Amphibians are a cute and easy class of pet to keep as a pet.
They’re fun and adorable to watch because of their active nature, and they’re easy to care for.
You may not think of amphibians instantly when you start thinking about pets, but maybe you should.
Your friends and family will undoubtedly be fascinated by these little guys.
If you’re not sure owning them entails, it can seem overwhelming at first, but they’re more than worth it.
There are two main types to choose from, so you have some flexibility in what you’re looking for.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the best pet amphibians and which may be just right for you.
The Best Pet Amphibians Include These Classes
There are two main classes of amphibian pets, and each one has its unique characteristics and care needs, which may affect how well it matches what you’re able and willing to give in keeping it.
Here are brief descriptions of each.
Frogs And Toads – There is a vast variety of frogs and toads available as pets.
These amphibians are easy to keep as well, although some specific species are more fragile to care for.
The difference between frogs and toads is minimal.
There isn’t a big difference in their care, depending on whether they’re frogs or toads; differences in care are more based on natural habitat.
In looks though, frogs have slimier, smoother skin, and their eggs are laid in a mass.
Toads have bumpier, dryer-looking skin and lay their eggs in a chain.
Many assume frogs are more aquatic than toads, but this isn’t true.
Both live in water and on land.
The amount they live in each depends on the species, not frog versus toad.
Frogs and toads eat insects and animals depending on their size and are tough, healthy creatures by and large.
They often pose no danger to owners, but still should avoid being handled when possible.
Their skin and bodies get irritated by too much contact.
Always wash your hands after handling any amphibian.
Salamanders And Newts – Salamanders and newts are among the most common non-furry pets kept in homes.
This is mostly due to their natural care and exciting personalities and looks.
Salamanders and newts are closely related with a few main differences.
Salamanders are the more land-dwelling of the two.
They are semi-aquatic, but their home-base is typically land.
They also tend to be slightly larger than the newt is.
Often, salamanders have tougher skin and eat more than newts.
Newts are more aquatic, although some are semi-aquatic.
They’re often smaller, but sometimes more active than their salamander cousins.
Newts are a common prey animal on land and water, so their defensive mechanism often includes poisonous sacs on their skin.
These sacs aren’t dangerous to humans (unless you attempt to eat them, gross), but over-handling them will cause the newts to release their toxins and irritate your skin.
For this reason and to protect their skin, we recommend minimal handling and the use of gloves where possible.
Always wash your hands after handling any amphibian.
Frogs And Toads As Pets
In this section, we’ll dig into the specific subclass of frogs and toads.
Not all of this information applies to every species, but these are general guidelines.
Use this information to decide if you’re more interested in frogs and toads as a pet.
Then, go see the best frogs and toads guide (coming soon) for more specific species information.
Frog And Toad Behavior
Frogs and toads are fascinating creatures.
By and large, they are nocturnal, so you’ll see most of the action in the evening.
During the day, they tend to hide or burrow themselves in their tanks or furniture.
As a cold-blooded creature, they need to use their environment to regulate their temperature.
You’ll often see them moving into water, burying themselves, or seeking shelter when they need to cool down.
You also may find themselves spending time sunning themselves on a rock or log to warm up.
Frogs and toads love to eat and often adopt a hide-and-ambush approach.
It may seem like they’re uninterested in their food until their tongue shoots out and gets the food.
Some frogs and toads are more active than others.
You may want to see them hopping around all the time, but you should allow this to happen naturally.
Frogs and toads don’t like being handled too much.
It’s not just an instinct thing, but handling damages their skin and causes them pain if done too much.
They aren’t aggressive towards humans at all, although some do have teeth and may accidentally bite you if you’re not careful.
In this case, it’s not even a defensive thing; they may just open their mouth quickly near you and get your finger.
When the weather cools down, most frogs and toads will go into brumation, where they slow their bodies down and stop eating to help survive this cooler period.
Frog And Toad Care
Caring for frogs and toads is usually pretty straightforward.
Once you get the tank set up correctly, let them go.
Often, you spend most of your time caring for them by feeding them and cleaning out remains and skin.
Depending on the frog, feeding them may mean putting some prey into the tank or chopping up prey to let them eat.
Then when they’re done, and the food has been eaten, you should go in and clean up what’s left.
The other thing you’ll need to do for frog and toad care is to make sure any water you’re using stays clean.
Replacing the water every couple of days will help keep the frog or toad happier and healthier.
Frog And Toad Diet
Frogs and toads are carnivores.
They all enjoy eating insects and worms if they can get them, but the bigger ones will also eat other small animals.
The general rule with frogs, it will eat any protein-based food it can fit into its mouth.
Since frogs and toads come in such a variety of sizes, what you feed them largely depends on the species.
For smaller frogs and toad, crickets and flightless fruit flies are the food of choice.
Larger frogs and toads can eat these as well, but they’ll also eat roaches and small mice in captivity.
You could feed your frog or toad as frequently as you’d like, and it will eat.
Frogs and toads gorge themselves whenever they find food to help them survive the time when food is scarce.
This means it’s up to you to regulate their diets.
Otherwise, they would eat until they were fat and sick.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how much to feed them, but if you feed them every day or every other day, you’ll be fine.
Watch their body shape and cut back on the amount or frequency when they start to bloat.
As a rule, frogs and toads will only eat live food.
They need to see the food moving for their hunting instinct to get triggered.
Frog And Toad Habitat
The frog and toad habitat will depend on the exact species, but there are some general ideas to take away.
Most frogs and toads will require a 10 – 20 gallon tank.
This tank should be lined with an excellent burrowing substrate, such as coconut fibers.
The humidity should be kept higher than average, but this is easily accomplished by spraying down the frog and substrate a couple of times a day and keeping a shallow water dish in the tank.
No standing water is necessary, although some frogs and toads would be happy to swim or sit in shallow water.
This helps them stay hydrated by absorbing the water through their skin.
The temperature for the tank depends on the natural habitat for the species, but most are between a mild 65° degrees Fahrenheit – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (18° – 24° C)
Frogs and toads love live plants in the tank and places to hide.
Between these items and an excellent burrowing substrate, they can regulate their temperature pretty well.
No special lighting is needed although, you should still make sure to turn the lights off at night to keep a day/night cycle consistent.
Consider using a timer.
No UVB is needed unless you have live plants in the enclosure.
Frog And Toad Health
Health-wise, frogs, and toads are pretty tough and forgiving, except when the humidity gets too low.
Their biggest problems tend to be skin issues stemming from this or too much handling.
The average lifespan for a frog in captivity ranges from 5 – 15 years, depending on the species.
Keep this in mind when you adopt one of these cute pets.
Salamanders And Newts As Pets
In this section, we’ll look at the subclass of salamanders and newts and their general care requirements.
Use this section to help decide if these are right for you, and then look at the best salamanders and newts (coming soon!) for more info.
Salamander And Newt Behavior
Salamanders and newts are quite active.
They always seem to be moving.
Both like to swim, but the newts exist a lot more in the water.
They’re cautious creatures, but move quickly when they need to.
As smaller prey, these amphibians are quick to scurry away.
Many of their main defensive mechanisms are to excrete a little poison when they feel threatened.
This poison won’t seriously harm you, but it will irritate your skin.
Salamander And Newt Care
Caring for the salamanders and newts is quite easy.
They eat with few problems and tend to avoid having health problems.
They’re fairly forgiving when it comes to incorrect tank setup.
Most of your care time will be spent on feeding them and cleaning their tank.
The biggest struggle with caring for them is to keep the water clean.
As they tend to spend quite a bit of time in both land and water, sometimes the cross-over makes it extra dirty.
Also, standing water gets filled with bacteria as it is.
A solution would be to add a filter of some kind, just replace and clean the water too.
Salamander And Newt Diet
Salamanders and newts are insectivores for the most part.
They largely eat insects.
Salamanders and newts will hunt for the food as long as they see it moving, although some newts will even eat pellets sitting on the water as it reminds them of floating insects.
A few of the largest amphibians may also eat small fish and guppies.
There’s no unique trick to feeding these amphibians.
Just drop the food in.
How much you feed the salamander or newt depends on its size, so you’ll have to look it up specifically, but they all only need to be fed 2-3 times per week.
Salamander And Newt Habitat
Expect the salamander and newt habitats to have both a place to walk and swim if possible.
Some newts can even be put in water full time.
Because of the water, the tank will be naturally humid, which is just fine.
Temperature varies on species, but most will be in a mild 70° degrees Fahrenheit – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (21° – 24° C) range.
Substrate is made with something natural, like coconut fibers, or it is as simple as a newspaper for some.
You may want to opt for something easy to clean.
Salamander And Newt Health
These amphibians are usually pretty tough, health-wise.
As with frogs and toads, their most significant problems come from skin issues due to over handling or from crawling over rough substrate.
Their life span ranges depending on the exact species but expect them to live upwards of 20 years or longer.
Beginner Friendly Amphibian Pet Options
While both classes have their easy and advanced pet options, both frogs and salamanders are made up of easy-to-care-for pets.
Most frogs and toads have simple tank setups with a suitable substrate and mild temperature requirements.
They also have some truly unique looks.
They’re active and, therefore, fun to watch.
Feeding them is a breeze because they always eat, and they stay pretty healthy.
Salamanders and newts have slightly more complicated tanks in general because they also require more standing water.
But these amphibians are quite hardy.
They tend to be more active and fun than even the frogs, and their food requirements are easy to meet.
Frogs And Toads Easy For Beginners
Here are a few frogs and toads easy for beginners:
Pac-Man Frog – This is one of the larger frogs out there.
It comes from South America and can grow up to 2.5” – 4” for males and 4” – 7” for females.
There do need a warmer enclosure around 75° degrees Fahrenheit – 80° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 27° C), but this is pretty simple to attain.
They eat crickets or pinky mice a few times a week and are pretty tough and healthy frogs.
Yellow and Black Dart Frog – This frog, also known as the bumblebee frog, has beautiful yellow and black coloring and comes from tropical rainforests.
They grow to a smaller 1.5” – 2” but have a very active lifestyle making them fun to watch.
Once their tank is set up correctly, they can live for 10 – 15 years.
Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad – This toad is very aquatic and has a beautiful bright green with red belly markings.
They grow to be 2” and live for up to 15 years.
Caring for this toad is simple.
The only challenge you may have is with a more water-filled tank needed.
Red-eyed Tree Frog – This is one of the most common and iconic of frogs.
It’s known for its bright red eyes with vertical pupils.
The red-eyed tree frog is a climbing frog and can live five years when well-cared for and grow between 1.5” – 3”.
Pixie Frog – The pixie frog is a giant bullfrog from Africa.
They’re pretty large from 4” – 10” in length and will eat any type of meat protein they can fit into their mouth.
They enjoy moist environments and are tough, healthy frogs.
The biggest concern with these frogs is how they must be kept alone in a tank, or they may eat their neighbors.
Salamanders And Newts Easy For Beginners
Here are a few salamanders and newts easy for beginners:
Tiger Salamander – The Tiger salamander hails from North American and is the largest land-dwelling salamander at an average of 6” – 8” in length (although they’ve been known to reach 14” in some cases).
They’re nocturnal carnivores who eat large insects, worms, and smaller amphibians.
They’re easy to care for and can live for 10 – 15 years in captivity.
Fire Salamander – These beautiful amphibians will grow up to 12” and live up to 10 years.
They aren’t natural burrowers, so your substrate in the tank should be very simple.
They enjoy eating worms and other insects, and they’ll even eat food already dead and cut up.
Most other amphibians need to see the prey is alive, which makes the fire salamander even easier to care for.
Fire Belly Newt – Newts aren’t as common as pets because they often naturally excrete toxins, which can irritate your skin when handling them.
But if you look past it, the fire belly newt is easy to care for.
This 5” newt eats almost any insect or small guppy in its way without problems.
Its set up is easy to do.
Your biggest care concern is going to be keeping the water clean.
Eastern Newt – Similar to the other newt, you don’t want to handle the 3” – 5” Eastern newt, but it’s an interesting look, and easy tank setup makes it a good choice for beginners.
It can live up to 20 years, and the diet consists mainly of insects and is very easy to manage.
A Little Less Beginner Friendly
Within these sub-classes, there are some less friendly beginner options, as well.
But you’ll find even these advanced options could be accomplished easily when compared to some pickier reptiles.
Advanced Frogs And Toads
Here are some more difficult frog and toad options:
Vietnamese Mossy Frog – This frog just looks cool.
It’s bumpy and colorful exterior is so unique even when compared to other reptiles.
But the finicky amphibian has complicated tank, humidity, and temperature needs.
If you messed it up, the frog would be ill very quickly.
Poison Dart Frogs – Wait!
Isn’t the yellow and black dart frog a type of poison dart frog?
Yes, but it’s also the largest and toughest of this kind.
All the other ones are smaller and tougher to care for.
The biggest problem is their constant high humidity requirements.
Advanced Salamanders And Newts
Here are some more difficult salamanders and newts:
Slimy Salamanders – While the slimy salamander isn’t a tough pet to care for, its slimy texture and residue make it one not everyone wants to care for.
Mandarin Newts – Newts and salamanders are quite easy to care for, and so is the Mandarin newt.
This reason it makes this list is due to the poison sacs on it back being extra poisonous and irritating to the skin.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best amphibian pets.
While these may not occur to you right away as a good pet, they’re easy to care for and fun to watch.
Owning one can seem like a lot, but with the right setup and experience, you’ll enjoy these oddly cute little guys.
Amphibians live for a moderate amount of time and come in often colorful forms with interesting and active behaviors.
For beginners, the pac-man frog or the red-eyed tree frog are ideal.
These frogs are tough and healthy creatures with easy tank requirements.
For salamanders and newts, beginners could give the tiger salamander a shot.
This large salamander is very forgiving until you learn how to set its tank up properly and attractive in its coloring.
Don’t get discouraged when looking at what owning one involves.
We can help!
Check out our guides and helpful information.