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Question 1/6/06

I recently purchased a Pac Man frog. At the pet store he was in a very small, plastic critter container (the small size you could use to house crickets in). However, I moved him into a 10 gallon so I couild provide him with all he needs (shallow, wide water bowl, lots of moss and forest floor substrate, a small live plant, heating pad and uv ligth etc.) So far he has not eaten anything, but I know he ate well at the Pet shop. Do they generally feel more secure in smaller containers? Or is that a bad idea b/c I couldnt fit the water bowl, etc. in there? should I put him in the container to feed him or leave him be? I've heard it could be dangerous if they swallow the subsrate when eating. Any general ideas for feeding problems?



Answer 1/6/06

Not knowing everything about your issue and not being a veterinarian - take a look at the care page for horned frogs. It can be that your pet is sick - a possibility but not necessarily the answer.

Amphibians and reptiles need correct temperatures - too cold and they will not eat and become inactive and any food in their digestive track could actually start to rot!! Too hot and they can become inactive. Check your temperature - your heating pad can be too little or too much

Amphibians and reptiles also like stability - is the light cycle consistant - roughly 12 hour days. Also be careful that the light is not too much - is there shade for your pet?

Is there water enough for your pet to submerge itself and keep its skin moist? Is the water clean and free from chemicals (even city water chlorine)

Try different foods - crickets, worms, goldfish, mealworms etc.

Do not rule out parasites.

Yes - substrate can be harmful. For my reptile/amphibians I use the new calcium substrates they are supposed to be able to eat (I try to not let them swallow even this)

Also, one last issue, when was the last time your pet ate? They can go over a week easy and I mean EASY between meals.

Please let me know how things work out. Keeping reptiles is a great hobby. We have kept all manner of reptiles and amphibians in my house for over 30 years. I have passed on your email to my son who is currently enrolled in Cornell Veterinary school. If he can think of anything else, I will have him email you.

Good luck,


Question 1/9/06

Thank you so much for your lengthy and helpful response!! I was really taken back by the fact that you not only answered my question in full but also e-malied your son, very nice of you! My pac-man frog is doing great thus far! I think he just needed time to get used to his new home. Not to mention, I was unable to get him a heat lamp until a few days after his arrival, so i know he couldn't have been warm enough with just the pad and UV light. I have an electric thermometer and ceramic heat coil hooked up to a dimmer swith, so i can get precise temps. I also spray the tank everyday (since the heat lamp really dries things up). He is very small still, about silver dollar size. I have a shallow ramp bowl in the tank, but he never goes over to it to drink or soak. In fact, he hardly movew much at all, but he does eat very well (as long as the food comes right to him, haha)  Is he able to drink from the water I spray on him? i dust the crickets with calcium dust, because i read about bone problems with these guys, does he need vitamins as well, even if I feed him a variety of food (goldfish, crickets, mealworms, etc.?

If you have time to answer that would be great! I really appreciate your advice!

Thanks a bunch!!


Answer 1/9/06


Your very welcome.  My father actually forwarded me an email you sent him which said he was about silver dollar size.  I would go with about 4-6 dusted crickets daily - or better yet, gut loaded  (make sure there is food in the cage for the tank so the uneaten crickets don't try to munch on your frog).  Fish shouldn't be a staple diet at this size but definitely offer them if he is interested probably using tongs at first and if he isn't too hungry let them in the water (again size appropriate because you don't want a gold fish trying to hunt your frog - this normally doesn't happen but just to be on the safe side).  I was also able to round up some more information for you that you  may find helpful....
Periodically during the year, your frog may go into a period of partial hibernation. During this period they will neither eat nor drink. They will not stay in their water bowl but instead bury themselves as much as possible beneath the foliage and substrate. Instead of shedding their skin, they retain it. It will harden up, giving your frog the appearance of being encased in plastic. Between this protective skin layer and the frog will be a thin layer of moisture; your frog will actually be taking in oxygen through his skin rather than breathing through its plugged nostrils. Do not disturb your frog when it is in this state. Estivation is done when the temperature becomes too hot or too cold for the animal's comfort. With ornates, it also happens for reasons we don't know about! Just keep the frog covered with his plant materials, keep fresh water in its bowl, and, as long as it is not losing any body mass, be patient. Eventually, when the ornate feels it is time, it will begin softening and shedding it protective covering, hop into its water, and be ready for a meal. Also, please make sure you mist the tank - it does not need to be wet, as I mentioned above they can breathe through their skin. Yes, you can add vitamin mix - maybe once or twice a week.

extremely good books I recommend too are...

The General Care and Maintenance of Horned Frogs, Philippe de Vosjoli (1990). Lakeside CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.


Keeping and Breeding Amphibians, by Chris Mattison (1992). NY: Sterling Publishing Inc.

Best of luck and keep in touch; we'd love to hear about your progress and even see pictures! Also keep checking back to we are updating everyday!

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine


Terrarium Heaters
Terrarium Heaters
Ideal for humid or rainforest terrariums For under tank or tank wall mounting Conductive heat source for reptiles, arachnids and amphibians Helps in thermo-regulating, important for metabolism, digestion, appetite and activity. Safe, even heat distribution. The Rainforest substrate heater simulates a heated forest floor of tropical areas. The sun is often blocked by trees and clear skies are alternated by cloudy conditions in tropical areas or rainforests. Heavy rainfall keeps the soil often moist what results in a high air humidity, especially when the sun breaks through the clouds and heats up the moist soil. Because of the climatological conditions, the soil or substrate never heat up to the extreme like in desert environments. The power of the Heat Wave Rainforest substrate heater is designed to create these conditions in the terrarium. Perfect for bottom dwellers when mounted under the terrarium. Perfect for tree bottom reptiles when mounted on the back or the sides of the terrarium.
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