Frogs can make lovely pets for the right person but frogs in the wild are facing population declines and extinction largely as a result of human activities. Unfortunately, the pet trade is likely contributing to the amphibian extinction crisis and the spread of an devastating infection by Chytrid fungus. For this reason, you should only buy frogs that you are sure are captive bred locally and tested to be free of disease whenever possible. Avoid capturing wild frogs and keeping them as pets.
Pet Frog Considerations
- Frogs in captivity are quite long lived (with proper care) so be prepared for a long term commitment. Average life spans are typically four to fifteen years, although some frogs have been known to live longer.
- Keeping a frog enclosure clean can be a lot of work. Many frogs have fairly simple light, temperature, and humidity requirements but they are very sensitive to contaminants and waste in their environment.
- Some people find frogs boring but some of the smaller frogs are quite active. However, many of the larger frogs are quite sedentary and don't move around much.
- You need to handle a variety of insects to feed most frogs. Some of the larger frogs will even eat pinky mice.
- It can be difficult to find someone to care for your frogs if you plan on travelling and being out of town for more than a couple of days at a time.
- As with any other kind of pet, doing lots of research prior to deciding on the type of frog that best suits your needs is the best way to make sure you and your frog will be happy.
- Setting up a tank with everything your frog needs before bringing them home should be done to insure a proper environment with appropriate water, humidity, and heat requirements.
- Some of the smallest frogs you might see in a pet store grow into giants. Sometimes their name adds to the confused expectations (i.e. "pixie" frogs, which sound like they should be small, are actually African bullfrogs which grow to be eight to nine inches long and very fat). They get their cute name from their Latin name, Pyxicephalus adspersus.
- Make sure you know the right kind of tank your frog will need (i.e. aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal, or semi-aquatic). A half land and half water environment is probably the trickiest to set up but is also one of the most common types of tank needed for frogs.
- Some frogs hibernate and you will have to provide certain conditions to make sure your frog does so safely.
- Frogs are not a pet that should be handled regularly due to their special, sensitive skin.
Good Frog Species for Beginners
- Dwarf Frogs: These are small, active, completely aquatic, and are among the easiest of frogs to keep in captivity. They are very popular pet frogs.
- Oriental Fire Bellied Toads: These are semi-terrestrial frogs that are fairly active and relatively easy to keep as pets.
- White's Tree Frog: White's are terrestrial tree frogs that are docile and easy to keep but they do tend to be fairly inactive so some people find them boring as pets.
- African Clawed Frogs: These are aquatic frogs that get quite large (be careful not to confuse young African clawed frogs with the much smaller dwarf clawed frogs) but their care is not that difficult.
- American Green Tree Frogs: These tree frogs are another species that are suitable for beginners.
- Pacman Frogs: Mostly terrestrial, pacman frogs are pretty easy to care for but get quite large and are pretty sedentary.
Edited by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT