Pacman Frog – Everything you need to Know
A particular kind of frog native to most of South America, the Pacman Frog ranges from Colombia to northern Argentina.
These frogs’ gorgeous beauty, low maintenance needs, and placid disposition have made them extremely popular in captivity.
The Pacman Frog takes its name from the same-named character from an old-school video game. The frog’s broad mouth and rounded body are similar to the yellow character in the game.
These frogs grow quickly, taking about a year to reach adult size. They can reach a maximum length of 6 inches, with females usually growing to a bigger size than males.
Pacman Frog Taxonomy
Within the Animal Kingdom, taxonomy refers to the scientific study and application of grouping various species and subspecies according to their genetic and biological characteristics.
The Pacman Frog is a member of the Ceratophryidae family of frogs, which is also often called Common Horned Frogs.
All of the frogs in this tiny family are indigenous to South America. In this family, there are twelve distinct species, but only three genera.
The family consists of three genera: Lepidobatrachus, Chacophrys, and Ceratophrys.
Chacophrys pierottii is the sole species in the Chacophrys genus. The Chaco horned frog is the common name for it.
Parts of northern Argentina, eastern Bolivia, and western Paraguay are home to this species.
Three species are found in the Lepidobatrachus genus. They are Lepidobatrachus llanensis, also known as the llanos, Lepidobatrachus asper, also known as the Paraguayan Horned Frog, and Lepidobatrachus laevis, also known as the Budgett’s frog.
Pacman Frog Genus
Chacophrys is the genus name for Pacman Frogs. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the Pacman Frog is a genus, not a species, meaning that every species within it is a Pacman Frog.
You might hear individuals refer to these frogs as South American Horned Frogs in addition to Pacman Frogs.
The two are identical to one another. All that is needed to characterize the group of frogs in this genus are two distinct common names.
As of right now, eight distinct species of Pacman Frog exist. We’ll take a closer look at each of these species.
Brazilian Horned Frog
Parts of Brazil are home to the Brazilian Horned Frog, sometimes known as Wied’s Frog.
Ceratophrys aurita is its scientific name, and there are no recognized subspecies. The species was initially documented in 1823 by Giuseppe Raddi, an Italian botanist.
They are found in moist lowland woods, ponds, and freshwater marshes, among other subtropical humid habitats.
Colombian Horned Frog
The Colombian Horned Frog, sometimes known as the Venezuelan Horned Frog, is found in both Colombia and Venezuela in a range of habitats, including freshwater marshes and dry scrubland and savannas.
Ceratophrys calcarata is its scientific name, and as of right now, no subspecies of Pacman Frog are recognized.
In 1890, George Albert Boulenger, a British-Belgian biologist, published the first description of the species.
Surinam Horned Frog
A species of Pacman frog native to the northern regions of South America is the Surinam Horned Frog.
This is a huge species of Pacman Frog, with a maximum length of over 20 cm. The Amazonian Horned Frog is another name for them.
Ceratophrys cornuta is the scientific name for this species; subspecies are not recognized.
The species was initially documented in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, a biologist from Sweden.
The contemporary system of naming organisms is known as binomial nomenclature, which was formalized by Linnaeus. Numerous reptiles, such as the Yellow-footed Tortoise, Common Slow Worm, Green Ameiva, Eastern Copperhead, Mediterranean House Gecko, Northern Water Snake, and Banded Water Snake, have been described by him serpent.In addition, he included descriptions of the Nile Monitor, the Greek Tortoise, the Ringneck Snake, the Blunthead Three Snake, and the Rainbow Lizard.
Cranwell’s Horned Frog
Another species of Pacman frog is the Cranwell’s Horned frog. The Chacoan Horned Frog is another name for it.
It is indigenous to the Gran Chaco region, which includes a portion of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Ceratophrys cranwelli is the scientific name for this species; as of right now, no subspecies are recognized.
Avelino Barrio, an Argentinean-Spanish herpetologist, had already reported the species before it was officially recognized in 1980.
Joazeiro Horned Frog
Another species of Pacman frog native to areas of Brazil is the Joazeiro Horned Frog. Another name for it is the Caatinga Horned Frog.
Ceratophrys joazeirensis is the scientific name for this species; as of right now, no subspecies are recognized. 1986 saw the first description of it.
Argentine Horned Frog
The most prevalent species of Pacman frog is the Argentine Horned Frog, which inhabits the grasslands of Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.
There are several common names for this species, such as the Ornate Pacman Frog, the Ornate Horned Frog, or just the Pacman Frog.
Ceratophrys ornata is the scientific name for this species; as of right now, no subspecies are recognized.
Thomas Bell, an English biologist, published the first description of this well-known frog species in 1843.
Pacific Horned Frog
The Pacific Horned Frog, as its name implies, is a species of Pacman Frog indigenous to portions of South America’s Pacific Coast. It is present in some regions of Peru and Ecuador.Additionally, this frog goes by other common names, such as Ecuadorian Horned Frog and Stolzmann’s Horned Frog.
Calling this species the Ecuadorian Horned Frog confuses people because there is another species with the same name.
Ceratophrys stolzmanni is the scientific name for this species; as of right now, no subspecies are recognized.
The species was initially documented in 1882 by Franz Steindachner, an Austrian herpetologist.
Ecuadorian Horned Frog
Only Ecuador’s highland forests and freshwater marshes are home to the Ecuadorian Horned Frog, a species of Pacman frog.
Ceratophrys testudo is the scientific name for this species; as of right now, no subspecies are recognized. 1945 saw the first description of it.
Pacman Frog Description
Despite having a variety of appearances due to their multiple species, Pacman frogs can be easily identified as South American Horned Frogs thanks to a number of shared characteristics.
Large jaws and round, plump bodies are characteristic of these frogs. The frogs’ common name comes from these characteristics that some claim make them resemble the Pacman figure from the arcade.
This genus of frogs is normally green in color, though some may have spots or patterns of various colors all over their bodies.
These frogs have undergone extensive breeding to produce a wide range of color and pattern variations that are generally absent from the wild.
These frogs can also differ in size between species, however They all have rounder bodies and are really huge.
The Brazilian Horned Frog’s broad, rounded, green body with brown patterning gives it the look of a classic Pacman Frog.
There are instances when the brown patterning is so strong that the green base color is completely obscured.
The two horns on top of these frogs’ heads jut upward from the eyes, resembling a raised eyebrow.
In addition, they have two upward-pointing vertical ridges that originate in the middle of their back.
Among the species of Pacman frog that are frequently kept in captivity is the Surinam Horned Frog. This species can grow up to 20 centimeters long.
Another species that is frequently housed in captivity is the Cranwell’s Horned Frog. albeit this one is smaller, usually reaching a maximum length of 10cm.
The other Pacman frog that is frequently kept in captivity is the Argentine Horned frog. This is the species that is most widely distributed.
Males typically measure a little less than females, however these frogs can grow to a length of over 15 cm. In captivity, they can often live for ten years.
Given that their mouths constituted about half of their bodies, these frogs were essentially mouths on legs. That being said, as they are fierce feeders, this is not wasted.
These frogs usually have a light to dark green body with intricate patterns of brown and red throughout.
Numerous morphologies of color and pattern have been bred into these captive Pacman Frogs.
Natural Habitat and Distribution
A large portion of South America is home to the several species of Pacman Frog. Southern Argentina and Chile are the only regions where they aren’t found.
These frogs are found in portions of Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guinea in the northern regions of South America.
After that, their distribution descends into regions like Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
They are also present in a large portion of Argentina’s northern regions. Although their distribution is somewhat contained by the mountain ranges in the area, it does reach into Chile.
It is challenging to identify the precise boundaries of each of these species’ geographical ranges and environmental niches, despite the fact that each one is unique.
This is because of the some of these locations’ remoteness and a dearth of reliable information.
We may, however, approximate the ranges of each of these species based on sightings reported on I-Naturalist.
A portion of Brazil’s Atlantic Coast is home to the Brazilian Horned Frog. There have been sightings of these Pacman Frogs from Salvador to Sao Paolo.
Although this region is more isolated and no sightings have been reported far from the coast, the distribution of these frogs may stretch a little further inland.
The Colombian Horned Frog is a species of Pacman Frog exclusive to certain regions of Colombia, as its name implies.
Because they can also be found in some areas of Venezuela, they are also referred to as the Venezuelan Horned Frog.
These frogs possess the ability to be found in Colombia’s northern regions, in cities like Monteria, Cartagena, and Barranquilla.
After there, their range spreads into a tiny portion of northeastern Venezuela, but it appears that the local mountain ranges may have cut it off.
The Horned Frog of Suriname, also known as the Amazonian Horned Frog, is widely distributed over a significant portion of the northern hemisphere of South America.
They are found in sections of Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guinea in the northern half of their range.
After that, their distribution moves south into nations like Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and a large portion of western Brazil.
Most of Central and Southern America are home to the Cranwell’s Horned Frog.
This Pacman There are frogs in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina, among other areas. They might also exist in a tiny area of Brazil’s southwest.
A species of Pacman frog found in portions of Eastern Brazil is the Joazeiro Horned Frog.
While the Pacific Horned Frog is present in both Ecuador and Peru, the Ecuadorian Horned Frog is a Pacman frog that is exclusively found in certain areas of Ecuador.
One of the most prevalent species of Pacman Frog is the Argentine Horned Frog. Parts of Uruguay and Argentina are home to it. It’s also thought to exist in several areas of northern Brazil.
Pacman Frogs as Pets
For those who are new to keeping frogs or even seasoned keepers who want to introduce their skills to a different species, the Pacman Frog can be an excellent pet.
Because they require far less involvement than many other reptiles or amphibians, these frogs are regarded as “low maintenance” pets and are very easy to care for.
This does not suggest, however, that you can just buy a frog and expect it to take care of itself. You must still make sure they receive proper care.
As we’ve seen, there are several distinct species of frogs in the genus Pacman. In captivity, some of these species are more well-liked than others.
Pet Pacman frogs are almost exclusively kept as either Argentine The Ornate Pacman Frog, also known as the Suriname Pacman Frog or the Horned Frog of Cranwell.
Though they are significantly less common than the ones listed above, some of the other frogs do occasionally turn up in collections.