Many pet websites that make their income from selling you pet frog accessories will tell you that you should have a pet frog. But we have no pet frog products to sell you. So here are some reasons you may want to consider before getting a pet frog.
Frogs may not make good pets for some people due to ongoing costs, live feeding requirements, demanding tank cleaning and habitat requirements, risks to children and other pets, as well as fragile frog health. Also, frogs do not like human contact.
As a kid, I had a pet toad, but it never came inside our house. Read until the end of the article to know how what I did to avoid most of the following problems.
1. A Pet Frog is More Expensive Than You Think
A pet frog only costs $5 to $40, right? Wrong.
A pet frog can initially cost $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 and electricity.
|Pet Frog Costs||Cost Type||Total|
|Aquarium / Terrarium||Initial Cost||$20-$100|
|Accessories (Water Bowl, etc)||Initial Cost||$5-$50|
|Heat Lights||Initial Cost||$15-$30|
|Live Food (Crickets)||Monthly Cost||$25-$100|
|Total Initial Cost For a Pet Frog||$70-$330|
|Total Yearly Cost For a Pet Frog||$360-$520|
Pet frogs eat 5 to 7 crickets per day at about .14 cents per cricket, which comes to $20 to $30 per month just 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.
See our complete guide on the cost of a pet frog to learn more
2. You Have to Feed Frogs Live Food
Some sites encourage feeding frogs pellets, which is ridiculous since they are obligate carnivores that eat live, whole food in the wild. Ideal food for pet frogs includes live invertebrates like worms, small bugs like flies, potato bugs, moths, and crickets sprinkled with supplements to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals that they need.
Larger species like Bullfrogs and Pacman Frogs can also eat larger prey like small mice, and small birds. What frogs eat really depends on their life cycle stage since tadpoles do not eat the same things as adult frogs.
You will need to buy live food from a local store or grow it yourself. It’s possible to have a pet frog and a small cricket farm as feed. Either way, if you are not willing to feed your pet frog live food on a daily basis, then you may want to reconsider having a frog as a pet.
See our complete guide on what frogs eat to learn more
3. Frog Tanks Require a Rigorous Cleaning Schedule
A frog terrarium or aquarium is very demanding to maintain. You need to make sure it has all the components of the frog’s natural habitat including live plants, specific humidity, and heat levels at all times. You have to ensure their water and environment are clean and regulated daily.
If the tank gets too humid, you may have fungal growth that could make your frog sick. If it gets too hot and dry, your frog could die from dehydration. If it’s dirty, this can lead to sickness and the death of your pet. If maintaining your pet’s environment on a daily basis is too demanding, you may want to reconsider having a frog as a pet.
See our complete guide on the ideal habitat for a frog habitat to learn more
4. Frogs Have Specific Habitat Requirements
You cannot place a frog terrarium or aquarium next to a window in direct sunlight. This can cause water to evaporate or the tank to overheat. Lack of water or the correct type of water, too much heat and lack of humidity are a few things that can kill your pet frog.
A tank should be placed in a temperature-controlled room, on a stable flat surface that is inaccessible to other pets (like cats or small children). It should be in a safe place where it is not prone to get knocked over. The tank also needs to remain at the temperature and humidity recommended for the species (CTNF).
If you do not have the ideal home environment for a pet frog, you may want to reconsider buying one. It is not uncommon for frogs to escape and get lost in homes when they are kept in inappropriate environments.
5. Pet Frogs Pose Risks to Children
You may see disclaimers similar to this one on pet websites: “All animals can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.” Adults generally are aware of this, but children may not be. Although they cannot give you warts, frogs can carry salmonella on their skin.
If a child handles a pet frog and puts their hands in their eyes or mouths without washing them, they could run the risk of getting sick. It could be even more dangerous if the frog is poisonous. Some frogs also bite when being handled because they feel stressed or think your hand is food. It’s important to beware of such risks of injuries frogs pose, even if they are small animals.
Excellent hygiene is required to have a pet frog including thoroughly washing your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with a frog or its habitat since the oils on our skin can be irritating to theirs. Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet or its enclosure.
See our complete guide on how to properly handle frogs to learn more
6. Pet Frogs Pose Risks to Other Pets
If you have a cat or a dog, you definitely want to keep them far away from your pet frog. Although it can be cute to see these animals interact together, they really should not. We already discussed that frogs can carry diseases, but keep in mind that these sicknesses can also affect your pets.
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Dogs and cats are curious animals that often play with frogs or toads if they find them in the wild. They may also intentionally or unintentionally eat one. Cats or dogs may become sick, vomit, or lose their appetite if they eat a frog. Eating a frog could also be fatal to your pet if the frog carries a sickness, is sick, or poisonous.
See our complete guide on about frog predators to learn more
7. It May Be Difficult to Find a Frog-Sitter
Planning on going away on vacation for more than a few days? You will need to find someone to feed your frog and clean their tank while you are away.
A frog will probably be fine if you leave it with a clean tank, clean water, and enough food for a few days. But if you are planning on leaving for more than 48h, you will need someone to clean the tank, add fresh water and food.
If you think it’s hard finding someone to watch your cat or dog, think about how hard it will be for your frog. You will need to show the sitter how to clean the tank and care for your pet which takes extra time and effort. Some local pet stores offer these services, but they are not cheap.
This becomes even more of a problem if you are leaving for a long while, like to go to college since not all colleges allow pet frogs.
8. Frogs Do Not Like Contact With Humans
Frogs do not like contact with humans. The oils, lotions, and dirt on our hands irritate frogs’ skin. If you pick up a frog, be sure to wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after. You could also use gloves.
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Handle the frog with care by placing it on soil on your hand to simulate its natural environment. You could also wet your hands or gloves to provide the frog extra protection. Do not hold it too tight which can harm its internal organs. But overall, the less physical contact the better.
9. You Can’t Keep Them With Other Frogs
Frogs are solitary animals and if you put them together you run the risk of them eating each other. Frogs are cannibals and it’s best to avoid keeping species together.
If you already have a tank with other animals or fish and are planning on adding a frog, be cautious. Frogs generally try to eat whatever they can fit into their mouths. So if there are other fish, frogs, or pets that are smaller than them in the tank, they run the risk of becoming lunch.
See our complete guide on if frogs can get along to learn more
10. Frog Sicknesses Are Hard to Cure
Frogs can contract or carry a variety of diseases including viruses, Salmonella, Ranaviral (iridovirus) infection, Lucke frog herpesvirus (kidney cancer), Red-leg disease (bacterial septicemia), Dermosporidiosis, and Amphibian malformations (source).
Although some frog species can live up to 40 years when well kept in captivity, poorly caring for them will greatly shorten their lifespan. Common diseases, sicknesses and injuries that affect pet frogs come from lack of tank hygiene and clean water, dehydration, and fungal growth.
Pet frogs sometimes irreversibly break their legs when they are not handled correctly by their owners. Taking your pet frog to the vet may not help. There are antibiotic remedies to certain amphibian diseases, but many frog sicknesses are not curable.
See our guide on how to know if a pet frog is dying to learn more
Have a Wild Pet Frog Instead
When I was a kid, I had a pet toad that never came inside our home. It fell inside a window well and grew very large after cleaning out all the bugs that were there. The Summer I found it, he became my “Free Range” pet toad: a toad I cared for as an outdoor “pet.”
I made the window well its home by adding long sticks so it could easily climb out and roam the yard. I added a pool of water, and a bed of leaves. Having a free-range frog or toad is a better way to have them as “pets” to avoid many of the issues discussed above. This is a great way to enjoy the company of local frogs while still allowing them to live in their natural environment.
See our complete guide on how to have a wild frog as a “pet” to learn more
Check out our guides on attracting toads and frogs to a yard so you can enjoy them in their natural habitat:
- How to Keep a Wild Pet Frog or Toad
- How to Naturally Attract Frogs to Your Yard
- How to Create a Frog-Friendly Pond
- How to Safely Handle Frogs or Toads
Considerations If You Still Want to Buy a Pet Frog
If you read this article and still want to have a pet frog then be sure to check out Chewy’s website, they have great products for pets. You can learn more here on our site.
Also, check the following before buying a pet frog:
- Be sure to buy your frog from a reliable source
- Make sure its not a protected species
- Make sure the shop and tank it was kept in are clean
- Make sure the frog is in good health
- Make sure it was not living with too many other frogs
- Make sure it doesn’t have any illnesses
- Make sure it was checked by a vet before buying
- Know if you are buying a poisonous species or not
- Also, make sure to have the required licenses in your jurisdiction
For example, native frogs and amphibians are protected by law in Australia. A Biodiversity Conservation License granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment (National Parks and Wildlife Service) is required to have one as a pet (source).
So talk to a qualified professional like a pet store owner in your jurisdiction for more tailored information before purchasing a pet frog.
Questions Related to Having Frogs as Pets
Are Frogs a Good Pet? Frogs are not good indoor pets because they do not like human contact, require high aquarium maintenance, and pose risks to children and other pets. However, frogs can make excellent outdoor pets.
Should You Have a Pet Frog? You should not have a pet frog if you do not have time to clean its tank daily or if you do not want to feed your frog live food (bugs, crickets, mice, spiders). Although a pet frog can be small, it is a big responsibility.
Is it Cruel to Keep Frogs as Pets? As a general rule, frogs should not be kept as pets because it is cruel to handle them without care, to not rigorously maintain their environmental conditions (humidity, heat), and to neglect to keep their tank and water supplies clean.
Can a Frog Bite You? A frog may bite you if it believes your hand is food or if it feels threatened. Frog bites are rarely serious, however, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as they may carry Salmonella.
Do Pet Frogs Smell Bad? Pet frogs do not smell bad, but their environment (aquarium, terrarium) may smell bad if it is not maintained properly daily. To eliminate or reduce odors clean the tank, try a different soil or add air purifying plants that are compatible with your pet frog.
Do Frogs Carry Diseases? Frogs and toads often carry bacteria called Salmonella that can cause serious illness in humans and in other pets including sickness, fever, vomiting, and in rare cases death.