Chacoan Horned Frog

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Chacoan Horned Frog

Post by Paul » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:48 pm

One of the most popular and hardiest frog in the pet trade is the Chacoan Horned frog, which are available as captive bred. They originate from the semi-arid grasslands in the Gran Chaco region of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. During the drier part of the year they burrow underground wrapped in a cocoon until the rains come to awake them. They are easy to set up and maintain in captivity, perfect for beginners.

It's best to keep Horned frogs alone as they attempt to eat cage mates but well fed adults of similar size may be kept together in large terrariums. Use at least a 10-gallon or similar sized 18 x 18 x 12 inch glass terrarium for one frog. Young frogs can be raised in plastic faunariums, which will help them find they're food easier and faster before supplements wear off. Horned frogs are burrowers, and so should be provided with at least 2 inches of substrate. Coir is ideal, whereas bark and moss is best avoided due to the risks of impaction that is common with these frogs. Water the substrate to keep it moist when needed and spot clean daily, changing the coir every month or sooner if it starts to smell. Although the frog will find security with burrowing in the coir, I like to place artificial plants and cork bark on the floor for some cover and so the enclosure doesn't look boring. Use a shallow water bowl for the frog to soak in at night and change it in the morning with fresh de-chlorinated water.

Keep these frogs warm, with daytime temperatures between 24-29oC (75-84oF). A thermostat-controlled heat mat is ideal and works best placed underneath the tank. Another way to supply heat is by using an incandescent bulb (heat lamp) or ceramic heat emitter but more frequent misting or watering to the substrate will be needed due to the drying effects. When using a bulb or ceramic it's best to allow for a night time drop to 21-23oC (70-74oF) but this is not necessary with heat mats.
Lighting Horned frogs have no UVB requirements as they attain D3 through their varied diet in the wild but all animals do best with a day and night cycle, and so a compact natural daylight lamp or LED light is to be recommended for 12 hours per day. A plug timer can be used to make sure lights are switched on and off at the right time each day.

In the wild these predatory frogs will eat both invertebrates and vertebrates. You can use supplemented crickets for the main part of their captive diet but other foods such as superworms, nightcrawlers, fish and pink mice should be included. Insects need supplemented with a calcium D3 and multivitamin powder to prevent metabolic bone disease. I use supplements at every feed but only lightly dust insects. Young frogs should be fed daily to every other day, where as adults need only a weekly meal.

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