prevent escapes and a body inspection to prevent them from being mistakenly taken out on your back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthesis View Post
    Frogs! Frogs frogs frogs! My frogs love bathing in the Nepenthes pitchers, it's great.
    I've heard that some people put bunnies in their greenhouses to create heat at night. You'd probably need a couple. You can get them very cheap from the right place, I'm sure. And one upside to bunnies is that they're bunnies as well, so you can pet them and be really happy.
    You may be able to find a tiny frog called "The greenhouse frog" (Eleutherodactylus planirostris). They are known for doing very well in greenhouses (thus, the name) but will need an established greenhouse to do well and feed.

    And bunnies? How can they create enough heat for a whole greenhouse!?!?! I used to keep bunnies and they need warmth or they get cold. Also, they will eat plants and with two, they must be fixed or they will also take over the green house . . . they do breed like "rabbits"!

    Quote Originally Posted by mato View Post
    Have you considered spider mites or scale? I know a few people who successfully raise healthy colonies of these arachnids/insects in their greenhouses year round.
    Lol that's great! And super easy!
    Last edited by Acro; 10-03-2014 at 05:52 PM.

  4. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acro View Post
    Depending on the type of stick insect, it could be possible. Most stick insects have rather strict diets and only feed on a small number of plants. They will not bother a majority of plants you may like to grow, however you will need to supply their food plant in abundance. Half your greenhouse may need to be one specific food plant. And you'll have to cull them or they will devour their food plant faster than it can regenerate.
    I knew someone else who believed this to be true. Unfortunately, it's not. A friend threw a bunch of Extatosoma into his greenhouse (along with their preferred plant species, brambles, rose, ivy, eucalyptus etc....). The insects quickly consumed most of his bromeliads and several other species first. The damage done to a large Aechmea over the course of one day was pretty severe. Phasmids all have their preferred food plants but, they will devour many other plant species if made available to them. Phasmid numbers can quickly grow completely out of control by the 2nd generation in a greenhouse environment with no predators to keep their numbers in check. The amount of vegetation just 1 large stick insect can consume in a single day can be surprising. A greenhouse full of them is not something I would want if I cared at all about the plants I was growing in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acro View Post
    Depending on the type of stick insect, it could be possible.
    Most stick insects have rather strict diets and only feed on a small number of plants.
    And you'll have to cull them or they will devour their food plant faster than it can regenerate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cthulhu138 View Post
    I knew someone else who believed this to be true. Unfortunately, it's not.

    Phasmid numbers can quickly grow completely out of control by the 2nd generation in a greenhouse environment with no predators to keep their numbers in check.
    Watch the key words in what I said above Cthulhu138.

    From your friend's experience with Extatosoma, we know that species of stick insect would not be an ideal species for George_Adams greenhouse. Other species have stricter diets, such as Oreophoetes topoense, that is only known to feed on species of fern. Experimentation would be in order before releasing stick insects upon any plants that could be at risk. However, George_Adams does not yet have a greenhouse, and proper plant selection could work around the chosen stick insect species.

    So, would keeping stick insects in a greenhouse be possible? Absolutely! However, many details would need attention and it could involve a lot of work to maintain the stick insect culture long term.

  6. #22
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    What about anoles or dumpy-frogs?

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    Anoles, need special lighting.
    Dumpy tree frogs, you'll have to feed crickets, roaches, etc.

    Might I suggest taking a look at Kingsnake.com or FaunaClassifieds.com for care sheets on reptiles and amphibians? That way, you can see the needs of a variety of animals and then you can decide if you are able to match those needs. Also, several members have given good suggestions so reconsider those as well.
    Good Luck!

  8. #24
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    My greenhouse (13' wide x 26' long x 9' high) is heated (to maintain a minimum 38 degrees to 40 degrees F) but open during the growing season. The only animal I have purposely kept within are Mosquito Fish (Gambusia sp.). They overwinter in half barrel planters (I use them in my raised water beds to control mosquitoes during the growing season, and I keep some in the barrel year round for the same purpose). I don't spray but rather drench insecticides and fungicides so I'm not worried about overspray.

    I have had a number of accidental animal residents, however. Several species of frog (one tree - Hyla chrysoscelis - and at least one terrestrial - Lithobates melanota and possibly one or two others) come and go, and spawn wherever they find open standing water (trays and the barrel planter). They come and go during the warmer months but I have found some in the winter-sealed greenhouse as well. A number of these either starved or dessicated although a few survived.

    Personally, I wouldn't focus on animals in my greenhouse. My plants are too important. In order to feed these frogs through the winter months, I'd need to avoid killing the mealybug and the mites, and the fungus gnats and the ants that often carry scale and aphids and other nasties around. The animals won't keep these in check enough to really matter. And even drenching with insecticide, etc. has to take a toll on them as they move around and through the plants and trays.

    Hope this helps.
    Growing CP since 1975. Succeeding (more or less) since 1990.

    Sarracenia & Heliamphora Growlist

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