Horned or Pacman frogs are large and sedentary frog species from the tropical grasslands and marshes of South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay). For most of the year natural conditions are warm and humid but in the Autumn and Winter conditions become cooler and drier. Horned frogs go dormant during this time. Horned frogs do not climb and spend almost all of their time partially buried in the substrate. Branches are not necessary although you can add some for aesthetic purposes. Try to keep the floor of the terrarium as open as possible so your frog can utilize the space. You can provide your frog with security by using bushy plants such as ferns, philodendron, or pothos to which they can retreat to escape light and heat.
Leap Habitat Size
Horned frogs are primarily insectivores, meaning they only eat insects. Feeding your pet frog as wide a variety of insect prey as possible is best. Feeding your horned frog a variety of food is easy compared to most pets as they will eat almost anything that they are able to fit in their very large mouths! Suitable feeders include: crickets, roaches, mealworms, superworms, silkworms, earthworms, black soldier fly larvae, and even small mice! Your feeder insects should be fed with a high quality calcium rich diet to “gutload” them and make them more nutritious for your pet frog. Feeder insects should also be lightly dusted with a pure calcium supplement at almost every feeding. The feeders should also be dusted with a multivitamin supplement every week or every other week. Feed your frog during the day when it is active so it receives the benefits of the supplement powder before the insects remove the powder from themselves. Juveniles can be fed everyday or every other day and adults two times a week. The number of insects will vary greatly depending on the type of insect and the age of your frog. In general feed as many insects as your frog will eat in five minutes. Obesity can be a problem for adult horned frogs so be mindful of your frogs appearance. They should appear full and round but not bloated.
Horned frogs are generally nocturnal, or awake during the night. However, their head is often exposed day and night and they will usually eat regardless of the time of day. They do experience seasonal variation in lighting in their natural habitat and that should be replicated in your home. We recommend that your Leap LED lighting is on for 14 hours a day in the summer, 12 hours a day in the spring and fall, and 10 hours a day in the winter.
The necessary duration of UV lighting is still being researched and UV certainly isn’t at peak levels throughout the day. At this time we recommend that the UV light is on for four to six hours a day around midday.
In general horned frogs thrive at most home temperatures. Too hot can be just as dangerous as too cold. It is still beneficial to provide all pet reptiles and amphibians with choice. Some parts of the enclosure can be more exposed and warmer, in the low 80s F. Other parts of the habitat can be in the mid 70s and the “cool” side should be in the low 70s. A dedicated heat bulb is often not necessary for this species but if extra heat is needed a low wattage halogen bulb can be used as this is our best current technology at replicating the natural heating benefits of the sun. We recommend that your heat bulb should be on for approximately four to six hours a day around midday. Temperatures can drop into the high 60s or low 70s at night.
Horned frogs will utilize a shallow water bowl for hydration as well as absorbing water from droplets that have collected on the leaves of plants. Horned frogs will experience a wet and a dry season in nature. For half to three quarters of the year you should use your Leap misting system for longer durations and for the other half of the year less so. It’s hard to approximate a rain schedule as everyone’s home conditions are different. In general a rain just before lights out and immediately after lights on is a good place to start. You may need to mist during the day as well if your habitat is drying out excessively. Only non-chlorinated water should be used. RO (reverse osmosis) water is ideal but tap water that has been conditioned using a product such as Amquel can be used.
During the wet season horned frogs should be provided with a daytime humidity of 70-80% during the day and 80-100% at night. During the dry season a daytime humidity of 60-70% is appropriate with an increase to 80-90% at night. This can be most easily accomplished by fogging for an extended period at night but not during the day. If you are having difficulty maintaining humidity levels some of the screen top can be covered with a piece of plastic or glass. Be mindful of the fact that glass or plastic blocks UV light and that constant stagnation isn’t healthy for your frog or habitat.
Horned frogs should be considered primarily display animals more than pets to handle frequently. However, they are sturdy frogs that can be handled occasionally. They have moist delicate skin so care should be taken in that regard. If you need to handle your frog you should wash your hands thoroughly so that no soap or lotions are present on your skin. Ideally non chlorinated water should be used. When in doubt you can handle your frog with nitrile or latex gloves. Do not forcibly restrain your frog unless absolutely necessary. Allow it to climb onto your hand and then place one hand in front of the other as it crawls. Keep your frog close to a surface like a table or the floor in case it leaves your hands. You don’t want your frog to fall far. Remember, even a foot off the ground is a considerable height to a small frog. Your frog is fully capable of jumping so be prepared! Any handling done by children should be supervised by an adult.
Beginner. Horned frogs make some of the best pet amphibians. They can live to ten to fifteen years, are extremely hardy, and are relatively easy to keep.