Native to South America, Pacman frogs are amphibians that are relatively common in the pet trade. As strictly terrestrial amphibians, they are very poor swimmers. Instead, they spend most of their time in a humid environment among damp leaf litter. Pacman frogs get their common name from the popular PacMan arcade game, because like the animated character, these frogs have a rounded appearance with huge mouths. Pacman frogs are not difficult to care for and they make interesting pets. However, for people who like their pets to be active or interactive may, the Pacman frog may not be a good match, as it is not the best pet for handling.
COMMON NAME: Ornate horned frog, Pacman frog, Pac-man frog, Pac man frog, South American horned frog, Argentine horned frog, ornate Pacman frog, and Argentine wide-mouthed frog
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ceratophrys ornata
ADULT SIZE: 6 inches long (about as wide as they are long); females are larger than males
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 7 to 10 years
Pacman Frog Behavior and Temperament
These amphibians are docile pets, but their counterparts in the wild have been known to bite if they feel threatened. A Pacman frog's appetite matches its size, and it will attempt to eat anything that moves within striking distance of where it sits on the ground. Any kind of prey that walks by is fair game for this hungry frog.
Housing the Pacman Frog
Pacman frogs do not need a large cage since they are not very active. A 20-gallon tank is fine for one of these frogs. As they will often try to eat any cage mates, they should be housed alone. A cage top is recommended to help maintain temperature and humidity but Pacman frogs are not known to be at risk of escaping.
Choosing Your Pacman Frog
When deciding on a Pacman frog as a pet, look for an active, alert animal that has clear eyes and whose skin appears free of blemishes. If you are able to watch it eat before deciding, that's ideal; rarely will a Pacman frog refuse food unless it's ill. If the Pacman frog you're interested in seems lethargic or is having trouble breathing, or if its abdomen seems bloated, these may be signs of illness.
The best bet for acquiring a Pacman frog is via a reputable breeder who can give you a complete health history of your potential pet. Captive-bred Pacman frogs are the better option because they're less likely to be exposed to parasites and other ailments that wild-caught frogs may have.