The Pacman frog is also known as the South American Horned frog, a solitary animal that must never be housed with any other frogs, including other Pacman frogs. These frogs are known for their cannibalism, eating other frogs including their own species. The good news is that these are relatively lazy frogs and don't need a lot of space to move around. These are the ideal choice for the beginner frog owner, they are popular frogs that are kept as pets with a unique appearance. They are very easy to care for. Before you start focusing on the setup of your Pacman frog enclosure, you will need to know that there are eight species of Pacman frogs. Each slightly different when it comes to patterns and coloration.
These frogs are found throughout Southern America and are found in subtropical and tropical grasslands, lowland forests, marshes, ponds, freshwater marshes, and shrublands. They lie and wait for their prey, ambushing their prey at night.
The enclosure selected for the Pacman frog should be no smaller than ten gallons. A ten or twenty-gallon enclosure is all the space that they need to move around and catch their prey. The Exo Terra mini wide 12 x 12 x 12 is ideal for an adult male Pacman frog. This glass enclosure has front doors that open separately with a waterproof bottom, ideal for your Pacman frog. Females are bigger than males. Therefore, you can consider a twenty-gallon enclosure such as the Exo Terra Short All Glass Terrarium 24” x 18” x 12”. Alternatively, the Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium, which comes in three sizes could be best suited with a full front glass opening door, stainless steel screen top, and lockable door for added security.
It's important when setting up your Pacman frog enclosure that you bear in mind that these are nocturnal frogs, that don't have specific lighting needs. They will need a day and night schedule, as with any other reptile or amphibian kept in captivity. You will want to provide twelve hours of light daily. The Exo Terra Repti-Glo 2.0 Compact Fluorescent Full Spectrum Terrarium Lamp can provide you with full-spectrum daylighting. You will want to incorporate the Exo Terra Compact Incandescent Fixture which allows you to shine the light directly into the terrarium, providing adequate daylight.
Even though your frog is nocturnal, you are still going to have to provide a full twelve hours of daylight each day. The easiest way to create a good routine is to use a timer, which you can set to go on and off every twelve hours, such as the Zoo Med Laboratories Repti Day Night Timer.
Pacman frogs have very specific temperature requirements. They need temperatures during the day to range between 75ºF and 85ºF with nighttime temperatures between 65ºF and 75ºF. Pacman frogs love to burrow, therefore using a heat mat can be an effective way to warm up the substrate to their unique needs. The iPower Reptile Heat Pad is easy to use with adhesive mounting to ensure optimal heat transfer. This is an energy-efficient external heat source.
Using a heat mat means you need a thermostat to manage the temperatures you need. The BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat will accurately control your terrarium temperatures with a waterproof remote sensor and the ability to heat devices up to 1000W. This will help create a well-controlled heating system to maintain the required temperatures to keep your frog happy and healthy.
It's recommended that you use a thermometer to ensure you continue to achieve the temperatures that will ensure your frog remains comfortable moving forward. The Zoo Med Digital Thermometer is an easy to use LCD readout with a waterproof sensor that reads both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Pacman frogs love a high humidity level of between 60% and 80%. They spend the majority of their time digging in the substrate, so you want to ensure you have a moist substrate which can help boost humidity levels. The water bowl, moss, and substrate you use can all help boost humidity levels. Use a good quality hygrometer, such as the Exo Terra Digital Hygrometer, which will accurately measure humidity levels. It offers an easy to read display with color-coded segments. It is very easy to use with a sticky pad and no battery required.
Pacman frogs love burrowing. They spend most of their time in the substrate. It is essential you get this right to ensure the well-being of your new frog. The most common substrate for these frogs is coco-husk, such as Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate. This is ideal to create a damp and humid environment. This natural product will naturally absorb and break down any odors and waste. Made from the husks of coconuts, this substrate will be ideal for your burrowing frog.
To help improve humidity, you will want to include some frog moss, which will create the ultimate natural habitat for your Pacman frog. The Zoo Med Frog Moss offers 80 cubic inches of beautiful moss, which helps to boost humidity. The benefit to the moss is you can wash it and reuse it a few times before having to replace it.
Pacman frogs don't need a lot of space, the same as they don't need a lot of decorations. They spend most of their time buried in the substrate. There are some decorations you will need, these include:
It is important to provide your Pacman Frog with two hides, one of the cool side of the enclosure, the other of the warm side. Zoo Med Cork flats work very well for this and is safe for your Pacman frog. It can be cut to your desired shape and size and is a natural product.
Your frog is going to need a place to soak, though be careful Pacman Frogs are not aquatic frogs, they can drown. Water should be deep enough for them to keep their heads out of the water, so look for a shallow dish or a dish with steps to reduce the risk of drowning. The Exo Terra Water Dish is the ideal choice, natural-looking with steps to eliminate the risk of drowning. Made from nonporous material, it is durable, stable, and easy to clean. The water dish will also help you maintain your high humidity levels.
Pacman Frog Enclosure Setup – Put It All Together
Cleaning the Enclosure
You are going to set up your enclosure a few days before you bring your Pacman frog home. This way you can ensure you have it set up properly and you are achieving the right humidity levels and temperatures to provide a comfortable habitat for your frog.
Start by choosing where you want to place your terrarium. Keep it out of direct sunlight. Once chosen, you can clean the inside of the terrarium to ensure it is free of any dust and dirt from being stored and transported. Zoo Med Terrarium Cleaner is a good cleaning solution that is safe and reduces the risk of bacterial infection.
With the terrarium cleaned and dried properly, you are going to focus on adding substrate. How you prepare your substrate will be determined by the substrate you purchase. Coco husk bricks must be soaked in water for a prescribed period to become high-quality earth that you can layer in your terrarium. Remember to put a deep layer to accommodate the burrowing behavior of your Pacman Frog.
The next step is the decorations. Place one of the cork flats on top of the substrate on the warm side of the terrarium, just above the heat mat. The other cork flat can be placed on the cool side of the terrarium. This provides your frog with a place to regulate their body temperature with ease, ensuring that they remain comfortable and healthy.
Place your water dish in the center of the terrarium and fill it with water, ensuring you don't fill it so much that your frogs head will be underwater. With all your decorations in place, you will want to prepare and add your frog moss. Place some frog moss in some water and give it a few minutes to soak up the liquid. You can squeeze it gently to encourage it to soak up the water, similar to gently squeezing a sponge. You will see the frog moss is high-quality moss that can then be placed around the water dish and cork hides to create a natural environment for your frog.
Set up Heating and Lighting
Your next step is to focus on your heat mat and thermostat. Carefully stick the heat mat to the underside of the glass terrarium on the side you want to make your warm side. Once in place, plug the heat mat into your thermostat. You don't have to switch anything on yet.
Place your thermometer and hygrometer where you can read them with ease without disturbing your frog. You will want to monitor temperatures and humidity regularly to ensure you are achieving optimum levels.
With everything in place, you can now turn on your thermostat and set it according to the manufacturer instructions. Add your fluorescent bulb and fixture to the terrarium and plug it into your timer switch. Turn everything on and leave a few hours to monitor your levels, you may need to make some minor adjustments here and there to ensure optimum temperature and humidity levels are achieved at all times.