AMERICAN BULLFROG CARE SHEET Lithobates catesbeianus

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Catching American Bullfrogs is a memory almost every kid growing up in the Eastern United States has. Though they are very interesting frogs, it is best to keep them in their native environment outdoors. This care sheet is for injured American Bullfrogs who are not able to return to the wild or captive breed frogs.


LIFE SPAN: 7-10 years

ACTIVITY: American Bullfrogs are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. From dusk to dawn in May through July, you will hear their classic mating call, “Bud-a-rum”. At night, these frogs also hunt, soak, and hop about.

ENCLOSURE: American Bullfrogs can grow to be at 8 inches long meaning they need lots of space! Coconut fiber substrate makes a perfect bedding. 6-8 inches (15-20cm) of substrate provides the proper space for burrowing. Logs, huts, and live plants give a natural feel and allow your frog to feel safe and comfortable. Provide at least three different places large enough for your bullfrog to hide in. A very large water feature is necessary. A simple paludarium makes a perfect environment for American Bullfrogs. 1/4 to 1/2 of the tank should consist of a water feature. Large rocks create a realistic feel to your small pond. Flat rocks can line the bottom, as rocks create a slope out of the water. Water plants like Hornwort make great aquatic hiding spots along with driftwood. The water level should just be under your substrate level (6-8 inches, 15 cm -20cm). A Tetrafauna ReptoFilter will keep your water nice and fresh. For a more natural filter, I highly recommend a Tetra® Decorative ReptoFilter Terrarium Filter. I have had mine for over 8 years and it still runs beautifully. Replace your filter cartridge every 6 months, and rinse once monthly. An acrylic divider can be inserted to form a watertight seal between your land portion and aquatic portion. You may also use Josh’s Frogs Pond Wall foam. For more details on installation, click the button below. If using tap water, water conditioner must be used. This removes harmful chemicals and makes the water safe for your amphibian. Directions vary so be sure to read the label before using.

SIZE OF ENCLOSURE: For young American Bullfrogs, a 40-gallon breeder (36″ x 18″ x 16″, 91.44cm x 45.72″ x 40.64″) is perfect. Once your bullfrog begins to mature, a 55 gallon (48″ x 13″ x 21″, 121.92cm x 33.02″ x 53.34″) or larger is great. These frogs require lots of space to jump around in. If not given proper space, they will damage their noses by hitting it against the glass in an attempt to jump.

WATER TEMPERATURE: American Bullfrogs do well in room temperature water 65-75 degrees F (18-24 degrees C). I have personally observed that bullfrogs appreciate a heat source the mimics the sun’s warmth. Placing a low wattage heat bulb over a rock basking area near the pond gives them a basking spot. A perfect bulb is Zoo Med’s Daylight Blue 40w Bulb. Setting this bulb on a timer for 6-8 hours a day provides a natural schedule for your frog in terms of light, heat, and water temperature.

HUMIDITY: 70-80%

TEMPERATURE: Daytime temperatures should be 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 to 29 degrees Celsius. 

Nighttime temperatures should never drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. 

LIGHTING: A heat lamp is never necessary unless the room your amphibian is in drops below 65 degrees F or 18 degrees Celsius. If it does, use a low wattage reptile heat lamp in the day, and a low wattage infrared heat lamp at night. A UVB light is recommended. It helps improve your frogs’ overall health. A linear 2.0 UVB is best. Never use higher than 2.0, it is too strong and can harm your frog!

FEEDING: American Bullfrogs will eat anything that can fit into their mouth. This includes smaller tank mates. American Bullfrogs must be housed with bullfrogs of similar size.

Adults can be feed Mice, Pinkies, Comets, Rosies, feeder Goldfish, Earthworms, Dubia Roaches, and crickets. A pinkie and appropriately sized mouse can be feed once a week. Comets, Rosies, and feeder Goldfish should be feed 2-3 times a week in quantities of 3. Small items should be feed every other day in quantities of 10-15. A diverse diet improves your frog’s diet. An example of a balanced is as follows: Monday: 1 pinkie, Wednesday: 7 crickets and 3 Earthworms, Friday: 2 Comets, Sunday: Small snack of Crickets. Calcium dusting your Crickets and Dubia Roaches every other feeding helps boost your bullfrogs’ health as well!

What size fish or mice do I get for my American Bullfrog? A general rule for feeding Reptiles and Amphibians is, the food in question’s girth should fit in between the animal’s eyes.

HOW TO SEX: Female American Bullfrogs are larger than males, and have cream colored throats.

While males have a more narrow face, are overall smaller, and have a yellow colored throat. From late May to July, males will call for females from dusk to dawn.

SIZE: As explained above, American Bullfrogs vary in size based on sex. An estimate length for an adult American Bullfrog is 6-8 inches (15-20cm). The largest can weigh up to 1.5 pounds (0.7kg)

 These frogs are not good for beginners in captive care. However, if you are looking to have your own frog pond in your yard, welcoming these frogs is easy!

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