Frogs actually make excellent pets. They interact but aren’t too needy. They’re clean and don’t need ridiculous amounts of exercise. But wild frog populations are dropping, mainly due to loss of their habitats, as well as illegal pet trading and the Chytrid fungus, an infection that can decimate frog populations. That is why it is imperative that you purchase them from a reputable source. In addition, you may also need a licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to own a frog, depending on your state and the species in question.
However, once you have decided to purchase a friendly frog from a trusted breeder, how do you keep them healthy and happy?
Environments frogs love
The best place to house your frog is in a large tank with enough room for it to hop around and exercise, without feeling cramped. You will need to know whether your frog likes lots of water or not, because frogs can be aquatic, semi-aquatic, terrestrial or arboreal, depending on the species. The breeder from whom you purchased the frog should be able to give you the right criteria, but usually, most tanks are set up to be half water and half terrestrial.
The amount of water in the tank will dictate the humidity in the micro-environment, which is another important factor in keeping pet frogs. Tropical frogs need to be kept in an environment with 60% to 80% humidity, semi-tropical frogs between 50% to 70%, and cooler climate frogs between 30% to 60%.
Becoming a zoo keeper for a day at a Reptile Zoo can help give you hands on experience with frogs. You can learn direct from the experts and find out how to best look after them.
Lighting and ventilation are other important factors, not forgetting temperature. You might need to buy basking lamps which provide both light and heat for your frog. Large pebbles, rocks, log hides and suitable plants should also be purchased to keep your frog happy in their tank. The water in the tank must always be kept filtered, clean and fresh, because frogs are very sensitive to contaminated water.
Then there’s the fact that you need to cover the top of the tank with some form of mesh, because frogs are expert escape artists! No-one wants to find their pet frog hopping around their house, or worse, something unwanted trying to get in! This mesh is also useful for providing ventilation through the tank, because fresh air is also important to your frog’s health. As you can appreciate, there’s a lot to consider when keeping a pet frog, because if you don’t provide the right type of environment, your frog will become unhealthy very quickly.
What do frogs eat?
The species of your pet frog will determine what it needs to eat, but basically, frogs eat live prey. These include insects, worms, caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, wood cockroaches and moths. You will most probably need to purchase this live food from your breeder or local pet store. Frogs also need access to clean fresh water to drink, so always make sure that this is available in the tank.
How long do frogs live?
Pet frogs can live for a very long time (up to 40 years) so they are a long term investment. Here is a list of the best pet frogs for beginners and their lifespans in captivity.
- Dwarf Frogs – 20 years.
- White’s Tree Frog – 40 years.
- American Green Tree Frogs – 6 years.
- Pacman Frogs – 15 years.
- Horned Frogs – 10 years.
- Grey Tree Frogs – 7 years.
- Dart Frogs – 12 years.
- Red Eyed Tree Frogs – 10 years.
There is also a Code of Practice for keeping amphibians in captivity, which is full of useful information that will help to keep your frog happy and healthy for many years.