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Caring for Amphibians

Pond pets are harder to take care of than most people realize.
Petkeeping Television, January 2011

Amphibians have a reputation for being easy to care for, but in fact, they have extremely precise dietary and environmental requirements. 

In the wild, they are known as indicator species because they are highly susceptible to changes in their environment. Some amphibians are now in danger of becoming extinct due to the disruption humans have wrought on their native habitat.

If you do decide to have a frog, toad, newt, or salamander as a pet, there are a few things you need to know in order to keep your pond pet healthy and happy.

Pond Pet Tips

  • Amphibians have thin, delicate skin that can dry out easily. As a rule, they should not be handled, but if by chance you need to pick up your pond pet, make sure to wet your fingertips first. 
  • Find out the correct habitat for your particular pond pet. Some frogs, such as the Argentine horned frog, thrive in a terrarium with a substrate of wet moss. Tree frogs will need a vivarium that includes plenty of moist vegetation for hiding. Some newts and salamanders require an aquatic environment and are a little easier to care for than their terrestrial brethren.  
  • Research the type of food your amphibian requires. Certain frogs, like the Argentine horned frog mentioned above, are obligate carnivores. When they're little, they should eat crickets dusted with calcium. These frogs are sometimes called "Pacman" frogs because of their large mouths, and as they get bigger, they can eat larger creatures, even goldfish.

Frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders are fascinating animals that can teach us a lot about the natural world, but they are not an ideal pet choice for a small child or first-time pet owner. They require special care and aren't as obvious in their show of affection for us as furry pets may be.

Resources
Learn more about vanishing amphibians and conservation efforts.