Keys to Caring for a Tomato Frog

3rd Dec 2015

If you’ve made the decision to get a frog for a pet, the tomato frog is a unique and interesting option. Native to Madagascar, the tomato frog’s name origin is obvious when you see its bright red-orange color and large, round body.

Just like any pet you may own, it is up to you to provide a safe and comfortable environment for you tomato frog during its six to eight year life span. Since amphibians typically require a specific habitat, and you may have never had a pet who ate Dubia roaches before, we’d like to offer some tips to care for your tomato frog.

Tomato frogs are one of the easier types of frogs to care for and are great for beginners. A ten-gallon tank is a perfect size for one or two adult tomato frogs. If you decide to get three, upgrade to a twenty-gallon tank. The temperature in the tank should stay about 76-82 degrees during the day and cool down to 65-78 degrees at night. If your house doesn’t stay quite warm enough, a full-spectrum terrarium light is a great option for providing extra heat and daylight to your tomato frog.

Humidity is very important to tomato frogs, so use a substrate (material in the bottom of the tank) that will stay damp. Tomato frogs are not climbers and spend most of the time on the ground, so the substrate should be about two inches thick to allow for burrowing. Mist the substrate with water to help maintain the humidity level in the tank. Materials like coco fiber, sand, sheet or orchid moss, and damp coconut coir make a great habitat for your tomato frog.

You should also provide a large, shallow water dish with about one to two inches of water for your tomato frog to enjoy, and change the water daily. The water dish should have sloped sides for the frog to climb in and out of easily. Be sure to keep a lid on your tank to prevent any unwanted escapes.

Clean the substrate about twice a month to prevent bacteria build up. When cleaning the entire tank, use only hot water as the frog’s skin is very sensitive. If you move your tomato frog to a different container while you clean the tank, be very gentle and use only two fingers to pick up the frog. Tomato frogs will play dead when they feel threatened, or they may puff up like a balloon. If they feel especially threatened, they will secrete a white substance that looks like Elmer’s glue and is very hard to wash off.

Tomato frogs are nocturnal hunters and will only feed on live food like crickets, worms, and  Dubia roaches. Young frogs should be offered food every day, and the food should be sprinkled with a calcium supplement twice a week. Adult frogs can eat every other day with a calcium supplement once a week. Tomato frogs are not picky eaters - if it moves, they will usually eat it. Dubia roaches are a great and affordable option and come in different sizes for different sized frogs.

Check for any uneaten prey in the morning and remove them from the tank.

If you can commit to the care needs of a tomato frog, you will be rewarded with a colorful and interesting new pet.

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