Pacman frogs go through a type of hibernation, known as estivation. It's not uncommon for amphibian owners to be concerned about their pet, wondering if it's dying or hibernating. If your Pacman frog is over a year old and is hiding for extended periods, it is possible that it is hibernating. Here are some things every Pacman owner needs to know about hibernation.
What is Hibernation in Pacman Frogs?
Frogs are very versatile, even with their fragile appearance. Amphibians have a number of strategies that help them deal with different climates. Hibernation / estivation is the most common response when it comes to cold weather. Pacman frogs make their own living spaces, called a hibernaculum, which is a protective layer. It covers themselves to protect them during the colder months, while their metabolism slows and they can sleep the winter away. Spring arrives, the weather warms and the frog wakes up, leaves the hard-outer cocoon covering, and carries on with breeding and feeding.
Why Does My Pacman Frog Hibernate?
Hibernation is not necessary in captivity as your frog shouldn't have to deal with cold winter temperatures in their terrarium. Any Pacman frogs under a year of age should not be allowed to hibernate.
Your Pacman frog may be hibernating due to temperatures being too low or the humidity being too low. Remember these frogs love high humidity and temperature levels. Maintaining these levels at optimum can reduce the risk of your frog going into estivation while in captivity.
Signs of Hibernation
There are some signs you can watch out for that will tell you your Pacman frog may be going into hibernation. This may be a sign that you need to moisten your substrate, increase humidity and/or temperature levels to make your frog comfortable and reduce the risk of it hibernating.
Signs of hibernation include:
- Deep burrowing
- Sleeping for extended periods
- Dry shell-like skin
- No appetite
How Long Will My Pacman Frog Hibernate?
Your Pacman frog will continue hibernating until the temperatures are at optimal. In the wild, your frog will hibernate throughout the winter months, coming out in the warmer springtime. In captivity, you can increase temperature and humidity levels to encourage your frog to come out of hibernation.
What Must I Do When My Pacman Frog Hibernates?
There are a number of things you can do for your frog when you see it going into hibernation or already in hibernation. Remember there is no need for your frog to hibernate in captivity. Try some of the following points to assist your frog during hibernation:
- Maintain accurate humidity levels of between sixty and eighty percent
- Increase daytime temperature to between 74ºF and 82ºF
- Maintain nighttime temperatures no lower than 73ºF
- Dig any insects and food out of substrate your frog may have kept for later
- Mist with water twice daily to maintain humidity levels
- Give your Pacman frog a water bath. Soaking helps remove the hard-outer shell
It's not uncommon for new Pacman frog owners to worry when their frogs show signs of hibernation. Ensure you check your humidity and temperature levels regularly and keep them at optimum, along with the moist substrate to reduce the risk of your frog estivating.