amphibian-care

Tomato Frog Care Sheet

February 23, 2021

tomato frog

Tomato frogs (Dyscophus guineti) are a 2.5-4” long, terrestrial, nocturnal amphibian native to the island of Madagascar. They prefer rainforests for habitat, and can be found on the leaf-strewn floor of the forest.

Tomato frogs have relatively small heads, mouths, and eyes, with a bulbous body and short limbs. They are orange to red in color, with an orange belly and a dark stripe running the length of each side. They are called “tomato” frogs because of their round shape and unique coloring!

Tomato frogs are a beginner-level amphibian due to their small size and general hardiness. With good care, you can expect this frog to have a 10+ year lifespan.

Minimum terrarium size for tomato frogs

30”L x 12”W x 12”H (20 gallons) is a good starting point for housing one tomato frog, but larger is appreciated and used.

Cohabitation (keeping multiple tomato frogs in one enclosure) is optional, as they are just fine living on their own, but they tend to get along well enough when housed with roommates. However, you will need a larger enclosure for multiple frogs.

Do tomato frogs need UVB?

Tomato frogs can survive without access to UVB wavelengths, but we still recommend providing appropriate UVB lighting as part of the setup. UVB lighting helps provide a clear day/night cycle, provides all of the vitamin D that your pet needs, strengthens the immune system, facilitates better digestion, and provides other benefits.

The best UVB bulbs for tomato frogs are:

  • Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 5.0
  • Arcadia ShadeDweller

For best results, use a bulb roughly half the length of the enclosure and housed in a reflective fixture. The frogs should be able to get no closer than 8” to the bulb. UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so placing the terrarium in front of a window doesn’t count as “free UVB” — in fact it can make your terrarium too hot due to the greenhouse effect. Don’t forget to replace your bulb every 12 months!

Lights should be on for 13 hours/day during summer and 11 hours/day during winter. This mimics natural seasonal cycles and likely promotes better long-term health!

Best temperature for tomato frogs

Like other amphibians, tomato frogs are cold-blooded, which means that they rely on external temperatures to manage their own body temperature and metabolism. They overheat easily, and if they get too cold, they can’t digest their food, so it’s important to provide the right climate.

Ambient temperature in a tomato frog enclosure should stay between 75-80°F during the day, and may drop down to no lower than 65°F at night. Make sure you’re maintaining an appropriate temperature with digital probe thermometers, with the probe placed in the middle of the enclosure.

A good way to warm the enclosure for daytime is with a low-wattage heat lamp on one side of the enclosure. Do not use colored bulbs, as these are not as effective. Increase the wattage if it’s too cool, and use a plug-in lamp dimmer if it’s too warm.

If the room you plan on housing the frogs in does not have a reliable means of staying under 82°F, a tomato frog is not the pet for you.

Best humidity levels for tomato frogs

As amphibians, tomato frogs can’t live without plenty of water. Ambient humidity should average between 70-80%. Humidity should be measured via digital probe hygrometer, with the probe placed in the middle of the terrarium.

Here are some ways to maintain high levels of humidity:

You will also need to provide a shallow water bowl for your tomato frog to soak in, large enough to accommodate its entire body. This bowl should be refilled daily and scrubbed with amphibian-safe disinfectant once a week.

Frogs and other amphibians are sensitive to the chemicals present in their environment, so you need to be careful about the water you use for misting and soaking. Use spring water or tap water treated with dechlorinator. Never used distilled or reverse-osmosis water for your frog!

Best substrate for tomato frogs

Providing at least 2” of of naturalistic substrate (“bedding”) will help maintain correct humidity levels and helps make your enclosure more attractive! We recommend the following substrates for tomato frogs:

  • Zoo Med Eco Earth
  • Exo Terra Plantation Soil
  • Peat moss
  • Zoo Med ReptiSoil
  • Sphagnum moss

Layer with leaf litter for best results. Substrate should be totally replaced every month if you are not running a bioactive setup.

How to decorate a tomato frog terrarium

A bare-bones enclosure makes for a bored frog, reducing its quality of life. Keep your pet engaged with its environment with the strategic use of décor items that encourage it to exercise natural behaviors!

Décor options for tomato frogs include:

Always make sure your frog has covered areas to retreat to when it wants privacy.

What to feed to a tomato frog

Tomato frogs are insectivorous, which means that they need to eat a variety of live insects in order to get the right nutrition. 3-6 live insects should be offered every other day. Feeders should be at least slightly smaller than the frog’s head.

Food options for tomato frogs:

Supplements

You will need to keep calcium and multivitamin supplements on hand to help prevent your pet from developing a nutritional deficiency, helping it live healthier. Feeder insects should be dusted with Repashy CalciumPlus LoD at each feeding.

Adding a carotenoid supplement like Repashy SuperPig to your frog’s routine will also help it develop more vibrant color.

How to handle your tomato frog

Amphibians generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do, and tomato frogs in particular are generally a hands-off pet. If you absolutely have to grab your frog, wear a pair of nitrile gloves, cup its body firmly but gently, and keep handling time to a minimum.

*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!

Image by Brigitte is always pleased to get a coffee from Pixabay 


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