Pacman Frogs

Pacman frogs are named after the iconic video game character Pac-Man because of their large mouth and can grow up to 8 inches in size. These frogs can be found in South America and are popular pets that can live over 10 years in captivity.

Common NamePacman Frog
Other NameSouth American Horned Frogs
Scientific NameCeratophrys
LocationsSouth America
CharacteristicsRound shape and largemouths. They are usually brown, green, or shades of red, orange, and yellow. They have dark patches across their bodies. 
Origin South America
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Family Ceratophryidae
Genus Ceratophrys
Species C. aurita; C. calcarata; C. cornuta; C. cranwelli; C. joazeirensis; C. ornata; C. stolzmanni; C. testudo
Poisonous No
Maximum Length 4 – 8 inches 
Average Lifespan1 – 4 years in the wild, 6 – 10 years or longer in captivity

Otherwise known as South American Horned frogs, Pacman frogs are incredibly diverse depending on the species. All eight types of Horned Frogs have unique visual characteristics, behaviours, and living conditions. Many of the members of the Ceratophrys frog family are considered Pacman frogs, as they all boast wide smiles, round faces and pointy ridged eyes.

Pacman frogs live in various parts of South America including Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, northern South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Peru depending on the species.

Tips on How To Spot Pacman Frogs

Some species, such as the Brazilian horned frog, thrive in subtropical and tropical regions, moist lowland forests, ponds, and freshwater marshes or intermittent marshes. Other species, such as the Venezuelan Horned Frog and the Caatinga Horned Frog, thrive in dry regions such as savanna subtropical or tropical dry shrublands, grasslands, lowlands, and freshwater marshes.

Most Pacman Frogs have a base color with patches of darker colors over the body, and males usually have spots along their backs. Although all Pacman frogs are incredibly interesting, the most well known member of the Pacman Frog family is the Cranwell’s horned frog.

This species lives in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. Cranwell’s horned frog can grow to measure between 3.1 – 5.1 inches in length and weigh up to 1.1 lbs when fully mature. They are generally dark brown and green, but some albino variants exist and range in shades of orange or yellow. 

The likelihood of being able to spot them in the wild will predominantly depend on accessibility since some Pacman frog species live in hard-to-reach areas or conditions that are not exactly safe for adventuring. But, there are a few basics you’ll need to consider if you’re planning to head out in search of wild Pacman Frogs.

  • Pacman frogs are predators and often use sit-and-wait hunting strategies.
  • They hide in dirt or groundcover while waiting for prey.
  • They are most active after sundown, so you will have a better chance of searching for them at night.

Interesting Pacman Frog Facts

  • Pacman Frogs sleep with their eyelids open.
  • Pacman Frogs are carnivores and can eat small mice, large spiders and small bats.
  • Pacman Frogs can leap several body lengths to capture prey.
  • Pacman Frogs can eat prey almost half their size.
  • These frogs can eat prey larger than themselves in some cases but can choke and die from it.
  • Pacman Frogs often cannibalize other frogs.
  • Pacman Frog can be ‘explosive breeders’, being able to reproduce over the course of a single night.
  • While they are aggressive feeders, they are otherwise calm and timid creatures.
  • Female Pacman Frogs are usually larger than males.

More About Pacman Frogs

Pacman frogs are incredibly fascinating creatures, and they are certainly reminiscent of the videogame character both in appearance and behavior. These timid and calm frogs have a surprisingly strong bite, capable of snapping creatures even larger than themselves!

Check out these guides on our blog to learn more about Pacman Frogs:

Questions Related to Pacman Frog

Can You Touch a Pacman Frog? A human could technically touch a Pacman frog without becoming ill. But, they have incredibly sensitive skin and do not like to be touched or handled. Improper or excessive handling could lead to skin issues or damage. It’s best to wear gloves when handling them.

What do Pacman Frogs Sound Like? Pacman frogs emit a chirping or croaking sound. Males generally make far more noise than females.

What do Pacman Frogs Eat? Pacman frogs are carnivores, predominantly feeding on insects and small animals such as lizards, rodents and bats. Adolescent Pacman frogs usually eat bugs and worms and tadpoles feed on decaying vegetation.

Are Pacman Frogs Endangered? None of the Pacman Frog species are endangered. Since different Pacman Frog species live in various regions and habitats, they can maintain their species relatively well. However, two Pacman Frog species are slowly declining in population.

Are Pacman Frogs Poisonous? Pacman frogs are not poisonous. They would not pass on toxins through biting or through their skin. But, this doesn’t mean that they cannot cause injury to a human since all animals including Pacman Frogs can carry viral or bacterial diseases.

Do Pacman Frogs Bite? Pacman Frogs may bite but it generally does not hurt or last long. Pacman Frogs may bite to defend themselves or if they think your finger is food. To avoid being bitten, do not handle them or wave your finger infant of their face.

Do Pacman Frogs Make Good Pets? Pacman Frogs are incredibly popular as household pets, particularly the Cranwell’s species. However, they are not ideal for beginners or those with no time to care for them, as they do have some specific care requirements concerning their habitat and diet.