Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)

By Snaketracks / August 7, 2020

Tomato Frog Care

Tomato Frogs are endemic to Madagascar (and East Africa). The Dyscophus antongilii is found in the north while the Dyscophus guineti inhabits the south.

The latter is the species more commonly found in captivity, probably because the former is a member of the CITES I index.

Tomato frogs are terrestrial animals (adapted to life on the solid ground). They prefer sandy and muddy areas because they like to burrow into the substrate.

Even if they live close to water, they are poor swimmers and can easily drown.

Quick Reference Section

  • Experience level: Beginner
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Scientific Name: Dyscophus antongili
  • 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
  • Conservation status: One of these frogs subspecies – the Dyscophus antongili-  is listed as near threatened.
  • Predators: natural predators of Tomato frogs are snakes.
  • Curious Fact: the Malagasy call the tomato frog “Sangongon,” a name that mimics the low-pitched notes of its call.

What Does A Tomato Frog look like?

Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)
Tomato Frog (Dyscophus)

Once you have seen a tomato frog, you’ll understand how it got its name!!!  Also, the inflated body of tomato frog looks like a big ripe tomato, hence the name.

The adult female is a brighter orange-red than the males, while younger frogs tend to be more yellow.

Tomato frog red color is known as aposematic coloration – a type of warning coloration. It lets predators know that they are not good to eat.

Tomato frog does not have teeth. And the roof of the mouth is covered with ridges that are used for grinding the food.

Mating

Two tomato frogs in their habitat
Two tomato frogs in their habitat

When the rainy season begins (October-January), the males can be heard calling to females. Males are very vocal. Once the females appear on the scene, they pair up.

Each male clings tightly to the female’s back, in a behavior known as amplexus, for several hours.

Egg Laying

Tomato frogs lay fresh eggs during every month of the year except for November.

The female finds a suitable place to lay her 1,000 to 1,500 eggs. The male fertilizes the eggs and the couple disbands.

Egg Hatching

The eggs float on the surface of the water and begin to hatch within 36 hours.

Tadpole Development

Tadpoles are “filter-feeders”. They strain tiny bits of nutrients from the water.

In human care, they metamorphose into tiny froglets about 45-days after hatching. It takes several months for the primarily black froglets to acquire the reddish coloring of maturity.

They reach adult size and are sexually mature in less than a year.

Tomato Frog Habitat

Tomato Frog in water on log
Tomato Frog in water on log

Enclosure Requirements

The Tomato frog is a semi-fossorial, secretive animal, 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 like the REPTI ZOO 10 Gallon Reptile Tank.

Substrate

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.

The substrate can be made of coconut fiber/mulch like Josh’s Frogs Coco Cradle or Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate.

It is wise not to put any heavy decorative items in their enclosure since they can accidentally crush themselves by burrowing underneath.

A small, shallow water dish is also required.

To clean the enclosure you can use TetraFauna AquaSafe Reptile & Amphibian Water Conditioner

Lighting, Temperature & Humidity

Dyscophus Guineti
Dyscophus Guineti

They require a moderately warm tank (65°F to 80°F). Mist their tank every day or two and use live plants to keep them hydrated.

This species is nocturnal. So, they do not require 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 pinkie mice to adult Tomato Frogs is fine as well.

Tomato Frog Care Video

Temperament & Handling

When threatened, the Tomato Frog puffs up its body and extends its legs to make itself appear larger than it is.

When further agitated, and like so many other frogs,  they secrete a gummy, white-colored substance that contains a toxin which can induce irritation of the mucus membrane of various animals and that occasionally causes allergic reactions in humans.

So handle minimally, wear gloves, and wash your hands well after.

Conservation Status

Dyscophus antongilii

One of these frogs subspecies – the Dyscophus antongili-  is listed as near threatened.

This is mainly due to deforestation and habitat loss, and illegal logging and exportation.

They are also being impacted by the pet trade because of their beautiful coloration. However, due to successful breeding in captive populations, this threat is lessening.

Pricing and Availability

Tomato Frogs are priced at $ 29,99 and available at Josh’s Frogs and Underground Reptiles.

Conclusion

The Tomato frog is one of our top frogs when it comes to choosing one as a pet. They are easy to care for, not picky eaters, and just look cool.

Other cool frogs which also make great pets include the Pixie Frog, Whites Tree Frog, and of course the dart frog. Be sure to check out our best pet frogs article to see all of our favorites!

What frog do you own or plan on getting? What made you choose that or them? We love hearing from you so let us know in the comments below!

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