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Obese Frog: Why & What to Do

Obesity is very common in the captive animal and pet worlds among multiple species, including frogs.

An obese animal is classified as being overweight with larger fat pads and deposits. This can lead to health and medical issues down the line and could potentially shorten the lifespan of your pet frog. 

Some people think having a chubby animal is cute.

Have you ever seen those memes with frogs with buttcheeks?

I think those are incredibly cute, but I have to look at the condition of the frog’s body to determine if it is cute or overweight. 

There can be some combatants to fighting pet obesity.

Diet and a feeding schedule are usually the first steps.

This can help prevent obesity as well.

Of course, we always recommend visiting an exotic veterinarian to evaluate your frog. 

How Can I Tell if My Frog is Overweight? 

A fast weight gain in your frog can be indicative of being overweight.

This can be measured with a scale or by feeling or looking at your pet frog.

You may be able to feel larger fat deposits as they can be “squishy” on your frog. 

Some frogs just look chubby, so it can be difficult to tell if they are at the appropriate weight.

At that point you can evaluate your feeding chart and make an informed decision. 

Weighing your frog on a schedule, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, can help track your pet frog’s progress.

Juvenile frogs should be consistently gaining weight.

Adult frogs should be maintaining weight, this means they are not losing or gaining unless advised by a veterinarian. 

Why is my Frog Overweight?

Overfeeding is the main cause of obesity in captive animals and pets.

Many animals will just eat and eat whatever is offered to them.

This can lead to overeating which leads to weight gain, just like in humans. 

An improper and unbalanced diet is a secondary leading cause for obesity.

If the frog is being fed an inappropriate diet without variety, it can lead to weight gain.

Diet should contain balanced nutrients, variety, supplements, and proper timing. 

Adult frogs live a sedentary lifestyle, meaning they do not do much.

They may hang out in one space and move around very infrequently.

With little exercise, and no need to travel large distances to find food, they can easily put on weight. 

Why Should I Be Concerned About Obesity? 

Obesity in frogs, and other captive animals and amphibians, can lead to health issues.

Fat pads and deposits can crowd internal organs and cause failure.

This shortens the lifespan of your pet and can make them uncomfortable. 

Kidney disease can be caused by excessive feeding of mouse neonates, pinkies and fuzzies, and oversupplmentntation of vitamin D3.

This can lead to failure and shut down of the organ.

Fat is necessary to have in the body, but too much fat causes issues. 

Some obese animals find it difficult or painful to move around.

They are carrying around too much on their body and movements can become hindered.

Obesity can lead to decline and potential death, so it should be taken seriously. 

What Should I Do About My Frog Being Obese?

There are a few pieces of advice we have if you know or think your frog could be obese.

What you end up doing ultimately depends on you and your frog’s condition.

These suggestions run from changing diet to visiting an exotic veterinarian. 

Supplements 

It is always good to make sure you are using the correct supplementations.

Calcium powder should be dusted on insect food items before being fed to your frog.

Vitamin D3 should be used sparingly to avoid over supplementation. 

Food items, mainly crickets, can be fed a gut-loading diet before being fed to your frog to provide your frog with even more nutrients. 

Track Weight Progress 

Use a small sized scale to track your pet’s weight.

Weight should be measured in grams to be the most accurate.

You can track weight weekly or monthly, depending on your specific concerns with your pet.

For adult frogs with no concerns you can check weight once a month or every time you deep clean their enclosure. 

Proper Husbandry 

Provide proper husbandry to ensure your frog is otherwise healthy.

Frog’s are pretty stationary, but should still be provided suitable space to move around if they choose.

Humidity and substrate should be suitable for the frog species. 

Feeding Methods 

By this I mean how you provide food to your frog.

Do you present food items in a dish? Use a pair of tongs to bring it to them? Or allow it to run free in the enclosure? 

Feeding off tongs allows you to accurately measure how much food your frog is intaking.

Allowing food to be free-released in the enclosure allows the frog to hunt, but can hide from your frog. Some food items can attempt to bite and chew on your frog. 

Feeding off a pair of tongs ensures that your frog does not ingest any substrate.

Ingesting substrates can lead to vomiting or obstruction in their gastrointestinal tracts. 

Feeding Schedule 

This depends on the age of your frog.

Froglets should be fed daily.

Subadults should be fed 2-3 times a week.

While adult frogs can be fed 2 times a week.

This is not an exact science and some tweaking can be made. 

Exotic Veterinarian 

Visiting an exotic veterinarian that is comfortable treating frogs can help come up with a weight loss program.

The doctor can also assess your frog for any other health concerns.

This can be the most important recommendation we can make to make sure your frog is healthy. 

Variety in Food Items 

Feeding a variety of different food items ensure your frogs receive a range of nutrients.

We do not recommend feeding the same food item each feeding. 

For example, I used to work with frogs that would be fed three times a week.

Each feeding they were fed a different protein item.

Below I have made a chart of potential food items and their nutritional contents. 

Food Item Main Nutritional Content 
Nightcrawler
Red wiggler
Earthworm 

Calcium 
Pinky mice
Fuzzy mice 
Fat 
Cricket Protein 
Mealworm Fat
Protein 
Mealworm beetles Protein 
Waxworm Fat 
Dubia roach Protein 

Items high in fat should be fed sparingly and in fewer numbers.

For example, you may only want to feed one pinky at a time to your frog. 

This article was written by Melissa M. who holds a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and a Master Herpetologist certificate. The article was edited and published by Daniella, Master Herpetologist in the author profile below.

Sources

Bradley, T. A., & Wright, K. (2000). Captive Care and Breeding of White’s Tree Frog, Pelodryas caerulea. Care in Captivity . 

Mariah. (2023, January 10). Feeder Insect Nutrition Facts for Reptile Keepers. ReptiFiles®. Retrieved from https://reptifiles.com/feeder-insect-nutrition-facts-chart/ 

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.