How to Choose Pet Frogs and other types of Amphibians
Pet frogs, salamanders, toads, and newts are all types of
amphibians. They are generally classified as types of reptiles.
There are over 4,000 species divided into three groups (anurans or
frogs, toads and treefrogs; caudatans or salamanders and newts, and
gymnophionans. They are all aquatic in nature, with some living
primarily in water and others living on land. Amphibians do not like to
be handled, making ownership more about observation, care and
constructing a proper habitat or terrarium. Handling can also
harm the amphibian by introducing infection to your pet. Frogs and
toads are amphibians that do not have tails, a feature that
differentiates them from salamanders and newts.
Any terrarium needs to mirror the amphibians natural environment. This
includes a substrate that holds moisture and a terrarium that contains
the decor and features required to maintain a healthy animal. In
general, amphibians are best kept in an acrylic container to make
cleaning easy. Unlike reptiles, outside heat is usually not required.
When it is, a heat pad can be used to heat all or part of the cage.
Lighting should be with a low level UV light (2%), without providing
too much UVB.
All of the amphibians listed below can be purchased in either Pet
online or at Reptile Expos.
We've compiled a list of the amphibians that do best in captivities and
are listed below:
The Red-footed Tortoise: does well in
captivity and is easy to care for. If one tortoise is being kept, a 55
gallon terrarium is needed. They grow to 12 to 13 inches and will
live for 30 to as many as 50 years. They require a tropical environment.
Red Footed Turtles get their name from the red scales on the front legs
The Razor-backed Musk Turtle grows to 4 to 5 inches in
length and will live to 15 years. They do well in captivity due to
their small size and easier care requirements than other turtles (less
dependent on full spectrum lighting and basking). The diet consists of
snails, crayfish, minnows, worms and insects. They can also eat
commercial turtle food.
The Razor Backed Musk Turtle is
one of the easier to care for reptile pets
Source: Vander Reptiles
Pet Frogs and Toads
Pet frogs tend to be more closely associated with aquatic environments
toads. Treefrogs stand apart in that as the name indicates, they
live around trees. Both pet frogs and toads breed in the water.
Ornate Horned Frog (PacMan Frog)
An ornate Horned Frog (also called the Pac Man Frog) isn't for the
owner looking for one of the easier to handle reptile pets. These pet
bite and will eat anything including crickets, wax worms and meal
worms. Females are approximately 5 inches in length with males a bit
shorter. The Ornate Horned Frog can live 12 years or more. They require
a 10 gallon reptile terrarium.
The Ornate Horned Frog is Known
to Bite any Handler. These popular pet frogs are also known as the
PacMan based on the
frog's unique shape
Source: Best West
For more information download this
brochure on the Ornate
Horned Frog care and diet
Oriental Fire-bellied Toad:
The Oriental Fire-Bellied toad grows to 2 to 2-1/2
inches and can live to 10 to 14 years or older. The toad requires a 10
gallon aquarium with a 50/50 ratio of water and land. The FireBelly
toad diet consists of crickets, waxworms and mealworms. These toads do
well in captivity. They require a semi-aquatic
terrarium. No outside heat source is required.
The Fire Bellied Toad adapts will to home terrariums.
Download this fact sheet on the oriental
fire belly toad
for more information.
Dumpy Treefrog (Whites tree frog)
The Dumpy tree frog grows to
4 to 5 inches and will live approximately 16 years. These frogs need
room, requiring at least a 10 gallon reptile cage. Any terrarium
requires water and floating plants. The Dumpy Treefrog secretes
chemicals from the skin, so it is important to wash hands after
handling. The frogs eat crickets, worms, cockroaches and small pinkie
mice.Any terrariums require higher levels
of humidity. The aquarium needs to be escape proof.
The Dumpy Treefrog has a jade
green colors. This pet frogs skin secretes chemicals that
can be used to treat acne and skin infections.
Source: Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure
Download this fact sheet on the Dumpy
for more information.
The Red-eyed Treefrog has big red eyes designed to
startle anyone that sees them suddenly open. This frog east mostly
insects such as crickets. Adults grow to 2 to 2.5 inches and will live
10 years or longer. They can thrive in a 20 gallon reptile terrarium
can hold 2 to 4 adult frogs. The aquarium should contain a pond or
waterfall. Like other frogs, the Red Eyed Treefrog eats insects such as
crickets and wax worms.
The Red Eyed Tree Frog is easily
recognized by its' big red eyes
The Green Treefrog grows to 2.5 inches and can
live for 6 or more years in captivity. These pet frogs will do well in
gallon or larger aquarium. They thrive in a humid environment that
contains strong plants that provide places to hide. They eat crickets
worms and other insects. The terrarium should include branches for
The Green TreeFrog is nocturnal
and likes to climb
Download a helpful fact and Green
Treefrog care sheet
Dwarf Underwater Frog (African Dwarf Frog)
Underwater Frog is unique in that it can live under water without ever
coming onto land. They grow to 2.5 inches and live up to 5 years
in captivity. The diet consists of bloodworms, sinking fish food
pellets and fresh or frozen brine shrimp. They require a 10 gallon or
larger aquarium, but could live in a smaller enclosure such as a 5
gallon aquarium. They prefer shallow areas.
The dwarf underwater frog will
escape to land if given the chance to escape from a terrarium
For more information,
download this dwarf
sheet from Petco (PDF Download)
Pet Salamanders and
Salamanders and Newts are similar in terms of general characteristics.
Newts tend to rely more on water than salamanders. Many differences are
in the reproduction cycle. Salamanders require more land area in any
enclosures. To retain humidity, wild damp moss is used as a substrate
(floor covering). A water area or dish needs to be large enough for the
salamander to become completely submerged. Water needs to be
dechlorinated. During breeding season some species require a completely
aquatic environment as noted below.
The Axolotl is an endangered species. They live
completely in waters that are heavily vegetated. Tadpoles start life in
the water. These reptiles are
predators and will eat anything smaller in the aquarium. They will eat
the limbs of other Axolotls, so be sure to only put one in a
tank. Limbs do grow back. These salamanders are carnivorous and
eat crickets, bloodworms, earthworms, and lean meat. They will
also eat small fish pellets. The Axolotl requires a 20 gallon tank
located out of direct sunlight. The Axolotl will grow to 7 to 9
inches and can live from 10 to 20 years in captivity.
The Axolotl is one of the few
Salamanders Kept as Pets
Source: Wikimedia, Sahaquiel9102
For more information, download this
brochure on Axolotl
from Best West (PDF Download).
Japanese Fire-bellied Newt
The Japanese Fire-Bellied newt
grows to 4 to 5 inches and can live from 15 to 25 years in captivity. A
10 gallon aquarium can hold 1 or more newts comfortably. The newt
requires a semi-aquatic aquarium that includes plants as it is almost
100% aquatic. The newt diet
consists of pelleted fish and worms. This newt lives in cold water and
feeds on insects and worms. They will also eat fish eggs, salamanders
and their own eggs. The fire-bellied newt is very active and easy
to care for in captivity. The newt spends most of its time in the
The Japanese Fire-bellied Newt if often purchased in Tropical Fish
For more information, download this brochure on Newt
Eastern Newts grow to 3 inches in length and
can live for 20 years. They can live in a 10 gallon aquarium without
any added heat.
The Eastern Newts Do Well in
Source: Wikimedia, Chris M
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