When many people think of owning an exotic pet, they imagine keeping a frog. For the most part, new owners will go for some of the more common breeds, but there is one breed that is becoming increasingly popular among exotic frog enthusiasts. Let us introduce you to the Pacman frog.
The South American horned frog, more commonly referred to as the Pacman frog is a species that is native to parts of South America but owing to its popularity among pet owners, these animals can be found in captivity all over the world. They are typically brightly colored and have a unique body shape and large mouth which likely earned them their nickname.
Since the Pacman frog has fast become a go-to amphibian pet, more and more people are looking at the best way to provide these beautiful creatures with the best care. In this guide, we will be giving you all the information you need to know to get started on caring for this amazing frog.
What on Earth Is a Pacman Frog?
The Pacman frog, or to call it by its proper name; the South American horned frog, is a rather obscure yet incredible-looking creature. With bright colors and distinctive markings, there is no hiding for this amphibian.
What’s more, with a large, rounded body and a huge mouth, it isn’t difficult to see why a comparison to that little yellow game character from the 1980s was quickly made.
These frogs can be pretty defensive in the wild and it is not unheard of for them to bite a curious human who gets a little too friendly. However, when kept as a pet, the Pacman frog can be a gentle and docile animal.
That being said, Pacman frogs aren’t too keen on being handled, so if you are considering keeping them as a pet, you must be prepared to look rather than touch them.
As far as frogs go, these critters can grow quite large with adults reaching between four and seven inches on average. That being said, owing to their inactive nature, owners don’t need to worry about installing a huge enclosure, but more on that later!
Taking Care of a Pacman Frog
The Pacman frog has become an extremely popular exotic pet, and this is likely for two reasons; it cannot be ignored that these are fascinating animals to look at but moreover, they are amazingly easy to take care of. For people who are new to looking after amphibians, the Pacman frog could be a good place to get started.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that these animals can simply be left to their own devices. There is certainly a degree of care involved if you want your frogs to thrive. Let’s take a closer look at what you will need to make a happy home for your new Pacman.
Are There Any Common Problems with Pacman Frogs?
As with any animal, there is always a risk of illness or behavioral problems and the Pacman frog is no exception to this. One of the most common issues relates to bacterial or fungal infections, particularly on the skin or eyes of the frog so owners should regularly check their pets for signs of these.
If you notice any pus or red, inflamed areas, it is likely that the animal has an infection, and you will need to have them treated by an exotics vet.
These animals are also susceptible to parasite infections, but your vet should provide tests for this during an annual checkup. Furthermore, while less common, it is not unheard of for Pacman frogs to develop breathing difficulties which could be marked by wheezing, drooling, and a lack of energy. In any case, a sick frog will also likely lose its appetite.
The good news is that while there are a variety of common health problems in Pacman frogs, these are all typically very easy to treat provided that medical advice is sought early on.
Your Pacman Frog’s Enclosure
One of the most important parts of caring for any pet is to ensure that it has a safe and comfortable place to call home. In the case of ‘wild’ animals like the Pacman frog, owners should aim to recreate their natural environment as closely as possible.
Pacman frogs are solitary animals and as such, should be given their own space. If you try to house more than one frog in any enclosure, there is a chance that they will fight and potentially attempt to eat one another.
That being said, their enclosures do not need to be very large owing to the inactive nature of the species. Generally speaking, a 20-gallon tank should be more than enough for a single Pacman.
The enclosure will need to have decent humidity levels and for this reason, should be misted every day. Furthermore, you should make sure to properly line the tank with an appropriate substrate such as shredded paper or even smooth stones.
However, owners should also keep in mind that the Pacman will benefit from some plant life and a good amount of leaf litter so these should always be included.
In terms of heat and light, Pacman frogs have very specific needs. The tank will need to have a consistent cycle with equal amounts of dark and light each day; following 12-hour cycles is the best way to achieve this.
Furthermore, your Pacman will need a daytime temperature of around 27ºc although this temperature can be dropped to 25ºc during the night.
Since the enclosure needs to remain humid, overhead heaters could cause the environment to become too dry. This means that the Pacman’s tank should always be heated from underneath.
What Do Pacman Frogs Eat?
Frogs are carnivorous animals meaning that they will need to be supplied with a meat-based diet. The idea of feeding live insects to pets can be a little off-putting for some people, so this is something worth considering before you commit to adopting one of these creatures.
Without meat in their diet, they won’t survive very long. This becomes even more apparent when you consider that frogs, including the Pacman, do not eat plant-based foods.
The most common diet option for Pacman frogs kept in captivity is crickets since these are widely available online and in pet supply stores around the world. However, you might also choose to offer other insects such as locusts as well as a selection of worms including mealworms and wax worms.
Again, all of these things are easy to access although you should make sure to purchase them rather than collect them from your own garden as there could be a risk that they are carrying diseases or have fed on plants treated with pesticides.
When purchasing worms and insects from pet stores, these will have typically been gut-loaded so offer the greatest nutritional value for your frogs.
Larger Pacman frogs may also be able to eat pinkies (these are baby mice that have not yet grown their fur) which are also available at most exotic pet stores. As your frog grows bigger, it will likely also feed on larger, adult mice but this will depend on the size of the frog.
In any case, it is important to be mindful of how often your Pacman frog feeds. For those that are bigger and eat more substantial prey, such as mice, mealtimes can be as infrequent as every few days.
Conversely, if you have a smaller Pacman, it is likely that it will use up more energy and so insects should be offered daily.
Most importantly, owners should monitor their frog’s weight and feed it accordingly. While many people do not realize it, obesity can affect animals’ health in the same way that it affects our own.
Does My Pacman Frog Need Water?
Water is an essential part of life for amphibians and providing your Pacman frog with a large but shallow bowl of water is crucial.
You will notice that the frog will spend a lot of time sitting in its water bowl, but it shouldn’t be so deep that there is a chance that the frog could get stuck inside and potentially drown.
When the frog is relaxing in its water, it may feel a little on edge if sufficient cover is not given. For this reason, we would always suggest surrounding the water bowl with a good amount of plant life.
Pacman frogs are amphibians that come from South America. They adopted their nickname as a result of having a large round body and a big mouth, similar to the popular video game character of the same name.
While these animals do have some specific requirements, on the whole, they are easy to look after and make excellent pets. However, they do not like to be handled and so would suit an owner who prefers to observe animals as opposed to physically interacting with them.