Pacman (Horned) Frog Care Sheet

Pacman Frog Care

Photo by “Mike” Michael L. Baird

Info

  • Scientific Name: Ceratophrys ornata
  • Lifespan:  7 – 10 years
  • Handling: Most pacman frogs do not like to be handled, and will try to bite. Try to avoid handling your pacman frog unless you have to.
  • Size: 4 – 6 inches
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: Pacman frogs do not do well in groups or with other frogs.
  • Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Tank Size

Pacman Frog Tank Size

Pacman Frog Tank Size

You need to make sure you have the right size tank for your Pacman frog. A tank too small can be very stressful for your frog. Use the guidelines below to help determine the best tank size for your frog:

  • 1 – 3 Inch Frogs: 10 gallon tank
  • 4+ Inch Frogs: 20 gallon long tank or larger

I highly recommend the 18x18x18 Exo-Terra terrarium for this size frog.

 

Note: A screened lid is necessary on the tank enclosure to avoid escapes.

Tank Setup

In order to keep your pacman frog healthy and happy, you should try to set up the tank as best as possible to mimic their natural environment in the wild. Use the guidelines below to help determine which items to get.

Substrate

Pacman Frog Substrate

Pacman Frog Substrate

Pacman frogs will spend most of their days buried, so you will want to get a nice soft substrate for them to burrow in like Exo Terra plantation soil or Zoo Med eco earth. Once your substrate is in place, give it a nice spray down with clean water. It might be best to soak one side of the tank a bit more than the other so that you can give your pacman frog options for burrowing.

Plants

Pacman Frog Plants

Pacman Frog Plants

Foliage helps keep your pacman frog feeling secure and comfortable. You can add fake plants like the Exo Terra Boston fern or real plants like a Pothos.  However, if you go with real plants, you’ll need to make sure that you have proper lighting for growing plants in a terrarium. You will also want to keep the live plants in a small pot because tomato frogs love to dig and will usually end up destroying the roots if they aren’t protected.

 

Don’t forget to clean out the waste weekly and to replace the substrate with fresh substrate once a month to avoid mold and other things from growing in the terrarium.

Lighting & Heating

Pacman Frog Lighting

Pacman Frog Lighting

While there is little data to show whether the use of a UVB bulb in a Pacman frog’s enclosure is beneficial or not, it may not hurt to add a UVB bulb, as it may help aid the frog in processing calcium and other beneficial vitamins. If you are using live plants in the enclosure, you will definitely want to add a UVB bulb to help your plants thrive.

 

Depending on the type of fixture you get, you may decide to go with a fluorescent bulb like the 18 inch Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 or a mini compact fluorescent bulb like the 13 Watt Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0.

 

Once you get a UVB bulb, you will then want to add a heat lamp to add additional heat if the ambient temperature is too cold (anything below 80°F). A bulb like the Exo Terra daytime heat lamp will be good. Choose the wattage based on the amount of degrees that you have to raise the tank’s temperature. The more degrees, the higher the wattage.

 

Night temperatures can reach as low as 70°F without needing a heat source. If temperatures drop below that, you may want to consider adding a night time heat lamp like a Zoo Med ceramic heat emitter.

 

Some sources may recommend getting a heat pad for underneath the tank, but it is not needed. Pacman frog’s will burrow themselves in the substrate to stay cool. If you put a heat pad under the tank, it will only warm up the substrate. This may cause your Pacman frog to spend most of its days in the water bowl to stay cool.

Temperatures

When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.

 

Pacman frog Temperature and Humidity Levels

Pacman frog Temperature and Humidity Levels

For temperature and humidity readings, you can go with a 2-in-1 digital reader like the Exo Terra digital combination thermometer/hygrometer

Day Time

An ambient temperature of 80 – 85°F.

Night Time

An ambient temperature of 70 – 75°F.

Humidity

Pacman Frog Humidity

Pacman Frog Humidity

Pacman frogs need humidity. The best way to calculate how much humidity you have in the tank is by using a hygrometer. Digital hygrometers work best. Humidity levels should be between 60 – 70%. You can reach these percentages by misting the frogs enclosure twice daily; once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. A water bowl in the enclosure also helps bring up the humidity. If the levels are still not being reached, just mist a few more times throughout the day. You can get a manual mister like the Exo Terra spray bottle or an automatic mister like the Exo Terra Monsoon RS400 Rainfall System. Be very careful not to over saturate the substrate with water. You do not want standing still water in the substrate. This will cause your substrate to rot.

 

For temperature and humidity readings, you can go with a 2-in-1 digital reader like the Exo Terra digital combination thermometer/hygrometer

Feeding & Diet

Pacman Frog Calcium

Pacman Frog Calcium

The primary diet of a pacman frog will consist mostly of live insects including: crickets, silkworms, hornworms, small roaches, night crawlers and other types of worms and insects.

 

Juveniles should be fed 5 – 7 times a week, while adult pacman frogs should be fed around 3 – 4 times a week (every other day). The amount to bed fed will vary depending on the size of your pacman frog. Never feed anything bigger than what they can handle. The rule of thumb is to make sure the feeder is smaller than the space between its eyes.

 

Pacman frogs have what are called Odontodes, which is what we consider teeth. They use their odontodes to capture their prey and this is what makes pacman frog not let go. So if you feed something large to your pacman frog, something it cannot consume; it will be very hard for your pacman frog to let go and the result might be fatal. So make sure the feeders are appropriate size.

 

The rule of thumb is to make sure the feeder is smaller than the space between its eyes.

 

Their feedings must be dusted with supplements as follows:

If you don’t like touching the insects with your hands, you can get some feeding tongs.

Hydration

For hydration, your pacman frog will use a water bowl to absorb water and to hydrate itself. Water bowls should be cleaned out and refilled daily.

 

The depth of the water should be no higher than the height of your Pacman frog’s mouth when resting.

Water that is safe to use:

  1. De-chlorinated water
  2. Tap water that has been left out for 24 hours uncovered, allowing the chlorine to evaporate
  3. Bottled water

Note: The information on this Pacman frog’s care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.

Pacman Frog Care Questions?

If you have any other questions regarding the care of a Pacman frog, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

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1 comment to Pacman (Horned) Frog Care Sheet

  • Lillian Schaeffer

    Thanks for sharing this! My son has always been fascinated by reptiles and amphibians, and he wants to get a frog. He’s set on a Pacman frog, so I want to make sure we both know how to properly care for one. This information about tank setup is really useful, and we’ll definitely make sure to follow this.

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