Pacman Frog as a Pet

Pacman frogs are large frogs with a round body, big mouth and an aggressive attitude. They have a yellowish skin tone and are available in a variety of beautiful patterns. They are also known as ornate horned frogs or South American horned frogs, and are available all over South America.

If proper care is given to these amphibians, they can become very good pets. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know before finally getting your own pacman frog.

hand holding a horned frog

Things You Need to Know

There are plenty of things you need to consider before buying a pacman frog. These things include how to house the frog, what to feed, when to do the cleaning, and so on. In any case, you have to be very responsible about taking care of it, if you are actually interested in getting one.

Given below are all the necessary things that you need to know before getting a pacman frog as a pet.



An average pacman frog can live up to 10 to 15 years, which obviously means that it is a long commitment. If you are not really responsible and cannot take care of the frog for such a long time, then it is recommended that you do not get it at all.


Pacman frogs are relatively large, but not really that big. You can easily keep them in any corner of your house, provided that proper housing measures have been taken. In any case, female pacman frogs grow larger than the male ones. At maturity, a female can grow up to 7 inches long and 7 inches wide, while the male can only grow up to 4 inches.


A proper housing arrangement is very necessary for a pacman frog to live comfortably. A 10 to 20 gallon terrarium with a tight fitting screened lid is recommended for this purpose. However, make sure that you keep only one pacman frog per tank, as they are cannibals in nature.

You will need to line the bottom of the tank with approximately 2 to 4 inches of substrate, so that your pet frog can comfortably burrow. For substrate, you can use coconut fibre, bark bedding, sphagnum moss, or peat moss.

Pacman frogs spend most of their time hiding and waiting for their prey to pass by. They remain inactive for a long time buried up their eyes in a damp substrate. Therefore, make sure that the substrate is deep enough to hide the entire frog. You also need live plants in their habitat, which will help them to hide and maintain the humidity levels.


Water and Humidity

An interesting fact about Pacman frogs is that they don’t drink water directly. Instead, they absorb the moisture through their skin. So, bury a shallow bowl of chlorine free water at the same level as the substrate so that it is easy for your pet frog to walk into it.

Remember, the bowl should be large enough to hold the entire frog and the water should be chlorine free. Another important thing to remember is that pacman frogs do not swim. Therefore, if the water bowl is too deep, they can drown in it.

Apart from this, pacman frogs require humidity levels from 50% to 80% at all times. So, misting the tank once or twice a day should do the trick. However, if you live in a dry climate or if your house is air-conditioned, you may have to mist the tank a little more than usual. You can use a hygrometer for monitoring the humidity levels.

horned pacman frog

Lighting and Temperature

Pacman frogs are nocturnal in nature and so they are more active in the night. They do not require sunlight to survive, but do require a day and night cycle. You can use a fluorescent bulb or broad spectrum lighting for this purpose. Make sure to provide 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness daily.

Also, pacman frogs are cold blooded animals. They do not have the ability to regulate their body temperatures. Therefore, maintain a 65 to 85 degree Fahrenheit temperature for your pet frog to live comfortably. In any case, make sure that you keep their tank away from direct sunlight to avoid overheating.


If you live in an extremely cold climate, then you may have to provide heating features to maintain a sufficient temperature level. In this case, you can use an under-tank heater to keep the tank warm. You can place a thermometer in the tank in order to monitor the temperature levels at all times.


Providing food for your pacman frog can be a little tricky. They only eat live food, by ambushing and hunting their prey, and they will not touch anything dead. They have big appetites and try to eat anything that moves.

For small pacman frogs, a varied diet is necessary. You can feed crickets, mealworms and waxworms. However, medium grown pacman frogs will enjoy eating pinkie mice, while fully grown frogs will enjoy eating small mice and pinkie rats every two or three days. It is better if you feed them during the evening time.

Remove any dead crickets or insects from the tank every day, otherwise they start smelling. Your pacman frogs also require Vitamin D and Calcium. So, dust your feeders with vitamin powder every other day. In any case, make sure to be careful while feeding as they tend to bite and do not let go easily. Interestingly, pacman frogs are some of the only frogs who have teeth.

Maintaining the Habitat

You will have to clean the tank once every two weeks. However, it is better if you do this weekly. While doing this, you will have to handle your pet frog briefly. Pacman frogs have very sensitive skin and are not recommended for handling. Wash your hands properly with hot water before touching the frog as the oils on human skin can be toxic for their skin.

Pick it up carefully and place it in another container. Remove the substrate entirely and clean the tank with hot water and rinse the plants. Make sure to not use any soap or detergent. Also clean the substrate before putting in, or use a new substrate. After the cleaning is done, wash your hands properly again.

Dehydration Period

It is extremely important that you keep your pet pacman frog’s enclosure damp at all times. However, make sure that it is not wet. When the substrate in the tank becomes too dry, the frog becomes dehydrated and may appear to be dead, but you can still rehydrate it before it is too late.

When a pacman frog becomes dehydrated, it develops a dry and hard outer skin which preserves the moisture in the body. During this time the frog becomes motionless and may appear to be dead. However, if you rehydrate the frog before it completely dies, it will shed the hard outer skin and eat it.

ornate horned frog

It is important to know the pros and cons of having a pet pacman frog before you finally get one.


Given below are the pros of having a pet pacman frog.

Easy to Maintain

One of the best reasons to have a pacman frog is that it requires very low maintenance. All you need to do is feed them live insects and clean the tank once every two weeks. The substrate can be changed once in four months.

No Noise

While most of the frogs make irritating noises in the night, pacman frogs remain very silent. They do not make much noise and are relatively silent creatures. If you are looking for a frog with no noise, a pacman frog might be your best option.

No Smell

Apart from not making any noise, pacman frogs also don’t smell. The only smell you might observe from the tank will be of dead insects or if the tank hasn’t been cleaned for a long time, all of which you can avoid by taking proper care.

Available in Fantastic Patterns

Pacman frogs are generally yellowish, but are also available in different colour combinations. They have beautiful patterns on their skin that look absolutely fantastic. Thanks to their amazing colour patterns, they are wonderful pets to observe.

Interesting to Observe

Pacman frogs ambush and hunt their prey. Therefore, they are very exciting to watch. They hide for a long time and then pounce on the prey when the time is right. This unique characteristic feature makes this pet frog an interesting species to observe.


Given below are a few cons of keeping a pet pacman frog.

Feeding Insects

This is a major deal breaker for many. As pacman frogs eat live insects, feeding them can prove to be very difficult, if you are not used to it. You have to keep the crickets alive, which is practically a tough job to do as they tend to die very easily.

Moreover, many people are not very eager to feed their pets with live insects, mice or rats. Again, keeping them alive and throwing them in to the tank for them to die is not a thing that everyone can handle.

Cannot be Handled

While most people prefer pets with whom they can play and cuddle with, pacman frogs absolutely hate getting handled. Their skin is very sensitive and the oils on human skin can be extremely toxic. Therefore, for those who are looking for a pet that they can handle and play with, pacman frog may not be the right choice.

Nocturnal in Nature

While this may not be a serious issue for many, it is still a con to be considered. Pacman frogs are nocturnal and hence are more active during the night. For those who often spend their free time observing the pet during the day, they might not get the action they desire.

Risky with Children

Having children around your pet pacman frog without supervision can be dangerous for both. If the children are not careful, the pet frog can end up biting them. Also, if the children are not careful with their oily hands, it can prove to be fatal for the frog. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep this pet away from the reach of small children.

Interesting Facts about the Pacman Frog

Pacman frogs are exotic pets. There are many interesting facts about these exotic frog species that will give you a fresh perspective on them. Some of these interesting facts are given below.

  • They are named pacman frogs because of their large mouth and stomach, and also due to their eating habits
  • They have mouths as big as their bodies.
  • They are some of the only frog species that have teeth.
  • They have very sharp teeth that help them in locking the prey, however this may also become the reason of their death as prey with a bigger size cannot get out
  • They only eat living food.
  • They are cannibalistic in nature and can eat their own mates, so make sure to keep them separately.
  • They are big eaters, and sometimes try to eat things that are bigger than their size, resulting in choking and death.
  • They have sticky tongues that work to catch and pull smaller prey into their mouths.

Sources and further readings

  1. Lolly Brown, 2017,Pacman Frogs as Pets (buy book)
  2. BBC Earth,The Pac-Man frog with a frog in its throat
  3. Animal Planet, Ornate Horned Frog: Stats & Facts
  4. AmphibiaWeb,Ceratophryidae


Not rated
Affiliate Disclosure

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.