Frogs and Toads as Pets?

Frogs and toads are fascinating and important components of our ecosystem.  Research related to their health in the wild, reproductive success, and overall changes in population reveals valuable information to scientists about the status of our environment.

Frogs and toads are amphibians, but do you know the difference between them?  Generally, all toads are frogs, but all frogs are not toads.  Frogs tend to live a more aquatic life than toads, but there are exceptions.  All adult frogs and toads (aside from one known exception) are predatory, and invertebrates are a significant part of the diets of most species (source: Firefly Encyclopedia of the Vivarium by David Alderton).

If you’re considering adopting a frog or a toad as a companion for the first time, read Steve Grenard’s Your Happy and Healthy Pet: Frogs and Toads.  Grenard recommends starting with an inexpensive common species and explains the necessity of providing a clean habitat.

Did you know that frogs shed their skin like other animals? During the shedding process they push the loose skin toward their mouth and eat it, but sometimes pieces of skin will drop into their enclosed environment and must be removed or harmful bacteria and fungi will thrive.  Proper care of an amphibian, as with most other pets, means regular maintenance and an understanding of their unique requirements.

Grenard explains why the most convenient housing for frogs and toads is an all-glass aquarium tank with a screen cover rather than a glass top.  These creatures can be picky about their environment, so after choosing what you want it’s important to research their ideal habitat and consider the time and expense associated with maintaining it.

If you determine keeping a frog or toad is not what you thought it would be, Grenard reminds us not to release them into the wild after they’ve been in captivity.  Contact a pet store, a friend, a nature center, or a zoo instead.  Check with a local school to see if a classroom is willing to adopt and care for your frog and his habitat.

Visit the Pets Neighborhood where you’ll find Alderton’s Firefly Encyclopedia of the Vivarium and Grenard’s 2nd edition publication about keeping frogs and toads as pets.  Both books include spectacular color photos.

Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, in addition to Reference work I promote the Travel, Pets, and Lawn & Garden Neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. My interests include exploring new travel destinations, National Parks, Alaska, hiking trails in Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas, birding, Sandhill crane migration, Monarch waystations, Kansas native plants, citizen science activities, volunteer work as a certified Kansas Master Naturalist, and reading essays about the natural environment. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.