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Origins: Also called the Argentine horned frog, this guy came from Argentina originally. You probably guessed that. Most of the ones we see these days were bred in captivity – obviously the albino versions are born in captivity. The albinos would probably not survive in the wild. They would not blend in as well as the regular greens and browns and would be eaten.
Cage: Most Pac Man frogs appear on the market about the size of a quarter -- some as small as a nickel. Within half a year, they can grow to 5 or 6 inches. Give them a 10-gallon tank. Since they cannot jump very far because of their heavy weight, you will not need a cover unless you need to protect your frog from other animals – such as a cat or young child. Plastic "critter cages" make good starter cages.
Security. Provide a layer of gravel or sphagnum moss for your Pac Man to scrunch down into. They need to hide from bigger frogs and other predators as they wait for their prey to wander near.
Substrate. Same comments as above. Keep your substrate moist to keep your Pac Man moist. He breathes thru his skin. The thicker your substrate, the less you see of your Pac Man. Lighter substrate will rinse down the drain faster than heavier substrates. Clean it often.
Temperature: A small heating pad or well placed incandescent bulb will keep these guys at 80o. At this temperature, they stay more active and grow faster. Lower temps make their metabolisms slower and make them more susceptible to disease. Warm herptiles stay happier.
Temperament: Not a mixer. These guys eat anything they can swallow – even each other. Horned frogs can eat frogs nearly the same size as themselves. Do not try to keep two together -- not even the same size. The more aggressive one will eat the other.
Sexing: Immaterial when young. After a year or so, your females will grow larger. Many male frogs and toads will croak if you grasp them from behind like a potential frog lover. Try it. Male Pac Mans are supposed to croak when misted. Also look for darker arms on in the mood males.
Maximum Size. Theoretically, females can grow to 8 inches. Most males grow to about 5 inches. Most females grow to six inches.
Foods: Not real picky. If it moves, Pac Man frogs will try to eat it. If it will fit in their cavernous mouth, they will swallow it. For this reason, we prefer to use smaller gravels or sand as a substrate, since they eat gravel when eagerly grabbing their prey. They can pass the smaller gravel through their digestive system more easily. Most try to spit out any gravel accidentally ingested. Others try to scrape it out with their front feet. And remember, Pac Mans eat other Pac Mans. This can present a problem at breeding time.
Supplements: Since they grow so fast, Pac Man frogs may need a calcium supplement with vitamin D3 to help their bones grow. You can dust their crickets or earthworms. Warning: Don’t overdo the vitamins. If you feed them an occasional goldfish or small rodent, you probably don’t need supplements. Goldfish make a good food. Their bones give the frogs the calcium they need for their growing bones. Feed them a variety of foods.
Lighting: Horned frogs like to eat during the day. Full-spectrum light would be great. However, they probably don’t need it if you occasionally feed them foods with internal skeletons (fish and mice) or give them supplements.
Water: Provide enough water to keep your frog wet (or at least moist) -- most important for the little guys. Since water evaporates (about an inch per week), you'll need to replace it often. Clean it often. All that food that goes in his humongous mouth comes out the other end. Heavier substrates are easier to clean. Lighter substrates will need frequent replacement.
Furnishings: Use live or real plants to help your Pac Man frog “hide.” Vegetation helps your frog feel more secure and makes your cage look better.
Handling: Handle your Pac Man frog as little as possible. They like to bite. However, your handling bothers their skin more than their bite bothers you. Use a “frog scoop” to pick him up when you clean him.
Last Word: Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your Pac Man frog or any amphibian. You don't want any slime getting in your eyes. LA.
Josette Gijo, September 1, 2008
A: Thanks for the photos and report. I added them to my Pac Man page. LA
Same dude blending into mulyi-color gravel (like camouflage).
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