Argentinian (Ornate, Pacman, or Bell) Horned Frogs

Ceratophrys ornata

Horned frogs seem to have been designed for the sole purpose of eating as much as possible. They appear to consist of two main parts: a mouth and a stomache. The creature has eyes and legs also, of course, but they pale in significance except as aids in the capture of the next meal, when compared to the unbelievably huge mouths these guys have! This is probably where this frog got the nickname "PacMan Toad".

The coloration of this species is quite varied. The more colorful forms are bright green with lots of red markings. Some are darker, with less green and lotsand lots of black markings.
These frogs can grow to about 15cm, though usually the male is a lot smaller - as in, usually no bigger than 10cm. These numbers hardly give the full impression of how big they really are since usually they get to be as wide as they are long! (Not only that, but the heads, and therefore their mouths, are almost as wide as their body.

Females generally reach up to 14 cm. in length and width, and males generally get 10 cm. in length and width (although there are always exceptions and "giants"!). But as a rule, females are the larger of the specie. Sexing this specie is very difficult, and the only dimorphism between the two sexes is size and that males have dark pigmented throats.

These guys are fairly simple as far as accomodations are concerned; a simple plastic box or aquarium with some shallow water and a few rocks (such that the frog can climb out of the water) can work. The water depth depends on how big the frog is; i.e. it should be deep enough to cover about half the frog. Gravel can be spread across the bottom to give the frog a better grip. Temperature should be around 25-28C (77-83F)
Read more information on this subject in the Housing Your Pet Frog section.
(see the Frog Doctor for details on illness prevention.)

This is where things get a bit hairy for my taste. These guys eat lots and lots of really big bugs, fish (guppies, I am told, are pretty good feeders) and mice. Pretty much anything that will fit in their mouths. Large insects and worms should be left on the rocks, though these guys will eat them from the surface of the water too. Dead mice are best offered either by hand or using forceps (again, get the kind with round balls on the ends so you don't risk injuring the frog when he lunges at the food!) It is generally recommended that you house horned frogs alone (except for breeding) in order to avoid cannibalism. Eeek!

These guys seem to spend a good deal of time just sitting around. Not a very recommended species for a pet if you get bored with a big fat (though some would say cute) frog that doesnt seem to move around much.
They have been known to be aggressive towards bigger animals, even humans, and can give you a pretty good snap when startled. Usually they settle in captivity pretty quickly, and can be handled ok.

This is a picture of pictures of "Sugar", courtesy of Deborah Dana and her family, taken from Mike's Herpetocultural Home Page, a really cool website that sadly appears to be gone.

For more info, check out these links:

Back to Species Info Page.
Back to Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Frogs.