Keeping frogs as pets is a rewarding experience, for both young and old. It’s not incredibly difficult either. In fact, caring for most frogs is as simple as maintaining the correct temperature and humidity, feeding them daily, and cleaning their habitat.
Hobbyists mess up, unfortunately, when they fail to properly research the species of frog they’re keeping. Some frogs are hardy, don’t require much attention, and can withstand the occasional mistakes from their keeper.
Others are fragile! Even the smallest mistake can prove fatal. That is exactly what this post aims to cover; the best and worst frogs for beginners.
By the way, I won’t go into great detail on how to care for the Anura (frogs and toads) on this page. The reason is simple, I’ve created in-depth care guides for most of them!
The 5 Best Frogs & Toads for Beginners
When determining the best frogs for beginners, I had to establish some criteria. I decided the upkeep should be minimum, the cost low, and most importantly, the frog should be hardy.
A beginner-friendly frog should be able to withstand the typical mistakes newbies are bound to make and their habitat should not be expensive or complicated.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with a great list of frogs that meet these criteria. They’re outlined and described in the section below.
I did my best to include each type of frog; terrestrial, aquatic, and arboreal.
- Terrestrial frogs are notoriously easy to care for, they include species like toads and other mostly land-dwelling frogs.
- Aquatic frogs aren’t quite as well-known but they’re available and the one I selected is very easy to care for.
Then there are the arboreal frogs (treefrogs). This one was difficult. Tree frogs are usually a bit more difficult to care for. They require a vertical terrarium and most of them are fragile. But fear not, I’ve got the perfect tree frog for beginners and you can read more about them below.
African Dwarf Frogs
The only aquatic frog on this list is the African Dwarf Frog. There are several aquatic frog species around the world, but none are as easy to care for as the ADF. That’s my opinion anyway.
African Dwarf Frogs are often confused with African Clawed Frogs, even in commercial pet stores. This is due to their incredibly similar appearance. Both are very easy to care for, but the ADF seems to be more commonly available.
To keep an African Dwarf Frog, you’ll need a 10-gallon aquarium minimum. The size of the tank depends on your preference and your wallet. You can go as big as you want, just be sure the height of the aquarium is no more than 12″.
These frogs, while aquatic, need to swim to the top of the water to catch a breath of air once in a while. Due to this, it’s best to keep them in water no deeper than 12 inches.
Feeding them is fun and simple. They’re known for eating just about any type of organic material that floats in front of them. Also, it helps that specialty food is available.
This is due to their popularity, of course. They’re sold at virtually every pet store you walk into. For more information on African Dwarf Frogs, check the care sheet section of this website.
For more information, see our African Dwarf Frog care guide.
Bumble Bee Toads
Red-belly Toads from South America are often confused with another type of frog, a more popular species; The oriental fire-bellied toad. Both of which are easy to care for but these are easier. They’re great for beginners.
They require such small space that a 10-gallon terrarium might actually be overkill. A 10-gallon critter cage will easily hold 6 red-belly toads, maybe more.
The chores to caring for these frogs are typical; feed and mist daily, change the water as needed, and clean occasionally. Probably 15 – 20 minutes of upkeep each week. Feeding them is a little different than larger frogs.
Because they’re so small, they need a diet consisting of tiny insects. Things like fruit flies, springtails, and pinhead crickets. All of which are available online or in commercial pet stores.
For more information, see our bumble bee toad care guide.
American Toads are the epitome of the perfect frog for beginners. Well, they’re actually toads. True Toads to be precise. You see, there is a difference between a frog and a toad but that’s a topic for another post.
Anyway, American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) describes three species; the Eastern American toad, Dwarf American toad, and Hudson Bay toad.
The reason they’re so easy to care for is that they require so little. They will eat nearly anything you put in front of them, a 10-gallon terrarium will suffice, and they’re really hardy. Most people don’t seek out a place to buy them because they’re usually caught in the wild and kept as pets.
While I certainly don’t agree with doing that, it’s just the way it is. I remember being a kid and keeping basically anything my parents would let me, American Toads included.
That’s not an excuse to treat them poorly though. They still have requirements. A nice substrate like eco earth or plantation soil in a 10 to 20-gallon terrarium with a small, shallow water dish is needed.
Clean, dechlorinated water should be provided at all times. Also, a nice hollow log, some leaf litter, and plants (real or fake) will help them feel more comfortable. They should be fed regularly and their food needs to be dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements.
For more information, see our American Toad care guide.
There are currently 8 species in the Certophrys Genus, all of which are commonly referred to as Pacman Frogs. Another common name they’re known by is “South American Horned Frog”.
These are easily the 2nd most popular frogs kept as pets today, second only to poison-dart frogs. And for good reason; their looks are amazing, it’s fun to watch them eat, and they’re super easy to care for.
They spend the majority of their time burrowed into the substrate. Also, they’re nocturnal so you won’t see them moving around very often. When you do get a chance to observe them, it’s quite entertaining. Their plump, round bodies and gigantic mouth make for quite the spectacle around feeding time.
As far as supplies and availability, buying a Pacman Frog won’t set you back too much. A 10-gallon terrarium, some coco-husk fiber substrate, a small water dish, and maybe a plant decoration and you’re good to go.
Of course, you’ll need food too. They eat the common items you can readily pick up at your local pet store; crickets, mealworms, waxworms, pinkie mice, etc. As far as the price goes, you can usually find these guys for $20 – $40. A rare color morph might cost a little extra but that’s to be expected.
One thing to know about these frogs is they’re cannibalistic. Only one Pacman Frog should be kept in a terrarium. Should you decide to breed Pacman Frogs, things might get a bit tricky. Ensure they’re well fed before introducing them into the same enclosure. Anyway, if you want to learn more about these frogs, check out our Pacman Frog care guide.
Tomato Frogs are one of the most popular frog species, regardless of difficulties, due to their bright coloration. It’s easy to see where their name came from. They’re bright red with a black line spanning half the distance between their eyes and hind legs.
I consider tomato frogs to be similar to Pacman Frogs in terms of difficulty. Both of them burrow into the substrate while waiting for unsuspecting prey to walk by and they don’t require a lot of room.
As far as tank size is concerned, a single tomato frog can be housed in a 15-gallon enclosure. The cool thing about these amphibians, as opposed to Pacman Frogs, is that you can safely house two or more in the same enclosure. They’re not nearly as aggressive.
Tomato frogs do well in a room-temperature environment, although a supplemental heating element may be required for daytime hours.
The main concern I have about adding this species to the list of beginner-friendly frogs is due to humidity. They love and need a high-humidity environment. I absolutely recommend new hobbyists read about their requirements because purchasing one! That goes for all frogs, of course.
For now, just know that you’ll need a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels, and a nice spray bottle to mist their enclosure. You’ll likely need to do this a couple of times per day.
Gray Tree Frogs
I spent some time debating whether or not to add Gray Tree Frogs to this list. They’re not very difficult to care for, but they’re a little more complicated than your average toad. When I consider a frog “easy” to care for, I look at the upkeep time and how delicate the frog is. Most frogs are actually very easy to care for, but some of them are more delicate than others.
The Gray Tree Frog is not one of them. They’re fairly hardy, especially for a tree frog. That’s the other reason I added them to this list, I wanted to recommend a good tree frog for beginners.
One of the neat things about the Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) is its ability to change colors. If you’ve never heard about this frog, you’re probably looking at the picture above and wondering why I keep calling them a “Gray tree frog”. Well, it’s because they can be gray or green, depending on their surroundings.
I actually found a large one hanging out on my in-law’s window this week. My son HAD to hold him. So after washing our hands in a nearby rain puddle, I grabbed the frog and handed him to my son. He loved it. The frog, not so much. He jumped off the first chance he got and we watched as he disappeared into the grass.
He was in great shape, had thick, strong legs, and had a healthy body. Their overall size is small, but for a treefrog, they’re kind of big. They’re a far cry different from skinny Red-Eyed Tree Frogs. Anyway, I told this story as an example of how hardy they are compared to other tree frogs.
They need a vertical terrarium. Something taller than it is wide. An 18″ x 18″ x 24″ terrarium will house several Gray Tree Frogs. A smaller terrarium, 12″ x 12″ x 18″ will work for one to two at most.
They can be kept at room temperature or a little warmer. They will tolerate a wide range of humidity levels but it’s best to mist their enclosure twice daily. Keep the humidity around or above 50% or slightly higher. An occasional spike in humidity is recommended.
For more information, see our Gray Tree Frog care guide.
The Worst Frogs for Beginners
Now that we’ve taken a look at the best frogs for beginners, let’s have a look at the worst frogs for beginners. These frogs are here because they’re expensive, delicate, take a lot of upkeep, or their setup is complicated.
Remember, don’t be discouraged by this list. You should get the frog or toad you want. It’s as simple as that. My only recommendation is this; do the proper research before buying it. Prepare a nice enclosure and learn everything you can about the species first.
Poison Dart Frog
Poison-dart frogs are undeniably cool. They’re colorful, coming in exotic patterns and bright colors. Sure, they’re potentially deadly in the wild but in captivity, they’re virtually harmless.
You see, the reason they’re so deadly in the wild is that they feed on alkaline-containing insects. In captivity, they’re given fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and other small insects. Because those insects don’t contain alkaline, the frogs aren’t poisonous.
So, if that was something you were worried about, don’t be. It’s safe to keep captive-bred poison-dart frogs as pets so long as you don’t feed them alkaline-containing bugs.
Anyway, the reason these frogs are one of the worst for beginners is their requirements. The humidity level needs to stay above 80% at all times. This requires several things.
An automated misting system is recommended, which mists the terrarium for you, keeping the relative humidity in the desired range. Since a lot of water is used to keep the humidity high, a drainage layer is needed to keep the substrate from becoming soggy.
The other thing is, you’ll likely need to cover most of the ventilation in order to keep the humidity high. Poor air circulation can lead to a list of other problems.
I certainly don’t want to discourage you from ever getting poison-dart frogs! My point is; they’re one of the worst frogs for beginners. A more sophisticated setup is needed to provide a healthy environment.
To learn more, see our dart frog care guide.
Vietnamese Mossy Frog
Vietnamese Mossy Frogs are among my all-time favorites. With their bumpy, green skin and big, round eyes, it’s a wonder why they’re not more popular. They’re a little more complicated to care for than most frogs though.
One of the best setups for a mossy frog is called a paludarium. A paludarium combines both land and water, live plants, and live fish as well. Now, that setup is not required. What is required is a decent amount of water, a relatively high humidity, and a temperature that never goes above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At least not for an extended period of time.
Mossy frogs are one of the worst frogs for beginners because of the upkeep and complicated enclosure setup. Some people keep them in a terrarium with a full water bottom and add cork-bark flats as floating islands, which is easy enough to accomplish.
Partial water changes are needed and if you want to use live plants, real fish, and create a land area with a substrate, it becomes complicated. As a beginner, the health of your frog should take center focus. Live plants, drainage layers, air circulation, and other factors can be a distraction.
To learn more, see our mossy frog care guide.
TLDR; The Best & Worse Pet Frogs for Beginners
This article is meant to point new hobbyists in the right direction. Because of this, I establish a set of criteria for labeling a frog as “beginner-friendly.” Listed below are the attributes:
- The frog should be hardy and capable of withstanding small mistakes beginners often make.
- Their habitat/enclosure should not be expensive or complicated.
Amphibians are delicate creatures. They require temperature and humidity ranges within a certain window. Also, feeding them is more complicated than grabbing a bag of food like you can with a cat or dog. Frogs eat live insects and it’s a good idea to supplement those “feeders” with reptile vitamins and calcium.
Moreover, one needs to monitor the humidity and temperature in order to make adjustments to keep them healthy. Still, the frogs listed above (in the best for beginners category) are fairly hardy.
I hope this guide helps you get started! Feel free to browse the website to learn more about frogs.