Pac Man Frog (Ornate Horned Frog)

swimming american bullfrog, shown under GNU Free Documentation License

Pacman frog is the general name for any frog with unusually large abdomen and mouth. These types of frogs are usually under the family Neobatrachia. Just like its name, the family is amongst the newly formed family under the order Anura (the order composed of frogs and toads).

Pacman frogs have mouths as wide as their bodies - showing a semblance to the Pacman videogame character. Pacman frogs are generally varicolored species. There are many different color variants and combinations existing. The most common colors would be green, dark brown, red and albino. Albinos, despite being called such, actually have bright yellow markings.

Pacman frogs are what you could call horned frogs because of the projections on their bodies. The majority of Pacman frogs are endemic or in non-scientific terms, exclusively found in South America. The quintessential example of the Pacman frog is the Argentine horned frog. This frog, like its name, could be found in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

Pacman frogs are famous for being astonishingly large frogs. The females of the species are larger than the males. Perhaps due to mating reasons, males could produce croaking sounds while females could not.

The female Pacman frogs could measure up to 15cm or around six inches while the smaller of the species -- the males -- measures around 10cm or approximately four inches. This measurement pertains to both vertical and horizontal length because the Pacman frog is as wide as it is long. Other than their unusually large mouths (or perhaps it is an outgrowth of this innate trait), Pacman frogs are named as such because they are voracious gluttonous eaters.

In fact, eating is what the Pacman frog was born for. Pacman frogs generally sit still the remainder of the day - moving only when they're hungry. Pacman frogs are infamous for being lazy frogs - sitting on dry patches until it is time to eat again. Pacman frogs will eat anything. In fact, they eat so much they might attempt to eat something bigger than them.

Located along their upper jaws, Pacman frogs sport a row of sharp teeth. When they try to eat something bigger than them, these teeth help them capture prey. However, it can also be the cause of their death. This is because they would not be able to let go of something they already have in their mouths due to their teeth. Therefore, if it is something bigger than them, death by suffocation is the usual outcome.

Feeding and Care

In the wild, Pacman frogs have a 1-4-year life expectancy. In captivity, however, Pacman frogs could live as long as ten long years. There have been some reports of Pacman frogs living even longer than that. Pacman frogs usually eat fish (guppies), worms, big insects, other frogs, small reptiles and small mammals such as mice.

When planning to raise a Pacman frog, a big glass ten-gallon tank should be used since these amphibians get too big for comfort. Ample amount of water should be present in the tank. The water should not be too deep. Ideally, the water in the tank should cover half of the frog's body. On the water, substrate and hiding places such as rocks should be placed. Pacman frogs would be content perching on whatever respite from the water you place inside the aquarium. In fact, they could live there (sitting, croaking (if it is a male), and eating) for more than a decade.

When feeding these frogs bigger food such as mice or other frogs and reptiles, it is best to use your hands or forceps. Just be extra careful because they might think your hands are also food and snap at them. However, after a while, Pacman frogs might get used to your hand-feeding they'd start recognizing your hand as a non-food entity since they're easily domesticated. Still, it's always best to be careful -- a finger to a hungry Pacman frog stomach could look very much like a big fat worm. When raising more than one Pacman frog (if you have the money to feed more than one), it is recommended for each frog to be raised in its own tank. The reason -- to prevent cannibalism. As was said, Pacman frogs would eat anything, and that is no exaggeration.

Other things to keep in mind is that the temperature inside the tank should be around 25 degrees Celsius or so. Also, your frog's abode should be kept humid so make sure to humidify your aquarium -- you don't want to agitate a Pacman frog. Knowing considerable info about the Pacman frog and following the advice above, you are on your way to raising one big, fat and healthy Pacman amphibian.