Pacman Frog: A Complete Care Guide

pacman frog

The Pacman frogs are found in different countries of South America. They named Pacman because of their resemblance with the Pacman arcade game, animated character. They have large triangular mouths with round bodies. They have horns over each eye, because of this character they are commonly called Horned frogs.

Being a fascinating and attractive species, they make the most suitable pets. They don’t need high maintenance and are easy to upkeep.

Continue reading to know all the facts about the Pacman frog:

Pacman Frog Details

Common NameSouth American horned frog, Pacman Frog
Scientific NameCeratophrys sp.
Size3 to 7 inches
Lifespan10 years
DietCrickets, mice, earthworms, and, roaches
HumidityHumidity: 70% to 80%
TemperatureDaytime: 77℉ to 83℉Nighttime: 70℉ to 75℉


The Pacman frogs are commonly found in South America in coastal and rainforest. Out of eight known species of Pacman frog mostly found in Brazil. Other species are found in the areas of Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru. 

Species of Pacman Frog

There are commonly eight known species of Pacman Frog and their appearance are very similar to each other

  • Brazilian Horned Frog
  • Colombian Horned Frog
  • Surinam Horned Frog
  • Cranwell’s Horned Frog
  • Argentine Horned Frog
  • Joazeiro Horned Frog
  • Stolzmanns Horned Frog
  • Ecuador Horned Frog

The first specie was found in 1823 was Brazilian Horned frog and the last one was found in 1986. There are still chances for the discovery of new species in the future.

Which species makes the best pet?

The Species that will prove best pets are Surinam Horned Frog, Argentine Horned Frog, and Cranwell’s Horned Frogs. They are the animals that can eat other animals even of their size. This species resembles toads and are terrestrial animals. They spend most of the time in the leaf litter in search of prey. They are mostly active during nighttime.

Is Pacman Frog a good pet?

For beginners, the Pacman makes the best choice for a pet. The Surinam Horned Frog, Cranwell’s Horned Frog, and Argentine Horned Frog are the best options out of eight species for a pet. They are easy to upkeep and eat nearly everything.

They are nocturnal animals,only active at night. Their sedentary lifestyle means they don’t need a large tank to live. They should not be handled frequently. In the beginning, people should provide them some time to settle down in captivity. 

In the first week of captivity, they will move around and find an appropriate place to burrow and remain there for some time.

Physical Appearance of Pacman Frog

The Pacman frogs have a round body that is muddy green or brown in color with dark spots on the skin. Their legs are short, that’s why they are bad at jumping. The pattern on their skin changes as they become aged.

 There is a huge difference between adults and juveniles. The development of different kinds of morphs occurs in captivity. Most common in Strawberry and Albino. Out of which Albino is popularly bred. 

There are three most popular species which are slightly different from each other

Carnwells horned has horns that are much smaller and skin with red and brown spots and ovals.

Surinam Horned has horns that are large and pointed with a head that is green and brown in color. They have eyes that are light-colored and horizontal strip through the pupils.

Argentine Horned have square heads and pointed horns.

Size and Lifespan of Pacman Frog

The Pacman frogs commonly reach the weight of half-pound but a Fully grown Pacman can reach the weight of over a pound. 

Males are smaller than female ones. Females are seven inches tall while males reach the height of three to four inches. Pacman frogs grow rapidly after the process of metamorphosis. After one year they reach their adult size.

The lifespan of the Pacman Frog in captivity is up to 10 years with proper care and upkeep while in the wild they have a lifespan of 5 to 6 years.

Pacman Frog Temperament

The Pacman Frogs are submissive animals but they are used to biting in defense against any danger. They don’t allow any other animals to come near their burrow if they do so they will bite them. So it is better to keep them in separate enclosures in captivity.

They are nocturnal animals and are active only during attacking prey. They remain to sit and eat everything moving around them. That’s the reason they don’t need much space in the enclosure.

 They don’t like to be handled and have a sedentary lifestyle. They come out in the night from their burrows still they don’t show so much movement.

Care and Maintenance

Diet and Nutrition 

The Pacman Frogs aren’t active hunters, instead they sit and eat the animals that move around them. They have a sedentary lifestyle also they are brown and green in color which blends them with the leaf litter. This helps them to catch the prey easily.

They eat small insects like ants as well as large animals like snakes and mice etc. while in captivity they eat insects like earthworms and crickets.

How often should a Pacman be Fed?

The best diet for a growing frog is 5 crickets a day. People should feed them for 15 minutes and stop feeding them after 15 minutes because they are active eaters and they eat everything around them. When feeding them, spray them with calcium supplements to ensure the level of vitamin D3 they need.

As they grow old their diet slowly decreases, the adult frog should be fed every other day. They have a powerful bite so it is better to use tongs while feeding them.

Pacman Frog Enclosure

The natural habitat of Pacman frogs is both dry and tropical forests. They live near small plants., bushes, and roots to hide from predators. They also live in temporary pools.

As the Pacman frogs are not active so they don’t need a large tank to live. While setting up an enclosure for them the two most important things to be considered is humidity and substrate.

Humidity Level

Too much humidity level can lead to skin infections and too low is also not appropriate. The appropriate moisture level for the tank is  70 to 80 percent.


As they love to burrow and bury themselves in the soil, the substrate for them should be three to four inches deep and should be non abrasive. The best choice for the substrate is coconut fiber as it is plain and can retain moisture.

Tank size

The tank for the Pacman should be 20 gallons. As these animals have a sedentary lifestyle the width of the tank is more important for them.

Humidity can be trapped in the glass and plastic tank so it is more appropriate to use them. The lid of the tank will help in maintaining the humidity level of the tank.

It is suggested to keep them alone as they can bite and eat their tank mates.


The temperature in the tank should be kept around about 82 F during the daytime and 78 F during the nighttime. For heating, the tank uses a heating bulb. Using any under-tank heater can burn your frog as these frogs love to burrow.


The tank should be filled with lively plants and leaf litter. The frogs are not good swimmers. Place a shallow dish in the tank so they can get water without being totally merged in the water. Keep in mind that don’t use deep bowls or dishes, always use the shallow dish.

Can People Touch Pacman Frog?

Pacman Frogs cannot be handled frequently because their skin is sensitive and can absorb toxins easily. So if someone wants to handle them make sure your hands should be clean from any kind of dirt, lotion, or perfume.

Secondly, the Pacman frog can bite your finger when you try to handle them. Their bite is very painful. The bite of some large species has a force of almost 5 newtons.

Hold the frog from the legs carefully by using both of your hands.

Are Pacman Frogs Poisonous?

No, the Pacman Frogs are not poisonous. They don’t release any toxins or harmful material from their skin. Although they can bite you in case of any danger in defense they don’t release any toxin from their body.

Common Health Problems

Like other amphibians, Pacman frogs are also susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. These infections can cause serious skin and eye issues. A healthy Pacman frog will have moist skin and clear eyes.

The health issues related to the Pacman Frogs are listed below:

  • Bone disease is caused by the Deficiency of Vitamin D3.
  • The Reptile with the vitamin D3 deficiency is not able to produce enough Calcium content. As a result, of this, their bones become weak and bent. This deficiency can be cured if diagnosed early by injecting Vitamin D3 into the body.
  • The swollen eyes, roughness in the skin, and build-up of fluid near the hind legs are caused by the extreme deficiency of Vitamin A in the body. The cure for this deficiency is the feed the frog crickets that have a loaded gut.
  • The bacterial diseases include Red leg syndrome and flavobacteriosis caused by dirty water or substrate.

If your frog is suffering from any of the above conditions see the veterinary doctor as soon as possible.

Choosing a Pacman Frog

The best species of Pacman Frog as a pet are the following:

  1. Surinam horned.
  2. Argentine horned.
  3. Cranwell’s horned.

When choosing a Pacman frog as your pet, look at the skin and eyes. A healthy frog will have moist skin and clear eyes. The best thing is If you can see the frog eating before choosing because an ill and unhealthy frog will not eat properly.

It is advised to get your frog from a professional breeder and pet keeper. Mostly the Pacman frogs are sold as juveniles. An injured frog will more likely get an infection when you bring it home.

Pacman Frogs Cost

$45 to $60 costs for the most known species Surinam. $15 to $30 is the price for a common Pacman frog.

Common Morphs cost about $35 while rare morphs can be bought at a price of $80.


These Pacman Frogs will prove an excellent choice for the starters. They are fascinating to watch and don’t need much care and upkeep. With the proper care and maintenance, they can live a life of 10 years.

If someone doesn’t know how to handle a pet, this frog is not an appropriate choice for that person. These frogs can bite you badly if they don’t feel comfortable.

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