Basic Care: Pac-man Frogs


Pac-man Frogs are known by a variety of names including Argentinian horned frog, Bell’s Horned frogs, and ornate horned frogs.  These frogs originate from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay where they live in shallow water puddles. By one year of age, Pac-man frogs can reach a full-grown size of about 4-7 inches with the female toads being generally larger than the males. The average lifespan is 7 to 15 years.  This species is an opportunistic hunter and will eat its cage mate if hungry or if cohoused with a smaller toad. They should be housed alone for this reason.  In general, you should not handle your frog as this can damage the skin and cause irritation.  When handling this species, use caution as bites from horned frogs can draw blood.


These large frogs are not very active and will happily spend a majority of their lives buried under moist substrate. Ideal substrates include coconut fiber, sterile potting soil, and sphagnum moss.  Substrate should be 4-6 inches deep and should be spot cleaned daily, sifted through once weekly, and completely changed every other week. As these toads tend not to be very active, a 20-gallon tank with good ventilation is sufficient in size.


Temperatures for this species range from 70-82 F for an ambient temperature and 84-88 F in the basking spot. Temperatures should be measured with a digital thermometer or temperature gun. They should be provided with low grade UVB (zoomed 5.0) about 10-12 hours a day. Hides made from terracotta pot pieces, half logs, PCV pipe, or other materials can be provided to help the toad hide completely from light when desired while also providing smaller areas of higher humidity within the tank. The humidity should be maintained at 60-80%.  The substrate should be moistened but never fully soaked regularly and not allowed to fully dry.  Water used within the enclosure should be dechlorinated prior to use.  A shallow low sided water bowl should be provided at all times.


As a young toad, this species should be fed daily. Once full grown they can be fed once or twice a week. The diet should consist mostly of live insects. Crickets, earthworms, and roaches should be the main prey items.  Frozen thawed pinky mice can be offered occasionally but can cause obesity and other related disease. Toads should be supplemented with a vitamin/mineral mix containing D3 like Zoo meds reptivite once weekly and should be provided with calcium WITHOUT D3 two to three times (we recommend Zoo meds reptical) a week while growing and with each meal as an adult.

Preventative Care

We recommend a yearly fecal sample check and a yearly exam to monitor the health of this species. Monitor for changes in appetite, energy, changes in color to the skin, wounds, or any other concerning changes.  Contact our office for an appointment if any of these signs are seen.