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Housing a Pacman Frog

March 15th, 2010

Pacman frogPacman frogs, also called Ornate Horned frogs, make a unique pet for any amphibian enthusiast. They're known for their entertaining "tough guy" attitude and silly noises. In order to have a happy, healthy Pacman frog, it's necessary to prepare a proper home.

Pacman frogs are quite large compared to other commonly kept species of frogs, but they are also lethargic and inactive. A 10 gallon aquarium will suffice for one; however, if you have the means to provide something bigger you should. Keeping multiple Pacman frogs together is not advised because inevitably one will be eaten by the other. Because they are so bulky, they can’t jump very high, making height unimportant in selecting an enclosure. Make sure your terrarium has a secure top to prevent escape. Where you choose to place the terrarium is also important. Pacman frogs make a very interesting noise, and it sounds almost like someone screaming.

These frogs are nocturnal, so placing the enclosure in or near a bedroom could make sleeping rather difficult. Typically they only make this sound when they feel threatened but because Pacman frogs can be a bit high-strung, the smallest things can make them feel defensive. Sometimes pet stores will sell Pacman frogs in small plastic containers. These are in no way appropriate enclosures. They’re difficult to heat, much too small and do not allow for the proper ventilation.

Originally from South America, Pacman frogs require a hot, tropical environment. Air temperature in your frogs enclosure should remain around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, dropping to about 75 degrees at night. You’ll need a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature; you should never guess what it is. Misting your terrarium daily with chlorine-free water is important to maintaining humidity. The substrate in your terrarium should be slightly moist from misting, but not soaking wet.

Speaking of substrate, Pacman frogs like to burry themselves. Peat moss and coconut fiber, both available at most pet stores, make great choices. Gravel and rocks small enough to fit in your frog’s mouth should not be used as substrate, because Pacman frogs will try to eat anything they can. Gravel and rocks can cause serious digestive problems. Substrate should be deep enough for your Pacman frog to burrow and burry itself completely.

A water dish big enough for your Pacman frog to sit in is also necessary. Unlike other species of frogs, Pacman frogs are not very good at swimming, and can easily drown. The level of water should only cover half the frog, and never be deep enough for it to completely submerge itself. Water should be changed at least three times a week to prevent bacteria from building up and the water dish should be placed in the warmest part of the enclosure. Full spectrum lighting is typically recommended for Pacman frogs and a lamp can also be used to provide heat. Heaters that go under substrate are not suitable for Pacman frogs because they bury themselves and can be burned.

Pacman frogs like to feel secure, and placing plants in their terrarium makes them feel more at ease. Artificial plants seem to work best, mainly because Pacman frogs won’t eat those. Live plants can be used; however you’ll have to replace them and make sure they’re nontoxic. Pacman frogs also need somewhere to hide. A hollow log works well. Cork bark can also be stacked in a corner to close of an area. For a more DIY approach, you can cut a whole in a plastic container. Make sure, however, that your hiding area allows for your Pacman frog to enter and exit easily. Rocks can be used as decorations, but it’s absolutely imperative that they be large enough so that it would be impossible for the rock to fit in your Pacman frog’s mouth. Branches can also be used as decorations, but Pacman frogs don’t climb so they’re not needed.