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Budgett’s Frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis)
A.K.A. Hippo Frog, Large Mouth Frog
Budgett’s Frogs are fat frogs with short legs and large mouths. As juveniles they tend to be brown, but turn an olive-grey color as they mature. They are medium-sized frogs, males reaching 4 ½ inches in length and females reaching 5 inches. Males will be a bit smaller than females and have a dark black or blue throat. A well cared for Budgett’s Frog can live for 10 years.
Budgett’s frogs have two fang-like protrusions in their mouths and may try to use these to bite. Because of they can be aggressive, this frog is not recommended for first-time frog owners.
Habitat and Tank Requirements:
This species is native to South America. Provide your frog with plenty of plants, wood, and/or rocks to climb. They are semi-aquatic and like to swim and hide among floating aquatic plants. Smooth river rocks are the best substrate for the bottom of their tank, as smaller gravel can accidentally be ingested with their prey.
Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their tank should be water. You can either use an under-gravel filtration system or clean the water every 2-3 days. Use common sense when choosing a filter: a pump that is too small will leave the water dirty, while a too-powerful pump with filter out the microorganisms needed to maintain a healthy pH.
Be sure there are no openings in the tank through which the frog can escape. A hole large enough for a frog to stick its head out of is large enough for it to escape.
You can keep groups of 2 or 3 in a 10-15 gallon tank, however, as with all frogs, do not keep different species of frogs in the same tank. There is a risk of disease and parasites being spread between species, even if the carrier frog does not show any symptoms. Budgett’s Frogs also should not be kept with other species because they have been known to eat them. If you keep more than one Budgett’s in a tank together, be sure they are the same size or they may cannibalize one another.
The comfortable temperature range for these frogs is 72-84º F during the day and a slight drop to around 69-71º F at night. LEDs or other low-wattage light bulbs work best for maintaining these temperatures.
These frogs are many insectivorous and will feed on small crickets, fruit flies, mealworms, wax worms, and any other insect small enough for them to ingest. They will also eat goldfish and brine shrimp. Although they are hardy frogs, they can be susceptible to bone softening, so consider dusting their food with calcium.
Allow your frog time to become accustomed to its new home before handling them extensively. Handling them little by little over a period of time lets the animal get used to you and reduces stress. Keep in mind that this species can be aggressive, so handle with care.