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13 Types of Pacman Frogs (With Pictures)

Beth Crane

By Beth Crane

albino pacman frog on top of weeds

Pacman frogs (or Horned Frogs) are the popular, colorful amphibian pets of many exotic animal lovers. They are renowned for their large mouths and voracious appetites, and they’re relatively easy to keep. Many types of Pacman frogs are available to keep as pets, and they come in a rainbow of colors and patterns. In this article, we’ll look at 13 types of Pacman frogs split into two categories: eight species and five popular morph color types.

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The 13 Types of Pacman Frogs

1. Brazilian Horned Frog

The Brazillian Horned Frog only lives in the forests and wetlands of Southeastern Brazil, using its signature mottled coloring to blend effectively into its surroundings. Leaf litter is its primary habitat, where it waits while concealed to ambush its prey. The tadpoles of the Brazilian Horned Frog only eat the tadpoles of other frogs, and they leave the water once they become adults. These frogs never leave their forests, and you won’t find one outside in the open. Therefore, it’s important to replicate their natural habitat as much as possible when in captivity!

2. Colombian Horned Frog

The Colombian Horned Frog lives in dry savannah and grasslands as an adult. They are nocturnal, so they are active at night and rest in the day. The Colombian Horned Frog will estivate during the dry season, meaning it will find a comfortable space in the ground to bury itself in when the humidity in the environment drops. This can be for up to 6 months, and they can even dig as much as 1 meter into the ground! Like other Pacman frogs, the Colombian is a carnivore with a seemingly bottomless appetite.

3. Surinam Horned Frog

Suriname Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)
Suriname Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta) (Image Credit: Bernard DUPONT, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 2.0 Generic)

The Surinam Horned Frog is a freshwater frog that lives within the Amazonian basin, and they’re one of the biggest horned frog species! These beasts can grow up to 8 inches long, meaning you’d struggle to hold one in your hand! The Surinam Horned Frog is an ambush predator, and it camouflages itself in leaf litter until unsuspecting prey walks past. All you can see of a Surinam Horned Frog when it’s buried are its eyes.

4. Cranwell’s Horned Frog

Cranwell’s Horned Frog is hardy and adaptive and can live in the grassland, wetland, and savanna of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. These are also very large frogs, weighing up to a pound. Cranwell’s Horned Frog, like other horned frogs, have sharp teeth that they use to clamp down on prey when they ambush them; because these teeth are almost impossible to withdraw from, Cranwell’s frogs can sometimes choke if the prey is too large! Common foods for horned frogs include invertebrates and other frogs.

5. Caatinga Horned Frog

The Caatinga Horned Frog (sometimes called the Joaziero Horned Frog) is a popular pet species, and they’re the only horned frogs found in the semi-arid northeastern biome of Caatinga, Brazil. Female Caatinga Horned Frogs are much bigger than the males, who call to them from the edges of their ponds to try and breed. Like all other Pacman frogs, the Caatinga Horned Frog has a voracious appetite for anything that moves, including other frogs, ants, and invertebrate larvae.

6. Argentine Horned Frog

Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata)
Argentine Horned Frog (Ceratophrys ornata) (Image Credit: Max, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)

Also known as the Ornate Horned Frog, Argentine Horned Frogs have magnificent coloring in many hues. Because of this variety in color, they are popular exotic pets that can live 7 to 10 years with correct husbandry and care. Unfortunately, these frogs share the same large appetite as other horned frogs, and they’ll try to eat one another if kept together in the same enclosure. The Argentine Horned Frog is smaller than some other species, only reaching 6 inches in length at their biggest size.

7. Pacific Horned Frog

The Pacific Horned Frog is one of the only species of Pacman frog registered on the IUCN Redlist as threatened, meaning its population has declined in the wild so much that it is threatened by extinction. These frogs are found in Ecuador and Peru and share many traits with their more common cousins. They are nocturnal and have relatively short lifespans and reproductive times (two to three years), and mating occurs during the rainy season.

8. Ecuador Horned Frog

The only known habitat for the Eduador Horned Frog is the headwaters of the Pastaza River in Napo Province, eastern Ecuador. This elusive frog lives in the forest surrounding this area, and little is known about it. They are presumably ambush predators like the other species of Pacman frog, as they share the same enormous mouth and fleshy “horns” over the eyes, which evolved to keep their eyes safe from debris when buried.

frog divider hepperThe 5 Color Types (or “Morphs”) of Pacman Frog

The next section will discuss five types of color variations that have been selectively bred into the Pacman frogs mentioned above. Some of these morphs, such as the albino, can occur naturally. Others have taken lots of dedicated breeding to create walking works of art!

9. Albino Pacman Frog

This beautifully colored frog shows off all the traits of an albino animal, including pale, pink-white skin and red eyes. The Albino Pacman Frog gets its peculiar coloring from a lack of a skin pigment called melanin, which normally gives these wide-mouthed frogs their crazy colors. Because it’s such a deviation from the norm, Albino Pacman frogs are in high demand!

10. Strawberry Pacman Frog

Strawberry Pacman Frogs are similarly colored as albinos, with some key differences. The color variation is much more pronounced, with whorls and kidney bean-shaped splotches of pinks, oranges, and tans dotting their pale skin. Their frogs also have red eyes, hinting at an Albino Pacman Frog used in their breeding programs. These frogs are also in high demand, but the specific way they are created is very hard to find any information on.

11. Blue Pacman Frog

The Blue Pacman frog, or the “Samurai” blue, is a variation of horned frogs that begin life with a muted green color that blossoms into a much more vibrant blue hue as they age. This blue coloration was created via captive breeding programs, much as other color morphs were, but they seem to have some fluctuation in the brightness of the blue depending on environmental factors such as humidity and heat.

12. Mutant Black-Eyed Pacman Frog

Mutant Black-Eyed Pacman Frog
If you wish to use our image, please give credits: Image by hepper.com

The Black-eyed Mutant Pacman frog is one for those who want something that doesn’t look “of this world” sitting in a tank staring at them! These frogs are known as “mutants,” or color morphs that are one-offs or vary greatly from other types. Some Black-eyed Pacman frogs have gunmetal grey or silver skin and patterning; others are pale, almost translucent pink, making them look like raw chicken. In any case, these strange frogs have jet-black eyes that are highly contrasted with the colors on their bodies. These are rare frogs, so they fetch a high price!

13. Yellow/Pikachu Pacman Frog

The yellow “Picahu” Pacman frog looks the most like the Pokemon we’ve seen! These yellow frogs are named after the popular card and video franchise Pokemon, and they have yellow bodies with sparse red-brown spots on their backs. Like with other color morphs, the Pikachu Pacman frog can fluctuate in color depending on environmental conditions.

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Why Are They Called Pacman Frogs?

South American Horned Frogs are often called Pacman frogs because of their excessively large mouths and voracious appetites. Pacman is a character from a video game who was mostly mouth and spent the entire time eating around the screen. Pacman frogs will eat anything that happens to land in front of them, and they’re known to nip human hands that get too close!

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Pacman frogs are the common name for South American Horned frogs, which are popular nonaquatic frogs for beginner and intermediate amphibian enthusiasts. They are hardy and “hands off,” only needing the basics to keep them happy and healthy. There are many types of Pacman frogs, including eight species and many color morphs. There’s a Pacman frog for everyone, and more colors are being bred in captive breeding programs all the time!

Featured Image Credit: yusuf kurnia, Shutterstock

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