Many pet websites will tell you that you should have a pet frog since it only costs $5 to $70 to have one, right?
Pet frogs are more expensive and demanding than you may think:
As a general rule, a pet frog costs $70 to $330 upfront. That includes soil, a terrarium, plants, some accessories, and UVB lights. However, ongoing yearly costs for a pet frog can reach $360 to $520 per year for live food, electricity, and miscellaneous requirements.
Read until the end of the article to find out how I had a pet toad and avoided the costs and most of the problems associated with having a pet frog.
The True Cost of Having a Pet Frog
Most sites will tell you that having a pet frog is really affordable (and then invite you to click on a never-ending list of affiliate links 😉
Although we do have affiliate links on some pages on our site, this page has no affiliate links on purpose.
The reason is, you are probably in the process of deciding if a pet frog is right for you.
And we want to tell you, with the least biais as possible, that having a pet frog can be more expensive than you think.
Here are a few ongoing costs of having a pet frog you may not have considered:
|Pet Frog Costs||Cost Type||Total|
|Aquarium / Terrarium||Initial Cost||$20-$100|
|Soil||Initial Cost + Ongoing for Maintenance||$15-$50|
|UVB Lights||Initial Cost + Replacement Bulbs||$15-$30|
|Accessories (Water Bowl, etc)||Initial Cost||$5-$50|
|Live Food (Crickets)||Monthly Cost||$25-$100|
|Time to Grow / Manage Food||Priceless||Priceless|
|Total Initial Cost||$70-$330|
|Total Yearly Cost||$360-$520|
Are there some ome hidden costs you may not have thought of? Especially those ongoing expenses, they can add up quickly.
The above table breaks down the costs associated with having a pet frog depending on the species and types of accessories you decide to purchase.
Let’s dive into more details about the costs a pet frog can incur.
Buying a Pet Frog: $5 to $80
Buying a frog is actually fairly cheap, but you have to remember that the frog alone does not account for other expenses.
The following table is a breakdown of common pet frogs by species and a general idea of their cost in a pet store.
Keep in mind, however, that although getting a frog is affordable, there are many other associated costs we will discuss further on in the article.
|Pet Frog Species||Cost|
|African Dwarf Frog||$5|
|Australian Green Tree Frog||$10|
|Gray Tree Frog||$10|
|Amazon Milk Frog||$50|
|Red-Eyed Tree Frog||$60|
|Strawberry Poison Dart Frog||$80|
The cost of a frog varies per species with African Dwarf Frogs being very common pets costing around $5, Australian Green Tree Frogs about $10, Tomato Frogs around $20, Pacman Frogs around $40, and Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs around $80.
Some species are more expensive than others.
Never take a frog from the wild since this can be detrimental to its chances of survival.
Always be sure to understand the implications of caring for frogs and toads before obtaining one as a pet, notably what they can and can’t eat.
Frog Aquarium / Terrarium & Accessories: $100 to $300
The frog will need a dedicated and adapted place to live in order to survive.
Therefore, buying a pet frog will require an aquarium or terrarium that mimics its natural habitat.
This will require a number of accessories as listed below:
|Pet Frog Habitat Requirements||Cost|
|Adapted Aquarium / Terrarium / Tall Tank||$20-$100|
|Heat Lamps / Fluorescent UVB light / Bulbs||$15-$30|
|Plastic Container For Water Area||$5-$10|
|Temperature & Humidity Gauge||$10-$20|
|Several Small Hide Houses||$20-$60|
|Coconut Fiber Substrate / Adapted Soil||$15-$50|
|Amphibian Safe Live Pants||$10-$20|
|Reptile Heat Pad||$20-$50|
As a general rule, a pet frog will require an adapted terrarium, aquarium, or tall tank with a soil base, heat lamps, a water area, several hide houses, amphibian-safe live plants, and a temperature and humidity gauge which costs about $100 to $300.
A Frog’s Live Food: $25 to $100 Per Month
Pet frogs eat 5 to 7 crickets per day at about .14 cents per cricket, which comes to $20 to $30 per month to feed it.
|Pet Frog Food Type||Per Item Cost||Monthly Cost|
A caveat to the table above is that your monthly cost for food will depend on the species of frog you purchase.
Keep in mind that your pet frog should have a varied diet to get the nutrients they need. Depending on what you feed your frog, you may also need supplements.
Unless you buy online from a reliable source, you have to regularly go to the store to pick up live crickets and rodents which demands time and gas money.
Unless you are planning to start a culture within your own home, which will incur more costs (and potential headaches).
The costs we covered in this article do not consider local taxes on goods, the cost of your time to grow or pickup live food, as well as potential vet visits, ongoing soil or heat lamp changes, but you could easily tack on an extra $50 to $200 for miscellaneous things per year.
A “Free Range Frog” is Much Cheaper
When I was a kid, I had a pet toad that cost my parents absolutely nothing. I was playing in the backyard one day and found a toad inside a windowsill.
It was huge and had eaten all the bugs that came in its path. The Summer I found it, I adopted it as my “Free Range Toad.” It was my backyard outdoor “pet.”
The toad kept the window clean of bugs and cost nothing so my parents were happy.
I was happy because I got to take care of the toad and watch it grow over the Summer and learned about how it would hibernate in the Winter without taking it out of its natural habitat.
Learn more aout keeping a wild “pet” frog in this article on our blog.
Make Your Back Yard The Ideal Home For Frogs
Save money by making your yard the ideal habitat for frogs and toads!
If you would like to attract frogs to your yard create an ideal environment for them with a small pond or dedicated ground-level water feature with aquatic plants.
Having what I call a “free-range frog” is a great way to enjoy the company of local frogs while still allowing them to remain in their natural environment (CTNF).
Learn how to attract frogs to your backyard and keep them as wild pets in these articles on our blog:
- How to Naturally Attract Frogs to Your Yard
- How to Naturally Attract Toads to Your Garden
- How to Create a Frog-Friendly Pond
- How to Safely Handle Frogs
- How to Keep a Wild Pet Frog or Toad
Questions Related to How Much Pet Frogs Cost
Can You Buy A Frog? You can buy a pet frog at your local pet shop for $5 to $70 depending on the species. For example, an American Dwarf Frog generally costs $5, and a Strawberry Poison Dart Frog generally costs $80. However, due to other costs, having a pet frog is actually much more expensive.
Do They Sell Frogs at PetSmart? They do sell frogs at PetSmart and you can buy a pet frog at your local PetSmart including Green Tree Frogs for $5 and Pacman Frogs for about $30 each. However, due to other costs, having a pet frog is actually much more expensive.
How Long do Frogs Live as Pets? On average, captive frogs live 15 years which is much longer than in the wild. If you take good care of your pet frog, feed it the right foods, and maintain its environment, depending on the species it can live up to 40 years.
Do Pet Frogs Like to be Held? Frogs do not like to be handled by humans because they breathe through their skin and the oils, lotions, and dirt on human hands can irritate a frog’s skin. It is best to avoid handling a frog or to do so with clean, moist hands or gloves.
Do Frogs Stink? Frogs do not stink but if they are kept as pets and their environment is not kept clean, it may stink. To eliminate or reduce odors clean their terrarium, try a different soil, or add air purifying plants that are compatible with your pet frog.
Are Pet Frogs Legal in Australia? Native frogs are protected by law in Australia, therefore A Biodiversity Conservation License granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment is required to have one as a pet in Australia.
So be sure to talk to a qualified professional in your jurisdiction before purchasing an exotic pet frog (source).