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(Picture is an albino American bullfrog)

Reptile Rapture
6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53716
608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Name: Bullfrog, American Bullfrog
Scientific Name: Rana catesbeiana, Lithobates catesbeiana
Origin: Native to the southern and eastern regions of the United States and Canada but widely introduced elsewhere.
Size: 3.5"-8", males smaller than females.
Lifespan: 7-12 years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.

Try to acquire a captive bred bullfrog. These animals are usually more healthy, as well as being more acclimated to captivity.

In the wild, the American bullfrog lives near the edge of permanent bodies of water--common around ponds, lakes, marshes, and swamps.

As pets, they can be kept outside in a large pond habitat if the area is enclosed so that the animal cannot escape.

Indoors, an adult can be housed in a 55-gallon glass enclosure or Exo Terra's 36" x 18" works well too. Larger is better because this species needs space. If you find your frog jumping into the glass walls, you can put up visual barriers such as construction paper or other barrier of your choice. Bullfrogs can be high strung, so it's good to have plenty of hiding spots in the enclosure, as well as a few basking areas.

A good bedding is Zoo Med Eco earth, Zoo Med Reptisoil, or Zilla Jungle Mix.

In addition, a large aquatic section is essential, one that is deep enough that the frog can be completely submerged and includes some vegetation in the water, for hiding. Use tap or spring water that has been treated with drops of dechlorinator (or alternately, let it sit out for 24 hours). Do not use distilled water which can harm your frog from lack of minerals.

Clean waste droppings daily, and do a water refresh a couple times per week. A complete cleaning should be performed no less than once a month. A water filter can be employed but may stress wild-caught animals. If you use a filter, you don't want a strong current in your water. Bullfrogs live in stiller waters.

These frogs need a temperature gradient to thermoregulate and control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your frog can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.

The warm side can be between 74-84. Low 80s being optimal. The rest of the enclosure can be near normal room temperature (around 74). Use two good quality temperature gauges, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure. One for the hot spot and the other for the water temperature (which should be in the mid 70s).

If necessary, the easiest way to increase the heat on the land side is with an under tank heat pad. Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pads are reliable brands. You can also add a heat to the water if necessary, especially in the winter months. A good one is Tetrafauna aquatic reptile heater.

The use of 2.0 UVB bulb will provide necessary ultraviolet rays for your frog.

Try for humidity around 60%. Misting the bedding at least once or twice a day will usually provide enough moisture, but a nice humidity gauge can help you in this area. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to mist, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon is a nice option. Frogs drink by sitting in the water and absorbing it through their skin.

Bullfrogs see well and are voracious eaters. Moving prey will trigger a feeding response. Be careful not to feed by hand because they have a very strong jaw grip which can result in a nasty bite. Better to use a food dish, although feeding with tongs is fine too.
Recommended diet includes live prey animals like crickets, earthworms, mealworms, phoenix worms, horned worms, waxworms, silkworms, dubia roaches, and even crayfish. The occasional mouse is okay too but be careful not to over feed your frog. Younger animals can be fed every day, but with adults every other day is fine.

Dust their food with calcium a few times a week and also a vitamin supplement such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Repti calcium with D3.

Remember, don't over feed your bullfrog. They can be fun to feed but can have health problems if they get too fat.

Like all amphibians, these guys are quite sensitive to toxins in their environments. So do not use strong smelling cleaning products, scented candles, or incense in the room with your frog. Smoking near your pet can also be toxic as they absorb chemicals through their skin (even airborne ones). You can end up inadvertently killing your frog. Also DO NOT used distilled water for the water bowl or swimming area. Distilled water has no salts or minerals in it as such it messes with the frogs ability to regulate the water in it's cells. A process called, osmotic regulation. Death can result from this as well.

During the breeding season, male bullfrogs defend their territories. Each will have their own personality but most tend to get stressed with excessive handling.

Take good care of your pet.  Have fun and enjoy watching your beautiful frog.