Your kids want a cool pet. You are willing to get a pet but you want something that is easy to care for and fairly low maintenance. On one hand, a dog or cat might be more than you want to handle while on the other hand, you want something a little more than a goldfish. If this sounds familiar, have you considered a pet frog? A pet frog is not only a cool little pet, it is also an easy maintenance pet.
Common Types of Pet Frogs
Although there are all kinds of frogs, there are a few types that are most common as pets. One of the most common is the tree frog. The other common pet frog is the horned frog. Each type of frog has its own personality and its own unique needs, so the frog that is best for you depends on what you are looking for in a pet frog.
There are a number of different kinds of tree frogs that make good pets with the most common being the gray tree frog, the red-eyed tree frog, and the white’s tree frog.
Gray tree frogs are usually gray, brown, or what will likely remind you of camouflage in color. They are happy to be alone in their habitat, so you can get one as a pet frog and not worry that it is lonely. However, they are on the small side and are also good in multiples so if you are looking for a few, they are perfectly fine in groups or two or three. Typically, gray tree frogs do not like to be handled much but are fun to watch, especially when they are climbing up the side of their terrarium and sticking to the glass.
When you think of a pet frog, it may be likely that you picture the red-eyed tree frog. These little guys are the iconic tree frogs with bright green bodies that have yellow and blue stripes along their sides, orange feet, and red eyes. Red-eyed tree frogs grow larger than gray tree frogs, so if you are getting one of these as a pet frog, you will either need a larger space or have fewer frogs in your terrarium. They sit still most of the time seemingly enjoying the view from their perch but get excited when it is meal time or when they are spritzed with a little water.
The white’s tree frog is the biggest of these three tree frogs, growing up to 5 inches long. It is normally a beautiful milky light blue or green color with a white belly. If you are looking for a pet frog that is easy to be caught and handled, a white’s tree frog is the frog for your family. They are the most easily handleable tree frog on this list.
Besides tree frogs, another type of frog that is commonly kept as a pet is the horned frog, which is commonly called a Pacman frog since it holds a striking resemblance to its namesake. These are large ground-dwelling frogs that can grow up to eight inches long. They can also be pretty rambunctious. Because of their size and activity level, Pacman frogs need the largest habitat of all these frogs with adequate floor space since they will not be climbing. Pacman frogs are not social and need to live alone.
What You Need for Your Pet Frog
Setting up for a pet frog is fairly simple but varies some depending on the type of frog you decide to get. No matter what type of pet frog you have, you need to start with a glass terrarium that has a tight-fitting screen top. The size of the terrarium obviously needs to accommodate the size and number of frogs you want.
Then you need bedding, or what most pet supply stores call substrate. The best kind of substrate for pretty much any pet frog is a mulch-like substrate such as coconut fiber or bark bedding. The other thing you need for any type of pet frog is a shallow water dish that is big enough for the frog to sit in (they love taking a little dip!). After you have those three basic things, the rest depends on the type of pet frog you have chosen
For a tree frog, a terrarium that is taller rather than wider is preferable since they like to climb. A 15-gallon terrarium is adequate for up to two small gray tree frogs or one red-eyed or white’s tree frog. Besides substrate, your tree frog needs lots of things to climb around on, so the habitat should have plenty of live or artificial plants, driftwood, and even rocks to climb on.
Regardless of the type of tree frog, they need a light cycle that mimics daylight, meaning it should be light during the day and dark at night. Tree frogs are nocturnal and you may find they are more active at night. If you want to watch them after dark, you can buy a special bulb that lets you watch them but that does not disturb them. If you are housing them in a dimly lit room, it does not hurt to have a fluorescent light bulb during the day, but it is not necessary if they are in a well-lit or sunny room.
All tree frogs prefer a little humidity, but especially the red-eyed tree frog. They should be misted once or twice a day. This can be done simply with a spray bottle. Just be sure not to saturate everything and make things too wet. The water should be able to evaporate. If you are worried about making it too humid in your pet frog enclosure, you can get a device called a hygrometer that monitors the humidity for you.
Gray tree frogs are not quite as finicky and unless you live in a very dry climate, they are likely to get all the moisture they need through their water dish and the substrate. White’s tree frogs on the other hand do not do well in humidity so they are most likely to get all the moisture they need from the water you provide in their dish.
Pacman frogs are a little different. They do best in a wide terrarium since they are ground-dwelling pet frogs. They like to burrow, so Pacman frogs should have three to four inches of substrate in the bottom of their terrarium. They also like live or artificial plants and things to hide in and under. They are also nocturnal, so like tree frogs, they need lighting that mimics a regular day and night light cycle. They like medium humidity, which can easily be maintained with a live plant or two.
Once your terrarium is set up, the only real maintenance is to keep it clean. The water dish should be kept clean and changed every few days as needed. Tree frogs like to stick to the glass and to anything else they can manage to hold onto so things tend to get a little filmy. Depending on your pet frog, the terrarium likely needs to be cleaned out every other week by cleaning up the top layer of the substrate and wiping down the glass. Pacman frogs do not cover everything in film but their substrate needs to be kept clean, especially because they like to burrow.
Feeding A Pet Frog
The one thing that is important to know about feeding a pet frog is that they are hunters and eat live insects and worms. Tree frogs like to eat crickets, mealworms, and hornworms. Pacman frogs also enjoy crickets, as well as roaches, silkworms, and the occasional mealworm or waxworm. However, adult Pacman frogs can also eat nightcrawlers, earthworms, small fish, and even small mice. All of these can be purchased at most large pet stores and from a number of online retailers.
It may sound a little crazy or even icky to feed a pet frog live crickets or roaches, but you might be surprised at how cool it is to watch them pounce on and eat a cricket. Be sure to feed your pet frog only enough food that they can eat overnight. For a small tree frog, that is likely three to four small crickets per frog every two days or so. A Pacman frog should be fed two or three times a week. They will overeat if allowed to, so do not overload their terrarium with insects.
It is easy to keep a pet frog. Once set up, all they need is to have their terrarium cleaned occasionally and to be fed every few days. They are not the sort of pet you get if you want to cuddle or hold them a lot, but they are still fun to watch. They can be pretty cute staring through the glass at you with their little froggy smirk.
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