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Is Your Pet Frog Not Moving? Here’s Why and What to Do

Is Your Pet Frog Not Moving? Here’s Why and What to Do

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Frogs make fascinating and pleasing pets. However, because they’re such unusual creatures, it’s hard to know what normal froggy behavior is.

Different frog species have varied eating and sleeping habits. But is it normal for a frog not to move much – or at all? Why is your pet frog not moving?

There are many reasons why a pet frog may not be moving. Some frog species are naturally inactive. Frogs also stop moving when they are cold, hot, stressed, or sick. Keeping your frog at a consistent temperature and feeding it regularly are important ways to maintain a healthy pet.

Understanding your amphibian’s behavior is vital if your frog is to live a happy and long life. It’s essential to keep your frog in a clean environment and to feed it nourishing food regularly.

It’s also necessary to understand what causes frogs to be inactive and what you can do if your frog stops moving.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s An Inactive Species

Nocturnal Frog Relaxing During the Day

One reason your frog is inactive is that it may be nocturnal and only move at night – many frogs are not active during the day. Tree frogs, for instance, like to splash around and bathe at night.

Some frog species are also inactive or lazy by nature, especially the bigger, fatter frogs, like the Pacman, Budgette’s toads, and bullfrogs.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Observe The Frog

  • Stay awake one night and observe your frog. If it becomes livelier at night, then your frog is nocturnal.
  • If you have one of the larger frog species, the chances are that it is simply an inactive species. So long as your frog is eating well, it’s probably just lazy.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s Too Cold

Frog Tank

A common cause of your pet frog not moving is that it is too cold – your frog may think it is winter and prepare for hibernation.

Frogs that live in nature can become dormant in the winter months when it gets icy.

Some frogs will “bury” themselves under compost heaps or leaves and hibernate for winter.

It is unusual for pet frogs to hibernate because they are usually kept in temperature-controlled terrariums. However, your frog may become dormant if it starts getting cold.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Keep The Temperature Stable

Try to keep the temperature in your frog’s tank consistent – temperatures drop at night, and your frog may be cold.

Heat The Frog’s Tank

If you are concerned that your frog is old, increase the temperature in the tank to about 85⁰F for a couple of hours. Hopefully, your frog will respond and start moving again.

Give The Frog A Soak

Another method of warming up and energizing your frog is to soak it in lukewarm water with three drops of honey for five or ten minutes. However, you need to do this very carefully:

  • Make sure that you use dechlorinated water.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with a mild cleanser, dry them properly, and rinse them with dechlorinated water.
  • Handle your frog gently with wet hands.
  • Make sure that your frog’s head is above the water.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s Too Hot

Hot Frog in the Sun

Being amphibians, frogs suffer from any temperature extremes and will also become lethargic and stop moving if they get too warm. This problem is called heat stress.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Keep The Temperature Stable

Try to keep the temperature in your frog’s tank consistent, ensuring that it is not in direct sunlight.

Put The Frog In A Cool Tank

  • If possible, move your frog to another tank with cool, fresh, unchlorinated water.
  • Mist the frog’s environment with cool, not cold, water.
  • Be careful – cooling down too quickly will also stress your frog.
  • Put the tank out of direct light for a couple of days.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s Stressed

Frog being held by a Kid

Frogs are easily stressed, and one of the main reasons they stop moving and even hide is because they don’t feel secure.

Transporting frogs causes them much stress, so you need to move them as little and as carefully as possible.

Handling your frog too much can also make it stressed – most frogs will jump or move away from you if they don’t want to be touched.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Give the Frog Some Space

If you have just moved your frog to a new home, give it a chance to settle and feel secure in its new environment. Some frogs will sleep or hide until they feel safe enough to emerge again.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s Getting The Wrong Food

Frogs can also become sluggish and stop moving when they have a vitamin deficiency because they are not getting the right food. For example, a lack of vitamin D and calcium will give your frog edema or dropsy, which will cause the creature to bloat or swell up and stop moving.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Take Your Frog To The Vet

If you think your frog has edema, take it to the vet immediately.

Check Your Frog’s Poop

One way to check that eating is not the reason for your frog not moving is to check its poop. You might not always see your frog eating, so put a sheet of paper towel down under the frog to check that it’s doing its business regularly.

Feed Your Frog A Healthy Diet

The best way to keep your frog healthy is to feed it a nourishing diet.

  • Crickets are probably the most accessible and most convenient food for frogs.
  • Frogs should also get supplements so that they don’t get vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A good choice is pellets called “Calcium Plus,” which you can find in most pet stores. You feed these pellets to the crickets before feeding the crickets to the frogs.
  • Sometimes frogs get bored with a single food for their diet, so you could vary it once in a while with worms.
  • Some of the more giant frogs need to eat mice, but the pet store should explain this if you buy one of these frogs.

Don’t Overfeed Your Frog

Frogs will generally eat as much as they need. The problem with overfeeding is that the excess food will make the tank and water dirty and cause infections.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because The Water is Dirty

Frog in Tank on the Sidewall

If your frog is not moving and avoiding the water, the water in your tank may be dirty or have too much chlorine in it. This will make your frog very sick – frogs spend a lot of their time in the water.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Use Dechlorinated Water

  • Make sure that you always use dechlorinated water.
  • It is easy to dechlorinate the water with a dechlorinating solution or drops that you can buy at the pet store. You simply add a few drops to the water and let it stand for a day or so before using it for your frogs.

Clean The Tank Regularly

  • Keep the tank clean, regularly cleaning it and changing the water just as you would do with pet fish.
  • Wash your hands before touching the tank, gravel, and frogs.

Your Pet Frog’s Not Moving Because It’s Sick

If your pet is not moving and has stopped eating, the chances are that your frog is sick. Complete listlessness and lethargy can be symptoms of diseases, especially if your frog was active before. It’s also a problem if your frog is struggling to move.

What You Can Do To Help Your Frog:

Check For Disease

Unfortunately, pet frogs can get sick. The most common disease pet frogs get is caused by a parasite, Aeromonas hydrophyla, known as red-leg. The symptom to look out for is reddening of the skin, especially on the belly and under the thighs.

If your frog is showing this symptom, then quarantine it from your other frogs immediately.

Take Your Frog To The Vet

If your frog is not moving or eating and has some other symptoms, take it to an exotic pet vet. Red-leg is a treatable disease. Your vet will probably get you to bathe your frog in a chemical bath for a couple of weeks – the amounts of the chemical will be carefully prescribed. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics for your frog.

Final Thoughts

If your frog is not moving, first check its eating habits, temperature, and water before becoming concerned. However, if your frog hasn’t moved for a while and seems sick, take it to the vet immediately.

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