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How to Care for Pet Bullfrogs

i bullfrog (rana catesbeiana) image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com

A more familiar sound than sight throughout North America, bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) can thrive in captivity. As amphibians, they aren’t necessarily the easiest pets to own. Bullfrogs need specific conditions, can’t be handled and most certainly should not be released if you get bored with them unless they originated in your area in the first place. For these reasons, they are not suitable pets for children. Adults fascinated with amphibians might find them interesting pets, but they require commitment.

Step 1

Set up a large tank for the frogs, the bigger the better. Mature female bullfrogs can reach 8 inches long, and the males aren’t much smaller. At a bare minimum, you need at least 20 gallons for one frog and 5 extra gallons for each additional one. Get the biggest tank you can afford. The basic items you need for the tank are a powerful filter, gravel, rocks to make a land area, a light and some aquatic plants. This species doesn’t need a heater if you keep the tank in a warmish room.

Step 2

Stick colored paper or aquarium backdrops to three sides of the tank. Bullfrogs have a tendency to jump against glass, hurting themselves, the Chicago Exotics website says. If your frogs still jump against the exposed glass, try hanging a semi-transparent screen, such as muslin, over it when you aren’t observing them.

Step 3

Feed the frogs live invertebrates such as earthworms, mealworms and crickets. Bear in mind that bullfrogs are voracious predators and will eat too much given the chance. Feed adults no more than two or three times a week and juveniles every couple of days. Overweight frogs can develop serious health problems.

Step 4

Dust the food with a calcium supplement for amphibians once a week according to product instructions.

Step 5

Remove leftover food and visible feces every day. A set of aquarium forceps comes in handy for this task.

Step 6

Clean the tank at least once a week using a gravel cleaner and bucket. Remove waste along with a third or so of the water, replacing with fresh, dechlorinated water. Note that frogs are at least as sensitive to toxins in the water as fish are. To remove chlorine and chloramine from tap water, use a commercial dechlorinator. You can remove chlorine simply by leaving the water in buckets for 24 hours but this won’t remove the equally dangerous chloramine if it's used in your area.