Yes, Frogs can be Pets

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A frog is not always a pet of choice. Statistics show cats and dogs far outweigh the amphibian as a warm and cuddly companion. However, you can have one alongside the more favored furry friends. While I have a frog/toad pond outside (and it is getting more extensive as I write), I have taken in one particular little critter for close observation and special royal treatment.

Somehow, Petey caught my attention. He was out there in the wilds of my yard, but was a bit slower than the others, a bit uptight, and a pinch peaked. He needed my help. I watched him for a few days before making the vital decision to uproot Petey, rehabilitate him, and set him free among his healthier peers at a later time. I didn’t want to do the vet thing and traumatize him more than necessary. My frogs are sensitive beings to me, which is why I care.

So Petey comes in. He gets his mini-habitat and great food: insects, snails, spiders, worms…yum. It is every little boy’s dream to catch these alive. I could swear the afflicted frog grins in glee after each succulent meal. I carry him about and he doesn’t leap off indiscriminately while I watch TV or get ready for work in the morning. He is a good companion, quasi friend, and legitimate full-fledged pet.

With hand feeding, Petey gets stronger, has better color, and more energy. When I was little, we all had those tiny little frogs that didn’t last long. It was too heart-breaking and we had to give it up. Some kids resorted to midget turtles and birds. I longed to get a frog, however, for many years before venturing to do so. It is serious stuff. There will be no death by my hand. There will be plenty of fresh water for bathing and drinking and tasty tidbits to prevent premature extinction. (By the way, when handling your amphibian, avoid salty hands that may irritate.)

When considering a frog or toad as a pet, be sure to have a large enough tank and preferably a UV light for mock sunlight. If you take him out, you risk his fleeing for freedom. A heat pad under the tank is an option for colder environments. I knew Petey would be gone within months, but I wanted to make him as comfortable as possible and to remember my care. Frogs cannot tolerate unsanitary conditions and bacteria. (Furthermore, there will be droppings to clear!)

It takes a commitment, even if your long-term goal is release. That day finally came for my pet although he didn’t go far. I would see him from time to time emerge from a fern or cattail, and it almost seemed like he was greeting me with recognition. So I still consider Petey a pet in a way that is unique compared to my other outdoor offspring. I have a place in my heart reserved for this creature who once lived in my home. I do miss his wonderful slimy green presence, but I no longer worry about feeding schedules and the negative impact of captivity. My work has been done.