Surinam horned frogs are one of the most incredible creatures that you can have as a pet. They are effortless to care for and need not much attention at all. Also, they do not require any special equipment like tanks or heaters, as they will do fine in a small plastic aquarium.
These frogs are relatively disease-free and resistant to illness once acclimated to the environment. The life span of a Surinam horned frog can be 15-20 years if well cared for, which makes them a long-term commitment as pets. They are non-aggressive animals and do not carry any diseases harmful to humans.
Why Keep Surinam Horned Frogs as Pets?
Surinam horned frogs are also unique in that they use their tongues to catch prey. Rather than using suction like most other frogs, the frog opens its mouth and lunges forward with a quick flick of the tongue to grab unsuspecting insects (and even small vertebrates) right out of midair!
The name “horned frog” comes from the two hard “horns” on top of the frog’s head. These are not horns at all but rather projections of bone that sit atop muscle attachments. The muscles attached to these bones allow for quick extension and retraction of the tongue.
Although they look dangerous, these larvae are pretty harmless. They are also amazing acrobats and can even jump from the ground to catch insects on vegetation above them.
Where Should You Get One?
When shopping around for your new pet, be sure to make inquiries about where they are coming from. Buying these types of frogs from a reputable breeder will ensure that you have gotten them at the right age and that the frog is healthy.
A baby brown Surinam horned frog should look plump and have clear eyes, with no bedding stuck in its mouth or nose. It should move around a bit when out of the water. Also, it is best to get your frog from an environment similar to its current habitat so it will be easier for them to adjust.
Basics of a Surinam Horned Frog Care
Horned frogs are native to Argentina, Brazil, and Surinam, and they do very well as pets. They can be kept in an average 20-gallon aquarium or larger tank that contains many hiding places such as plants and rocks. A secure lid is required because these frogs are great climbers.
The Right Temperature
Horned frogs like it reasonably warm, 78° to 82°F being tolerable for most adults if they have a water source. Many keepers find that adding a small heat pad on one side of an aquarium can help create a temperature gradient if needed. Just be sure not to use any heat rocks as they tend to get too hot and can burn your pet.
The substrate should be a combination of potting soil and peat moss, about three parts soil to 1 part sphagnum. Moss can be added for a more realistic look, but it must be kept moist so the frog has a water source available.
This substrate should be kept moist but not soggy. A Surinam horned frog tends to defecate in its water and substrate, so make sure to change it or clean the tank at least once a month (more often is better).
Horned frogs also typically eat live prey such as fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and other small grasshoppers. Still, most will switch to non-living food reasonably easily. Ensure any items are dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement every few feedings (cod liver oil or spirulina powder is good).
Overall Health and Hygiene
Horned frogs can be fairly skittish and may take some time before they warm up to you. If they do not become tame with regular handling, it is probably best to be patient and observe them for a while.
After the initial setup, you need to ensure little Surinam horned frog care other than feeding them well and keeping their habitat clean. You can expect your pet frog to live between 5-15 years in captivity if adequately cared for.
Make sure you pick up any frogs and inspect them for any injuries before purchasing them. Surinam horned frogs are nocturnal, so they may be sleeping during the day when you first get them home.
Just remember that these animals come from tropical areas with high humidity, so it is important to mist the tank once or twice a day and maintain proper temperatures to keep your pet healthy.