Pacman Frog Care Sheet

The Pac-Man Frog or otherwise known as the Ceratophrys Ornate is one of the most basic exotic frogs and a great pet for beginners. The sudden surge in popularity is because of just how easy they are to care for and their basic care needs. They also have a very unique look to them. The Pac-Man frog is originally found and originated from the South American rainforests. However, breeders have come up with Albino Pac-Man frogs which are inexpensive due to their basic care needs and how easy they are to manage.

 

The only downfall to owning a Pac-Man frog is that they’re known as one of the laziest species of frog on the planet. They’re not exactly the most active amphibians that you can own but they’re a wonderful first pet to have for beginners. You can expect the average Pac-man frog to live up to 10 years if they’re kept in great conditions and their upkeep is generally done well. You’ll notice that they don’t seem to move once they find a spot they enjoy, because they’ll spend a majority of their day sitting in one spot.

 

The only time you’ll more than likely see them move out of their favorite spot is to catch some spotted food or to use the restroom. After all, no one wants to go number two where they sit all day. One of the most interesting features about the Pac-Man frog is that it has no neck. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the head is joined to the body without the use of a neck. This has been speculated to allow more room for bigger pray.

 

This is where the name Pac-Man comes in, because they have a very large mouth that makes up for the lack of a neck. Even more resembling is that two big eyes will appear above the large mouth as well. While they’re known for being more colorful than the standard pet frog, they will generally stay green for their entire lives. You can tell females apart from males by noticing the base and the width of the frog. The females will be slightly larger and rounder than the males.

 

Pac-Man frogs have been known to be slightly anti-social and don’t really like being handled. That’s why, it’s recommended that they be left alone and not handled at all, because they’re one of the very few species of frog that actually own teeth. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t handle them, but use caution and make sure that you wash your hands every single time before and after you handle a Pac-Man frog. You may not realize it, but there are plenty of sensitive oils on your hands that aren’t safe for the frog and could cause harm if it comes into contact.

 

Caging/Shelter

 

Unlike your common backyard or stream frog, the Pac-man frog is what’s known as a tropical frog. This means that the species are used to areas that get a lot of humidity and for this reason, the Pac-man frog is going to require a lot of humidity. To best make sure they’re getting the proper amount of humidity, the frog should be kept in an enclosed type of habitat. An aquarium will ideally work best.

 

The best kind of aquarium to get is one that has a screen lid that doesn’t come off easily, to prevent escape from any pet you might be housing. Also, this screen lid allows for proper air flow and ventilation inside the enclosure. If you don’t want to buy an enclosure, then you can use a plastic tub that you’re not currently using or ever plan on using again, as long as you create a lot of small holes that allow for proper ventilation.

 

The good news about Pac-man frogs and having aquarium enclosures is that they’re not great climbers and there’s a very low chance that they’ll be able to escape from the top. It’s still not advised to leave the top open because while it’s hard for them to climb, it’s not impossible. A lot of owners have reported watching their frogs climb up the corners of an aquarium so it’s best to watch out for that and to have a lid that’s shut very tightly. If you’re looking for the perfect size, then you need to consider a couple of factors.

 

First, exactly how many frogs do you plan on putting into one enclosure? How big are these frogs and do you plan on breeding them? If you only plan on housing one frog inside of an enclosure, then you should be just fine with a 10 gallon aquarium, a slightly larger 15 gallon or a better 20 gallon aquarium. A 10 gallon aquarium is the bare minimum and is efficient but it’s highly recommended that you get a 20 gallon aquarium as soon as possible, because you’ll have to anyways once they grow larger.

 

If you’re thinking about housing Pac-man frogs together, then this probably isn’t the best idea. Pac-man frogs are best known as anti-social and are best kept alone by themselves without anything there to bother them. It’s not uncommon for new owners to try storing two Pac-man frogs into the same container and to have them fight, trying to eat each other. Remember, Pac-man frogs will literally try to eat anything you put in front of them (including another frog).

 

As for the substrate material, you’ll want something that will help with the humidity. The better that the substrate can hold in the humidity, then the better it is for this case. Also, you have to remember that this particular species of frog likes to burrow down into substrate so you need to provide the proper substrate at least a few inches deep. People have reported that they had the best luck and the best look with something such as coco bedding.

 

Some owners like to use soil such as potting soil but one of the major downsides here is that it will become very soggy and it’s going to be a mess to clean up later. There are a lot of other bedding options, but some of them are very messy. Shredded paper is an iffy one because the frog MAY or may not try to eat some of the paper and it’ll be kind of disgusting to clean up once there’s a lot of excrete in the enclosure. Paper towels rip up too easily and become too much of a hassle to pick up once they’re wet, so those aren’t the best option.

 

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t use a material such as mulch or chunk moss. It’s highly frowned upon and may actually lead to the death of your frog. This is because it’s way too chunky and remember, a Pac-man frog will try to eat anything that it thinks it can eat, so if sees a piece of mulch that it mistakes for food, it will try to eat it. The risk here being, that it may block the intestines if swallowed and cause impaction.

 

Also, never, ever try to use any kind of material such as cedar bedding or any sort of pine material what so ever. This is usually material that’s sold for small mammal pets such as gerbils and hamsters and while it make work great for them, it’s not great for frogs. You don’t have to provide a lot of decorations or things for Pac-man frogs to play on, because as long as they have a place to burrow down, they’re more than likely happy. They like to find a nice spot in the substrate and burrow down into the substrate and sit there. This not only provides a sense of security but the species is particularly lazy.

 

If you really want, you can decorate your frog’s cage with things such as vines, plants, rocks or small trees for your pets to sit on. They may like hiding spots but they like the burrowing into the substrate the best. The general maintenance of an enclosure is relatively easy and only requires you to do basic tasks. The water in an enclosure should be changed at least once a day when they get watered so that you can remove bacteria and other nasty materials floating around in the water.

 

Heating/Temperature

 

The ideal temperature for a Pac-man frog will vary depending on the time of day as with most animals. However, the most important thing that you have to remember is with the lighting. You need to make sure that you’re ensuring they have a day and a night cycle inside their enclosure. The best and easiest way to do this is with an automatic timer, unless you plan on doing this manually every single day. It’s recommended that you allow Pac-man frogs to have 12 hours of light per day and the other 12 of darkness.

 

Since your enclosure will more than likely feature a lamp inside, you’ll need to make sure that the core temperature of the cage during the day doesn’t exceed 85 degrees. It’s ideal to make sure that the temperature stays in the range of 80 to 85 degrees during the day and at night; you want to make sure temperature drops down to a basking cool 68 to 78 degrees. There are heaters out there that do this automatically, but make sure you have a high quality thermometer to constantly check when you first set your enclosure up to make sure the right temperatures are being hit.

 

The humidity will not only ensure that they have a smooth shedding process, but it will prevent them from burning up and improve their quality of life as well. There are plenty of tools for checking the humidity but if you want to make sure they’re at the ideal spot, go for 70%. You can go as low as 50% humidity and all the way up to 80% humidity, but it’s generally recommended that you stay at 50%.

 

Another important housekeeping tip to remember is never to place your glass enclosure or whatever kind of enclosure you have directly in the sun. Too much sunlight exposure to your frog will kill it because the enclosure will become too hot. As far as frogs go, it’s highly recommended to have a day and night cycle by using an automatic light switch or doing it manually. It becomes unhealthy if your pet never sees any kind of night time and not only will this confuse your frog, but it might eventually kill it.

 

If you’re not making use of a heating lamp at all, then you need to make sure that there’s some kind of daylight source (other than the sun) that will provide the day time light. Not everyone has to use a heating lamp and some people have gotten away without using one at all because their enclosure in their home was the perfect temperature without using one.

 

You need to make sure that they get an exact 10 to 12 hour cycle because irregular cycles in exotic pets have been known and shown to cause depression. Depressed animals will stop eating and will eventually die. Take a note of the time the light is being turned on and try to stick to that schedule if you can. It’s not a big deal if you miss one day, but it’s best not to make a habit of that and cause stress to your frog. Alternative to a heating lamp, you can use a heat mat as well. These usually do the trick and are a common household item to use with exotic pets.

 

If you’re having trouble maintaining the perfect humidity at around 50 to 80 percent, then try using a spray bottle and mist the enclosure every once in a while until the humidity starts to level out. You may want to tweak the heating mat/heating lamp settings as well to ensure that it’s not getting too hot and messing with the humidity.

 

Food/Water

 

Pac-man frogs tend to eat live insects more than any other type of food out there. While owners have gotten away with feeding Pac-man frogs things other than live insects, they do best with this type of food. Ideally, you have to track how much you’re feeding your pet each session and track their growing habit as well, because that will determine how much you should be feeding your pet.

 

The feeding schedule will honestly depend on how much you’re feeding the Pac-man frog and a couple of other factors as well. How big is your frog and what’s the body type like? Obviously, a larger frog is going to require a larger meal and you have to give an adequate meal to compensate for the appetite. What kind of food is the frog already used to eating? If you bought the frog from a breeder or pet store, then this is a useful question to ask, as you don’t want to switch up the diet of the frog.

 

Switching a diet suddenly cold turkey can cause your Pac-man frog to stop eating altogether and lead to depression, which can lead to death as well. Like most exotic pets, you can follow a routine and general feeding schedule by the age of the frog. If it’s a baby, then you’ll want to feed it once every single day and to make sure it doesn’t miss a meal. Every meal is essential for a newborn frog to grow and to get all the nutrition it needs to remain healthy.

 

When the frog is an adult, you can get away with feeding it only once a day. There’s no real reason to feed it snacks or meals in between meals because this can lead to overfeeding. Now, since you more than likely don’t breed your own insects and like most people have no desire to, you’ll have to make regular trips to the pet store to pick up live insects. The good news is, they’re relatively cheap and insanely easy to find, so buying them in bulk won’t be much of an issue.

 

If you’re looking for the best type of food to feed a Pac-man frog, then you can go by this following list. This is a small sample list of food that a Pac-man frog will eat from the best food to the worst food (all are decent choices). First, you have your crickets which are the most budget friendly and high in protein. Being that they provide great nutritional value is what makes them so popular and alongside being very cheap, they’re the most common choice for most exotic pets.

 

You can also feed Pac-man frogs roaches but roaches creeps the majority of people out and no one wants to handle them. It’s not very common to find roaches in a pet store for feed because of that reason and they offer no real value or benefit in terms of vitamins for your pets. Earthworms are also a decent choice but it’s highly debatable for a long term diet plan because most experts say that these not only offer no vitamin value but can fatten up pets that feed off of them.

 

It would be wise not to get into a habit of letting them eat off of earthworms but you can find them easily via fishing shops for cheap and in bulk. Moths are another wonderful choice but these aren’t as easily accessible as the other options are. The majority of frogs in captivity aren’t quite used to moth meals so it might not be the worst idea to try them out, but this isn’t a recommended meal to get them hooked on. One of the less interesting decisions is what’s known as meal worms and wax worms. While these worms may be great for getting fish to bite on to a hook, they’re a terrible choice for your pet.

 

These worms are very high in fat and will definitely shorten the life span of your frog or any exotic pet you choose to make a habit out of feeding them worms. The least favorite and least taken route is pinky mice. Pinky mice are small pinkish mice that snakes and other live bait lovers love to eat, but I don’t recommend them for Pac-man frogs. While Pac-man frogs may eat them, frogs generally don’t like to eat largish prey like mice and they may have trouble digesting them. This is something that you should try at your own risk and monitor their intake.

 

Now, there is a tactic called gut loading that a lot of people debate over and there are some good things about it. However, it’s a lot of work and it’s not absolutely necessary. The majority of gut loading lovers at companies that sell vitamin supplements and powders to use while gut loading and there are two major methods of gut loading. First, there’s the traditional method of just simply sprinkling powder type material or vitamins onto crickets and second, there’s the method of actually feeding crickets vitamins.

 

The way to do this is to simply have your crickets in their own container that you plan on feeding to the frogs, and to feed them small fruits or vitamins. After about half an hour, you can then feed the crickets to the frogs so that they get more nutrients. This isn’t mandatory and some people might say that it’s simply not worth the effort to gut load crickets because of all the work required. Your frogs will get just the right amount of nutrients from feeding the crickets raw as well.

 

It is a good idea though in theory, to have your prey with nutrients inside of them so that you’re getting double the benefit, but it’s not 100% necessary. These frogs thrive in the wild without their prey being gut loaded and they thrive just as well in captivity without anything being gut loaded. You should take caution on meal worms because some owners have reported that frogs had trouble digesting them. They’re a bit fatty and their exoskeletons aren’t exactly the easiest on frog’s mouths, so they have trouble actually digesting them.

 

If you really feel like digging up or buying some worms, be my guest, but it’s best to avoid using them altogether. Wax worms are by far the worst choice of a treat for your frogs or any exotic animal. These should be left for getting fish onto a hook and nothing more. These are very high in fats and are considered desert to your pet. If you really want to treat your frog to a desert, then there’s nothing wrong with doing it every once in a while, but remember not to go overboard.

 

As far as calcium and vitamin supplements go, there is a long debate on this that varies from owner to owner, but I’m going to tell you right now that it’s not necessary. Yes, it can help and yes, it isn’t going to hurt but if you really want to do it, then here’s how. First, you need to buy some kind of vitamins in the form of dust (at least dust powder is the easiest way to do it) from the pet store. All you have to do is simply dust the food you’re about to feed the frog (if in this case it’s crickets, then this is gut loading that we mentioned earlier) and feed it to them.

 

If you do feed the frogs supplements, then remember that you don’t have to do this at every single feeding and it’s not recommended. Certain vitamins will actually do more harm than good if you don’t obey the recommendations on the label of the product and overdo it.

 

One thing you need to be aware of is wild insects. While to someone curious, it might be fun to watch your pet eat a wild insect you caught by hand, this is a terrible idea. The reasoning behind this is, you have no idea what could be inside of that wild insect or what could be wrong with it. It could have a disease, it could have a parasite, it could get your frog sick or kill it if you pick the wrong one. It’s like picking berries in a forest, you have to know which ones to look for and which ones are poisonous. Don’t feed your frog insects or anything that you caught by hand. You either have to breed them or buy them at the store.

 

Shedding

 

As almost all other types of reptiles and amphibians do, the Pac-man frogs will periodically shed their skin. This is something that happens frequently and every single year. It’s important as a pet owner for you to do everything that you can to help assist them with their shedding habit so that they have a smooth shed. Left over skin can become infected, so it’s important to make sure they shed all of their skin when they do.

 

One of the main things you need to do is make sure that there’s plenty of moisture inside of the enclosure. This will not only help keep your pet cool but assist with the shedding process. Be sure to spray some moderately warm but not too hot water in the cage when they start shedding. You can tell when Pac-man frogs are about to shed by observing their behavior, as you’ll notice some differences.

 

First, you’ll notice that they will start to yawn more than usual. The next thing you’ll notice is that their appetite will greatly diminish and they won’t be eating nearly as much. Frogs tend to do shedding a bit differently through. Rather than peeling off the entire surface of the skin at once, they tend to scratch off their own skin and actually eat it. The reason being, when they’re in the wild, they have to eat their own skin so they don’t leave any tracks or traces for predators.

 

If you notice your pet scratching at their own skin and eating it, don’t be alarmed, it’s not a cannibal, it’s just eating the old skin and it will happen at least once a year. The cycle will vary differently between species and it’s hard to predict an exact date for Pac-man frogs.