Pacman Frog Lifespan – How Long Do Pacman Frogs Live For

Pacman Frog Lifespan

Let me help you to figure out how long does a pacman frog live in captivity and in the wild.

Pacman frogs, also known as horned frogs, are a group of South American aquatic frogs in the Ceratophryidae family. They get their name from their large mouth and ability to swallow prey as large as they are.

They are popular exotic pets due to their unique appearance and relatively easy care compared to other exotic pets. They grow to about 5-8 inches in length.

Pacman frogs are ambush predators that sit and wait for prey to come by and then strike quickly to catch it with their sticky tongue. In the wild they eat insects, spiders, smaller frogs and reptiles, and even small mammals and birds.

They require an aquatic habitat with areas for both swimming and land dwelling. Appropriate heating, lighting, humidity and access to shelters and plants should be provided in captivity.

Pacman frogs come in a variety of color morphs in the pet trade including green, albino, gray, golden and more due to captive breeding projects. The most common morph seen is green or brown.

Let’s find out about Pacman Frog life expectancy.

Pacman Frog Lifespan in Captivity

Pacman Frog Lifespan in Captivity
Pacman Frog Lifespan in Captivity

Most sources stated captive pacman frogs live 7-15 years on average as a pet same goes to female and baby pacman. In captivity, Pacman frogs require a well-ventilated and humid enclosure with a temperature range of 75-85°F (24-29°C) and a humidity level of 50-60%. They should be fed a varied diet of live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms, and have access to clean water for soaking.

Females are generally capable of breeding around 18 months of age. They reach full adult size by about 2 years old.

How Long Do Pacman Frogs Live in Wild

How Long Do Pacman Frogs Live in Wild
How Long Do Pacman Frogs Live in Wild

In the wild, Pacman forgs average lifespan is 3-5 years. In their native habitats in South America, pacman frogs face greater environmental threats and predators compared to frogs living in captivity. 

Provided they avoid getting picked off as tadpoles or juveniles by snakes, birds, mammals and even other frogs, those reaching maturity may survive over a decade.

The rainforests and wetlands where pacman frogs dwell offer more consistent natural food sources and favorable conditions than what captive frogs experience. Lower stress and disease rates also contribute to wild lifespans near the higher end of their biological potential.

However, wild frogs must deal with risks like climate fluctuations, habitat destruction, and avoidance of predators not faced by pets.

Pacman Frog Life Cycle

Pacman Frog Life Cycle
Pacman Frog Life Cycle

Here’s a brief overview of the life cycle of a Pacman frog:

  1. Egg stage: Pacman frogs lay their eggs in a protected area, such as a burrow or under a rock. The eggs hatch into tadpoles after about 2-3 weeks.
  2. Tadpole stage: Tadpoles are the larval stage of the frog. They have gills and live in the water, feeding on algae and small aquatic organisms. During this stage, they undergo a series of molts (shedding of their skin) as they grow.
  3. Metamorphosis: After about 2-3 months, the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis and transform into froglets. During this stage, they lose their gills and develop lungs, and their tails and limbs grow larger.
  4. Froglet stage: Froglets are small, immature frogs that are still developing. They live on land and feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
  5. Adult stage: After about 1-2 years, the froglets reach sexual maturity and become adult Pacman frogs. They can live for up to 10-15 years in captivity, depending on their care and living conditions.

In this way, pacman frogs depend on water for reproduction and early life stages before primarily living on land as ambush predators through adulthood, ultimately returning to aquatic areas to breed.

Types of Pacman Frogs

Types of Pacman Frogs
Types of Pacman Frogs

There are several different species and morphs of pacman frogs that are kept as pets.

Here are some of the main types:

Strawberry Pacman Frog

The Strawberry Pacman Frog is a unique color morph of the Cranwell’s Horned Frog (also called Chacoan Horned Frog), which is the most common species of pacman frog kept as pets. Like all pacman frogs, strawberry morphs are aggressive feeders that will eat mice, insects, worms, and other meaty foods. They sit in one spot waiting to ambush prey. The Strawberry Pacman Frog can grow to be about 2-3 inches in length, making it a relatively small species of frog.

Cranwell’s Horned Frog

The most popular variety of pacman frog kept in the exotic pet trade is called Cranwell’s horned frog, or Chacoan horned frog. As their name implies, these large stocky frogs are native to the Gran Chaco region of South America. Most display green or brown coloration that provides camouflage in their jungle environments. They make great pets due to their bold appetites and calm personalities once acclimated.

Fantasy Horned Frog

Distinct for its especially vibrant shade is the Brazilian fantasy horned frog. Ranging from mint green to almost highlighter tones, these gorgeous tree frogs lack much discernible pattern on their skin at all. Slightly smaller than their Cranwell’s relatives, fantasy horned frogs are a stunning burrowing species well-suited to tropical setups in captivity.

Ornate Horned Frog

Hailing from both Brazil and Argentina emerges the ornate horned frog variety. Their most striking feature is the mix of gray or brown base colors contrasted with red and orange blotches scattered across their sturdy bodies. Reaching lengths over 4 inches, ornate horned frogs make a fun visually appealing pacman frog to own.

Albino Pacman Frog

The albino horned frog morph seen across a couple natural species stands out for its lack of black pigment. Instead, albinos display hues of yellow, pink, peach, or cream, frequently with glowing red eyes. Though more sensitive without protective melanin, albino pacman frogs remain moderately common in the pet industry.

How to Take Care of Pacman Frog

Taking care of a Pacman frog can be a rewarding and educational experience. Here are some tips to help you provide the best care for your pet:

  1. Housing: Provide a well-ventilated and secure enclosure for your Pacman frog. A 10-20 gallon aquarium or terrarium is ideal. The enclosure should have a secure lid to prevent escape and should be large enough for your frog to move around comfortably.
  2. Temperature: Pacman frogs are native to the tropical regions of Central and South America, so they require a warm environment. The ideal temperature range for Pacman frogs is between 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C).
  3. Humidity: Pacman frogs thrive in a humid environment, with a relative humidity of 50-60%. You can increase the humidity by misting the enclosure with water daily or using a humidifier.
  4. Lighting: Provide a low-wattage, full-spectrum light bulb for your Pacman frog. The light should be on for 10-12 hours a day to simulate a day-night cycle.
  5. Substrate: Use a substrate that can hold moisture, such as sphagnum moss or coconut fiber, to keep the enclosure humid. Avoid using gravel, sand, or wood shavings, as they can cause respiratory problems.
  6. Water: Provide a shallow dish of clean, dechlorinated water for your Pacman frog to drink from. You can also add a water feature, such as a small pond or fountain, to increase the humidity and provide a place for your frog to soak.
  7. Food: Pacman frogs are carnivores and should be fed a diet of live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. Feed your frog appropriately sized insects daily, and provide a variety of insects to ensure a balanced diet.
  8. Handling: Pacman frogs are gentle and can make great pets, but they do not like to be handled excessively. Handle your frog gently and infrequently to avoid stress.
  9. Health: Pacman frogs are prone to a few health issues, such as respiratory infections and metabolic bone disease. Keep an eye out for signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing. Consult a veterinarian experienced in amphibian care if you suspect your frog is ill.
  10. Maintenance: Clean your Pacman frog’s enclosure regularly to keep it clean and free of bacteria. Remove any uneaten food and waste, and replace the substrate as needed.


Do Pacman frogs like to be held?

No, pacman frogs generally do not enjoy being held or handled frequently. As ambush predators that sit and wait for passing prey, excessive movement can cause them stress. Their skin also easily absorbs chemicals and soaps which can irritate them. Quick handling when cleaning their enclosures is fine, but they prefer resting on their land or soaking in their water bowls over human cuddling.

Are Pacman frogs good for beginners?

Yes, pacman frogs can make great pets for responsible beginner owners provided their needs are met. Hardier than many amphibians, their basic care requirements around habitat, heating, humidity maintenance, and regular feeding/cleaning are very manageable with some learning. Their less active nature suits first-time frog handling. Just be sure to research them fully so you can address any health issues promptly.

What are the health issues with Pacman frogs?

Common health issues seen in pacman frogs include impaction or bloating from eating substrate, malnutrition from inappropriate foods, mouth rot from poor water quality, respiratory infections, and skin irritations or lesions. Other conditions like red-leg are less frequent but still occur. Catching illness early and maintaining preventative husbandry and hygiene is key.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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