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Ornate Horned Frog Care

Ornate Horned Frog Care

Ornate Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata)

also known as Argentine Horned Frog, Argentine wide-mouthed Frog and Pacman Frog

Popularity: Make good pets and said to be the hardiest species and easiest to care for; however they may bite when handled.

Origin: Brazil and northern Argentina

Native habitat: Tropical rainforest

Size: 6-8 inches

Lifespan: 16 years or more

Appearance: The Horned Frog’s most prominent feature is its mouth, which accounts for roughly half of its size. There is little distinction between their broad heads and thick bodies. Their legs and eyes are fairly small. They have green, white and yellow skin with touches of red and black. Albino versions also exist. Males have dark pigmented throats. It gets its name from the folds of skin over its eyes: It does not really have a horn.

Diet: Carnivorous

Activities: Diurnal and relatively inactive except when eating

Defense Mechanisms: Their coloration helps camouflage them when they lie on the forest floor. Sometimes they will jump towards an attacker no matter their size and power.

Misc characteristics: The Ornate Horned Frog is nicknamed Pac-Man Frog because when it attacks prey its large wide-open mouth resembles the video game character. When prey happens by, the frog moves forward and gobbles up the victim in only one or two gulps. Its vocalizations sound like a cow bellowing. These frogs should be housed alone to avoid cannibalism.



Ornate Horned Frogs do not need a lot of space. You can house a single adult in a 20-gallon aquarium tank. They are not agile climbers, so a few climbing rocks in the enclosure are sufficient. There should be plenty of hiding places made up of live or artificial plants. Position the plants over a dry area of the tank as well as over the water dish to increase the frog’s sense of security. Sphagnum moss, husk fiber and other material that the Ornate Horned Frog can burrow into are good substrates. Avoid aromatic woods like cedar, since they can cause health risks. Clean the substrate daily.

Water and Humidity

Ornate Horned Frogs need a 50-70% humidity level. Maintain this by placing a large, shallow water bowl in the tank and misting the substrate daily. Too much humidity is harmful to the frog, so measure it with a hygrometer. Water must be clean, fresh and free of chlorine or heavy metal. The water level in the bowl should be shallow, and there should be a climbing rock in the bowl to make it easy for the frog to climb out of the water so it doesn’t drown.


Feed adults once or twice a week. Feed youngsters 4-6 gut loaded and dusted crickets daily. As they grow, they need bigger feeder animals such as larger crickets, earthworms, frozen feeder mice and feeder guppies. Food should not be larger than half the size of the frog’s body. Avoid overfeeding adults because this frog is prone to obesity. Provide calcium and vitamin supplements as part of the diet. Don’t offer food by hand because you might get bit.

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