The Best Pet Frogs

By Snaketracks / August 3, 2020
Best Pet Frogs

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Top 10 Best Pet Frogs

The Best Pet Frogs are known for their croaking sounds, jumping abilities, and bulging eyes. While pet frogs aren’t an interactive pet, they make great display pets and are very forgiving as far as care goes.

Frogs have been around for quite a long time: the oldest fossil “proto-frog” dates from the early Triassic but their origins can be traced back to the Permian, 265 million years ago.

All frogs belong to the order Anura that means “without a tail” in Ancient Greek. Frogs have also been used to symbolize fertility across the world in many cultures.

Frogs may look like reptiles, but they are not. They are amphibians. The word “amphibian” comes from a Greek word that means “both lives.” This is because frogs start their lives in the water and then live on land, according to Defenders of Wildlife.

With over 6,300 recorded species, frogs account for around 88% of extant amphibian species (the other two groups of amphibians are salamanders and caecilians).

Even if reptiles and amphibians might seem to have many things in common, they have big differences, and one important difference has to do with their skin.

While reptile’s skin is not permeable, frogs skin is highly permeable making them susceptible to handling and to various substances they may encounter in the environment, some of which may be toxic and can be passed into their bloodstream.

For this reason, frogs are not a pet that should be handled regularly.

A frog’s skin is protective, has a respiratory function, can absorb water, and helps control body temperature.

It has many glands, particularly on the head and back, which often secrete sticky substances that help keep the skin moist, protects against the entry of molds and bacteria, and make the animal slippery and more able to escape from predators.

Frog Facts:

  • The color of a frog’s skin is used for thermoregulation. In cool damp conditions, the color will be darker than on a hot dry day.
  • As oxygen can pass through their skins, they can remain in places without access to air, breathing through their skin. One key factor though is that in order for the skin to serve as a respiratory organ, it must remain moist.
  • A frog’s skin is shed every few weeks. It usually splits down the middle of the back and across the belly, and the frog pulls its arms and legs free. The sloughed (shed) skin is then worked towards the head where it is quickly eaten.

As follows is s list of 10 frogs that might be great pets. Most of them are nocturnal and terrestrial, but all of them are easy to care for.

TOP 10 PET FROG LIST

1. Giant African Bullfrog AKA Pixie Frog (Pyxicephalus adspersus)

Giant African Bullfrog
Giant African Bullfrog also known as the Pixie Frog (pyxicephalus adspersus) in South Africa
  • Experience level:  Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: it is the second-largest frog species with males reaching six to 10 inches. Females are smaller than males.
  • Lifespan: they live a long time with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but can live over 30 years in captivity.
  • Pixie Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Giant African Bullfrog as a pet?

It looks great, has an astonishing size for a frog, is a hardy  species and it is easy  to care for.

What does a Giant African Bullfrog look like?

It has interesting coloring,  typically green with a golden color where their legs meet their body. Their underbelly is often white or lighter.

Interesting fact: To combat the dry and hot seasons, the Giant African Bullfrog digs underground and cocoons itself for around 3 months, secreting a cool gelatinous substance off its back in the process, remaining this way until the start of the next rainy season.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: They need at least a 40-gallon enclosure per frog. Frogs must be housed separately because they can become cannibalistic if housed together.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They need an enclosure with a warm side, with 80°F to 85°F ideal. This is best accomplished using an under-tank heating pad. The tank must be misted once or twice a day. Clean water should be provided in a water dish for them to soak in.

Feeding: African bullfrogs are voracious carnivores. They love to eat and rarely go off their food. They will eat a wide variety of food including crickets (cricket breeding guide), earthworms, silkworms, wax worms (waxworm breeding guide), Dubia roaches (Dubia roach breeding guide), and even small mice. Additionally, they will eat pelleted and canned food. They can easily become overweight.

Temperament & handling: Every Giant African Bullfrog has a different personality and some won’t mind being handled, while others can become easily scared and act defensively. They have big teeth and might mistake your fingers as food and bite regardless of how tame they may be.

In the wild, they live mostly buried in the earth and do not get much, if any, UVB rays. Therefore, enclosures do not need any UVB lighting.

2. Poisonous Dart Frog (Dendrobates sp.)

Blue Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates sp.)
Blue Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates sp.)
  • Experience level:  Beginner
  • Habits: diurnal
  • Size: most species of poison dart frogs are small, sometimes less than 0.59 in (1.5cm) in adult length, although a few grow up to 2.4 in (6 cm)  in length.
  • Lifespan: they can live as long as 25 years in captivity
  • Poisonous Dart Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Poison Dart Frog as a pet?

They have bright, beautiful, rare coloring, and because they are easy to care for, because they do not need much space and because they are one of the few frogs that are active during the day.

Also, since they’re not poisonous…at least not in captivity. Even wild-caught poisonous dart frogs lose their poison in captivity; however, they should always be treated as poisonous because it’s not always clear if or when this has happened.

What does a Poison Dart Frog look like?

Most poison dart frogs are brightly colored, displaying aposematic patterns to warn potential predators. There are many different species with a range of fantastic colors from bright gold to deep blue, green, or even red.

Interesting fact: They are called “dart frogs” due to the Native Americans ‘ indigenous use of their toxic secretions to poison the tips of blow darts.

However, of over 170 species, only four have been documented as being used for this purpose (curare plants are more commonly used), all of which come from the genus Pyllobates, which is characterized by the relatively large size and high levels of toxicity of its members.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements:  A 10-gallon aquarium is sufficient for two dart frogs. When they are quite young and small they will need to be housed in a much smaller container, like a plastic sweater box until they are big enough for their permanent home.

They will climb a little but need floor space more than they need height. Dart frogs thrive in a live enclosure with roots, plants, and a small body of water making them a great choice when setting up a bioactive terrarium.

Lighting, temperature & humidity:  Humidity should be kept constant at 80 to 100% and temperature around 72°F (22 °C) to 80°F (27°C) during the day and no lower than 60°F (16°C) to 65°F (18°C) at night.

Feeding: In the wild, they feed mostly on small insects such as ants and termites, which they find on the forest floor. Many species capture their prey by using their sticky, retractable tongues.

Scientists believe that dart frogs get their poison from a specific arthropod and other insects that they eat in the wild and that these insects most likely acquire the poison from their plant diet.

As a result, poison frogs in captivity on a diet of crickets and other non-poisonous insects are not poisonous themselves.

Temperament & handling: Poisonous Dart Frogs are small and have delicate skin, so they’re best treated as hands-off pets. If you do need to catch your frog, firmly but loosely grasp them, and put them into a holding container.

As stated earlier, captive-bred poison dart frogs have absolutely no poisons in their skin. However, as with any reptile or amphibian, after working with or handling your frogs, you should always wash your hands.

3) White’s Tree Frog AKA Dumpy Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

Whites Dumpy tree frog on a branch
Whites Dumpy tree frog on a branch (Litoria caerulea)
  • Experience level:  Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: 4 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan:  can live up to 20 years in captivity but tend to live around seven to ten years on average
  • White’s Tree Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a White’s Tree Frog as a pet?

They are one of the hardiest of the frog species and their large size makes them one of the easiest to find and most handleable in the list.

What does a White’s Tree Frog look like?

They are normally light blue or green with white underbellies. They have a muted color, generally ranging from soft green to bluish. Another name for the White Tree Frog is “Dumpy Tree Frog” because of their fat and pudgy body type.

Interesting fact: A milky white coating called “caerviein” helps them survive in dry areas, allowing them to live in agricultural and suburban areas.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: White’s Tree Frogs can be housed in groups four in a 20-gallon aquarium, but as always, the more space the better.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but are best-kept between 72F to 80F. At night time the temperature can drop into the 60’sF.

White’s Tree Frogs are also tolerant of a wide range of humidities but an average of 50% or so should be achieved, with spikes up to 70% right after misting once or twice a day.

Providing ventilation is very important as humid conditions quickly lead to bacterial skin infections in these frogs. A large dish of clean water should always be provided.

Feeding: They eat mealworms(create a mealworm farm), crickets, and roaches several times a week, but as their nickname suggests, they can get chubby quickly so their diet should be monitored closely.

Temperament & handling: Their temperament is docile. They will tolerate light handling by thoroughly scrubbed hands. Be careful not to allow any chemicals or soap residue to have contact with their skin.

4. Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)

Red Eyed Tree Frog (agalychnis callidryas)
Red Eyed Tree Frog (agalychnis callidryas)
  • Experience level:  Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: 1.5 to 2.75 inches
  • Lifespan: In the wild 5 years average, up to 10 years in captivity
  • Red-Eyed Tree Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Red-eyed Tree Frog as a pet?

They have a spectacular look and are easy to care for. They look magnificent when paired with a live enclosure and jungle plants. Their scientific name Agalychnis callidryas comes from Greek words Kalos (beautiful) and dryas (a tree or wood nymph).

What does a Red-eyed Tree Frog look like?

They have bright green, yellow and blue bodies, and vibrant red eyes. Their webbed feet and toes are orange or red. They have  sticky pads on their toes to cling onto leaves.

Interesting fact: Many scientists believe they developed their vivid scarlet peepers to shock predators into at least briefly questioning their meal choice.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: This species grows fairly large so a 45x45x60cm terrarium is a good option for 1-2 frogs. They are arboreal meaning they, love to climb and they appreciate a tall, vertical enclosure that lets them get to a higher vantage point.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They need humidity, warmth, and UVB. Daily misting is also recommended.

Feeding: They are insectivores, eating crickets, moths, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects.

Temperament & handling:

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs are generally calm, docile animals, though still don’t like being handled even after having been socialized.

5. Horned Frog AKA Pacman Frog (Ceratophrys sp.)

Yellow Fantasy horned frog (Ceratophrys sp.)
Yellow Fantasy horned frog (Ceratophrys sp.)
  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: When fully grown this frog can grow to around 8 inches in length.
  • Lifespan: They can live to be over 15 years in captivity but live an average of 10 years.
  • Pacman Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Horned Frog as a pet?

They are easy to care for, the set up required is extremely easy compared to other species and their diet isn’t very complicated.

What does a Horned Frog looks like?

They are commonly sold in a variety of color morphs like Albino, ‘Tri-color’, or ‘Fantasy”. The name “Pacman” comes after their disproportionately large mouth that has a similarity to the video-game.

Interesting Fact: They love to burrow into soil or moss. They don’t actively chase prey like some frogs. This inactivity comes from their instincts to burrow in the substrate and patiently wait for prey to go by.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements:  Horned Frogs can be set up either in an aquatic or in a semi-aquatic habitat. An aquatic set up can be made in a plastic storage box container with 1 square foot to 3 square feet of floor space permanently flooded with about one-quarter to one-half inch of water.

The water level should not be higher than the frog’s mouth. As with the husbandry of all amphibians, use only dechlorinated or bottled spring water. The water must stay very clean.

An alternative kind of enclosure is a 10-gallon aquarium with a screened lid, and cypress mulch, orchid bark, or organic topsoil for the substrate. Keep the substrate damp but not wet.

Horned Frogs must be kept individually to prevent them from eating each other.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: Provided that your home is kept in the low- to mid-70’s Fahrenheit, no supplemental heating or lighting is required. However, an appropriate level of humidity is a must.

Feeding: They have a big appetite and will eat anything they can, even if it doesn’t fit properly in their mouth. They will even eat small mice and will easily become engorged or overweight if their food sources are not managed.

Temperament & handling: They can be held from behind once you get used to picking them up

6. Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: They are the smallest arboreal frog in this list and probably the quickest too.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan of the Gray Treefrogs varies due to predation. One captive gray treefrog lived for over seven years in captivity.  The potential lifespan in captivity and the wild is unknown. (Harding, 1997)
  • Gray Tree Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Gray Tree Frog as a pet?

They have a warty appearance, they are easy to care for, easy to find and are very hardy.

What does a Gray Tree Frog look like?

The most interesting part of the this frog is the golden yellow-orange coloring on the inner parts of the back thighs. Additionally, they have a white patch under each eye that makes them a little more distinctive from other frogs.

Interesting facts: The Gray Tree Frog can change colors to blend into their surroundings and may have light gray, brown, or green coloring.

These frogs excrete a toxic substance that causes extreme discomfort to sensitive skin. If you must handle your frog wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements:  Due to their size, they can be housed comfortably in a relatively small enclosure.

The minimum size terrarium for 1 or 2 frogs is only around 30x30x45cm. In the wild, this frog loves to climb and lives high in the trees for much of the year, and therefore, will appreciate a tall, vertical aquarium that lets them get to a higher vantage point.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: Depending on the ambient temperature in your home, they may not need any supplemental heating. It lives in a variety of conditions in the wild so is fairly durable to diverse temperatures, but stability will make them more comfortable.

If your house is a little on the cool side, add a low watt heat lamp. Aim for 77°F to 80°F at the highest point. Mist the cage twice a day to maintain humidity and make sure they have access to chemical-free (un-chlorinated) water.

Feeding: Gray Tree Frogs happily eat mealworms, crickets, and wax worms. Feed them just before you turn off the lights for the night.

Temperament & handling: They are one of the less interactive frogs in this list and are a little difficult to catch. Handling can be stressful for the frog, so should be kept to a minimum.

7. African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus)

African dwarf frog (Hymenochirus)
  • Experience level: Intermediate (this frog species is ideal for those who already have some background in keeping an aquarium)
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: An average of 3 inches long
  • Lifespan: Around 10 years
  • Remarks: Fully aquatic
  • African Dwarf Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose an African Dwarf Frog as a pet?

This frog is one of the hardiest of the frog species. Its large size makes it one of the easiest to find and most handleable in the list. It also has a docile temperament.

What does an African Dwarf Frog look like?

They are usually olive to brownish color but can be spotted. There are four variations of the African Dwarf Frog. They don’t have gills like fish, instead, they have fully developed lungs. Usually they will swim very fast to the surface for air, and then dart straight back down a second later.

Interesting facts: A peculiar behavior that is very common with these frogs is known as the ‘zen position’. You might witness your frogs floating at the surface of the water without moving, with their arms and legs stretched out. This is completely normal, even though they sometimes look dead!

You might also hear them singing. An adult male attracts a female by making a quiet buzzing sound.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: As the African Dwarf Frog is an aquatic frog their habitat setup is similar to that of freshwater or tropical fish.  You can keep two in a 10-gallon aquarium, but if you want them to share the space with fish, you need a larger setup.

African Dwarf Frogs can be kept with tropical community fish of similar size but may eat them if hungry; keep your frogs well fed to avoid this 

It is critical if you have a planted aquarium that you do not let it get overrun with plants preventing the frog from reaching the surface for air. 

Lastly, it is important to note that African Dwarf Frogs prefer a planted tank in a quiet location.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They will need heated water and an LED light system. Keep this on a timer because they are nocturnal and will want to know when it’s time to be active and when it’s time to rest.

Feeding: Your frog’s main food should be pellets that sink to the bottom of the tank, where frogs tend to hang out – the food needs to be placed near them so they can see it.

Temperament & Handling: Peaceful temperament. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after interacting with your frog.

8. Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix)

Amazon Milk Frog (phrynohyas resinifictrix)
Amazon Milk Frog (phrynohyas resinifictrix)
  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: They grow to be 2.5 to 4 inches long with the females being larger than the males.
  • Lifespan: Captive lifespan of the Amazon Milk Frog is unknown, but suspected to be in the 5-10 year range, based on experience with similar species.
  • Amazon Milk Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose an Amazon Milk Frog as a pet?

They are visually striking, easy to care for, and easily handled when mature. However, they can be fragile, and should not be handled regularly.

What does an Amazon Milk Frog look like?

They are also nicknamed the Gold Mission Frog because they sometimes, but not always, have a golden ring in their eyes.  Still, yet, they are sometimes called the Panda Bear Tree frog because they sometimes have black and white coloring. They have a long snout which they use to push foliage aside while searching for food.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: being large frogs they do require a large enclosure. A 30 gallon aquarium or 18x18x24 terrarium is a good-sized enclosure for 2-4 individuals. The enclosure should provide plenty of perching areas. A large water bowl is a necessity.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: Amazon Milk Frogs do need a more advanced habitat system to ensure their humidity, temperature, and lighting don’t fluctuate.

Feeding: Amazon Milk Frogs eat a wide variety of live invertebrates. You can raise fruit flies to feed them but they also like earthworms, crickets, and house flies.

Temperament & handling: Handling young amazon Milk frogs is not recommended, but adults will tolerate occasional handling. However, as they are particularly sensitive to being handled, just do so if you absolutely must, and wear gloves (without chemical coatings) to protect their skin.

These frogs are thusly named because of a poisonous, milky substance they excrete when they are threatened in the wild. Even this is not something you are likely to see in a domestic setting, gloves help also to avoid contact with this substance.

9. Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)

Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)
Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)
  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Habits: Nocturnal
  • Size: Females are larger than males and can reach 4 inches in length. Males can reach 2 to 3 inches in length
  • Lifespan: 6 to 8 years
  • Tomato Frog Care Sheet

Why should you choose a Tomato Frog as a pet?

They have a great look, a good size and are easy to care for.

What does a Tomato Frog look like?

Once you have seen a tomato frog, you’ll understand how it got its name!!! However, adult females are a brighter orange-red than males, and younger frogs tend to be more yellow.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: The Tomato frog is semi-fossorial, meaning it likes to dig into its substrate, therefore, it doesn’t need an aquarium as big as some other more active frogs,  Two can be housed comfortably in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Give them a dense layer of the substrate to burrow in, and some hidey holes like a hollowed-out log, and they will be quite happy.

A small, shallow water dish is also required.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They need a moderately warm tank (65°F to 80°F). The tank should be misted every day or two and live plants should be used to keep them hydrated. This species is nocturnal, so they don’t need any special lighting.

Feeding: They tend to eat small insects and invertebrates. As with most frog species, it’s a good idea to incorporate a variety of different food sources into their diet. Occasionally feeding pinky mice to adult Tomato Frogs is fine as well.

Temperament & handling: Like so many other frogs, when threatened they secrete a gummy substance that contains a toxin that occasionally causes allergic reactions in humans. So handle minimally, wear gloves, and wash your hands well after.

10. Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina Orientalis)

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina Orientalis)
Oriental Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina Orientalis)
  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Habits: both nocturnal and diurnal
  • Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: in the wild, they live 12 to 15. In captivity, they can reach 20 years of age.
  • Remarks: semiaquatic
  • Oriental Fire-bellied Toad Care Sheet

Why should you choose an Oriental Fire-bellied Toad as a pet?

Oriental Fire-bellied toads are hardy and colorful pets. Even if you can’t handle them, they are still super cool to observe.

What does a Fire-bellied Toad look like?

Oriental Fire-bellied Toads are bright green creatures with black coloration on their warty backs and brilliant orange and black on their undersides.

Despite their name, they are technically frogs, not toads. One characteristic differentiating frogs from toads is toads have rough, textured skin. In this case we have an exception though since this frog has bumpy skin.

Interesting facts:

This family of toads cannot extend their tongues like other toads or frogs. To feed, they must leap forward and catch their prey with their mouths.

When threatened by predators, they will exhibit the “unken reflex” by arching their backs and limbs to expose their bright belly and may even turn over on their backs.

Habitat

Enclosure requirements: Oriental Fire-bellied Toads should be kept in water, with some kind of land or island to allow them to periodically climb out of the water.

These frogs are not strong swimmers and may (but rarely) drown in water that is too deep. Fire-bellied toads have a sensitivity to chlorine and chloramine, so this must be taken into account when cleaning their enclosures.

Lighting, temperature & humidity: They are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, which is one of the reasons they make good pets. Daytime temperatures should range from 72°F to 78°F (22°C to 26°C) and can drop at night. A photoperiod (time of lighting) of 10-12 hours should be provided.

Feeding: The best way to feed them is with small crickets dusted with calcium powder. They can also be fed with other small invertebrates such as earthworms.

Temperament & handling: While not the most toxic of amphibians, regular handling is not recommended. Although harmless to the skin, if ingested, the mucus they drop can cause discomfort.

Conclusion

Frogs can make great pets even if they are not very handleable. Many frogs have fairly simple light, temperature, and humidity requirements but they are very sensitive to contaminants and waste in their environment.

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.

Avoid capturing wild frogs and only buy frogs that you are sure are captive bred. Frogs in the wild are facing population declines largely as a result of the pet trade.

What pet frog did you go with or which ones do you have? Let us know in the comments below!

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