How do I Teach My Child to Care for their Pet Frog?

Amphibians, like frogs and toads, make wonderful indoor pets, especially as a first pet for a child (so long as they have the right adult support). A mostly hands-off pet, they do require a high standard of care across their nutrition, housing, and health maintenance. Doing these things can mean a long and happy life. Here’s what you should know before bringing one home for your child.

Perhaps the most important characteristic is to know they are not the pet you cuddle or handle frequently, but the one you appreciate from a distance. When you need to handle them, use a moistened glove made of latex or vinyl as the residue from soaps, sunscreens, and lotions can irritate their skin. Also, some frogs secrete toxins through their skin which might irritate human skin. Institute a look, don’t touch approach, especially with young children.

Should you get a toad or a frog? Generally speaking, toads have dry skin with warts and short legs, while frogs’ skin is smooth. Their habitats differ greatly, though, with toads preferring dry land and frogs preferring to be near or submerged in water.

What do you feed them? Depending on the species, anything from fruit flies and crickets to large mice or rodents. Frogs need high-quality protein which comes from animal-based fatty acids. Crickets can be dusted with vitamin or mineral supplements to compensate for the lack of nutrients, to prevent metabolic bone disease.

For a good beginner frog, stay away from too-exotic varieties such as Pacman frogs or Poison Dart frogs. Bullfrogs can be easy to catch, but need large cages to provide room for exercising their strong back legs. However, frogs generally make low-maintenance, low-cost (no vet bills or vaccinations), safe (no biting), easy-to-care-for pets.

A few things to note on their habitat: first, keep it out of direct sunlight. Also, place the tank away from the kitchen as cooking odors can hurt them. Take care with aerosol products (hairspray and cleaning products) which are toxic to frogs. Then simply make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate exercise with an easy-open but secured top lid. Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling them so they don’t absorb any excess soap.

With a few minor set up things like these, your child should be able to enjoy their pet frog for a long time.