How Much Does it Cost to Have a Pet Frog?

Many pet websites will tell you that you should have a pet frog since it only costs $5 to $70 to have one, right? Wrong.

As a general rule, a pet frog costs $70 to $330 upfront. That includes soil, a terrarium, plants, some accessories, and heat 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

The following table breaks down the costs associated with having a pet frog depending on the species and types of accessories you decide to purchase:

Pet Frog CostsCost TypeTotal
FrogInitial Cost$5-$80
Aquarium / TerrariumInitial Cost$20-$100
SoilInitial Cost$15-$50
PlantsInitial Cost$10-$20
Heat LightsInitial Cost$15-$30
Accessories (Water Bowl, etc)Initial Cost$5-$50
Live Food (Crickets)Monthly Cost$25-$100
ElectricityMonthly Cost$5-$10
Total Initial Cost$70-$330
Total Yearly Cost$360-$520

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. 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 SpeciesCost
African Dwarf Frog$5
Australian Green Tree Frog$10
Tomato Frog$20
White Tree Frog$30
Pacman Frog$40
Red-Eyed Green Frog$60
Arrow Frog$70
Strawberry Poison Dart Frog$80

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 RequirementsCost
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. That is if you chose a smaller species because Bullfrogs and Pacman Frogs eat larger food including live spiders, mice, and birds which can cost upwards of $100 per month. 

Pet Frog Food TypePer Item CostMonthly Cost
Live Ants$0.05$50
Live Earthworms$0.07$35
Live Crickets$0.14$25
Live Waxworms$0.20$15
Frozen Mice$1.20$60

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:

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 a pet frog (source).