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Meet the Green Frog – Typical Pond Frog of the USA – Part 3

Pond Frogs in aquariumPlease see Parts 1 and 2 of this article to read about the natural history of the Green Frog (Lithobates/Rana clamitans) and some personal observations on its behavior.

An Agreeable Personality

Green Frogs make wonderful pets…even wild-caught adults settle down and hand-feed in short order (please see video below). This is in sharp contrast to many US natives, such as American Bullfrogs, Leopard Frogs and Pickerel Frogs, which often remain high-strung and difficult to observe, even after years in captivity. In “personality”, the amiable Green Frog is closer to the unflappable American Toad than to its nearer relatives.

Captive Habitat

A 20 gallon “long style” aquarium half-filled with de-chlorinated water can accommodate a pair or trio. I’ve kept Green Frogs with tropical fishes, but this requires quite a bit of work (please see photo).

A filter and weekly 50% water changes will help to maintain water quality. Despite being quite hardy and adaptable creatures, Green Frogs will expire in short order if ammonia levels are allowed to rise.

Live or plastic floating plants should coat the water’s surface, and it is here that the frogs will spend most of their time (live Pothos, Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce are excellent choices). In the wild, the color of the Green Frog’s jaw and head provides excellent camouflage as it floats on the waters surface, waiting to launch an attack on low flying Dragonflies and other insects. Turtle Docks make fine land areas.

Light and Heat

Green Frogs spend a good deal of time in sunny locations, so I provide a Low Output UVB Bulb.

Average room temperatures suit them well…normal fluctuations may bring the frogs into breeding condition. Green Frogs tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but may become stressed (and prone to fungal and other infections) at 80F or above. Cool temperatures suit them well…mine continue to feed at 54F.

Diet

Although crickets are greedily taken, a varied diet is necessary if you are to have success in keeping these frogs long-term. I’ve done well by relying upon wild caught invertebrates during the warmer months and saving crickets, waxworms and roaches for winter use.

There is very little that these ravenous fellows refuse – I provide moths, beetles, sowbugs, dragonfly larvae, grubs, grasshoppers, non-hairy caterpillars and a variety of other invertebrates; a minnow each 7-10 days helps ensure adequate calcium intake. I rely heavily upon earthworms in both winter and summer, buying or collecting them, and usually try to keep a colony going in my basement as well.

A Zoo Med Bug Napper simplifies the collecting of moths and other flying insects. Canned Insect are readily accepted from feeding tongs, and are an important means of providing dietary variety when wild-caught insects are not available.

In winter, I powder most meals with supplements, alternating among Reptivite with D3, and Reptocal. I do not use supplements when feeding wild-caught invertebrates.

Further Reading

The videos of a Green Frog trying to swallow my finger in my article Tong Feeding Frogs show just how well-adjusted these little guys become!

Please see Frogs in Outdoor Ponds for another take on Green Frog keeping.

 

5 comments

  1. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Thanks for the great articles and they’ve been invaluable. I recently rescued a green frog in my backyard with the intent of releasing it into a nearby marsh but the little critter grew on me. It’s now housed in a 10 gallon tank with water hyacinths and dining on crickets, silk worms, and tomato hornworms (all domestically cultured) along with the odd minnow.

    A few questions for you:

    1. How often should I feed him? He’s currently around 2.5″ from snout to vent.

    2. Do females also call? Mine has started to make the telltale banjo twang but the tympanum is around the same size as the eyes and I noticed some eggs recently attached to he roots of the hyacinth.

    3. How concerned should I be about salmonella? I’ve taken the approach of washing anything that comes in contact with the frog or tank water with soap and water or disinfecting with a mild bleach solution. Am I being paranoid?

    Thanks again for this great resource and for taking the time to share it with us.

    Mark

    • avatar

      Hello Mark, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words, much appreciated.

      Sounds like a great diet…at room temperatures in warmer months, you can feed the frog an insect or 2 nearly every day, skipping on occasion and fasting it for 4-5 days after a minnow was taken; 3 larger meals weekly is fine also. I keep native frogs in a cool room in winter; they slow down naturally and usually take 1-2 meals each week. This will vary with temperatures in your home, but green frogs are good at regulating their metabolisms to food availability.

      You might provide a larger tank as the frog grows, helps in ammonia control.
      Females usually call only when disturbed; it may be responding to an unusual sound. There have been “mixed sex” green frogs found – males with ovaries, etc., seems related to pesticides.

      Most amphibians carry some form of Salmonella or other potentially harmful micro-organism, so care is always warrented; please check this article on Salmonella Prevention (Dr. Kevin Wright) which has a link to CDC guidelines.

      Good luck and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Thank you very much for your informative and thorough response.

    Regarding the tank size, would you still recommend a larger one even with weekly 50% water changes and a filter? If so, would a 20 gallon suffice?

    Also, is there any danger of hand-feeding frogs without the use of tongs? I have since purchased a White’s Tree Frog (housed in a separate tank) and am curious to try this with both of them.

    Thanks again,

    Mark

    p.s. Great suggestion regarding the Penn Plax Turtle Pier and I’m going to try it with the Green Frog, especially since most of the minnows I place in the tank expire before he’s able to catch them.

    • avatar

      Hello Mark, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for your note; my pleasure.

      A 20 long style would be fine, a 30 long is ideal for 1-2 adult common musks.

      White’s Treefrogs will feed readily right from the hand, and will even try to swallow your finger if you wiggle it!

      Glad to hear you’ll try the turtle pier idea..please let me know how it goes.

      Please check in when you can; I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.

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