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Adding a Pet Frog to Your Household
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Adding a Pet Frog to Your Household

Critter Culture Staff



Pet frogs make a great choice for beginner pet owners and more experienced ones alike. They are easy to care for, affordable, and interesting. Their habitat requirements make them a realistic option for anyone who has limited space. Finally, unlike some other small pet choices, they have a relatively long lifespan.


Habitat requirements

Frog on basking area. dartfrogsandhabitats / Getty Images

Pet frogs have different requirements for their care depending on the species, but they share some common needs. A glass tank with a well-fitted screen lid will keep your frog safe and happy. Spend some time decorating the tank so your frog has plenty of options for exercise, sleeping, and hanging out. Cover the bottom of the tank with a substrate, a material that keeps your frog off of the tank's glass bottom.


Light and heat

heat for pet frogs

You will probably need a heat lamp to keep your frog comfortable, as most frogs prefer a daytime temperature higher than common room temperature. You can do this by adding a ceramic heater to the tank or using an incandescent bulb to create a basking area. They also need long periods of light during the day, so adding a fluorescent light on a timer is a good idea.


Building the habitat

Heavily planted tank. dartfrogsandhabitats / Getty Images

The tank for your pet frog's habitat will vary in size, depending on the size of your frog, but it will need to be at least 10 gallons. Use bark, sphagnum moss, or coconut fiber as a substrate, spreading it over the bottom of the tank. Don't be tempted by less expensive options, such as gravel. Your frog's skin is delicate, and a rough substrate can damage it. Add driftwood, cork bark, and some artificial plants to the tank so your frog will feel at home. Use suction cups to cover the back wall with greenery or cork bark.


Maintaining the Habitat

Adding a Pet Frog to Your Household

Frogs need high humidity to stay healthy. To boost the humidity in their tank, lightly mist the interior with a spray bottle daily. Clean the tank at least once a week. This is important not only for their health, but to prevent odors from developing. Remove your frog from the tank and place him somewhere safe. Wash and dry everything in the tank, using hot water. Add fresh substrate before returning your frog to the tank.


Feeding your pet frog

Adding a Pet Frog to Your Household

Your frog needs access to fresh, clean water at all times. A low, shallow dish allows them to splash around if they want. Most frogs eat meat and prefer to catch their meals on their own. This means providing them with live crickets, worms, fly larvae, and other insects. You can find these options at your local pet store. Insects won't provide all the nutrients your frog needs, however. Before adding the bugs to the habitat, sprinkle them with a calcium supplement. Add a multivitamin once a week. Young frogs eat daily, while it is best to feed adults every other day.


Handling your pet frog

Child holding frog. RyanJLane / Getty Images

Resist the urge to handle your frog more than necessary. Their skin is very delicate and can be easily damaged by the oils on your skin. Also, a frog's secretions can irritate your skin, and it is important to keep them away from your mucous membranes. When you do need to handle your frog, it is best to wear latex gloves. If not, wash your hands thoroughly both before and after handling.


How to tell if they are healthy

healthy pet frog

Pet frogs do best when not handled frequently, but they do need regular observation. Watching them makes it easier to assess their health and notice any changes. A healthy frog has clear eyes and healthy-looking skin. They are active and eager to eat. Signs of sickness include lack of appetite, sores or rough-looking skin, a reduction in activity level, weight loss, or a bloated appearance.


Common health concerns

Frog eating a cricket. Linas Toleikis / Getty Images

There are a few problems that may crop up in pet frogs. General lack of energy, a loss in strength, particularly in the rear legs, and changes to the skin color are all indications they are deficient in vital nutrients. Offering a variety of foods and dusting insects with vitamins is important to keep your frog healthy. Feeding gut-loaded insects — insects that have recently had a meal — is another way of adding nutrients to the frog's diet.



Man holding a frog. Kevin Wells / Getty Images

Building a safe habitat is the best way to keep pet frogs healthy. They can develop an obstruction in their intestines if kept on gravel substrate. Rough substrates and tank decorations can also injure their skin. If handled with bare hands, their skin can absorb any soap or lotion residue, leading to illness.



Frog in terrarium. Maksim Gorobchenko / Getty Images

Frogs need to spend their time in the terrarium. Allowing them to roam loose in the house or moving them around frequently is not healthy. Since the frog's entire world exists in the tank, it is important to provide everything they need right there. Driftwood and other decorations that will support their weight allow them to jump and hop, and a shallow but wide water dish gives them an area to wade. Place the terrarium in an area that does not receive direct sunlight, and keep it out of the kitchen and bathroom, which can expose the frog to harsh cleaning chemicals and fumes.


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