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Pet Frogs & Amphibians: What You Need to Know

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Frogs, toads and other amphibians aren’t the most popular reptiles that people keep as pets, but they are still fairly common. But, are they the right choice for you?

So Many Choices

When you are trying to narrow down what reptile pet is right for you, the vast amount of different species can be a bit overwhelming. Even when you do start to narrow it down to a specific category, such as lizards or amphibians, you still have some hard yet fun choices to make.

In this rather broad category, the first choice is pretty obvious. Do you want a frog or a toad that spend a fair amount of time both in and out of water, or do you want a pet that spends all of its time in the water, like an axolotl?

Frog vs. Toad

There is a lot of confusion in the general public about what is a frog and what is a a toad. First and foremost, they are both amphibians and are both in the Anura order of the animal kingdom. That is because toads are actually a subset of frogs.

That means that all toads are actually frogs but not all frogs are toads. Many people still like to separate them though as it makes it easier when discussing generalities shared between most toads and those shared between non-toad frogs.

Generally speaking , frogs tend to have these characteristics:

  • longer legs
  • smooth moist or slimy skin
  • spend most of the time in or in close proximity to a body of water

Toads tend to be a little different:

  • shorter stubbiet legs
  • dry rough or bumpy skin
  • tend to venture farther from bodies of water, but still like moist environments

The way they lay their eggs is usually different too as toads lay them in strands while frogs lay them in clusters or bunches.

Other Popular Pet Amphibians

Aside from frogs and toads, there are other amphibians that people like to keep as pets. For example, axolotls (technically a salamander) have grown in popularity over the last few years and other salamanders and newts have always been fairly common options.

Some of them are:

  • tiger salamander
  • Eastern newt
  • fire belly newt
  • spotted salamander
  • axlotl

Regardless of what frog, toad, or amphibian you choose, you need to do you research and homework. Having a strong understanding about what you are getting into is going to greatly increase your chances of providing proper husbandry for your new pet.

Prepare Your Enclosure

The specific species you decide to buy is going determine the type of enclosure you need. For frogs and other amphibians, you have three basic setups.

  • land tank (terrestrial)
  • semi-aquatic
  • aquatic

If you opt for a land dwelling salamander, you’ll most likely need a land tank setup. You will still need a water source and a way to keep the humidity in the right range, which can take a few weeks to dial in before you make your purchase. So, planning is essential.

Semi-aquatic tanks fit species that like to spend some time on land to bask and warm up their blood, but also like to spend time in the water. They can be the most fun type of tank to set up as you can get very creative. But, they can also be the most difficult as getting both the wet and dry areas to work together can be frustrating.

Lastly, fully aquatic tanks are pretty similar to what you would need for a fish. They are slightly different depending on what species you need, but the gist is that your new pet will spend all of its tie in the water. You won’t really have to dial in the humidity, but you will have to worry about water temperature and waste management.

Handle or No-handle?

Another thing to consider before making your choice is whether or not you want a pet you can handle. Some frogs and toads are OK with some light handling, and you can even get away with handling newts and salamanders briefly for the sake of moving them to a temporary enclosure. But, for the most part these are not the best pets for handling.

If you want a reptile that you can handle often, you should consider another type.

Common Amphibian Questions

The questions below are rather general, so it’s always advised to double check the specifics for the species you decide to purchase. But, they can give you an idea of what to expect if you choose a per amphibian.

What do you feed a pet frog?

Most pet frogs will eat insects like crickets and mealworms. Always check to see what your specific frog or toad species prefers, and try to vary their diet so they aren’t eating only one type of food.

What do I feed my pet toad?

Like frogs, toads love insects. You’ll want to check on your specific species, and like with frogs, try to vary their diets so they get all the nutrients they need.

What is a good amphibian pet?

Though not for beginners, axolotls are gaining a lot of popularity.

If you have any other questions about purchasing your first amphibian, please let us know.

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