How to Care for Your New Tomato Frog

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Tomato Frog Factoids

Origin

Madagascar but most are captive born

Temperature

Tropical.  75 nights, 85 days.

Size Males 3 inches.  Females 5 inches and brighter red.
Longevity  Estimated 10 years

Substrate

Moist but clean.  They show best over black.

Security

Likes to hide at first

Protection Generates a gooey slime when threatened (red warning)

Foods

Insects, fish, worms, smaller frogs, smaller mice

Breeding

Eggs, tadpoles, etc.

Threats

Loss of habitat in Madagascar

 

 


LA
"Are you looking at me?"

LA
Even half-grown tomato frogs catch your eye.

Origins:  On Madagascar, that strange island to the right of Africa, you’ll find a black-eyed red critter we call the tomato frog.  Apparently tomato frogs are losing their habitat because of deforestation.  However, these cool fist-size frogs live fairly well in proximity to humans.

LA
Not bright red but definitely red.

Color Comments:  We should call them “grocery store tomato frogs” because they’re not quite as red as home-grown tomatoes.  

LA
"Go ahead.  I dare you to bite me."

Predator Protection:  When bitten, tomato frogs exude a nasty, gooey slime that repels would-be eaters from continuing the eating process.  Their aposomatic red color supposedly telegraphs this message to potential predators.

LA
Not as friendly as Dumpies, but tomato frogs will get used to you.

 

Appeal:  It’s hard not to like a red frog – especially an easy-to-keep critter with such a pleasant personality.  Tomatoes are not as colorful as poison dart frogs but they are so much easier to keep alive.

LA
Plenty of variation in the red in your tomato frogs.

Size and Sexing:  Males grow to three inches.  Females grow to five.  If you want to sex them, the females are also redder.  There’s lots of color variation in the young ones.  But if you’ve had yours a year or so, they should be easily sexable.

LA
There are three tomato frogs in this10, but they're only half grown.

Housing:  For one tomato frog, you need a ten-gallon tank.  They need clean water and a land area.  Most frogs inhabit the shore line surrounding their home pond.  They are on the lookout for insects or other small prey that might wander within “tongue range.”  They’re also ready to leap into deeper water to escape birds and small boys.

Water:  Good old Des Moines water (220 ppm) meets their needs as long as you keep it clean.  An airstone filter will also add the extra humidity your tomato frog probably needs.  His humidity needs depend upon how you heat his tank.  If you heat with a light bulb, you definitely will have to increase his humidity level.

LA
Eight different kinds of frogs in here.  The tomato stands (or sits) out.

LA
These three tomato frogs will eat about 50 crickets at one setting (or one hopping).

Foods:  Tomato frogs slurp up crickets like a Hoover.  They remind you a bit of a toad in their eating habits.  They give a short hop, extend their gooey tongue, fall back on their butt, and swallow that tasty cricket.  They appear to be candidates for a restricted diet plan.  Be very careful mixing big frogs with little frogs.

Temperature:  We keep our tomato frogs at 75 degrees 24/7.  For best results (faster growth and breeding), bump them to 85 during the day.  You can do this most easily with a basking (humidity reducing) light bulb.  Put it on a timer.

LA

Decor:  You can keep your tomato frog over dirt, if you like messy tanks.  They show well over any colors except red, orange, and brown.  Unlike dirt, colored gravel will not get smeared all over the walls.  Then add some jungly-looking plants.

LA
Looks like a nice fat female tomato frog without much red color.

Breeding:  We haven’t bred our tomato frogs yet.  They’re too darn expensive to accumulate a herd.  You should see the standard frog amplexus, 1,000 to 1,500 floating eggs (definitely non-standard), resulting in filter-feeding tadpoles (also non-standard) for 30 to 45 days.  Do not leave the adults in there or they will eat the froglets.

 

LA
Captive-born tomato froglets about the same size as a fingernail.  Back and belly views.

Froglet Care:  We’ve had the froglets before.  They eat small crickets.  They would probably love wingless fruit flies.

LA
Looks like a potential breeder tomato frog (hopefully).

Last Word:  I do not understand why tomato frogs cost so much.  They spew as many eggs as a toad.  So we’ll plan to breed them this summer.  Maybe few tadpoles survive?  They look great over black gravel.  LA.

Alright.  Just like in the movies, here’s the outtakes:

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