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Pet Keeping: Leopard Frog

I don't even remember when I wrote this. It was probably part of a fifth grade science fair project. Thus, I admit to likely having parental aid on this one. The information is still quite useful.

(What an ironic thing to post after that first persuasive essay.)

Food Preferences of a Leopard Frog
Heather (and Myra) Davis

I found my leopard frog, Snappy, in February in a pond in Sugarcreek Township, Armstrong County. I brought the frog home and built him a habitat. In a plastic aquarium I created a "pond" area and a dry area. Frogs are amphibians and must come out of the water to breathe air. Therefore, they need both a wet place and a dry place in order to survive. I placed gravel in the bottom of the aquarium, added a couple of large rocks for the frog to sit on out of the water, and added a couple inches of water. The water had to set or age for 3 days in a plastic pitcher to remove chlorine and other impurities. (Initially I kept Snappy in natural pond water from Sugarcreek.) Next came the problem of what to feed Snappy?

Because it was winter, natural food sources such as houseflies, mosquitoes, etc. were unavailable. A local pet supply store advised me that crickets are an acceptable food source for frogs. Crickets cost from $0.70 to $0.90 a bag. A bag feeds the frog for about 3 days. The cost per month is about $9.00. The cost per year would be about $108.00. But an even greater problem occurred. Crickets kill each other in captivity, so it was impossible to maintain a food supply for the frog. Outdoors in the front yard I discovered large supplies of Sow Bugs or Pill Bugs under rocks and rotten leaves. Sow Bugs are really crustaceans related to shrimp, crabs and lobsters. They have 7 pairs of legs and curl up into balls when disturbed. They proved to be an ideal food for the frog. They cost nothing and the frog can capture them with ease and efficiently. Snappy has almost doubled in size on a diet of Sow Bugs.

Snappy is a Leopard Frog. Leopard Frogs, named for the spotted pattern on their backs, are probably the most common variety of frog in the U.S.A. They inhabit nearly every pond and marsh. Frogs, in general, are ecologically important because their diet consists of insects. The Leopard Frog has also been used widely in scientific investigations and expensive, fine cuisine (frog legs). Not so for Snappy. He's a special pet!