A complete guide to keeping and caring for frogs

frog

Frogs are cute little creatures and, although unusual, they are an asset as pets. However, there are many different types of frogs, each with their own unique needs and characteristics. Therefore, consider this article only as a general guide to choosing and caring for a frog. Once you’ve decided on a frog, it’s a good idea to research the needs of your chosen species of frog.

Choose a frog species

Familiarize yourself with some breeds that are good for beginners.

The first thing you should know about frogs is that there are many different species of frogs available to keep as pets: some species are easy to care for, while others are time-consuming and require specialized knowledge. If this is the first frog you want to keep as a pet, then it would be highly advisable to choose a breed that is also suitable for beginners, such as one of the following: Dwarf clawed frog : Dwarf clawed frogs are a good choice for newcomers as they are small , active and easy to care for. They do not need live food and only live in water. Chinese or Oriental fire-bellied toad: Frogs of this species are good for beginners who want a terrestrial frog. They are quite active and don’t get too big. Coral-fingered Tree Frog: The coral-fingered tree frog is perhaps the easiest of all frogs to care for: it is quite active, easy to feed, and will even allow yourself to be handled from time to time (which is unusual for frogs). Horned Frog or Jeweled Horned Frog: These large, land-dwelling frogs are also easy to care for. They sit around a lot, which means they take up less space than other species. For children, however, they seem rather boring. As a beginner, you should avoid poisonous or very expensive frog species. Poisonous frogs tend to be very sensitive and difficult to care for and keep; even more expensive frogs are a risky choice for those new to frog keeping. It would be best to start with an easy to care for, less expensive frog species and then “work your way up”.

Avoid keeping wild frogs as pets.

Although it would be possible to capture wild frogs to keep as pets, there are a few points you should consider first: First, determining the breed of your captured frog can prove difficult. Each species of frog has its own unique needs in terms of food, the temperature of its housing, and its housing itself. If you kept a frog taken from the wild in the wrong conditions, it could die. If you do decide to catch a frog from the wild, you should take good note of the environment in which you found it. Was he just hopping over leafy ground in the woods? Was he hiding under a rock? Or was he swimming in a pond? You will then most likely have to recreate these respective conditions for him at your home. Nevertheless, you should of course also try to determine the exact breed of your frog. You can search the internet for photos of frogs, consult a frog book, or ask a frog expert in your area. This will help you identify your frog’s specific needs. Second, you should also consider that wild frog populations have declined and some are even threatened with extinction. Uprooting a wild frog from its natural habitat could harm the frog population, especially if it is an endangered species. Taking endangered animal species from their natural environment is prohibited. In Germany, no amphibians, including frogs, are allowed to be taken from nature. But even if you live in another country, you should find out beforehand which frog species are protected in your area and whether you are even allowed to catch one.

Consider the frog’s size and space requirements.

How big your frog can get and the size of the tank it will need should be your primary considerations when choosing a frog. The tiniest little frogs in the pet store can grow into giant monster frogs when they grow up. An example of this would be African bullfrogs: at first they are less than 2.5 cm long but can grow to over 20 cm. Large frogs need a lot of space. An adult bullfrog, for example, will require at least a 300-liter tank. If their container is too small, they become unhappy and sick. Large tanks take up a lot of space in your home, and it takes a lot of effort and time to keep them clean. Large frogs also need more food, which also makes them more expensive to keep than smaller frog species. All of these are additional reasons why you need to do some thorough research on its breed before purchasing a frog.

Consider your frog’s food needs.

Before you head over heels to buy the cutest (or ugliest, depending on your preference) frog from the store, you should take some time to find out what it eats. Most frogs are content with crickets, worms (like compost worms and common earthworms), and other creepy crawlies. However, you should keep in mind that frogs prefer their food alive, which might prove tricky if you’re a little faint-hearted about it. Larger frogs also often need richer foods, such as mice, goldfish, and guppies. Providing your frog with all of these things can be a lot of work, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. You’ll also need to consider where you’re going to source your frog’s food – you’re unlikely to find live crickets at your local supermarket! Is there a large pet shop in your area that also caters to the needs of exotic animals? Of course, you can also find food for your frog in your garden, but that would be very time-consuming and not always successful. In addition, garden pests are often loaded with chemical pesticides that would harm your frog.

Find out how active your breed is.

Another point to keep in mind is how active your desired frog species is. This is especially important if the frog is going to be a pet for a child/children as most children enjoy having entertaining pets. Many of the larger, cool-looking, or weird-looking frog species are popular with newbies to frog keeping, but these frog species tend to be the least active: they just sit frozen and sleep all day. That can get boring very quickly. However, if you’re looking for a livelier frog, then you might want to go for smaller, aquatic, or certain tree frog species – they’re more fun to watch as they’ll hop and swim around more often. But keep in mind that even the most active frogs don’t do much more than hop around or eat crickets: you can’t walk a frog, you can’t teach it tricks, and you shouldn’t touch it too often. Therefore, it’s important to think carefully about whether a frog would really be the right pet choice for you (or your child).

Understand that having a pet frog comes with responsibilities.

You should be aware that you need to spend much more time with a frog than with a goldfish. The fact is that with good care, a frog can live up to 25 years. Consequently, you must be prepared to care for your frog for many, many years – feeding it, keeping its home clean, and nursing it when it is sick. You should also think about how you plan to arrange things during the holiday season, as you will always need someone to take care of your frog when you are away. Finding a volunteer can be difficult if your frog only eats live crickets or even mice! If you buy a frog and then realize that it’s too much work for you or that it’s too expensive, then you need to give it to the right people. If you got your frog from your garden or a park near you, then you have to put it back in the same spot where you found it. You should be very precise and try to get it as close as possible to where it was found at the time – whether it was in the forest under a mulch or next to a river. However, if your frog is from the pet store and not a native species, you can’t just release it. You will need to either bring your frog back to the pet store, sell it to a new owner, give it to a school as a class pet or mascot, or contact an animal welfare organization in your area.

Find out if you need a license.

In some areas, you may need to apply for a license, or at least register one, if you want to keep certain species of frogs as pets—especially venomous or endangered species. If you want to catch frog spawn or tadpoles in Germany for home or pond keeping, you need a permit from the responsible authorities. But as already mentioned, catching and releasing amphibians, including frogs, is prohibited in Germany. In the US, for example, in California and Oregon, it is illegal to keep dwarf-clawed frogs as pets because if released into the wild they would endanger existing native populations. It is best to find out from the responsible local authorities whether and when you need a license.

Your frog’s home

Find out what type of housing your frog needs.

Different species of frogs also have very different housing needs. Therefore, you should be well informed about your frog before you buy anything. Terrariums: These are the simplest frog housing. However, they should only be used for frog species that originate from dry areas. Aquariums: This type of housing is used solely for aquatic frog species. Put simply, it is a tank filled with water, similar to what is used for fish. Half and Half: This is the most common habitation for frogs. Half is filled with water, the other half is dry. Most frogs feel comfortable in such an environment. Tree terrariums: This type of housing is specially designed for tree frogs, as they prefer to spend their time climbing. Typical of these dwellings is that they are taller and narrower than other frog homes. Ponds: Under certain conditions, you can keep native frogs in a pond in your backyard. Sometimes it is enough to create a pond and the frogs from the area hop in droves. You wouldn’t even have to bother catching them! However, you should never keep non-native frog species in a garden pond, as they could disrupt the ecosystem by eating native frogs or endangered insect species.

Place the pool in a suitable place.

Once you have the dwelling, all you have to do is decide where to put it. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight at any time: it could cause the temperature in the home to rise, making it uncomfortable, if not dangerous, dry and hot inside. The tank should always be well away from the kitchen, as smoke and other fumes from cooking could harm your frog. You should also be careful not to expose the housing to aerosol sprays (like spray paint in the garage or hairspray in the bedroom or bathroom). The frog can absorb them through the skin, which could make them sick.

Cover the tank floor with the right substrates.

Substrates are the materials used to cover the bottom of the terrarium or aquarium. The main things to consider about a substrate are how moist or dry it needs to be and how easy the material is to clean. Pebbles work well for most common frog species. They are easy to clean and come in many sizes and color variations. Potting soil, pine bark, sand, and cedar or pine shavings also work well. Once the substrate is in place, you can decorate the inside of the enclosure according to your frog’s needs! For example, you can cover the pebbles with a layer of moss, which would give his home a much more natural look. However, you would need to take care to keep the moss moist by occasionally sprinkling it with clean water and taking care not to mold. It would also be a good idea to put some larger and smaller rocks in the dwelling, as they could give your frog a chance to climb and lookout. You should just make sure that the stones don’t have any sharp edges that could injure your frog. You could also decorate the dwelling with plastic branches or small real plants. A hollowed-out piece of wood would make an ideal hiding place. Purchase or make a suitable background for the pool, such as a rainforest theme. It will help your frog feel homey.

Find out what light and temperature conditions your frog needs.

Temperature and light requirements are highly dependent on the frog species, so don’t forget to do your research before finalizing the housing. Unlike lizards, snakes, and turtles, frogs do not need special lighting because they get all of their vitamin D needs from food. However, most of the time you will need to provide a light source for up to 12 hours a day, especially if the dwelling does not have a natural light source. Fluorescent lights would be the safest option for frogs as they don’t get too hot. Hot light becomes dangerous when your frog decides to jump on it. The temperature that must prevail in the tank depends exclusively on the frog species. The easiest way to change the temperature in the home is by changing the overall room temperature. Alternatively, you can purchase heat lamps (which go over and not inside the enclosure) or heat pads (which you wrap around the enclosure) to increase the temperature inside. If the water in an aquarium or half-and-half tank needs to be heated, then you will need to purchase an immersion heater that sticks in a glass container or an immersion heater. You should have any heaters running a few days before your frog moves in. This way you can monitor the temperature and set it correctly.

Feeding and caring for your frog

Feed your frog crickets (and other creepy crawlies).

As previously mentioned, most species of frogs eat crickets, worms, and other insects, while larger frogs occasionally love mice or goldfish as a treat. How much and how often you need to feed your frog depends entirely on your frog’s individual needs. Therefore, it may take some time before you find the right amount of food and eating times for him. You can start by giving your frog three crickets a day. If he devoured those three quickly and seems hungry for the coming days, then you can increase the number of crickets. You can also experiment with different foods, such as mealworms, waxworms, and grasshoppers, to see what your frog prefers. Aquatile frogs usually like to eat frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Keep your frog clean and provide water for it.

It is very important that you give your frog fresh water every day as it needs it both internally and externally. Instead of drinking the water, frogs absorb it through their skin. Because of this, they also spend much of their time sitting in their water baths or ponds. This water should be unchlorinated. You’ll need to clean your frog’s enclosure every few days, which means removing the droppings, wiping the sidewalls clean, checking for mold or algae, and simply providing your frog with a healthy environment.

Avoid touching your frog.

Put simply, frogs don’t like to be touched. As a result, you should leave your frog in its home whenever possible and be content with just looking at it. If you just can’t resist the urge to touch your frog, then wash your hands thoroughly beforehand, dry them well and do not put cream on them – frogs can absorb everything that is on your skin through their skin and then get sick from it . Be aware that if you pick him up, he may squirm and wet you. Both are signs that being picked up has stressed your frog, so you should return it to its home as soon as possible. Also, be careful not to drop your frog – even if it’s squirming – as it could seriously injure itself if it falls from a great height.

Take care of your frog’s health.

Once a frog has become ill, it is often very difficult to treat and the chances of recovery are rarely good. So the best way to keep your frog healthy is to prevent it from getting sick in the first place. If your frog begins to look thin or malnourished, ask yourself if its diet is balanced and varied enough. A frog cannot only feed on crickets and mealworms. One of the most common deficiency symptoms in frogs is calcium deficiency. You should therefore consider sprinkling their food with special calcium powder before giving it to them. Watch for signs of red leg disease (Aeromonas hydrophila), a potentially fatal amphibian disease caused by parasites and stress that is common in captive frogs. A frog suffering from red leg disease will have skin under its legs and abdomen reddening; he becomes sluggish and looks pathetic. If you suspect your frog has this disease, you should scrub its enclosure thoroughly to get rid of the parasites. You should also bathe your frog in a special sulfur solution every day for two weeks. You also need to watch out for fungal infections and other conditions like dropsy and spring disease. However, you should get help from a veterinarian for such diseases, as they would have to prescribe antifungals or antibiotics for your frog.

Tips

NEVER (or almost never) just follow pet store guidelines and advice! They could be wrong or incomplete. Some pet stores have great equipment, but you should always do your own research online or in books. Many pet stores are very wrong about kits for hermit crabs and other animals. Don’t squeeze your frog! Don’t let children get too close to him! You could crush or otherwise injure him. Freeze-dried flies are also very suitable as frog food. You can get them at any pet store or fishing supplies store.

Warnings

This is just a general article about keeping frogs. Before acquiring a frog, you should always research its species specifically. You should always use chlorine-free water. Chlorinated water can kill your frog. So be sure your tap water is chlorine-free before using it for your frog.

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