Louis’ Pet Horned Frog, Buu!

Hello, my name is Louis and I work for the online team at Northampton Reptile Centre (www.reptilecentre.com). Since working for the reptile centre I have come into contact with a lot of reptiles and amphibians and have purchased my first pet frog: Buu the strawberry horned frog. Here is a blog I have written on the species and how I care for Buu.

The Argentine horned frog (also commonly known as a Pacman frog or by its Latin name Ceratophrys ornata or Ceratophrys cranwelli) is a terrestrial species of frog found in South Africa in the grasslands of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Unlike other frogs, they aren’t particularly quick or agile but they are exceptionally good at ambushing crickets. The horned frog is great at lying wait and catching anything that wanders by in its enormous mouth. The size of its mouth and the way that it eats is similar to the popular arcade game Pacman which is where they get their common name. While the horned frog is not a very active species they are fascinating to observe due to their amazing colouring and interesting eating habits. They are also an incredibly easy species to keep in the UK, requiring little husbandry and a relatively small amount of space to keep happy.

Setting up the horned frog enclosure

The setup for a horned frog is fairly simple. The main hardware components are a glass terrarium around 45x45x30cm, a heat mat, a thermostat, a UVB lamp and a thermometer. We use glass terrariums for a species like this because they only need a basking area of 75F (around 24C) and they require high humidity. Vivariums might retain too much heat and won’t handle the humidity as well as a glass enclosure. A heat mat should easily get the enclosure to temperature in a setup like this while ensuring that there is still an adequate cool side. We always recommend controlling heat mats with an on-off thermostat to ensure the correct temperature is maintained. Without a thermostat, you would risk the temperature getting too hot in the summertime. While the thermostats are really reliable, we also recommend having a thermometer in your enclosure to monitor the temperatures yourself. For lighting, a 5-7% UVB lamp covering part of the enclosure would be perfect. In this size enclosure either a compact top canopy or UVB tube canopy would be great as long as you also provide plenty of hiding spaced so the frog can escape the light.

Horned frog terrarium decorated

Decorating the horned frog’s enclosure

The care for a horned frog is very easy compared to other exotic pets. For my frog, I keep him in a bioactive setup. I find they are much easier to maintain than an artificial setup and it also means I don’t have to worry about cleaning out and frog poop! For a bioactive setup like mine, the main components are a nutrient-rich soil.  I really like ProRep Bio-Life Forest Bedding and Arcadia Earth mix. I also use plants that do well in moist condition and a cleanup crew made up of springtails and smaller species of woodlice. For the plants I have used bromeliads, they seem to love the same conditions as the frog. In terms of decor for the enclosure, I use a basic resin water bowl to provide somewhere for the frog to drink and have a bathe and then a couple of pieces of cork bark to provide places to hide (mine loves hiding under his cork bark with just his head out, waiting for a juicy cricket to wander by).

Horned frog (Buu) sat on a soil and moss bedding after being sprayed

Caring for the horned frog

With regards to the horned frog’s diet, I tend to feed Buu just twice a week. I feed him however many crickets he will take in one sitting (typically 2 or 3) and a pinky mouse once a week mixed in with the rest of his diet as an added bit of protein. he will also take things like wax worms or calci-worms as a treat, but these aren’t really needed to keep him happy and healthy. Buu needs to be kept humid but because of the way I have set him up I don’t need to worry too much about humidity through the day. I have an absorbent bedding, absorbent decorations and live plants which all help to maintain humidity throughout the day. I replace his water each morning and spray the enclosure for around 10 seconds.

If you have any questions about this species or need any help with your pet please contact us at sales@reptilecentre.com or call us on 01604753823. Thank you for reading my blog!

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