Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beginner’s Guide to a Happy Frog, by Dr. Cook

Did You Know?
  • There are over 4600 species of amphibians: 4100 of these species are frogs.
  • Frogs are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
  • Frogs can live in a huge variety of habitats: from lakes to rain forests to almost any backyard. Some species can even survive in the desert.
  • Amphibian bodies need a lot of water to function but they don’t actively drink. They get the moisture they need through their skin.
  • Frogs can breathe through their skin.
Frogs in Captivity

Basic Frog Care:

WATER: All frogs require the presence of fresh water, or at least dampness. Pay very careful attention to water quality in your tank. Keep water very clean and check pH often. Aquatic species should have at least two water filter devices.

REFUGE: Providing some sort of a “hiding place” is ideal. This can be plants, rocks or other objects. Live plants are good, but make sure they are not toxic to your particular species of frog.

TEMPERATURE: Frogs can’t regulate their own body temperature, which means that their body temperature depends on their environment. The proper temperature of the enclosure will vary due to species.

FEEDING: Different species will eat different things. Most frogs eat live small invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, or spiders. The larger frogs may eat small vertebrates such as young rodents are newly hatched baby birds. Some frogs may even eat other frogs. Most live foods can be obtained from pet shops.

HOUSING: Housing must be secure! Make sure your frog can’t escape, because a frog can’t survive long once outside of the enclosure. Select an enclosure that is appropriate for the species you have. There are many different types of environments for frogs:
  1. Aquatic (mostly water) 
  2. Semi- aquatic (half water/half land)  
  3. Terrestrial (all land with some kind of water dish) 
  4. Arboreal (tall tanks full of plants or branches for climbing species).
Purchasing a Frog:

There are many places you can acquire a frog. Before you get one, be sure you do you research first. Certain species can be very time consuming, expensive or difficult to care for.

Choosing a Frog:

• It is best to start with a frog that is hardy and relatively low-maintenance. You can upgrade later with experience.

• Avoid rare or endangered species.

• Good starter frogs include:
  • Fire-bellied Toads: these small semi-aquatic frogs (2-4 inches) are relatively cheap and hardy and will eat almost any insect small enough for them to swallow.
  • True Toads: such as the American Toad, the Southern Toad and Woodhouse’s Toad are inexpensive, easy to find, and very hardy. Most are terrestrial and easy to feed.
  • White’s Tree Frogs: This small exotic tree frog is widely available and easy to care for. When stressed, it can extrude a toxin from its skin that should not be handled with bare hands. 
Written by Dr. Cook

Read more or contact Dr. Cook: 
Jennifer Cook, DVM DABVP
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Knoxville, Tennessee
drcook@lapoflove.com  |  www.lapoflove.com
Click here for Dr. Cook's Biography

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