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Choosing a Healthy Pet Frog

Updated on August 18, 2015

Selecting a Frog

When selecting a pet frog, you want to make sure that the frog is healthy. It is great to adopt and to want to heal a sick animal, but sometimes, it's more pain and money than it's really worth. If you have the experience and ability, then by all means, adopt a sickly frog and bring it to good health and standing. Otherwise, you want to make sure that the frog that you choose is going to be healthy.

There are many different frogs on the pet trade, the most popular being pac man frogs (horned frog), dart frogs, White's tree frog (dumpy frog), Budgett's frog, red eye green tree frog, red belly frog, and bullfrogs.

Each species will have slightly different signs of illness or health, but for the most part you can pick a health frog with the following tips.

Just remember if you feel the need to save a starving or neglected frog, you may find that you're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. And, if you already have other pet frogs, by introducing a sick frog can threaten the health of your other frogs.

Healthy Frog

  • Larger bodied frogs, like Budgett's and Pac Man frogs, should have rounded contours. They will be plump but not bloated. The legs should be lean and muscled, not like water bags.
  • For larger frogs, the body should be bilaterally symmetrical, so that the right and left sides look identical.
  • There shouldn't be any visible outline of the pelvic bones or backbone.
  • The eyes should be clear and not cloudy.
  • The edge of the lower jaw should be flush with the upper jaw. If the jaw droops, it could be a sign of metabolic bone disease.
  • Frogs that have white under-bellies should not have any capillaries visible on the belly. If the belly has a reddish tint, it could possibly indicate a bacterial infection.
  • When picked up, the frog should be active.
  • Frogs that are known for their bright colors, should show those vibrant colors. Frogs that are dull in color can indicate illness.
  • If the frog is jumping around sporadically in the cage, that's not always a good sign, especially if the frog appears to be sporadically extending its hind limbs. This could be a sign of toxic shock out syndrome, caused by dirty living environment and dirty water.
  • If the frog has a hard lump in the belly, it's possibly a sign of impaction where the frog has ingested the bedding and cannot pass it through the body.

If the enclosure that the frog is in appears dirty, with dirty water and/or dirty soil, you may want to consider a different pet store or breeder. Frogs breathe through their skin, and if the water is dirty and the substrate has poo and dead crickets lying about, then the frog is breathing that. In many cases, frogs will urinate in their water, and if the water isn't changed daily, they are just absorbing that right into their bodies; it just isn't healthy for the frog.

Common Pet Frogs


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