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Keeping Frogs as pets

Updated on August 2, 2016

Keeping frogs as pets

Keeping frogs

Depending where you live and what’s available at the time when you choose to get your frog or frogs. In Australia the most commonly kept species of frogs are, White Lipped Tree Frogs, Green Tree Frogs, Magnificent Tree Frogs, Northern Green Tree Frogs and Peron’s Tree Frogs.

In South Australia, frogs do not need a permit to be able to keep them in captivity. Each state has their own permit system. So check your local Natural parks and wildlife service website to see if you need a permit to be able to keep frogs.

In a lot of pet shops, you have the choice to choose if you want to raise a group of tadpoles or if you want to skip the tadpole phase and buy a frog. From my experience raising tadpoles was a lot of fun, because they only need water treated with anti-chlorine drops or if you have ponds in your back yard that are clean, you can take water from there to be used for your tadpoles. Tree frog tadpoles need to have a water heater in with them with a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. Tadpoles of ground species of frogs like the spotted marsh frog or striped marsh frog can be warmed to 20 degrees, but they can go without. All tadpoles change faster if they are in heated water than if they were in cold water.

The largest Australian tree frog species is the White Lipped Tree Frog that can grow between 10-14 centimetres in size. Since this species is from a tropical but warm climate, they do need warmth in the cooler months if you live in the cooler parts of Australia. Provide this species with either a large water area with a water heater to warm the water or buy a heat mat that you can stick to the side of the glass vivarium but outside of the vivarium. My glass frog tank or vivarium has a heat mat that is stuck to the top left side of the vivarium and the 3 frogs living in the vivarium often are near the area where they can get warmth from the heat mat that is on the outside of the vivarium. Always have clean water in with this species, they do dry out quite fast, if they don’t have a way to moisten their skin again. This species can get quite loud in the months of September to March, where they can mate, if you provide the right size of water and mimic rainfall to get the frogs interested in mating. Laying up to 6,000 eggs in one time, can reach adult size in 8-9 months depending on how much food you give them. Since frogs mainly eat insects, insects should be fed to them 3 times per week. They can eat crickets, mealworms, wood cockroaches, and moths. If you want to feed mice to your frogs, you can but only as a treat White lipped Tree Frogs have not evolved to cope with a diet high in protein you should not feed mice or strips of meat on a regular basis as it will lead to gout, kidney damage and ultimately death. If you provide this species with the care they need, they can live 15-25 years in captivity.

Perhaps the most commonly kept species of frog in Australia is the Green Tree Frog. This species is often called dumpy frogs or white’s tree frog. The species can grow up to and over 10 centimetres in size and live 20-25 years. This species is capable of adapting to the changes of seasonal temperatures in the home. But it is best to provide your frogs some way to keep them warm during winter. This can be done by giving them a heat pad and putting it in their favourite part of the tank or vivarium. Make sure the temperature of the heat pad isn’t too warm that your frogs dry out from sitting on where the heat pad is on the outside of the viviarium. Another way to warm them is by putting a aquarium heater in their water, if you gave them a large enough area to moisten their skin. All frogs drink through their skin, so you need to provide clean fresh water every 2 days or when it starts to look dirty. Green Tree frogs can have the same diet that White Lipped Tree Frogs have. Green Tree frogs often start croaking around September, but mine actually croak sometimes in autumn and also in winter. Like other frogs, Green Tree Frogs are basically a low cost pet compared to a cat or a dog and they don’t need any attention, but you can handle them. If you handle them, please remember to wet your hands first before picking them up. They absorb everything through their skin and if you have some sort of chemical on your hands and you pick up your frog, it could be harmful or worst it could kill your frog. If your frog is less active, looks lethargic you would have to take your frog to an exotic animal vet that has had experience with frog illnesses. When you do buy your frog, it’s best to get young frogs not full grown frogs. Always make sure you are buying frogs from a pet shop or private breeder that actually looks after their frogs really well. You don’t want to spend $60 dollars on a medium sized Green Tree Frog and 6 weeks later it dies, because it has red leg or a fungal disease and wasn’t identified by a vet in time.

My personal favourite Tree Frog species is The Magnificent or Splendid Tree Frog. I’ve had the pleasure of raising this species from tadpoles to breeding sized frogs. My frogs have so much growing left they need to do, before they reach adult size. I have both males and females together. The females often eat a lot more than some of the males do. I have kept this species for 6 years now. The photograph below is what my Magnificent Tree Frog vivarium looked like when my Magnificent Tree Frogs were moved in a much larger vivarium. I feed the Magnificent Tree Frogs the same diet as I feed the other 2 species that I have written about. Magnificent Tree Frogs actually have a sac on top of their head is a poison gland. The foul tasting poison doesn’t affect humans, if you ingested it. But it deters birds or other animals if they chose to eat one. Tadpoles take anywhere from 2-4 months to change into frogs depending on the amount of food you feed them and temperature of the water. I fed all of the tadpoles of Magnificent Tree Frogs fish flakes and blood worms. Fish flakes make the water turn foul, so every second day you will need to change the water. During the tadpole stage, larger tadpoles will try and eat smaller tadpoles if they aren’t moved out of the container or small aquarium that you had them in. Magnificent Tree Frogs cost anywhere from $50 to around $80 depending on size and age, as well as how available they are in pet shops. Like all frogs, it’s quite interesting watching Magnificent Tree Frogs catch their food. Some people have fed them pinky mice or fuzzy mice to make them grow faster. I have fed mine pinky mice but they haven’t had them in over a year, because they get wood cockroaches and large crickets as food. All frogs need full spectrum UV fluorescent lighting 12-14 hours per day. The UV fluorescent globe needs to be replaced every 5 or 6 months to maintain its effectiveness. You can dust crickets once a week with calcium and vitamin powder to allow your frogs to get what they need to remain healthy. Always wash hands before and after you have handled any frogs, because like all other frog species they absorb everything through their skin.


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