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Thread: Young Pacman frog not eating

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    Member mysterythought's Avatar
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    Default Young Pacman frog not eating

    Hi everyone, this is my first post on a forum as well as my first amphibian, so I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or corrections.

    My young Pacman frog, which I picked up on March 29th, has recently begun to refuse food. I decided I would feed him in a container separate from his vivarium in order to prevent the ingestion of substrate, and this worked perfectly for about 3 weeks. All I had to do was nudge him into the container and drop in a worm and he would eat immediately. About 2 weeks ago, he began to ignore the worm and/or poop in the container and attempt to escape, but he would eat successfully every once in a few feeding attempts. He became more and more difficult to feed, so I started experimenting with different feeders and methods. I've been trying to teach him to tong feed for the past week and a half or so but I have yet to have successfully gotten him to eat anything off the tongs, despite my persistance and following the instructions laid out in Ivory Reptiles' informative videos. It is difficult because he continually hops away or goes to bury himself when I wiggle the food in front of him or brush it against his mouth. As of right now the last time he ate was last Tuesday when I accidentally dropped a worm in his water dish while trying to tong feed and he decided to eat it.

    Tonight and the night before I tried feeding him both worms and superworms, both in a separate container and in his vivarium, and both with tongs and without, but with no success. I'm starting to get very worried, as he is becoming visibly thinner.

    1. Size of enclosure
    3 gallons, about 14"l x 8"w x 9"h

    2. # of inhabitants - specifically other frogs and size differences
    One Pacman frog

    3. Humidity
    90-100%

    4. Temperature
    Around 81-84 F, however I suspect my temp gauge may be inaccurate and I have ordered several others that will arrive in the mail tomorrow

    5. Water - type - for both misting and soaking dish
    Distilled for misting and tapwater treated with Reptisafe for soaking

    6. Materials used for substrate
    Coco coir and sphagnum moss

    7. Enclosure set up i.e. plants (live or artificial), wood, bark and other materials.
    Bioactive with live plants, springtails, and a terracotta flower pot as a hide

    - How were things prepared prior to being put into the viv.
    Plants were thoroughly washed and quarantined for several weeks, flower pot was rinsed thoroughly, substrate was moistened in tap water treated with Reptisafe

    8. Main food source
    Red wiggler earthworms

    9. Vitamins and calcium? (how often)
    Reptivite every other successful feeding

    10. Lighting
    Indirect light from a nearby window that does not get direct sun

    11. What is being used to maintain the temperature of the enclosure
    UTH attached to the side

    12. When is the last time he/she ate
    Last Tuesday

    13. Have you found poop lately
    He pooped yesterday during an attempted feeding

    14. A pic would be helpful including frog and enclosure (any including cell phone pic is fine)
    (Attatched)

    15. Describe frog's symptoms and/or recent physical changes; to include it's ventral/belly area.
    Frog refuses to eat and attempts to escape when fed in a separate container. When fed in the vivarium, the frog will hop away from the food when nudged against the frog's lips or wiggled in front of the frog's face. The frog has become noticeably thinner.

    16. How old is the frog
    A few months old, unsure of the exact age.

    17. How long have you owned him/her
    Since March 29th

    18. Is the frog wild caught or captive bred
    Captive bred

    19. Frog food- how often and if it is diverse, what other feeders are used as treats
    Red wigglers as a staple, calciworms and superworms less often. The frog has not actually eaten any superworms and has only eaten one calciworm. I attempt to feed every night.

    20. How often the frog is handled
    I avoid touching the frog except to nudge it into a container for feeding.

    21. Is the enclosure kept in a high or low traffic area
    Low traffic, in a corner in my bedroom

    22. Describe enclosure maintenance (water changes, cleaning, etc)
    Water is changed when it is dirtied, substrate cleaning is taken care of by the clean up crew except for occasional spot cleaning

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have also ordered some longer tongs to try as mine are quite short and they will arrive tomorrow as well. Would moving the frog into a smaller more simple setup be a good idea? Or keeping him on paper towels for easier monitoring? I figured that having him on a burrowable substrate would help to reduce stress as much as possible. There is nothing I can think of environment-wise that had changed significantly when the problem started. I have moved him between college dorms and home several times, but I can't imagine this would be the issue as he was eating fine after the first two big moves, and the problem began during a long stretch of time between the second and third.

    Also, just a note: I know that I shouldn't include sphagnum moss in the substrate, but I had intended only to feed him in a separate container before he began refusing food.
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    100+ Post Member Animallover3541's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    I've heard red wrigglers have a nasty taste to frogs, so maybe he's a bit wary of other similar prey items. Try a roach or cricket maybe.
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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    I can see about getting some crickets. I live in Florida so unfortunately dubia roaches aren't an option. Thank you for your reply!

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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Would it be worthwhile to try moving him to a plastic container smaller than his current terrarium with a thin layer of coco coir and keeping that in a darker and quieter place for a day or so before trying to feed him again? I imagine that he must be refusing to eat due to stress. I'm just wondering if the possible benefits of moving him would outweigh the risk of stressing him further. I plan to pick up some crickets tomorrow either way. Thank you for the guidance!

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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    That might be a good idea. You could feed him in there then, since he won't get impacted from coco fiber. Once you move him he probably won't want to eat for a bit though; keep that in mind.
    "If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."
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  7. #6

    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    What worked for my guy was putting in some crickets at night time and then shutting off the lights. These guys are nocturnal so they prefer to eat at night and in the dark! I think if you stand there watching them they get nervous or something and don't want to eat

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    100+ Post Member DanDrobates's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Sometimes unknown stressors will cause frogs to go off feed. I’ll cover part of my enclosures with a black cloth to offer more privacy, up the humidity and leave them be for two days and then offer small prey items. I’ve had poor luck with worms and I opt for gut loaded crickets. Froglets can be delicate. The habitat looks great but I’d suggest swapping the metal bowl out for a plastic one. Also if done correctly tong feeding can elicit a good feeding response but it has to be done delicately. I’d save this as a last resort though and let it feed naturally. Body language and movement are good indicators of a frogs health. If it’s sitting half in the substrate looking partially puffed on its sides that’s good. But if it’s hopping all over looking for cover it’s stressed. Be patient and give it a few days with no stress in a quiet spot then try again. If nothing stimulated feeding I’d transfer it to a small container with just purified water and a little piece of cork bark or a few magnolia leaves for cover. This will eliminate any chance of impaction while feeding. Good luck
    Last edited by DanDrobates; May 11th, 2018 at 05:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Thank you for all the suggestions! I ended up moving him to a smaller, simpler enclosure with only an inch of coco coir, a water dish, and heater. I left him alone yesterday and added crickets tonight. He immediately reacted to the crickets and has eaten one so far! I'm so relieved that he's finally gotten some food in him and I'm hopeful that he'll continue to improve.

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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Sadly it seems I am back to square one with my frog. He has refused to eat ever since he ate one cricket 5 days ago. Now when I add crickets he doesn't react at all, although I make sure he can see them. I wrapped the tub in black fabric the other night to reduce visibility, but he remains the same. He doesn't seem restless or stressed in that he typically remains half buried in the substrate and doesn't do a lot of moving around unless disturbed, he just refuses to eat. I'm planning to contact my local vet to find out if they have anyone skilled in working with frogs.

    I'm starting to think that I must have made some unknown mistake along the way in my care of this poor frog. It's incredibly disheartening for a pet that once had such a strong appetite slowly become thinner and stop growing from refusing food, and knowing that the cause was likely something entirely preventable. I can only hope that this will just be a tough period of his youth and that he'll end up recovering and living a long and healthy life.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Where did you get the frog from? I have had bad experiences buying Pacman frogs from pet stores like Petco and Petsmart who were sickly and wouldn't eat. You could also try a honey or pedialyte bath, sometimes these can help the frog to shed or pass something if it's impacted. They seem to really enjoy it and may perk up afterwards and eat something.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Quote Originally Posted by mysterythought View Post
    3. Humidity
    90-100%
    Is this still your current humidity? Because it is a bit too high for pacmans. 80% is ideal, but a variation between 60%-80% is okay. I don't know if this would affect his eating, however.

    A Pedialyte bath may be a good idea since he hasn't eaten consistently in a while and it will help replenish some things for him. It's 1 part Pedialyte/10 parts water for the bath, if you need measurements. Maybe it will perk him up enough to give him an appetite.

    Your best chance at a vet is finding an exotics vet who works with herps. Sometimes you will luck out and they'll be willing to see frogs as well.

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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Sad development indeed. If you can get a fecal done it helps with diagnosis. Sometimes pet stores cross contaminate by putting new animals in with other species increasing the chance for parisites. Some animals especially froglets fail to thrive and it’s difficult to determine a cause. Horned frogs produce thousands of eggs with the assumption that a few will survive. In capitivity all the natural pressures are lessened but there still can be developmental issues in the tadpole stage that manifest as unhealthy froglets. Best of luck.

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    Member mysterythought's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Quote Originally Posted by Hill111 View Post
    Where did you get the frog from?
    I did get him from Petco, although I had him special ordered to the store. He was only in an enclosure there for a few hours before I picked him up. He was doing very well the first 3 or so weeks after I got him, which leads me to believe that whatever caused his decline in appetite occurred during my ownership of him.

    Is this still your current humidity?
    Currently his humidity is hovering right around 80%. I'll try to keep it around there.

    I was able to pick up some Pedialyte today and I plan to give him a soak tonight. Would you say I should add honey to the bath as well, or just a plain 10:1 water/Pedialyte bath and maybe do a honey bath another night?

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    Member mysterythought's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    Hi folks! I figured I should update on the situation with my young frog. He began eating again the day after my last post on the thread and has been eating regularly ever since! I think it may have been a combination of not leaving the crickets in long enough and temperatures that were too low. My frog began burrowing closer to the heat pad the night of my last post and showed hunting behavior when I left the crickets in longer than usual. He burrows there every day now that he knows where the warmth is. He has a very healthy appetite now; he reacted immediately when I added dusted crickets into his enclosure last night and eats at least one large cricket every night or every other night.

    Now that he's eating regularly and putting on some weight and growth my next goal is to diversify his diet. I ordered some European nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis, different from red wigglers/Eisenia fetida) a while ago and have been culturing them. Thank you to everyone who offered me advice! It was incredibly helpful.

    I also figured I'd include some before and after pictures. The first picture is from May 8th when I believe he was at his thinnest, and the second picture is from today (May 29th).
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  16. #15

    Default Re: Young Pacman frog not eating

    That's great! He's looking so much better! It's such a relief when these little guys pull through.

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