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Contains articles and advice on a wide variety of frog species. Answers and addresses questions on species husbandry, captive status, breeding, news and conservation issues concerning frogs.

Keeping Frogs and Toads as Pets – Creating a Terrarium and Best Amphibian Care Products

From tiny “living jewels” to hulking giants capable of consuming bats, snakes and rodents, the world’s nearly 6,000 frog species present an amazing array of pet-keeping opportunities.  With proper care, some may live for decades (to age 50 in the case of the African Bullfrog), and quite a few are active by day and quickly learn to accept food from one’s hand.  However, keeping frogs and toads as pets means providing a habitat that meets their specific needs – humidity, temperature, substrate, terrarium size and shape, light, water quality and other conditions must be carefully considered.

Oak Toad

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Eric Shashoua

Although each has needs that vary from those of others, some general rules have emerged.  The following information is drawn from my experiences with hundreds of species over a lifetime of frog-keeping in zoos and at home.  It can be applied to most of those that you are likely to encounter.  However, details will vary – please post below for information concerning individual species.


Please remember that your frog’s natural history will dictate the type of terrarium it requires…please post below to discuss the need of individual species, or to share your observations.

Setting up the Terrarium

Active, sedentary, high-strung, aquatic, arboreal and terrestrial frogs and toads utilize their living spaces in different ways.  Following are some basic guidelines for popular species. Read More »

Frog Facts, Natural History, and Behavior – Notes on Amphibian Pets

Those with an interest in frogs and toads will never be bored…among the 6,200 known species are found some of the world’s most fascinating and unusual animals.  Many amphibian pets may, with proper care, live for 10, 20 or even 50 years, and can be wonderful animals to keep and observe.  A number engage in complex social behaviors that range from hand-signaling to the feeding of tadpoles…and well-adjusted captives are often not at all shy about doing so before an audience!

I cannot remember a time when I was not fascinated by frogs and toads, and my amphibian-keeping friends and Bronx Zoo colleagues often voice the same sentiment.  But what is it that draws us to keep, study and breed these marvelous creatures?  True, some species, due to their ability to survive near people, become our first herp pets…as did Bullfrogs, American Toads and others when I was growing up in the Bronx, but there’s more to it than that.  Part of the answer, I believe, lies in their amazing diversity of forms and lifestyles…some of which stretch the limits of believability.  Please be sure to post your own thoughts and experiences below, as well as any questions you may concerning choosing a pet frog or caring for individual species.


Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Pixeltoo

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Pet Frogs – the Best Species for Children and First Time Keepers

Many of the world’s nearly 6,000 frog species make wonderful pets that may live for 10, 20 or even 50 years.  Among them we find creatures that glide, brood their eggs in vocal sacs, form lifelong pair bonds and exhibit other fascinating behaviors.  While the smallest is barely as large as a pea, the nine-pound African Bullfrog can chase lions away from its tadpoles!  Today I’d like to introduce some of my favorites, each of which is hardy enough for beginners yet so interesting that herpetologists – myself included – regularly keep them as pets.  Please be sure to let me know about your own “best pet frogs” by posting below.

Frog Care

White's treefrog

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by LiquidGhoul

Even the toughest of frogs have specific care needs that must be met if they are to thrive.  The following information is meant to illustrate why one should consider a particular type of frog.  It is not a complete care guide…please be sure to post below for detailed information about keeping and breeding these or other frogs. Read More »

Treefrog Facts – An Introduction for Pet Keepers

The world is home to a mind-boggling assortment of fascinating treefrogs, many of which make wonderful pets.  Included among the 1,200+ species that have adapted to life above-ground we find tiny, colorful gems, giants that will feed from one’s hand, gliders that sail through the treetops and a host of other delightfully unique frogs.  Some, such as Red-Eyed and White’s Treefrogs, are pet trade staples.  New species become available frequently…in recent years, for example, the bizarrely-beautiful Amazon Milk and Mossy Treefrogs have become “must haves” among serious frog enthusiasts.

White’s, Red-Eyed, Lemur, Green, Reed, Waxy Monkey, Mossy, Cuban, Asian Flying, Barking, White-Lipped and dozens of other treefrogs are available in the pet trade.  An understanding of their natural history – how they live in the wild – is the first step in learning to provide them with proper care in captivity.  This article will introduce you to their habits and habitats.  The articles linked below provide specific information on their care and habits of some unusual species.  Please be sure to post questions about the care of specific species below.


Waxy Monkey Treefrog

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Brocken Inaglory

Treefrogs are found on every continent except Antarctica, and have adapted to rainforests, temperate woodlands, arid semi-deserts, human dwellings and many other habitats.  I’ve found Gray Treefrogs in the heart of Manhattan and Cuban Treefrogs in downtown Miami, where their favorite “habitat” earned them the now-dated name “Phone Booth Frogs”.


Treefrogs that Break the “Frog Breeding Rules”

Some treefrogs deposit their eggs on leaves over water, while others breed in tree hollows in the forest canopy.  It was recently discovered that the tadpoles of India’s Brown Leaping Frog live on tree limbs and eat bark, while those of the Fringe-Limbed Treefrog actually devour their father’s skin (no worries…it grows back!).  Please see the articles linked below for more information on these two bizarre creatures. Read More »

The Best Foods for Poison Frogs, Mantellas and Other Tiny Amphibians

I began working with Poison Frogs and Mantellas in zoos just as the secrets to longevity and breeding were being discovered.  Today, captive-bred animals are almost mainstream.  This is wonderful, but there is a downside – they are sometimes viewed as “simple to keep”.  But while these tiny gems can be surprisingly hardy, they will not thrive long-term if their unique nutritional requirements are not met.  Friends of mine who have broken new ground with Poison Frogs – in one case years before most zoos did – have always expended a great deal of effort on providing a varied diet.  The following information is drawn from their and my own experiences over several decades, and may also be applied to the care of many other small and newly-transformed amphibians.

General Considerations

Golden Poison frog

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Marcel Burkhard

Although we do not know the exact nutritional needs of any species, certain principles have become evident.  Chief among these is that a highly-varied diet is essential. Crickets alone, even if powdered with supplements, are not an adequate diet.  There are exceptions, but nearly every study of free-living amphibians reveals that a surprising range of prey species are consumed. Read More »

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