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FAQs About Anurans/Frogs: Leopard Frogs

Related Articles: Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks, Amphibians, Turtles

Related FAQs: Frogs other Than African & Clawed 2,
FAQs on: General Frog Identification, General Frog Behavior, General Frog Compatibility, General Frog Selection, General Frog Systems, General Frog Feeding,
General Frog Health, General Frog Reproduction,
FAQs on: Bullfrogs, Fire Belly Toads,
Surinam Toads/Pipa, Tadpoles of all Sorts, Toads/Terrestrial Frogs, White/Tree Frogs, Amphibians 1, African Dwarf Frogs, African Clawed Frogs, Newts & Salamanders, Rubber Eels/CaeciliansTurtlesAmphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

Leopard frogs, dis., env. likely     5/23/11
My Leopard frog lives in the container that you get from the Star Wars from ToysRUs. My frog has been lying down on the bottom of the tank for awhile.
He's not floating like my other frog did when he died. What's wrong with it?
<Do please read the top few entries to this page:
As you'll see, the "container" is killing your pet frog. These frogs need a 20+ gallon aquarium equipped with a hood, light, a soft substrate (coconut fibre for example), and a small area for bathing. Feeding is difficult, and needs to be based around a variety of small live foods. There's a nice summary here:
Unfortunately a lot of people buy these pets without doing research, and end up with dead frogs.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Leopard frogs, now another Anuran     5/23/11

Thanks. I'm going to try getting a different frog, this time making sure I know what I'm doing, and not ordering it in the mail.
<Do, please, read up on Hymenochirus spp; these are small, tropical, 100% aquatic frogs that do well in heated, filtered tanks from 5 gallons upwards. Given those conditions, they're easy to keep.
Virtually no other frog offers such a good combination of requirements and characteristics.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Leopard frogs
Thank you again, I just had one question. For the African dwarf frog, what would I need to do if I lived in Arizona? Would the frog get too hot?
<Provided you could keep water temperature below 28 C/82 F in summer, while at least 22 C/72 F in winter, you should be okay. Stick a cheap liquid crystal thermometer on the outside of the tank, place it somewhere out of direct sunlight, and float a few ice cubes in the tank if it gets really hot, and you shouldn't have any real problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Lethargic Leopard Frog   5/9/11
<Hello Gloria,>
I did search your site for previous inquires and found something from 2008 but would like more specific advice.
<Okay, fire away!>
We have one of those Planet Frog Leopard frogs. I have already read on your site that this is already a source that compromises frog health and in fact, one of the two tadpoles never grew and eventually died.
<Indeed. Leopard Frogs are fairly large terrestrial frogs. They're not very good pets. Compared to things like African Clawed Frogs and Axolotls they never really become "tame" in any meaningful sense, and are prone to injuries and simple failure to thrive. While much used as lab animals, that's a whole different thing.>
We have the one frog since Oct 2010. Just recently the frog has been behaving in the same way as the 2008 post - not moving; stiffening up at times; erratic eating. We only feed live crickets but your response you said it should be fed more - could you be specific? if there are supplements what should we try?
<Earthworms are particularly good foods. If you have a back garden where pesticides aren't used (i.e., you garden more or less "organically") then you can very likely collect your own or grow some in a compost heap.
Otherwise, bait shops commonly sell them, though these may be a bit big for young frogs. Crickets are fine as treats, but used day after day won't provide a particularly balanced diet. Earthworms, by contrast, seem to be extremely nutritious. Almost any other small bug you might find in the house or backyard might be tried too: housefly maggots, small cockroaches, etc.>
Also, the company said only bottled water but your response also said this may not be the best. What can we do to improve the environment? Any other suggestions are welcomed although it looked very compromised last evening and my son is very concerned.
<Realistically, you're looking at a 20+ gallon rectangular aquarium divided into a water area 4-6 inches deep and the rest given over to land. The land part should be moist and soft, with coir fibre (coconut fibre) being especially convenient to use because it's cheap, easy to buy in dried blocks, and holds humidity well. This fibre will need to be replaced every week or so, while the water need be nothing other than plain vanilla tap water treated with aquarium water conditioner. Gentle filtration will keep the water clean and odour-free, so is well worth using. No need for heating or lights, though feel free to provide gentle lighting if you want. A plastic or glass lid is essential because these frogs will escape from anything less. There's a nice summary here: http://www.amphibiancare.com/frogs/caresheets/leopardfrog.html
Note that the Planet Frog habitat has no real value in the long term. Even for tadpoles the limited water volume and lack of filtration is a killer.
Adult Leopard Frogs are big enough to fill an adult's hand, and can easily jump more than two feet when alarmed. Obviously they'll do themselves injury should they try to do so in something as pokey as the Planet Frog habitat.>
thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help with tadpoles 3/30/08 Dear Crew, I am hoping to find advice! We got our science loving daughter a frog habitat for Christmas from a sciencey type store. <Danger, Will Robinson! Almost everything related to what I know anything about -- astronomy, biology, and fish -- offered for sale in Science stores is overpriced rubbish in my opinion. These stores prey on parents who want to stimulate their children academically. But what they're selling is junk. Others may disagree, but that's my opinion as a PhD and former science teacher.> After spending 7 dollars and waiting 6 weeks, we got a dead tadpole in the mail. I complained, and today we received ANOTHER dead tadpole in the mail. The company- Ribbits Galore - insists that tadpoles are inactive....however, I have seen hundreds of them over the years in my neighbor's pond, and those little suckers are FAST. I had considered one of those tadpoles, but they are gigantic bullfrogs and we just wanted a little frog. What would be the best way to obtain tadpoles to study the life cycle of a frog? What species are best? Should I trash the fifteen dollar habitat in favor of an aquarium? <Ah, have answered this sort of Q a few weeks ago. Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anuranfaqs.htm And read 'Leopard Frog Tadpole 2/29/08'.> We have enjoyed fish and hermit crabs for quite a while, and would really like to add to our family with a nice little frog. <Rana spp. don't really make particularly good pets, and certainly not for children. They are nervous and never really become tame. Much better to go for an aquatic species like Xenopus or Hymenochirus that is basically hardy and much easier to maintain. If you must have a terrestrial frog, then the relatively inactive species like Pac-Man Frogs (Ceratophrys spp.) have much to recommend them.> I am reporting this company to the BBB. They are preying on the emotions of little kids and their well meaning parents who want them to learn something more than video games and Hanna Montana. Thanks, Tonia <Tonia, sadly this sort of thing is very common. These frogs are bred in large numbers for biological supply. Some may be collected from the wild as well. In any case, they aren't "pets" any more than seagulls or red deer. They're basically wild animals that should be enjoyed in the wild. By all means watch them in your pond, or maybe catch a few tadpoles and rear them yourself. But once they metamorphose, let them go. Wild amphibians here in Europe as well as in the US are not having a great time of things, and many species are in severe decline. I'm not a huge fan of buying non-tamable pets for small children. The animals usually get terrified and eventually die. If you want something "instant" to try out at home, then Triops are rather fun; they grow from nothing into armour-plated swimming things an inch or two long in just a few weeks. They die, you dry out the tank, add more water, and with luck get some more. Mine only lasted one generation, but they cost very little and are very funky. But amphibians and reptiles are very dubious pets for small children. They don't do much, they need a lot of care in most cases (including expensive things like UV-B lamps), and if kept properly live for decades, so you're stuck with them even when the novelty wears off. Anyway, I think that's me making my point for the day! Cheers, Neale.>

Leopard Frog Tadpole 2/29/08 Hello, My son waited two months for the tadpole that finally arrived via the mail today. It was shipped in a plastic tube that was inside a 3x5 inch padded envelope. I happened to hear the postal delivery person so I was able to immediately bring it indoors. However, I cannot tell, nor can I find any information online, to help me determine whether it is alive or dead. It is not moving by the Ribbits Galore (vendor) website said the tadpole would be inactive. Do live tadpoles sink to the bottom or float on the top of the water like dead goldfish? "Fire" is sitting on the bottom of the glass jar. Thank you! You have the best Web site of any that I have spent the past three hours reading. <I'm assuming this is Rana pipiens, which is very similar to the Rana temporaria I'm familiar with here in Europe. Generally these tadpoles are easy to rear in clean water, though they are VERY intolerant of dirty water, so make 100% sure you have a filtered aquarium and perform 25-50% water changes (with dechlorinator) weekly. Don't ever use water from a domestic water softener! Tadpoles should be very active, and scooting about looking for food from the moment they hatch. I don't really understand your comment about them arriving inactive, and couldn't find that information on their web site. Actually amazed anyone can sell one tadpole for $10 a pop! That's a nice little earner! You do realise this thing will be a froglet in a couple months? Rana temporaria at least don't adapt terribly well to captive life and never really become tame. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Leopard Frog Tadpole 2/29/08 Hello, Neale, <Kate,> Thank you very much for your very prompt and informative reply. About one week ago, I received a "your tadpole will be shipped this week e-mail," from Ribbits Galore, that read: "Your Ribbits Galore order will ship this week, via first class mail. Please remember that we do guarantee live arrival but after that your tadpole's care is up to you. Allow your tadpole adequate time to warm up to room temperature. Cooler weather can put your tadpole in a sedentary state. Young tadpoles do not move much so do not worry if your tadpole is not very active." <Hmm... certainly tadpoles are "cold blooded" animals and will be less active when body temperature drops. And I'd agree that suddenly taking it from cold water and placing it into warm water would be a bad idea. But once added to a suitable aquarium with water around room temperature, you should see the thing at least wriggling it tail periodically and moving from place to place.> With regard to the price, we had a coupon for a "free" tadpole that came with the Planet Frog Habitat (name of brand) http://www.livesciencestore.com/56796.html but we did have to pay $6 for shipping. <Honestly, GARBAGE! Almost anything sold at 'Science'- or 'Nature'-type stores is utter rubbish. Overpriced plastic gimmickry that parasitically feeds on anxious parents who want to buy educational products for their offspring. Great for the Chinese economy, less great for someone hoping to start a new hobby. I have yet to see a single product sold in these stores that represents even adequate value, let alone a sensible purchase. Pet frogs can be fun, and there are indeed lots of ways to rear tadpoles at home. Far better value would be a basic 10-gallon glass aquarium with a simple air-powered sponge filter and a bit of silver (smooth silica) sand at the bottom. Maybe some plastic plants. Rana pipiens isn't really suitable for captive life as an adult, but if you wanted to do so, a 20-gallon tank divided into a "water" and a "land" area using a pile of granite or some other non-calcareous rocks would be a good start.> I am attaching a picture of the habitat that I copied from the Planet Frog Web site that I referenced above. <Couldn't open artwork; in an AOL-only format.> Based on the information available on your outstanding WWM Website, it seems like we should toss the aquarium and the poor tadpole I unwittingly participated in abusing and start over with a proper aquarium. <If the tadpole is dead (in which case it would have rotted by now) then yes, start over. I'd recommend going with Dwarf African Frogs, Hymenochirus spp.; they're small, permanently aquatic, and relatively easy to keep when fed properly and kept away from fish.> Thank you, again, for your kind assistance. Kate <Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Leopard Frog, hlth.  1/26/08 To whom it may concern, My son has a Leopard frog, which he has had for about a year now. He has had it since it was a tadpole. His first grade class was giving some away. <Progressive. Good for them> Anyway, after about 6 months, he became kind of sluggish, and started to have difficulty catching the live crickets we feed him. I just figured it was due to the winter months and him just feeling like hibernating. <Could well be> Next, as time went on, on occasion, I noticed that when he tried to move, he would start twitching, and could not move, until the twitching stopped. He is still eating, but the condition seems to be getting worse, and he is getting weaker. My son is extremely distressed about his pet. Any ideas? We do turn on a light / heat lamp for him each day, for anywhere from 2-6 hours. Thanks, Brian <Mmm, could be simply "age"... and likely influences of captivity. Exposure to sanitizers in your source water, treatment... How is new water prepared, system water filtered, tested?... Perhaps a deficiency syndrome nutritionally... Do you supplement the food/s at all? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/amphibdisfaqs.htm and the other Amphibian files linked above... to grant you insight, raise questions here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Leopard Frog  1/26/08
The frog is only about a year old, <Mmm, well, Rana pipiens is relatively long-lived for an amphibian (up to about nine years), but generally only a year or two in captivity... due to vagaries of water quality, nutrition...> and his little water "dish/pool" is filled with bottled water only. <... "Bottled water" may not be a good idea... what are the chemical qualities of this product?> His diet consists of live crickets, nothing else. <Need more...> His tank has the moist coconut medium in the bottom. Brian <Do take the time to read on the Net re this species husbandry... You read as a conscientious keeper, but am sensing the same issues hinted at as in our previous correspondence. BobF>
Re: Leopard Frog 1/31/08
Can you give some examples / manufacturers of calcium supplements and vitamin supplements for frogs? I found "JurassiCal" for a calcium supplement (says ok for amphibians), but I haven't found a vitamin supplement yet. Thanks, Brian <Ah, yes. Baby/children's liquid vitamins are fine here, as are commercial aquarium products like Selcon, MicroVit... BobF>

Filtration For Tadpoles  10/06/06 Hi WWM, I am much relieved to have found your website. However I have not found much information relating to the types of filters to be used with frogs and tadpoles. I will be breeding and raising Xenopus as well as breeding wild caught Rana pipens (via in vitro fertilization) and housing these tadpoles. I have done this with well water and no filtration, just regular water changes and aeration, and all tadpoles did very well.  I no longer have access to well water. My understanding is that RO water is not good for them (they need the minerals etc naturally occurring in well water) although that is what is now available. I have consulted with a local lab which houses quite a few more frogs than I will, and they have tap water coming through their US filter carbon tanks (large compressed gas-tank size cylinders), a biological filter and a cation exchanger. I would like to copy this setup in a bench top format. I have been looking at petstore-variety filters such as the EHEIM Prof. II. I would like to use it to prepare the city tap water for the aquarium, then to use that water to put in my tadpoles' tanks. I am not sure yet whether I will invest in a unit to filter each tank continuously, as the tadpoles seem to do fine without that. Is the Professionel II the best model for my needs? < Using this filter to filter city tap water is a waste of money unless it is used solely to remove Chloramine or chlorine. You would be better off with a commercial drinking water system with a carbon cartridge. There are chlorine test kits available to check the system. Once you determine how much water you need then you can add or subtract cartridges based on the water quality required.> Also I have read that carbon block is better than crushed carbon. Do any of these bench top filters use that? <The quality of the carbon is the critical factor here. Not all carbon is alike. Go to Marineland.com and visit Dr. Tim's Library. he has done lots of research on carbon and I think you will find this very helpful.> All I can find reference to is "carbon filter pad". I want to make sure that these filters are ok to use; especially since I do not know the differences between keeping fish and amphibians, and every single filter available is marketed for fish. Also, what does a unit such as the Professional II leave in the water that an RO unit does not? < An R/O unit removes everything and leaves only pure water. The Eheim Pro II just recirculates the water until you place something in there to remove something out of the water. Check your tap water and determine what you want to remove. If you want to remove chlorine/Chloramine then add carbon. It will remove organics and a few other things that are mentioned in Dr. Tim's articles. If you want to remove other ions then add resins to remove what ever you want. Generally fish filtration is usually more critical than for amphibians. It just depends on the species and what they require.-Chuck.> Thank you so much for any help! Deanne

Feeding Frogs Hi! I have brought inside a tame 3-inch (northern leopard?) frog who has been living in our outdoor  prefab pond this summer, because the pond is only 15 inches deep and could freeze to the bottom.  (Our attached garage is too warm for hibernation.)  He and his "little brother," about the size of my thumb, are probably from the pet store tadpoles I added in the spring but I'm not sure. I got 500 earthworms through the mail to tide us through the winter (but that's another story...). <That's a lot of worms, my fish are envious.> Although the frogs  readily take worms from my fingers, I'd like to devise a self-feeding system.  Can you advise me of a good way of dispensing earthworms? <Boy, I wish I knew, I know with feeding blood worms to aquarium fish they make a small mesh cone that the worms will wriggle out of for the fish to munch, but I am not sure about earth worms, I guess I have not spent enough time with them.  Something similar would be sure to drop a bunch of dirt into your tank, and whose to say that they will even wriggle out?> Presently the frogs are in an aquarium with water 6.5 inches deep above 1.5 inches of pebbles, with 3 large rocks protruding above the water.   When I place a worm in a dish on the rocks, it usually slithers out of the dish, across the rock and into the water and pebbles before either frog makes a move! <I have the same problem with my sand fish skinks and wax worms.> I'm considering converting one end of the tank to "land" but am uncertain what substrate to use in it-- gravel would be the tidiest, but damp sphagnum moss more apt to keep the worm escapees out of the water.  But the most important question is, won't the worms simply continue to elude the frogs as they leave the dish and bury themselves in the substrate? <I'd go with gravel with moss on top.  The frogs will probably get the worms, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if some escape, dig, die, and foul your water.> I know frogs are commonly raised in captivity as lab animals and am sure someone has come up with a better idea than hand-feeding.  How do they do it??  Thanks for your suggestions! <I am afraid I do not know of any automated ways to feed them.  I am sure if any of our daily readers have a plan they will let us know and we will post on the daily FAQS (Anybody?).  You can also mix some crickets into their diet if you have a local supply, they do not dig, and it is easy to remove the un eaten ones.  Best of Luck, Gage> Peg



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