Pacman Frogs: The Ultimate Beginners and Expert Guide.

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Pacman frogs (also known as Horned Frogs) are one of the most popular types of pet frog.

The name ‘pacman frog’ comes from the frogs appearance, as it resembles the arcade game character Pac-Man.

Both the computer game character and the frogs have a round shape and a very large mouth!

If you have a pet pacman frog that you need to care for, or if you’re thinking of getting one, then you’ve come to the right place.

This is our Ultimate Guide to Pacman Frogs, where we share everything you need to know about these fascinating pets.

Are pacman frogs good pets?

Pacman frogs make excellent pets. They don’t need much space, are easy to feed, and they have beautiful colorful bodies.

Are Pacman Frogs good for beginners?

Pacman frogs can grow to a substantial size (between 4 and 6 inches on average) and they can live for many years. It’s not uncommon for pacman frogs to reach 15 years of age, or even older if the frog regularly aestivates (enters a period of dormant sleep, like hibernation).

You’ll therefore get to see your pet frog grow over time, get to know them and their individual habits, and learn a lot as you spend many years looking after your pacman frog friend.

Because they are easy to care for, and don’t take up much room, we think pacman frogs are an excellent choice of pet for beginners.

Of course, as with any pet, you should only get a pacman frog if you are prepared to provide the necessary care for the long term. A pacman frog is for life, not just for Christmas!

“Ceratophrys . Pacman Frog” by Gianmaria M. is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Pacman frog biology

Surinam horned frogs, Argentine horned frogs and Cranwell’s horned frogs,Fantasy horned frogs are the most popular pacman’s

There are 8 different species of pacman frog, though all have a similar appearance and are found in South America.

Scientific NameCommon Name
Ceratophrys auritaBrazilian horned frog
Ceratophrys calcarata BoulengerVenezuelan horned frog
Ceratophrys cornutaSurinam horned frog
Ceratophrys cranwelli BarrioCranwell’s horned frog
Ceratophrys joazeirensisCaatinga horned frog
Ceratophrys ornataArgentine horned frog
Ceratophrys stolzmanni SteindachnerPacific horned frog
Ceratophrys testudo AnderssonEcuadorian horned frog

What do pacman frogs eat?

They need a wide variety of animals and a calcium supplement to stay healthy. Young Pacman frogs should get crickets and cockroaches at first.

When they grow older -and larger- they can also eat small rodents, but they shouldn’t get them every day due to their high-fat content.

You should give your pacman frog live prey. They are predatory animals and they won’t touch anything that’s already dead. Avoid giving him anything in the mouth, they are aggressive and may hurt you: place the prey inside their tank and wait for the frog to act.

Pacman frogs are not picky eaters and will eat many things you give them. This includes:

The amount of food to give them depends entirely on its size and the temperature of the terrarium. During cooler times of the day (or the year) you can provide your Pacman frog with a smaller prey once a week.

When it is warmer, you can feed your frogs more often, as in twice a week. Also, you should take into account that the frog needs to get the right amount of calcium with his food. 

You can give your frog calcium by giving them food that is mixed with a calcium powder once or twice a month. As for water, Give your frog a water bowl with non-chlorinated water in it.

And do not forget to mist the terrarium daily. Also, you can soak your Pacman frog in non-chlorinated water (once a week) to keep it from dehydrating.

Keep in mind that they don’t need a lot of fat. This is because frogs can’t consume fat really well and feeding him to much of it can cause disease. So even though your frogs like chicken and beef etc.. don’t do it too much.

Be sure that the animals you feed your frog are healthy. It is sad to say, but I heard several people talking about the fact that their frog died because they ate animals that were infected earlier.

If you can’t know for sure that the food you’re giving is healthy, it is better to try other food instead.

“Pacman frog “ means “Gold’s coming” or “Richness’s Coming” in Thai ” by NuCastiel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How to feed a pacman frog

The safest way to feed your frog is with the help of tongs. However, it can take a lot of practice and patience to get a frog accustomed to taking food from tongs.

If your frog eats meal-worms or waxworks, for example, you can just drop them on the substrate in front of him. else, you can try crickets.

If you have some crickets, I would start by dropping them in the tank right in front. Do this with the tongs already so that your frog can begin to associate the tongs with food!

Can they eat morio worms?

Yes, Pacman frogs are fairly easy to feed on such as mealworms, wax worms and Superworms.

Can they eat dubia roaches?

Dubia Roaches hold great nutrients and are one of the best foods for PacMan Frogs.

Will they eat dead crickets?

Pacman frogs can feed on variety of insets, crickets are no exception they can even feed on large bred crickets.

How long can a Pacman frog go without eating?

Usually its advised to feed a pacman at-least twice a week but they can go without food for almost 3 months.

Can you overfeed them?

You should avoid overfeeding them: adult Pacman frogs eat every few days or weekly, unlike their tadpole counterpart that needs a meal every day.

What do pacman frog tadpoles eat?

Tadpoles need a protein-rich diet. You can get little frog or tadpole bites at your local pet store. If you want to use a more “organic” strategy, you can use black-worms to feed your tadpoles.

Remember to give them plenty of food or they will start eating each other if they become really hungry.

Bear in mind losses to cannibalistic behavior are almost inevitable. You can only minimize the casualties when properly feeding your tadpoles.

Pacman Frog Pros and Cons:

Pacman frog care

Best terrarium material

It is always best to use glass or plastic for Pacman frog terrarium.

The most basic terrarium would be a simple plastic bin. This can be something like the 6-quart plastic storage container which I found on Amazon.

The benefits of this basic terrarium are that it is cheap, light and very easy to maintain regularly. This is also the favored method for breeders and enthusiast who are holding many Pacman frogs.

Best terrarium for pacman frogs

However, when you want to show off your Pacman frog (just like I want to do), it is best to go for a glass terrarium.

But keep in mind to go for a realistic and functional environment.

It always needs to be a terrarium where your Pacman frog can feel safe.

The Exo Terra 18″ x 18″x 18″terrarium would be a great choice to show off your frog to family, friends or other enthusiasts.

Keep in mind that you select materials that can endure humid and wet conditions. Also, be sure that you avoid using any material that could be toxic or otherwise harmful for your Pacman frog.

Recommended terrarium size

What is the recommended terrarium size for a Pacman frog?

 For small hatch-lings, you can generally use a 10-gallon sized tank, but if they get bigger, you should move to a 20-gallon terrarium.

The most recommended terrarium is the 20-gallon long starter tank. It is an all-around glass terrarium which is a good and secure setup.

Accessibility

As you may know, it is very important to have easy access to the terrarium for your frog.

Not only is it key for feeding your frog, but it is also highly recommended for cleaning and easy maintenance of the terrarium.

You can think of things like changing the water bowl, provide the frog with new plants or other maintenance that needs to be done such as changing the substrate when this is needed.

If you use a plastic container or The Aqueon Tank Black (mentioned earlier), the only way to access the terrarium is from the top. This can be a bad thing if you want your maintenance to be easy and fast.

If you want to make it easy for yourself, you can go to the Exo Terra All-Glass terrarium 12X12X12

This terrarium has swing-out doors, and this makes the accessibility for maintenance very easy.

How to set up your pacman frog terrarium

So, the first thing I did was go to Amazon, and I found what I think is an excellent terrarium for the price. The Aqueon Tank Black is a medium-sized terrarium and can be found here.

The tank has some great reviews, and it is competitively priced. In addition to that, it is focused more on the length rather than on the height, and I love that.

You can build a great landscape in here for your Pacman frog.

Eventually, it doesn’t matter which style tank you choose. You will always need the following setup in your terrarium:

  • Proper heat
  • The right humidity
  • Good lighting

Frogs are cold-blooded, they depend on a heat source such as a heat lamp to keep their circulatory system working effectively. Pacman frogs tend to live buried down in the floor and are not very active.

Pacman Vivarium Substrate Setup

A suitable substrate with a place to bury down and wait for passing by food is ideal for the frog. Because of their lifestyle, Pacman frogs don’t need a very fancy terrarium.

You can make your substrate as deep as you like, but there are some things to consider:

The ideal substrate depth would be 2 to 3 inches, but this varies when your frog gets bigger.

Thinking from a frog’s perspective, I would make the substrate deeper when the frog gets bigger.

Say you have a 1-year old Pacman frog, I think it would be best to make the substrate about 4 inches deep so that the frog can bury down easily.

Making the substrate like this can be ideal for a Pacman frog to hide and feel safe. Just like a blanket can help a scared kid to sleep at night, hiding spots in your vivarium will help your frog to feel secure.

You can make such hiding places of anything, but one of the best ways is to use live plants with broadleafs. An example of such plants is the Pothos ivy or English ivy.

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More to know about Pacman Frog’s Substrate

You can use ground coconut or potting soil to make the substrate, and the substrate needs to stay damp.

This does not mean that it needs to be soaking wet. The damp should be fine.

  • Exo Terra Forest Plume Moss

Do pacman frogs need heat mat?

Let’s look at the right temperature and lighting. This should be very straightforward.

Keep the temperature of the terrarium between 72 and 82 Fahrenheit.

the heat mat is a great option to keep the pack frogs tempertaure under control

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Do pacman frogs need light? Do they need UVB?

Give your Pacman frogs 10 to 12 hours of daylight.

Do not give them much more than that.For lighting, you can use fluorescent lights.

They do not need a heat lamp or special UVB-emitting light bulbs.

Can you hold pacman frogs?

Absolutely not; Pacman frogs have sensitive skin and do not enjoy being in grip.

Pacman frogs have teeth, hence they can make you bleed even in a simple bite, if you mistakenly stick your fingers in their mouth. you should only hold them in case of medical emergency.

20160723-DMK_3346-Edit-EditHigh Red Ornate Pacman Frog
High Red Ornate Pacman Frog” by davidkarp84 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Can you house pacman frogs together?

No its impossible , Pacman Frogs are solitary amphibians.

They’re ambush predators and don’t socialize even with other Pacman frogs.

Pacman frogs spend majority of their day in their burrows waiting for easy prey.

They eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth; even other frogs.

Breeding pacman frogs

How to breed pacman frogs

The first thing you need is a male frog and a female frog — if you get this wrong, and place two same-sex frogs together, you risk injury and even death of your frogs.

Pacman frogs (also known as horned frog) ready for breeding, if you imitate the conditions that trigger their reproduction cycle in the wild.

Usually, Pacman frogs hibernate in the winter and reproduce right after they come out of their hibernation process.

Place both frogs in a tank with a deep layer of sphagnum moss.

Pacman Vivarium Temperature and Moisture

Make sure the container is at an average temperature of 13C (or 55F) and the humidity is a little lower than their average at their terrarium.

You should place a lid on top of the container, to avoid any escapes.

Before you start your frogs’ reproduction cycle, give them plenty of food, as they’ll be in the container for 2 to 4 months. Once you place them there, they’ll dig themselves into the dirt.

Replace the lid and mist the moss every week. After at least two months, you can raise the temperature back to normal levels. The frogs will wake up and rise from their position by themselves.

If it doesn’t happen, you can remove them yourself. Either way, keep your frogs separated and feed them. Once they are fed, place them in the breeding tank.

Your breeding tank should be aquatic, but the water should be shallow enough to prevent drowning.

You should place an aquatic plant for the female to plant her eggs in there, which she’ll do in less than a week.

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Pacman frog Tadpoles Setup

After 2 days of planting eggs hatch. You’ll find yourself with hundreds of tadpoles. These tiny animals, just like their parents, are cannibalistic meat-eaters.

If left together you may suffer tadpole loses, but they should be minimal if they are well fed.

You need to change the water regularly and keep a temperature of 24C (or 75F). In a month or so, you’ll have froglets.

You need to make changes to the tanks when they turn into froglets, as they can drown easily. Add a little terrain for them to stand on.

Past this point -and before they turn into adult frogs- there’s an even bigger chance of cannibalism. You can let the froglets eat each other, or you can put them in separate containers.

The latter decision will prove most beneficial but it’s also the most time-consuming.

If you go down this route, make sure to check the containers every day and change their water daily to prevent diseases.

Pacman frog behaviour

Do pacman frogs bite?

Do Pacman frogs bite? The answer to this is: Yes Pacman frogs do bite. Pacman frogs are one of the few species that actually bite when they feel threatened and use this bite as a defense mechanism.

Fortunately, they usually don’t bite the keeper. Once a Pacman frog get used to its keeper they will relatively not bite them.

There’s also a possibility that your frog will bite when hungry. This is because when you want to give food, he or she mistakes your finger for food. The safest way to feed your frog is to do it with tongs.

Are they aggressive?

Yes. Pacman frogs, like most other frogs, will typically bite you for two reasons: If they are hungry and when they mistake your hand for food.

What happens if a frog bites you? Does it hurt?

If you’re like me, you want to find out if such a bite hurts before it ever happens. I’ve personally never been bitten by a Pacman frog and hopefully never will.

This is precisely why I asked a couple friends of mine, who have them if they’ve ever been bitten by a Pacman frog, if the bite hurts and if it draws blood when they bite.

The answer that my friends gave to me were almost always the same. They said that they have been bitten but can’t say that it was very painful. It wasn’t fun either, but the shock of being bitten was greater than the pain. 

Also good to know is the fact that it sometimes draws some blood but nothing to worry over. Most of the time the frog let’s go immediately after the bit, but the problem is that sometimes they hold on.

The problem with that is that you want to get the frog of your finger without hurting the frog. You should always avoid shaking or trying to throw it off. 

What you can do however is putting the frog under running water.

CAUTION! Do not just use tap water but make sure that you use de-chlorinated water. That usually should, and the frog will come off.

If you’ve ever been bitten by a horned frog, you know that they have teeth and a pretty powerful bite. This bite plays an important role when they try to grab and defeat their prey.

In 2017 scientists did a study with small horned frogs and found that the bite force of such a frog with a head width of about 4.5 centimeters can bite with a massive force of 30 newtons! This is about 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds). 

When they scaled this experiment where they compared head to body size with bite force showed that large horned frogs that live in the tropical lowlands of South America would have a bite force off almost 500 newtons (with a head width of 10 centimeters). No wonder that it hurts a little when they do bite you.

Related Article: Why Do Frogs Scream? (Find The Answers Inside)

Are pacman frogs loud?

This is the sound of a pacman frog croaking

My pacman frog here is actually squeaking we don’t know if it is a male or female though.

Are pacman frogs poisonous?

Although a bite can be painful (or more likely shock you a little), it isn’t at all poisonous. The only thing that you get from a bite is the pain in your finger and maybe some blood.

If there is some blood, you will do well if you would clean the wound a little with water and apply an antibiotic or petroleum jelly. But know that there is nothing poisonous about the bite. A bite of a Pacman frog is not poisonous.

Do pacman frogs have teeth?

Yes they do. they have a both vomerine and maxillary teeth that can make you bleed like hell.

Credits : The InfoVisual

Pacman frogs are not the only frogs with teeth. Most of them have teeth.

What are the 2 types of frog teeth?

Some Frogs Have Two separate types of Teeth namely Maxillary and Vomerine

The upper jaw contains Primary Maxillary and Vomerine. while Maxillary teeth in the same location as we have..

If you ever have looked inside the mouth of a frog, you might have noticed that there are some little teeth.

This is not to chew on their food because frogs don’t do that. But the teeth do have an essential role in grabbing their prey.

But not only the teeth are important, but the tongue also helps to control the prey so that it can’t escape.

The vomerine teeth are as you may have seen in the mouth of the frog, very pointy and you find them in pairs on the roof of their mouths.

What is the function of Vomerine teeth?

Vomerine teeth are vestigial teeth found in amphibians, they are small projections on top of the mouth located in the palatine region between the internal nares. They help Pacman to hold and easily swallow its prey.

Then you also have maxillary teeth. These are the teeth that are located on the top part of their jaws. You can’t see these teeth from the outside of the mouth, but when you look in the mouth, you can see them clearly.

Differences between maxillary and Vomerine teeth?

The maxillary and vomerine teeth are very similar to each other when you look at the function of the teeth. Both serve to keep their prey under control until the frog is ready to eat the prey.

Do pacman frogs shed?

How often do pacman frogs shed?
Pacman frogs sometimes shed their skin in one go either every day to once in every few weeks, depends on many factors.

You may notice your frogs skin color turning cloudy pale looking this is a clear sign it is going to shed its skin.Like any other reptiles or amphibians;

Pacman frogs shed because of following reasons.

  • They are growing faster or gaining adulthood.
  • There isn’t sufficient moisture in their substrate.They are dehydrated.
  • There isn’t enough food pacman is feeling malnutrition.

Do pacman frogs sleep? Are they nocturnal?

Pacman frogs are nocturnal amphibians (less active in daytime more at night). Males chirps and croak more at night than in the daytime.

They are basically hungry studs, and eat anything that comes their way and fits their mouth. they usually, close their eyes, but pupils are contracted in the daytime.

Pacman frog problems:

What to do if your pacman frog won’t eat?

Most of the time there is nothing wrong with its teeth.

If you have a new Pacman frog, it could just be taking a few days for him to settle in.

If he doesn’t take any crickets, you can try small roaches. Or another good thing to try is Earthworms.

These are also a favorite, and besides that, it is very nutritious.

Why My pacman frog won’t move?

If your frog or toad hardly reacts to your touch he may be sick or hurt,low humidity,

Improper temperatures, inadequate exposure of UVA/UVB can cause PacMan frog to become lethargic and lose its appetite.

My pacman frog is bloated?

Substrate eating is a serious issue with Pacman frogs when catching their prey they accidentally eat their substrate and get bloated.

How often does a Pacman frog poop?

It depends on the age and health of your frog. froglets usually poop every 24-48 hours while Adult pac-man droppings may delay for a week or two. there is nothing to worry about unless your frog is eating like he usually does.

if you find any other suspected symptions like frogs lying upside down, delay in movement, drooling, Lack of interest in food.

Frog straining to poop in the water dish etc check him up properly for any infectious diseases.

Is my Pacman frog dying?

Packman frogs at the name suggests can easily die by literally poisoning themselves out.

  • Pacman frog’s skin is very sensitive, improper or frequent handling may cause them to die.
  • They breathe through their skin it should be kept moist all the time, lower humidity levels in vivarium may cause them to form a dry cocoon like skin around itself that is the usually cause of death.
  • Damp substrate and chlorine-free water clean water is a must for pacman frogs.

A Complete Pacman Frog Care Guide Paperback

For further reading

Want to know more about Pacman Fogs? Breeding Pacman Frogs: Habitat, food & breeding cycles

Here’s an interesting article about Frogs poop? What Does Frog Poop Look Like

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Wonder How Frog & Toad Poop Looks Like?