Named after the classic arcade game character, Pacman frogs earned their name due to their round body, enormous mouth and ravenous eating habits. Pacman frog care is easy because these animals are hardy. They are readily available and make great pets. Read on to learn more about how to care for and enjoy these magnificent creatures.
Get to Know the Pacman Frog
Pacman frogs are nocturnal, terrestrial amphibians and are indigenous to the rainforests of South America. They spend much of their time sitting on the forest floor, and the Pacman frog diet consists of anything that moves near them. Pretty much any prey that walks by will be eaten immediately.
Pacman frogs have very round, plump bodies and are usually green with red and brown spots. They have been bred in a variety of different colors as well, but shades of green are most common for their natural habitat. Like other types of frogs, Pacman frogs have sensitive skin, so try not to handle them more than necessary. Pacman frogs do have teeth and can pack a powerful, blood-drawing bite if upset. That being said, they are low-maintenance and make great pets for owners who like to observe instead of interact with them.
Fun Facts About Pacman Frogs
Here are some interesting tidbits about Pacman frogs.
- Pacman frogs are one of the only types of frogs that have teeth.
- When their habitat is dry, or they can't find sufficient food sources, the Pacman frog's outer skin will turn tough and dry. This keeps their inner skin moist, and once rehydrated, they will shed and eat the old layer.
- Pacman frogs shouldn't be housed with others, as they may try to eat anything alive in their habitat, including fellow frogs.
Average Size and Life Expectancy of a Pacman Frog
Baby Pacman frogs are as small as quarters and reach their full-grown size after a year. Adult female frogs are bigger than adult male frogs. Females typically range from 4 to 7 inches long, and males vary from 2 to 4 inches long. Due to their circular shape, Pacman frogs are about the same width as they are long. With the proper care, Pacman frogs will live up to 15 years in captivity.
Housing Your Pacman Frog
In their natural habitat, Pacman frogs spend the most considerable extent of their time buried in the mud or in moist leaves – with only their eyes sticking out. This is how they sit and wait for prey to come along. In captivity, they will do the same, so it's not necessary to purchase a large enclosure. A 10-gallon aquarium or terrarium with a screen top for air circulation will be perfect for adult Pacman frog care. When it is still a baby, you can keep your frog in a small plastic reptile holder. As adults, Pacman frogs are solitary creatures and are best housed individually so they don’t fight.
Pacman frogs like to have areas where they can hide in their terrarium. They will use them as safe places to sleep during the day or regions to retreat to when they feel threatened. For a simple and humid hiding spot, consider making a special area out of a small cardboard box filled with moist moss. Other hiding accessories include logs, bamboo tubes and reptile tunnels. It can also be very beneficial to add live plants, such as Pothos plants, to your terrarium to provide hiding spots and increase humidity.
Substrate for your Pacman Frog
Since Pacman frogs love to burrow, you will want to pick a substrate that is easy for them to get underneath. Ground coconut, called Coir, or bark both make excellent substrates for burrowing. You can also use leaves, moss and live plants.
The substrate should be two to three inches deep and damp at all times, but not soaking. Mist it daily with fresh, clean water from a spray bottle to keep the humidity levels up.
Temperature for Pacman Frogs
The optimal temperature level for Pacman frogs is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the day. At night, temperatures can range from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the frogs get too warm, they will burrow in the cold, moist substrate to regulate their temperatures.
To supply heat to the terrarium, use an under-tank heater because overhead bulbs can quickly dry out the Pacman frog’s sensitive skin. You will want to have two thermometers in the frog’s habitat, one to measure the heat near the heater and another on the far side of the terrarium to make sure there is also a cool area. For proper Pacman frog care, you need to have both warm and cold regions in the terrarium, so the frog can regulate its temperature properly.
Pacman Frog Lighting
Pacman frogs are nocturnal; they are very active at night and sleep during the day. A fluorescent UVB light fixture is perfect for providing your Pacman frog with a 12-hour cycle of light during the day to mimic the sunlight. This will help the frogs know what time of day it is so they can regulate their sleeping and eating schedules. It will also provide them vitamin D3, an essential vitamin for the frog's energy.
Humidity for Pacman Frogs
Pacman frogs enjoy humidity levels from around 50 percent to upwards of 80 percent. If there is not enough humidity, the frogs can develop respiratory infections. The most reliable way to provide moisture for your Pacman frog is to reproduce a short evening rainstorm by misting the terrarium with fresh, clean water from a spray bottle.
The humidity should dry out a bit before the morning because if the terrarium is too moist, it can harbor dangerous bacteria. If the terrarium is still very damp in the morning, you know you've sprayed too much. You may want to think about an automated rainfall system, this will keep the humidity levels steady and also water the foliage at the same time.
Pacman Frog Diet
Obviously a major aspect of proper Pacman frog care is knowing how, when and what to feed these amphibians. Understanding the Pacman frog diet and its eating habits will go a long way toward raising and caring for a healthy and interesting pet.
Water for Pacman Frogs
Keep a water bowl in the terrarium for your Pacman frog to drink as needed. It is vital that the container you use is shallow, as the frog may want to take a dip, and they are not very strong swimmers. You will notice that some frogs will hang out in the water dish for extended amounts of time, so it is beneficial to place some plants around the dish to make it into a pleasant and protected spot for them. Also, keep the water dish on the warmer side of the terrarium, so the water doesn’t get too cold for the frog.
What Do Pacman Frogs Eat?
Known for their extremely ferocious appetite, Pacman frogs like a diet rich in juicy insects. You can feed them crickets and Dubia roaches as their primary staple. For snacks, you can factor in mealworms, wax worms, small fish and mice. The bugs should be gut loaded before you feed them to the Pacman frog. Gut loading involves feeding the insects a diet abundant in vitamins and minerals at least 24-hours before serving them to the frog. By doing so, you will pass along the nutritious diet of the insects to the frog.
If your Pacman frog is too cold, it will refuse food because its body will go into brumation, a reptile’s way of hibernating that occurs naturally in the wild during cold winter months. You can ease the frog out of brumation by raising the temperature inside the terrarium.
Don't Let Pacman Frogs Eat Too Much
Your Pacman frog should be somewhat round, but if it is beginning to look abnormally fat and large, you may need to cut back on its feeding. Pacman frogs will naturally overeat to compensate for winter months when food is harder to come by. Of course, you will be feeding your frog year-around, so no need for your domestic Pacman to overindulge. A Pacman frog diet for a juvenile frog should include crickets or other insects once a day. As they grow to adults, include mice or feeder fish every couple days.
Enjoy Owning and Caring for Your Pacman Frog
Pacman frogs are super fun to own as pets as long as you don’t mind not being able to physically play with them. Just like the video game character Pac-Mac, these frogs eat just about anything that walks in front of them. You will surely be entertained by watching them quickly emerge from hiding in the mud to quickly snatch up an insect. Good Pacman frog care will allow you to enjoy these creatures for many years.
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