Pacman Frog Lifespan: Setup And Care For Longevity
The amazing thing about pacman frogs is their lifespan, living an average of 10-15 years in captivity. Under the right care and conditions, they will go through their lifecycle from egg to adult in about 12-18 months.
In this article, I will be answering questions pertaining to:
- Their Life Cycle and Stages
- Supplies Needed For A Healthy And Long Life
- Diseases Affecting Lifespan And Solutions
Pacman Frog Life Cycle
Like most reptiles, Pacman frogs start their lives as tiny eggs advancing through various life stages before reaching maturity.
These life stages include:
They are protected by a thin layer of jelly like substance and are laid directly into surrounding waters by mature females. These clusters contain roughly 800-1000 eggs but can contain up to 3000 eggs. It will take roughly 1-2 days for them to hatch. This process takes around 8 days as they develop eyes and mouth parts.
Around day 10, they will consume their egg jelly and emerge as tadpoles. These tadpoles are at the second stage of the frog’s life cycle and they will also be equipped with a set of temporary gills. The gills allow them to breathe underwater but they still aren’t able to breathe air. It should take around 8-12 days for them to develop their hind(back) legs depending on temperature. It can take as little as 7 days.
Remember to provide a constant supply of food during this stage, they will utilize the protein for growth. Gradually, their gills will also disappear during this stage as they continue to develop. Once the back legs develop, it will take an additional 10-12 days for the front legs to develop. Slowly, they will start to absorb their tails and utilize its nutrients to fuel growth. It’s not uncommon for your taddies to go off feed or stop completely during this time.
After about 3 weeks, the taddies will develop into their third stage, known as froglets. They will start to display pacman frog-like characteristics. They will stay like this for approximately 3-4 months. They will also become more terrestrial during this time as they explore drier areas of the enclosure more. Lastly, froglets will begin to consume feeder insects more often. I like to feed mine crickets and roaches.
At this life cycle, juvies will look like mini adult pacman frogs. They will have all the characteristics and colors associated with the mature toads. They will also be more aggressive during this time and should be housed individually. They tend to be eating machines at this point and can bully smaller tankmates. Juvies will be around 1-1.5 inches long.
Pacman frogs reach adulthood around 12-18 months depending on temperature and feed. They will continue to live for 10-15 years if maintained under optimum conditions in captivity. Adult Full grown pacman frog males are generally smaller and live shorter life spans usually averaging 3-4 inches. Females live longer and are much larger averaging around 5-7 inches in length. They are well known for eating anything and everything during this final stage in their lifespan.
Pacman Frog Setup & Supplies For Longevity
Trying to figure out what type of setup is best for your pacman frog can be tricky. Hatchlings will have different space requirements than adults. Providing the right housing is important to your toads life.
Below I will briefly go over the following topics:
- Caging Size
- Optimum Humidity
Pacman Frog Cage
If you are wondering how much space does your pacman frog need, this section is for you!
The size of your toad will determine the enclosure size. For example, adults will need a minimum of 10-20 gallons to live comfortably. Being terrestrial, the floor space will be more important than height when it comes to picking an enclosure. I like to use 28 qt underbed storage containers for mature adults. They’re durable, easy to clean and hold heat very well. Be sure to add plenty of holes for ventilation. Hatchlings to froglets up to the size of a quarter will need a 6 qt container or 5 gallons when housed individually. For multiple groups of tadpoles, I recommend a 10 gallon terrarium.
Pacman Frog Humidity
These amphibians love wet and humid environments. They require 60%-80% humidity levels to shed and stay hydrated. If you notice your frogs burrowing often or having dry skin, you will need to up the humidity. You can mist them once a day to keep these levels up but be sure to not over do it as too wet of an environment can encourage mold growth. I recommend using eco-earth (coconut fiber) as a substrate to help keep humidity level high. This type of substrate is mold resistant and very inexpensive.
Pacman Frog Temperature
Temperatures are needed to regulate metabolism and digestion. Their enclosures will require a temperature between 75-85F for optimum growth and development. Some keepers will keep a night drop and allow their toads to cool off during the evening hours. I like to keep my juvenile and adult frogs on a simple schedule and keep them right around 80F all day. Tadpoles are kept slightly cooler and their temps are around 78F-82F. They are more sensitive to temperature so it’s better to err on the safe side.
Pacman frog lighting will aid in regulating temps. You can use a dome style light which will double as providing light and heat. They do not require uvb but it can help them to better absorb calcium. Use only a low rated uvb light. These toads also do not need any special lighting as under tank heaters would provide enough heat for them. I recommend using a Natural Daylight 13w Bulb or Repti glo 2.0. Be sure to provide them with a light cycle of 12 hours of Day time and 12 Hours of night. Simply put this means, to turn off their lights at night. I like to use under tank heaters placed on a thermostat, I wire my own flexwatt heat tape or you can use zoo-med brands. You want the hot spot to be no more than 85F.
Pacman Frog Diet
In order to live a healthy and long life, your frogs will need a balanced diet. You will also need to supplement their diets by “dusting” their feeder insects at least 2-3 times a week.
The feeder insects I recommend for your frog are:
- Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL)
- Dubia Roaches
- Red Runners
- Orange Heads
- Mice (fed to adults only)
These feeders will ensure that your pet receives the proper nutrients and lives a healthy life. For tadpoles and hatchlings I recommend feeding bloodworms, minnows, tadpole bites, and black worms.
- Froglets require eating once a day every day
- Adults can eat once a 4-7 days
- When offering insects, they must be no greater than the space between the eyes of your frog.
Insects To Avoid Feeding Include:
- Waxworms – high in fat and very small in size
- Mealworms – fairly high fat content and hard exoskeleton which can lead to digestion problems
- Butterworms – acidic
- Scorpions – can sting or injure your pet
- Giant Mealworms – are fed a unnatural hormone which can be passed on to your toad
As frog owners, we all want our pets to live happy and long lives. Pacman frogs do carry diseases that can hinder their lifespan. I will be identifying some of these diseases and hopefully help your frogs live as long as possible.
I will be talking about:
- Metabolic Bone Disease
- Bacterial Infection
- Toxic Out Syndrome
Metabolic Bone Disease
This occurs when your pet does not get enough calcium in their bodies to develop strong bones. Breeding can also be taxing on females and they are more prone to MBD during this time. If left untreated, this disease can lead to a shortened life span or even death.
The signs of MBD include:
- Crooked or misaligned lower jaw (looks almost like a smirk)
- Abnormal posturing with legs stiffened out
- Spine curving or deformity
- Muscle spasms
Solution: remember to always supplement calcium with vitamin D3 once or twice a week with their regular feeding schedule. This will allow them to properly absorb these two key nutrients for bone health.
Obesity is common in these toads as they have a notorious reputation for eating everything. While it may be tempting to offer them everything, this can have a negative impact. Feeding too much food can cause your frog to have fatty liver disease. They can also develop problems with mobility and limb straining. They do not move much and this can also cause obesity.
Solution: Follow the feeding schedule above. Froglets can eat every day or every other day. Adults should feed once every 4-7 days.
Over-feeding or eating can cause their stomachs to become blocked. Impaction will force your amphibian to throw up and stop eating all together. Your frog must be fed appropriate sized prey to avoid this issue. Do not feed anything with a hard exoskeleton or high chitin content i.e mealworms.
When your frog is stressed, they can develop these types of infections which attack the immune system. Simply put a change of location, lower temperatures, or inadequate space can all lead to stress. The surrounding bacteria will attack their immune systems and can decline their health rapidly.
Signs on an infection include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of energy
- Cloudy or white eyes
- Tenderness and redness around the limbs or stomach
All of these can shorten the lifespan of your pacman frog.
Solution: keep optimal conditions and make sure to use fresh, clean water. They can get infections through tainted or untreated water. Keep handling and stress levels to a minimum by not disturbing them.
Toxic Out Syndrome
Pacman frogs absorb water through their skin from the surrounding environment. This means they take in water from their bowls, substrate, or any other source they come in contact with. Because of this, you want to make sure the water is clean and frequently changed. Reverse osmosis water is recommended but you can also use dechlorinated tap water. I like to use drinking water or filtered water.
Signs of this syndrome include:
- Erratic movements and jumping
- Leg and muscle spasms
- Cloudy eyes
Solution: Remove all substate from your enclosure and water bowls. Replace new substrates with clean water and provide drinking or filtered water in their bowls.
You want to put your pacman in a shallow bowl of water, one they cannot climb out of. Fill it with clean water up to the sides of your frog, do not submerge them as they can drown. After 4 hours, change the water and repeat the steps until the signs subside. This will naturally clear the toxic water from their system and replenish them back to good health.