Brian Casto is a 2015 graduate of Ripley High School who has turned a hobby into a passion. Casto collects exotic frogs.

Growing up, Casto said he was always fascinated with frogs and toads.

“When I was a child, I would always walk around catching frogs,” Casto said. “As I got older I got into the hobby of collecting exotic frogs.”

Casto said he began researching the creatures a few years and once he realized how relatively easy they were to to care for, he decided to make his first purchase.

Casto said what was once just a hobby has grown into a passion for collecting them.

In the one-year that he has actually been collecting these exotic amphibians, Casto has built quite the assembly of diverse creatures.

He currently owns seven species of exotic frogs including a Red-eyed Tree Frog, White’s Tree Frog, Blue Poison-dart Frog, Strawberry Poison-dart Frog, as well as a Red Galactonotus and Orange Galactonotus (both species of poison-dart frogs), and a Giant South American Marine Toad.

Poison-dart frogs come in an array of exotic patters and bright colors, making them attractive to both collectors and breeders; however, when someone hears the classification poison-dart frog, the term “poison” stands out. Although, these types of frogs can be extremely toxic in the wild, when in captivity, they are virtually harmless, according to Casto.

The reason they are potentially deadly in the wild is due to the diet they maintain. Poison-dart frogs feed on alkaline-containing insects in their natural habitat, creating the poison on their skin. In captivity, they feed on fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and other small insects. Since these types of insects contain no alkaline, poison-dart frogs are completely safe to collect and handle, notes the website blackjungleterrariumsupply.com. In fact, this website lists the top 20 reasons why poison-dart frogs make the perfect pets.

Combining another of his hobbies, photography, Casto captures photos of his exotic collection, which he posts to his Facebook page and Instagram account.

“I enjoy taking photos to show how cool they are,” Casto said. “I like to show the details on them.”

He is also a member of several Facebook groups pertaining to amphibians and reptiles where one of his photos was featured on The Reptile Report, a site founded in 2012, to bring attention to interesting news and discussions in the reptile world.

Casto hopes to one day breed his specimens. His goal is to have a stable captive bred population so people are no longer taking them from the wild.

Casto said he is interested in possibly showing his collection of exotic frogs to groups in order to educate them on the different species and what is required in order to care for them as a pets.

For more information, questions, or to see his photos, visit him on Facebook at Brian Casto or follow him on Instagram @toxicbluefrogs.