Care of the Budgett`s Frog, Lepidobatrachus laevis


Care of the Budgett`s Frog, Lepidobatrachus laevis
Care of the Budgett’s Frog,
Lepidobatrachus laevis
What do you get when you cross a pitchfork and a hardboiled egg? Who gives a shit because this is a
care sheet for the Lepidobatrachus laevis, also known as the Budgett’s frog! This frog is so named because
the man who first described it was explorer John Samuel Budgett. I wish that I was awesome enough to
have a frog this badass named after me.
The look of happiness, or unending hunger?
Don't let that sweet smile fool you, these frogs are pure evil and the true beasts from beneath and are not
for the weak or the timid. These are unlean eating machines and should be kept by only the manliest of
men, or maybe women with flannel shirts, buzz cuts, and chain wallets. If you carry a purse or drive a
hybrid, this ain't a frog for you, stick with darts and gayckos, or maybe a stupid beardie on a leash.
Even the tadpoles are voracious carnivores.
Photo credit YouTube:
These fat blobs reach a size of around five inches or so, with the females being slightly bigger. (Probably
from sitting on the couch eating bonbons while the males are at work)
This is about average size for an adult male.
The male's throats will turn bluish grey in color with maturity, the females stay cream colored. They
have wide mouths like a pacman but without the boredom of keeping pet dirt. With eyes up on the top
of their flat heads, they are perfectly built to feed at the surface of the water with only their eyes or
sometimes nostrils visible from above.
All sexing photos courtesy of Ari Katz.
A distinct nuptial pad can be seen on this frog’s right “thumb”.
Females have a cream-colored throat.
Female above.
The dark throat is a dead giveaway for a male.
Their short legs don't make them as agile as African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis), but their aggressive
feeding styles are a match. They're kinda slow and clumsy in and out of the water, but will attack with bad
intentions when prey hits the water and inflict pain with their lower fangs no doubt given to them by
Satan himself.
Unfortunately for this African Clawed Frog, agility doesn’t always win
Photo credit[email protected]/4933647032/meta/
They occur naturally in Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
Budgett’s are much more active than one might think when given a nice set up. While they can be kept
in a 10 gallon tank, bigger is always better for many reasons. I recommend a minimum of a 20 long. The
bigger the tank, the easier to control the water quality. Best kept fully aquatic but can be in split
enclosures. Substrate is of extreme importance with budgetts. They should be kept either bare bottom, or
with rocks way to large to fit in their mouths. If they can shove it in their mouth they will. After one frog
eating rocks the size of marbles and feeling like a beanbag, was put into a bare bottom tank where he shit
out 32 rocks over the next few weeks. Another case shows a frog that ate two large river rocks and could
no longer swim to the top on his own. One stone was eventually massaged out through the frog's mouth.
The frog did eat and shit after that even with the other rock in his stomach. However the stone was never
Photo credit Nick Bachman
Rocks and Budgett’s frogs don’t mix
Photo credit Davey Bradt
A good example of a Budgett’s frog setup in a 20 gallon long.
Also for the same reason, fake plants are not recommended for them. Live looks better and helps with
water anyhow. It’s not a case of if a Budgett’s will attempt to eat any décor, it’s a matter of when.
Providing cover for security and things to explore will increase the activity of your frog. They might be
big fat slobs, but they can be very active given the right set up. Flat rocks can provide for nice caves,
flower pots, drift wood, live plants, and a number of commercial products will enhance the budgetts
keeping experience. Live plants like pothos work perfectly because the grow right in the water, have broad
semi floating leaves that they love to hang out in, and the roots will give them a more natural look and
Photo credit Davey Bradt
Budgett’s frogs love to hang out on décor to catch a break.
Tank mates:
Any other tank mates added will become a feeder at some point. Even larger fish will be eaten or at least
attacked. It can be harmful to both the prey as well as your frog depending on species, size, etc.
Photo credit YC Yangg
Budgett’s frogs will make a light snack out of anything you try and make them friends with
Clean water cannot be stressed enough. Poor water quality is a killer. The larger the water feature the
better. It's much easier to keep your water clean than in smaller areas. With the use of filters and plants
you can help keep the water quality better and help with water changes. Failing to provide your frog with
clean water will lead to illness and eventually death, making you a killer and thus, just as bad as Hitler.
When using a filter, try to use one in a way as to disturb the water too much as Budgett’s have extremely
sensitive lateral lines on their body that help them detect even the smallest of water movement. Keeping
the water flow and sound vibrations to a minimum are best. Probably not the best idea to keep them in a
room with the entertainment center by the subwoofer or sitting on top of the washing machine. They will
appreciate if there is one section of their setup with quietly flowing water. However, they should always
have the opportunity to move to completely still sections of the setup. Yet another reason why larger
setups are better, as it is very hard to achieve this in small setups.
Water temps should stay between 78-86 degrees Fahrenheit. You can get to proper temp with external
heat sources or submersible aquarium heaters. This is important for proper digestion.
As with all Fat Frogs, a varied diet is key to good health. They will eat pretty much anything you offer
them. Bugs, worms, rats, and even adult anacondas when confronted. Remember, these frogs ain't for
pussies, this is a Man's frog. Though if the dishes are done and the floors are vacuumed, then you can
allow the women folk to watch the feedings as long as they can keep their gasps quiet and the tears at a
Photo credit Elijah Armas
This frog will likely be begging for more food immediately after it gets this food down.
There are many readily available feeders at pet shops and feed stores. Superworms, Canadian
nightcrawlers, silkworms, roaches, assorted vertebrates, all make a nice staple diet with the occasional
treat of rodent, chic, quail, shrimp, etc. Live or frozen and thawed are acceptable though I've never seen a
report of a budgetts using a microwave in the wild. Just drop their dinner in the water and that's it. No
need for tongs. Roaches can easily be gut loaded with commercial products, but an assortment of fruits
and veggies to feast on will get the same results.
Anything and everything will be eaten with extreme prejudice
Budgett’s frogs go into aestivation as it get hot and dry. The do this by burrowing down into the
ground. They shed several layers of skin forming a cocoon like state. This she'll of skin helps to retain
water while they are under waiting for the return of the rains. In captivity this usually happens between
October and February but can be induce at the keepers will. Giving them about a foot of semi dry
substrate to burrow down into and placing a small water dish on top will do it. Some choose to place
them in a closet, basement, or other cooler and quiet areas. No matter where placed, they should be
checked on daily in case they say "fuck this I'm hungry!" and come up early. It's important to not let the
substrate completely dry out. I do this by adding a small PVC pipe to it so I can pour a small amount of
water strait to the bottom and not getting the rest wet. They will burrow as deep as needed to stay
Photo credit Chris Macmillan.
This particular frog was down for 23 months and 9 days. Now that's a nap!
Be sure to feed them well and then allow them to empty their stomachs before going under. If not, the
food can rot in their guts and kill them.
This is only a general care sheet, but by following these guidelines you can have a nice fat assed frog for
well over ten years.
Thanks to Davey Bradt for help with research, photos, and all the computer crap I can't do.
Thanks to Goomba for first turning me onto the badasses over a decade ago.
Most of all thanks to my fantastic wife for letting my Fat Frogs invade yet another room in the house.
Now grab a refreshing drink, sit down, enjoy life, and bask in the glory of knowing that just owning a
budgetts frog makes you more badass than any professional MMA fighter.
Even this dude... and he's a World Champion.