Pacman Frogs are a good frog for both new amphibian keepers and those more experienced with exotic pets. This guide will give you the best advice and will help you make sure your Pacman frog setup is perfect to keep your little buddy croaking!
Do Pacman Frogs make good pets?
Pacman frogs are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a huge amount of time or space. They are good eaters, accepting most types of food and you may have guessed by the name, they fondly referred to as a mouth with legs. These frogs grow fast and are hardy, making them a good choice for beginners.
Pacman Frog size – how big will they grow?
Most people look for a Pacman frog for sale in a pet shop that sells exotic pets. Usually, the frogs sold at these kinds of places are babies and will only be about the size of a 50 pence coin (or a quarter), however as we have already established, these guys eat and eat (and eat and eat) therefore grow pretty quickly!
An adult male will reach a diameter of 6cm – 10 cm (2.5- 4inches) and the average Pacman Frog size for an adult female is a bit larger at 10cm – 18cm (4-7 inches). Of course, not all frogs will reach these exact sizes and things like genetics and diet playing a large factor.
Pacman Frog lifespan – How long can they live?
A Pacman frog’s lifespan can reach 15 years old, but a more realistic age is anywhere between 5-10 years depending on the individual. This is a pretty big commitment so it’s important to really think about if you could care for the frog its whole life and it is another reason why buying an animal on a whim isn’t a good idea.
The ideal Pacman Frog diet
Although Pacman frogs rarely turn down food, it’s important to feed them a good diet to keep them healthy. Keeping the diet varied is best for your Pacman Frog care, and you can feed;
- Crickets – make a good staple as long as they are gut-loaded to boost the nutrients they provide to your frog. Crickets are readily available in pet stores and online and are easy to keep.
- Earthworms (sometimes called Nightcrawlers) are nutritious food for your frog, but don’t be tempted to feed any you find in the garden because they may have been exposed to pesticides that could harm your pet. Fishing shops or online are the best places to get them.
- Dubai roaches – another good staple choice, these roaches are hardy and very easy to keep. They have a soft body making them easier to digest. Although they aren’t too common in pet shops, you can get hold of them online.
- Locust – good source of vitamins and minerals and come in a good range of sizes to suit your pet. They are very easy to get hold of in pet shops or online.
- Morio worms are easy to keep and a good treat item – get them here
- Waxworms – quite fatty but good as a treat and are easy to get hold of.
It’s better to remove the insects from the bags or tubs they arrive in and put them in plastic containers. This gives them more room and makes it easier for you to keep them clean. Bug gel is a good way to provide water without the risk of it spilling in the insect tank or the bugs falling in and drowning – just make sure you change it often or it will go mouldy. Live food also needs feeding – you can use bug grub as a staple and add vegetable peelings and fruit for more nutrients.
The food item you are offering should not be any bigger than their mouth and juveniles should be fed every other day, whilst adults can be fed a couple of times a week. Keep offering food until they refuse to eat any more in one sitting.
For more information on how to keep your live food healthy, have a look at this article. Remember, the better you keep your live food, the better they are for your pet!
Pacman Frog care – How do I feed my Pacman frog?
This species is an ambush predator which means, unlike a lion who will stalk and hunt its prey, this little guy (or gal) will find somewhere to hide behind a plant or sunken in the dirt and wait for their dinner to cross their path and then STRIKE – eating the prey in one bite. If you value your fingers, I strongly recommend using plastic tongs to feed your froggie, as their bite can hurt!
Before giving the bug to your hungry hungry hippo, you will need to dust the insect with calcium and multivitamins. Calcium is needed to give them a strong skeletal system, preventing metabolic bone disease which causes brittle bones. Once a week, multivitamins should be used to dust the bug as they contain everything your frog needs to stay healthy.
Ok so you have everything you need now in terms of Pacman frog care essentials, but how do you dust the bugs? The easiest way is to put some powder in a plastic fish bag, put the bug in and give it a shake. The dust will coat the insect well and then you can use the feeding tongs to waggle it in front of your gigantic mouthed frog who should watch it, then leap up out of their murky mud fort and grab the delicious morsel in one bite. You can also set the bug free in your frog’s enclosure to allow it to hunt naturally, just keep in mind earthworms will burrow and hide and crickets can nibble on your frog. If you do decide to feed this way, remove any uneaten prey within 24 hours.
If you are a little scared of touching the bugs, you can get something like this, called a cricket pen the idea being the crickets climb up the plastic tubes and you can remove the tube and knock a few out into the bag.
How do I make sure my Pacman Frog setup is perfect?
The first thing you will need is an enclosure for your froggie to live in. You could use a 10 gallon fishtank, a plastic tank or a terrarium, such as the ZILLA or Exo terra range. I prefer to use an Exo terra terranium, specifically made for amphibians and reptiles, rather than an aquarium which is made to hold water for fish. The Exo terra is waterproof, has two doors that open at the front and a mesh lid that can be opened at the top. It also has holes to allow you to run wires through easily at the back. You can even get locks for the front of the tank for extra security (handy if you have inquisitive little kids!). Just make sure whatever tank you go for is longer than it is tall as these frogs are terrestrial (ground dwellers) and don’t climb upwards.
You then have the choice if you want to do a bioactive (living) set up or not. Your Pacman Frog enclosure should allow him to burrow and hide, so whatever option you choose should allow them to express this natural behaviour. I personally feel the best Pacman frog habitat is a living set up as I think it looks nicer and it gives your frog a natural habitat. It helps to keep the humidity levels correct, but you will need to siphon out the water so it doesn’t become stagnant. To achieve this you will need to create layers to allow the water to filter through. You will need;
- Hydroclea (clay balls) – this is your drainage layer and go at the bottom of the tank to filter the water. You can also use a Matala filter, which is a foam pad. It can be easier to deal with, you just need to cut it to the size of your tank.
- Hessian – this is the second layer (the substrate layer) that allows water to drain through but keeps the substrate in place, above the bottom layer.
- The top of a drinks bottle – sounds weird but hear me out – cut the neck of a drinks bottle, leaving the cap in place. Bury the neck so it touches the bottom layer where the water drains to and cut a hole in the hessian to allow the bottle to pass through. This can now be used as a way to siphon out the water at the bottom of the tank when it comes to clean out time.
- Then you need your substrate. I like to use Zoo Med Eco Earth (which is made of coconut fibres) as it allows them to burrow – just make it a few inches deep so they can dig down. This product is supplied as a ‘brick’ – it will need soaking before use to loosen up.
- Live plants – to make the habitat look nice. They will draw water from the hydroclea layer. You should leave the plants to establish for a few weeks and spread their roots before moving your frog in. As Pacmans are burrowers, you may want to leave the plants in their pots so the frog cannot ruin the roots, however, you should re-pot the plant in eco earth because most soil has pesticides that could affect your pet.
- Spingtails – AKA the clean up crew who will eat the organic waste (that’s poop to you and me!)
- A siphon to filter out the dirty water periodically.
Pacman frogs aren’t swimmers, but they do like to soak in water so give them a large shallow bowl to wallow in – obviously the size and depth will depend on the size of your frog. You can give them places to hide, such as caves or log hides, just make sure the material isn’t rough or they could hurt themselves
If you want to keep your Pacman Frog setup simpler, you can just use the Zoo Med Eco Earth without the drainage layers, but you will have to remove any waste yourself when you see it. The Zoo Med Eco Earth allows the frog to burrow, making it a good choice. You can use fake plants instead of real plants, but make sure they don’t have any sharp edges that could scrape your frog and no loose parts that could be accidentally eaten.
How soggy for the froggie?
Unsurprisingly, frogs like to be in the damp and therefore you will need to keep the humidity high and you can do this by either using a water misting system that does it for you or manually spraying the tank with dechlorinated water a couple of times a day (to do this, let the water stand for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate). It’s a good idea to have a humidity gauge on the tank to check your values and you need to aim for 60-70%.
Hot frog? What temperature should I aim for?
Your Pacman frog setup needs to be kept just above room temperature. Aim for 77°F to 82°F (25°C to 27.7°C.) and you should have a thermometer in the tank to keep an eye on your values. (I prefer digital ones that show the humidity level too, but you can also get dial ones.) Although heat lamps can be used, they will dry the tank out quickly and in turn, will dry out your frog and no one wants a shrivelled frog! Heat mats are the better option. Just stick it to one end to allow your frog to move to the hotter or cooler end if they choose to. It’s really important that you connect the heat mat to a mat stat to ensure the mat stays at the correct temperature or your frog might cook!
On the other hand, should the temperature fall too low, your frog may go into brumation (hibernation). During this time, your frog will not eat and will spend their time hidden, usually burrowed in the dirt. If a juvenile frog goes into brumation, it can affect their growth. Raising the temperature should encourage them to emerge from dormancy.
Let there be light! Or not…
When it comes to Pacman frog care, they’re nocturnal so don’t need a light source. If you have live plants in the tank, some sort of light will be needed or they will die. Although you won’t need to give your froggo extra light, they will need a natural day and night cycle which should be achievable in your house (unless you live in a dark cave as that might confuse them!).
Pacman frogs make great pets and I hope this blog has helped you prepare for your new friend. If you want to read more about these critters, check out this blog about Gremlin, my Pacman frog. If you liked this Pacman Frog care sheet, please share it with your friends.