Frogs & Toads as Pets

 

Adventure Pets stocks a wide variety of top quality reptiles and amphibians. We always source as many animals as possible from local breeders. New animals are received weekly and we are always glad to special order.
Red Eyed Tree Frog by Care_SMC, on Flickr
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There are a number of type of types of frogs and toads that are kept as pets. Most have a lifespan of 4-5 years but some can live 15 years or longer. Frogs in general are not very active pets preferring to sit quietly waiting for something tasty to wander by.

This is especially true of the larger frogs like the popular pacman frog. Many frogs are also nocturnal preferring to roam about when insects are more plentiful and there are fewer predators around.

Toads by FolioRoad, on Flickr
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Frogs don't take up much space and are usually quiet pets. Frogs like all amphibians are sensitive to waste and contaminants in their environment. Non-aquatic species usually prefer a warm humid environment and most require live insects as food but some especially the aquatic varieties will accept prepared feeds.

Frog Enclosures

All frogs and toads fall into one of four categories based on their habitat in the wild. These categories are terrestrial, arboreal, aquatic and semi-aquatic. Each of these categories has a fairly standard setup associated with it for their enclosure.

Terrestrial Species

The Hamburglar. #pacman #frog by jeffledoux, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  jeffledoux

The terrestrial frogs and toads live on the land. Some popular species include the Pac-man (horned) frog, Chubby frog, African bullfrog, Tomato Frogs and ground dwelling African mantella. These frogs usually like to root around leaf litter so they need a substrate that they can burrow into.

Depending on their size a 5 or 10 gallon aquarium usually makes a good home. Good substrates include Jungle and coconut bedding or a 50/50 mix of sterilized potting soil and peat moss. A shallow water dish should be provided and a couple of cork bark hiding places.

Arboreal Species

Arboreal species live in trees and vegetation and are usually referred to as tree frogs. Some popular species include the Green Tree Frog, Dumpy (White's) Tree Frog and the Red-eyed Tree Frog.

These guys like to climb and hide amongst the foliage so height is more important than floor space. 20-gallon high or extra high and taller octagon tanks usually make a good home. These frogs don't burrow so a heavier substrate like aquarium gravel or amphibian safe sand is a good choice because it offers more support to the upright branches or plants used for climbing. A shallow water dish should be provided.

Aquatic Species

 by psyte, on Flickr
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The fully aquatic frogs spend all of their time in the water. Common pet species include the tiny African Dwarf Frogs, the bigger African Clawed Frogs and very big and flat as a pancake Pipa Pipa Toads.

A couple of the African Dwarf Frogs can be housed in a 2 gallon desktop aquarium, the African Clawed Frogs should start out in at least a 10 gallon aquarium and the Pipa Pipa Toads should start out in a 20 gallon tank. A good filter is needed because frogs tend to make more of a mess than fish especially when they shed their skin.

Semi-aquatic Species

Semi-aquatic frogs split their time between land and water so they need an area of both in their enclosure. Common pet species include the fire-bellied toad and the leopard frog.

Setting up both a water and land area can be tough to do in a small 10-gallon tank so a 20-gallon is easier. This setup tends to be the most difficult to maintain because of keeping the wet and dry areas separate. Molded plastic terrarium inserts are available which makes the job much easier.

Feeding

All non-aquatic frogs and most toads will only eat live food, usually crickets or earthworms but they will usually eat anything that moves and they can swallow. This means that you will also need some type of container to keep their food in. In the wild they eat a lot of different types of live food, mostly bugs, this helps give them a balanced diet. When you keep them in captivity and only feed them at most a few different kinds of bugs they can develop nutritional deficiencies.

There are a couple of common techniques used to help ensure a well-rounded diet. The most common is to coat their food with a commercially available vitamin and mineral powder called "dusting". Another is to feed nutritious food to the bugs you are feeding before you feed them. This is known as "gut loading" and again there are specialty commercial foods for this but many experienced amphibian keepers find tropical fish food does the job.

Given good conditions and a proper diet most frogs live at least 4-5 years in captivity but some types can live more than 10 years.