National Frog Jumping Day
April 13th is National Frog Jumping Day and while we won’t be holding any jumping competitions here, we would still like to show some respect for our little amphibian friends. So without further ado, here is the beginner’s guide to selecting and keeping pet frogs.
Are You Sure You Want a Frog?
If you’ve ever seen an elaborate terrarium in a zoo or large pet shop, you may have thought that one of these beautiful setups would look great in your home or that a frog would make a cool pet. Frogs can be really neat and some are very beautiful with bright colors and a serene demeanor that can bring a sense of tranquility into your home. However, they require as much or more care than the average cat or dog does and offer a lot less companionship; snuggles are usually completely out of the question for most frog species.
It is crucial that you thoroughly research any species of frog and get its habitat completely ready before you bring one home. Some frogs might require a delicate, strictly monitored habitat with the appropriate temperature, humidity levels, environmental structures, and diet. It is also worthy to note that while some species of frog are entirely aquatic, others may require partial water, high structures (like limbs), or more arid and desert-like environments.
Frogs are cool to look at and can be even cooler to hold in your hands and show off to visitors, but should not be handled too often. All frogs have fairly delicate skin and some species can be prone to serious skin problems when they come in contact with the oil on human hands.
Frogs eat a lot and sometimes their diet includes live insects or small rodents. Just like with snakes and large reptiles, some large frogs need to eat baby (or pinky) mice to live healthily. If you choose to keep a species that does need to eat live food, you should plan accordingly where you will get the food and how you will keep it alive between feedings. Some frog keepers may choose to breed their own food, but that is a topic for another day.
General Supplies and Budget
For aquatic frogs, you will need a fish aquarium and nonaggressive, community fish will usually do quite well with them. A good starter aquarium for a single dwarf frog and only a fish or two might be a Tetra Half Moon Bubble or Tetra Cube starter tank. Both of these tanks come with filters and lights.
If you want bigger frogs, you will need a bigger aquarium. A 10-gallon fish aquarium is good enough for most of the smaller pet shop species. If you decide that you want an aquatic frog that requires a warmer water temperature than room temp, you will need a submersible water heater. However, you don’t want to rely on a stick-on thermometer as they are more likely to read your room’s temperature than to accurately read the water temp. Instead, go the safe route and invest in a heater with a built-in thermostat, such as the ViaAqua (50-Watt), which is under $14. If your species of frog requires a specific humidity level, you will also need a device called a hygrometer, which will give you a fairly accurate reading.
Some frogs will need an area to bask under a heated basking light or on a heated rock, so take note of these requirements when you are doing your homework. Another major part of your frog’s environment that you will need to research is the type of flooring or substrate that it will need. Some species need sand while others will do better on gravel. However, garden gravel and backyard sand are not considerable materials here. Instead, choose a flooring that is made specifically for safe use with reptiles or amphibians, such as RepTerra Reptile Calcium Carbonate sand. Alternative sources may cause irritations to the skin, digestive tracts, or respiratory systems.