March 20th is World Frog Day! It’s also International Astrology Day and National Ravioli Day. While stars and ravioli are definitely two things worth celebrating, I’ll focus on the frogs. Frogs will probably never be very popular, unless someone figures out how to turn them into princes. However, they can make pretty cute little pets. As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I go over some frog care basics below.
Choose A Beginner Breed
Frogs vary widely in their care needs. While some are quite hardy, others are very fragile and need experienced caregivers. Some good beginner frogs include the African dwarf frog; White’s tree frog; Bumble bee toads; and Oriental fire-bellied toads. Do plenty of research before deciding, and ask your veterinarian for specific care tips.
Frog habitats are not one-size-fits-all. Aquatic frogs, as the name suggests, spend most of their time in water, and need tanks that offer lots of swimming space. Tree frogs, on the other hand, need more vertical space. Choose your frog before getting your enclosure set up. As for substrate, you can use paper towels, topsoil, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, or peat moss. Avoid gravel and pebbles, as some frogs will ingest them, which can be dangerous.
Believe it or not, frogs can get bored. These guys don’t need catnip mice or chew toys: their environments should instead provide enrichment by offering places to explore. Many frogs enjoy having little hides to retreat to. This is something you can make out of a flowerpot or similar item. You can also add fake or real plants, rocks, logs, driftwood, and other features.
Just like any other pet, frogs are susceptible to illness and injury. Watch for signs of sickness. These include reduced appetite, red or discolored skin, cloacal prolapse, disproportionate or malformed jaws, lesions, lethargy, and trouble jumping and/or catching prey. Contact your veterinarian right away if you notice anything amiss.
It probably isn’t much of a surprise to learn that frogs eat insects. Live ones. (This is also something to consider before adopting one.) Some froggy favorites include black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, earthworms, redworms, Dubia roaches, and crickets. Always wash your hands thoroughly both before and after handling your ‘hoppy’ pet: frogs can carry dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella.
As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I am happy to offer frog care advice. Contact me anytime!