Perhaps you’ve found a local frog population. Maybe you’ve seen a frog whom desperately looks in need of care. Either way, you may be wondering whether or not you can keep a wild frog as a pet. Is it safe, or is it feasible alternative to purchasing a frog from a store or breeder? With these questions in mind, I spent some time researching to find out for good.
So, can you keep a wild frog as a pet? It is not advised to keep a wild frog as a pet. Different species have different requirements in regards to food, temperature and environment and it is generally very difficult to identify the species you catch and then cater for their specific needs. Equally, they may be carrying diseases or could be an endangered and protected species, where it may be illegal for you to capture them due to declining populations.
Like most wild animals, reptiles and amphibians, frogs instinctively know what they need.
Whether this be the environment or the foods that they eat, frogs are never found too far from their ideal surroundings.
That is of course unless they have been captured by a predator, only to latter manage to get away and find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Let us now take a closer look at whether if keeping a wild frogs is at all possible, and some considerations to take into account if you were looking to do so.
We will also be looking out how you can care for wild frogs, without the need to necessary take them in and how you can even feed them.
At the end we will be looking at some suitable alternatives.
So be sure to keep on reading if keeping a wild frog has ran through your mind but you want to know more about what’s truly involved.
Can You Keep Wild Frogs?
It is generally recommended that you do not attempt to keep wild frogs or toads as pets. There are multiple reasons for this, with the main ones being:
- Risk of diseases,
- Potential danger; some frogs are poisonous, whereas all wild species carry salmonella and other harmful pathogens,
- Legality and local laws,
- Challenges in adapting to captivity; recreating their natural habitat, providing the right food etc.
The long answer of course, is it depends.
Whether or not you can keep a wild frog depends ultimately depends on the species.
Some can be very dangerous while others can be very challenging to keep alive.
Beyond this, it is important to note that in many countries and states, there are laws in place to prevent certain species from being kept.
This is most true of the endangered species, those in which are facing extinction due to population declines.
So, if you did want to try and keep a wild frog as a pet you would first need to identify the species, then check in with your local laws and authorities.
From there, whether or not you will be able to keep them alive is something you wil need to consider.
Can you provide the right temperatures, humidity etc. for them to survive?
You’ll need to carefully consider here you found them – their surroundings and the conditions of their natural habitat. Is it from a grassy area, or one underneath a rock?
Also consider that frogs may have been taken out of their natural environment; a predator may have dropped them such as a bird trying to carry them away.
For the most part, while you technically may be able to keep a wild frog, whether you should is another matter altogether.
How Do Yo Take Care Of A Wild Frog?
There are many ways that you can help take care of a wild frog without taking them in and keeping them as a pet.
In fact, there may be certain times when this may be necessary. For instance, if you come across a frog unexpectedly or they are taking up temporary residence on your property.
Almost all frogs do require access to ponds or bodies of water; its extremely important for them. This is why frogs are often found near waters, and areas that remain relatively damp.
This enables them to breathe through their skin and obtain the oxygen they need to survive.
This is also why taking them in as a pet proves so problematic. Providing an artificial habitat is very challenging, especially one that adapts over the course of the year.
Equally, many of a frogs survival instincts and skills become lost in captivity; even if this is for a short period of time.
Consider that frogs, and toads, will hibernate over the course of the winter; slowing their metabolisms down to survive the changes in weather and food availability.
So a frog in captivity will remain active during these periods, not eat, and can subsequently starve.
Beyond this, if you were to move a wild frog too far from their natural habitat, they will experience stress (as they need to reacclimatize to find a way to forage, remain safe from predators, find their way back home etc.)
Thus, taking care of a wild frog should not include taking them in or housing them.
Instead, you should support the frog in the wild and in the context of an outside habitat.
You could look to take your frog to a nearby body of water, a pond is a good option here (rivers are not!)
If you have a pond of water on your property, they may be there in an attempt to find a suitable habitat.
If this is the case try to ensure they are returned there.
Just be sure not to pick up a wild frog with your bare hands and be careful not to harm them when doing so.
As mentioned above frogs carry salmonella and other potential pathogens on them so you need to be careful!
From there, you may want to consider feeding them. Which we will now look at in the following section.
What Do You Feed A Wild Frog?
If you want to feed a wild frog, then first and foremost you should be look to provide food that is native to them, and found in their natural environment.
This is because frogs are by nature, opportunistic feeders. This means that they eat what is available to them.
This is also why frogs of different species can subside and eat different foods.
Nevertheless, all frogs are carnivores, specifically predators, so they all need to consume live prey.
For the most part, this will include a diet of fresh and live insects. Crickets are one such example.
However, depending on the species of frog and where they reside, it may even include small vertebrates (like pinkie mice) and/or fish.
Ultimately, if you want to feed a wild frog you will need to first detect the species and then research foods suitable for them.
A frogs diet ranges by species, age and breeding status so you do need to take these factors into consideration.
Alternatives To Keeping A Wild Frog As A Pet
If the thought of taking in a wild frog has you excited, but now knowing that keeping one is not the best ideas, you may be wondering if there are any suitable alternatives.
Well, had you considered purchasing a frog from a reputable pet store or breeder?
There are a range of different species that have been carefully bred that are far more suitable and practical to take care of as pets.
The best options include:
- African dwarf frog: these are ideal for beginners as they are small in size, relatively active and are relatively low maintenance. You also do not need to provide them with live food and are they are entirely aquatic.
- White’s tree frog: These are also quite active and easy to care for. Plus, the benefit of this particular species is that you can handle them every now and again (which is not possible for all frogs).
- Horned frogs (Pacman frogs): These are larger frogs (reaching up to 8″) and available in a number of different color morphs. They can also be picked up and their diet is not too challenging.
- Red Eyed frog – These are visually very interesting with green, yellow and blue bodies and striking red eyes. They are quite large and require humidity, warmth and UVB, but are not too challenging to look after.
For first time frog owners, it is generally advised to avoid any poisonous frog species or those that are very expensive.
Poison frogs are challenging to raise and expensive frogs are somewhat of a risk while you get the hang of their care.
Of course, frogs are not the only amphibian you can look to keep as a pet. What about the bizarrely interesting Axolotl or even another salamander.
Equally some reptiles, such as geckos make great pets and are quite similar in terms of their care.
Keeping a wild frog as a pet is not generally a good idea. There is just too many factors that prevent it from being a feasible option.
Do you really want to risk your health, unwillingly sentence them to death or even break the law?
While there are some species of wild frog that you may be able to keep, you’d really need to think about their habitat, setup and general care.
It will likely be very challenging and expensive.
Nevertheless, if you found a wild frog in your backyard, there are some things you can do to support and care for them.
Ensuring they return to their original location is perhaps the best thing you can do, but you may be able to offer some live food to them too.
Just consider the species!
If you did want to take in a frog long-term, it makes much more sense to purchase a frog from a pet store or a reputable breeder.
They usually stock species that are much more suitable for pet ownership. Besides they’ll be able to offer advice and support – from all the things you will need upfront to the best one to get, for you.
Just consider that frogs are actually quite a long-lived pet.
Some can live up to 25 years so taking one on is definitely a commitment. You also will not be able to release it into the wild if you later decide its not for you.
Plus, you’ll need to invest in an appropriate tank (or pond), have a suitable location for it, regularly replace substrate, establish the right light and temperature, and feed an optimal diet for your species.
There is quite a bit involved upfront – but from there most are generally quite easy to care for.