Pacman frogs are frogs that are of the Ceratophryinae subfamily. They have big mouths and huge abdomens and because of their appearance (looking like the video game character Pac-Man) this is how they got the nickname!
Pacman frogs are Horned frogs, they are spectactularly coloured and easy to keep as pets. They are probably the most popular species of frog kept as pets in fact. The name 'horned frog' is because they have a fleshy 'horn' over each eye.
There are six species of horned frog and they all originate from South America. However only a few are suitable for a life in captivity.
Another name for this frog is 'fantasy frog'.
They have extremely wide bodies and little short stumpy legs. Their legs are quite powerful though! They don't make very good swimmers though and do not hop well as most frogs do.
The mouth of the horned frog is as wide (well, almost!) as it's body. Because it is a powerful and aggessive creature, the horned frog (or pacman frog) will often try to catch and eat something that is of a similar size to itself! This means that in the wild, it will attempt small mammals, birds and even other frogs!
When it's space is intruded upon, the horned frog will inflate and puff out its body which makes it look bigger. They have been known when under threat to lunge forward with mouth wide open in attack. For their relatively small size, the eyes of a horned frog give it really good vision.
It can blend in very well to its surroundings because of the very variable patterning and colour. The mouth contains rather sharp, peg-like teeth. The jaws can grip like a vice! It really is a hardy little amphibian!
Once again we find that the female horned frog is larger than the male - this is common amongst most frog species. It is not possible to tell which sex a horned frog is until they mature at around 2 or 3 years old.
A similar species is the Cranwell's Horned Frog.
If you would like to keep a Pacman frog as a pet, or any horned frog, then all you need is accommodation of around 46 x 30 x 30cm. They are best kept singly. Furniture should be limited. The aquarium should contain a shallow water area and a land area made of rocks for the frog to climb out on. Make sure the water only just about half-covers the frog, not over its nostrils. Keep the temperature constant at around 25-28 degrees centigrade.
In a natural vivarium set-up then a deep substrate of gravel and leaf litter is suitable. Providing a log will also help the frog feel secure. A shallow bathing dish and average humidity is desirable.
Keep the conditions clean, cleaning say every day or two. Water should be changed every day. During cleaning put your frog in a different container. Bear in mind though that these feisty little amphibians can bite (quite painfully!)
The pacman frog has an amazing appetite and care should be taken not to over-feed it! Small frogs can take crickets, earthworms and pinkie mice and be fed 2 or 3 times a week. While they are froglets it would be a good idea to give them vitamin and calcium supplements. Adults need dead mice every 3 weeks.
These frogs are great at hiding and camouflage - it can be quite good fun to see who can spot the frog first!
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