This is the updated, 100% complete version of my Kaloula Pulchra care sheet. I am still not content with the section on captive breeding, but information is so scarce on the subject. It’s far easier it would appear to just ship them from the wild. I hope this proves a use full resource.
Captive Care of Asian Bull Frogs
by J. Pawsey
The Asian Bull Frog goes by many names in the pet trade: The Asian Painted or Banded Bullfrog, Chubby Frog and Bubble Frog to name a few.
Growing to around 2-3 inches (7-8 cm) with females being larger, the Asian Bull Frog is a narrow mouthed member of the microhylid family. They have a round body and small head, their backs and sides are brown with a pale, cream or yellow brown belly. Lateral Stripes run from the eyes to the vent and will range in colour to cream, pink, red or orange hues or pale brown. The Males possess a darker throat, usually grey or black in colour. Some individuals have spots along their dorsum and belly.
Asian Bull frogs have a variety of defense mechanisms to repel potential predators from eating or harming them. They will call loudly and inflate their body hugely to make themselves larger. They also produce a sticky secretion from the skin which is noxious and one of the aspects that can make even a captive Frog unpleasant to handle as the secretion can be difficult to wash off.
Range & Habitat
This is a terrestrial species originating from South East Asia and is believed to have been introduced to Islands such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Asian Bull Frogs are primarily Nocturnal, Shy animals with fossorial natures and during the day and drier months of the year will burrow down into the earth or hide beneath Leaf Litter to protect themselves. They are found in a range of habitats from forest, agricultural where they can make use of man made water channels to urban landscapes, hiding away in houses to escape the heat and sun. During the warm, humid monsoon and rain months, Painted Bullfrogs become active and the wet weather prompts their breeding season. The males are particularly vocal and have a loud deep call, earning them their local Filipino nickname of ‘Mooing’ Frogs, a wife’s tale suggests they ‘Moo’ for the rain.
This K. Pulcra took residence in the photographers house during the wet months of October in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Clair)
Asian Bull Frogs IUCN (Red List) Status is one of Least Concern and sadly the Pet Trade reflects this. The Majority of Asian Bull Frogs are wild caught, with captive bred Frogs making very rare appearances. People may think that this is due to them being difficult to breed, however the likely truth is that, with them being so readily and cheaply available there is just no drive to captive breed them.
Baring this in mind when a new Asian Bull Frog is introduced into an environment where other Frogs or Amphibians may be living it is vital to quarantine the new comer, ideally in a separate room. It should be carefully monitored for any visual or behavioral signs of illness for at least a month and a fecal exam carried out which will inform of any parasites or worms of the digestive system.
Asian Bullfrogs are a simple Frog to keep, a 10 to 15 gallon tank would be appropriate for 1-2 Frogs, being small and generally inactive. They require a moist deep substrate of Coco fibre or organic topsoil at, at least 4 Inches (10 cm’s) as burrowing is an integral part of their nature, the burrowing substrate should, ideally be on top of a layer of Hydroleca clay balls separated by a heavy duty substrate divider, or as the optimal option a false bottom created to drain off excess water. If this is not possible then caution must be taken not to water log the tank. Leaf Litter, Cork Bark and other varieties of hide should be provided, due to their habit of digging Live plants may not survive long unless particularly hardy, or planted into the substrate in a pot. In the wild they prefer still water, choosing to inhabit ponds, and ditches so your Frog’s enclosure must reflect just that. At it’s most basic a dish or shallow tub of a few inches must be provided for the Frog and filled with de-chlorinated or spring water. Every other day change the water and spot clean to remove any feces to avoid a build up of bacteria.
Asian Bull Frogs to not tolerate high or particularly cold temperatures. Their Ideal day time temperature is 24 – 26 degree’s C (76 – 78 F) To a drop of around 21 C (70 F) at night. Heating should be provided via a heat mat mounted to the side of the tank and attached to a thermostat. Under tank heating is discouraged as it will make it uncomfortable for your Frogs when they dig, likewise over tank heating from a light is not suitable. It dried out the substrate or water and will only encourage the Frog to hide; also as they are nocturnal a strong light source could prove to be stress full. A humidity of 70-80 is preferred by Asian Bull Frogs. To maintain humidity the Tank must be sprayed, doing this of an evening will encourage your Frog to come out more thanks to it’s love of rain fall.
Although terrestrial they can prove to be good climbers during their active night time’s so a secure well fitting lid is essential to your Frog’s set up.
To fully take advantage of this Species activity, a red light bulb can be used to observe them going about their nightly business, this is the time they are most likely hunt and bathe in their water. The light can be placed into a standard lamp outside of the tank to prevent any un-needed heat.
Asian Bullfrogs are voracious eaters and will take a wide variety of live insect foods. Crickets should be provided a staple, but the Bull Frog is happy to take Worms, Small Cockroaches, Wax Worm along with very small prey, Fruit Fly’s and vivaria custodians such as Spring Tails and Woodlice as they are well documented to eat Ant’s in the wild. Wax worms should be fed sparingly as they are a high fat content prey, an inactive frog such as Asian Bull Frogs will run a heightened risk of obesity of over fed on such a rich food. All foods should either be dusted with a vitamin and calcium supplement or Gut Loaded 24 hours prior to being fed to the Frog.
Wild K, Pulchra eating Ants. (Photo courtesy of Clair)
It is essential that to keep the Painted Frog in good breeding condition they are kept in a “cycled” environment, the replication of seasons native to their natural habitat. If this is up kept then they are relatively easy to breed. For a period of 60-90 days during the winter months slowly reduce the temperature to 10-18 degree’s C. (52-65 f) Once the cooling period is completed the temperature needs to then be gradually taken back up to the original heat, as well as raising the relative and actual humidity. Also increase the feeds that the frogs receive so as to get them into optimum breeding condition. For 2 weeks afterwards rainfall must be simulated via the use of a rain, or, hydration chamber. Asian Bullfrogs are very active during the wet season and males will release their signature bellowing call to attract a mate.
K. Pulchra lay their eggs in puddles and other shallow pools, so a body of water which reflects that much be made available to the frogs, idealy one which is removable, such as a dish so that the tadpoles can develop undisturbed by their parents. The spawn is very adhesive and will stick to the waters surface, the tadpoles are hardy creatures, feeding from the surface of the water. A variety of floating fish foods can be used to feed them in captivity. The tadpoles of the Asian Bullfrog is one of the fastest developing, perhaps due to the likely hood of their water sources evaporating. You can expect them to hatch and go through full metamorphosis in as little as two weeks in optimum conditions.
The Asian Bullfrog is a hardy animal, and although it is not the most beautiful and active they make an ideal first frog, whom many owners claim to have a subtle and sweet character. If correctly cared for these little Frogs can live up to a decade.
Many thanks to Clair for allowing me use of her photo’s of ‘Kermit’ the wild Bullfrog who lived with her for a month.
1 – Frogs, Toads and Treefrogs (Pet owners manual) Richard & Patricia Bartlett
2 – http://www.iucnredlist.org