Pacman (Horned) Frogs

I just want to say that I LOVE THESE FROGS! They are beautiful, and usually stay quite visible in their enclosure. The visual effect that some of the color morphs have really hit you like a truck. (In a good way). But I do want to get into some of the diferences between species. I have direct experience with Ceratophrys cranwelli, ornata, and the hybrids joazeirensis x cranwelli (green apple pacman) and cornuta x cranwelli (fantasy frog).

C. cranwelli

A strawberry albino pacman frog.

Visually, my favorite is Ceratophrys cranwelli, often simply labeled “pacman frog,” but occasionally called Cranwell’s frog in some pet stores. This species is now available in some really gorgeous color morphs and I truly consider them to be living  treasures. The green, brown, and camo coloration are naturally occurring in the wild. Greens will not retain their juvenile full-coverage green and have the potential to mature into some striking mixtures. Camos go through similar changes, but browns seem to stay brown, usually darkening.

For behavior, my favorite is by far the C. ornata, ornate horned frog. These frogs have appetite and are quite food aggressive. It makes them entertaining and interactive. My ornate will perform tank-spins in my direction if I sit next to his enclosure for any amount of time, and he is quite active otherwise.

Physically, ornates can be differentiated from C. cranwelli by the false eye spots located on the rear of their eyes, which cranwellis lack. They also have a more ornate pattern with smaller, more numerous blotches around their sides than other pacman species, and generally grow to a larger size.

Brown fantasy frog.

A fantasy frog, cornuta x cranwelli hybrid.

The Surinam horned frog, C. cornuta seem to have a reputation for being fussier eaters than other species and less responsive. Their stupid-awesome camouflage is an indication of  this natural tenancy towards a preference to remain motionless and ambush only at the most opportune moments. I have known my fantasy frog to be the least active and least aggressive eater of all the species I’ve kept.

Caatinga pacmans, Ceratophrys joazeirensis are difficult to find, but supposedly one of the more active pacman species. My green apple always displayed a good appetite, though not as voracious as my ornate. The species has a distinct appearance with a more angular profile and patterning.

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