Lepidobatrachus laevis, or the Budgett's Frog, was discovered by and named after John Samuel Budgett. Other names for this frog include Hippo Frog, Freddy Krueger Frog, and Wednesday Frog.
Due to their short legs, Budgett's frogs don't need a lot of height in their enclosure. An 18x18x12 Exo Terra or a traditional 20 gallon is sufficient for a single frog. These frogs eat other frogs in nature and spend a lot of their time hunting in the water. An enclosure with river rocks sloped to give a land portion in the tank and 2-3""of dechlorinated water is recommended. Small pebbles and sand are not recommended, as they pose an impaction risk. If the water in the tank is too cool, frogs will be discouraged from eating, so a small heater is encouraged in most instances. Budgett's frogs produce a lot of waste, so it's important to pay attention to water quality. Gentle filtration can be used with or instead of water changes. A day/night cycle is important; overhead lighting should be provide for 12 hours during the day and 12 hours at night.
These frogs do best when kept in the mid 70s. Temperatures in the high 80s can quickly be fatal, particularly if there is a lack of water or humidity. Measure temperature with a digital temperature gauge.
Budgett's Frogs require moderately high humidity, and are best kept at 60-70% humidity. Providing ventilation is very important - we recommend using at least a half screen top. Stagnant, humid conditions quickly lead to bacterial skin infections in Budgett's Frogs. A large dish of clean water should always be provided. Monitor humidity with a digital hygrometer.
These frogs grow quickly and can reach adult size in 10-12 months. Females may be up to 5"" in length, with males slightly smaller at 4.5"".
With proper care, Budgett's Frogs can live up to 5 years, sometimes longer.
Juveniles will chow down on 3/4"" crickets and pieces of nightcrawlers. As adults, they will appreciate adult crickets, dubia roaches, and whole nightcrawlers. Prey items should be be dusted with a quality vitamin/mineral supplement. Repashy Calcium Plus, RepCal Calcium with D3, and RepCal Herptivite are all good options (and what we use at Josh's Frogs).
When mature, Budgett's frogs are fairly straightforward to sex if you have multiple animals of the same age. Females are larger than males. Mature male Budgett's frogs tend to call at night, which causes the throat to discolor to a shade of blue.
Budget's frogs are an olive green coloration with brown/tan splotching with a white underbelly.
These frogs are loners, and will eat each other if the opportunity arises. Housing them individually is strongly recommended. Even when starting out with several frogs, when housed together you'll typically end up with one. When threatened, Budgett's frogs will stand up on all four legs and emit a high pitched screech; if provoked further, they will bite.
Budgett's Frogs are produced in large numbers for the pet trade, but breeding via natural means (not utilizing hormones) is tricky and unpredictable. When they are bred, a dry season is replicated, followed by a wet season and upswing in food intake. Mature animals are then introduced into a rain chamber, where eggs are deposited in water. Check out our video of Josh's Frogs Rain Chamber Setup.
In the wild, Budgett's frogs are found in Argentina, Bolivia, Plurinational States of Paraguay.
HISTORY IN THE HOBBY
Once rarely bred, you can now find Budgett's frogs at trade shows, pet shops, and pretty readily online thanks to captive breeding efforts.
LINKS OF INTEREST:
Amphibiaweb - https://amphibiaweb.org/species/5602#:~:text=Lepidobatrachus%20laevis%20is%20a%20large,be%20only%20half%20as%20large
IUCN Redlist - https://www.iucnredlist.org/search?query=budgetts%20frog&searchType=species