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Asian Painted Frog or Chubby Frog (Kaloula pulchra)

Asian Painted Frog
(Photo By Jeet Sukumaran)

Introduction: The Asian painted frog is a small, round frog native to southeast Asia. They occur naturally in a wide variety of habitats, from populated villages, to rice fields, to leaf-covered forest floors. Like many species of amphibians, their activity is seasonal. They are most productive after storms during the rainy season. During dry months of the year, they often are secretive and rarely reveal themselves to humans. Most are light brown with two tan stripes on their back. Adults mature to a size between 2 and 3 inches (5 - 7.5 cm) in length. Common names include chubby frog, Asian painted frog, Asian bullfrog, and Malayan narrow-mouthed toad.

All Asian painted frogs available in the pet trade are wild-caught. Fortunately, they are fairly abundant in most of their range and are a hardy species of frog that tolerates transportation well. Certain individuals may not take well to shipping though, and the stress caused by being removed from the wild or kept in poor conditions at pet stores and dealers can cause health problems. When selecting an Asian painted frog, make sure that it has a good weight, clear eyes, no abrasions or open wounds, and is behaving normally. A healthy, undisturbed painted frog will remain hidden or partially buried during the day unless food is around.

Cage: Asian painted frogs are not extremely large or active animals and do not require a large amount of space to live well in captivity. A standard 10 gallon aquarium that measures 20 inches long by 10 inches wide by 12 inches high (50 cm by 25 cm by 30 cm) is large enough to house one frog for its entire life. A tight-fitting screen cover is essential to prevent escapes because they are fairly good climbers.

A substrate that holds moisture, allows the frog to burrow, and is easily passed if swallowed works well. Coconut husk fiber (bed-a-beast, eco earth, forest bed, etc.) or other safe soils are usually the best option. Avoid using soils that contain perlite or vermiculite. Other possible substrates include cypress mulch or leaf litter. Moist paper towels, foam rubber, or sphagnum moss can be used in temporary housing, such as a quarantine enclosure. Gravel, sand, or small bark chippings should be avoided because they can easily be swallowed and cause problems.

Furnish the enclosure with a hide spot or two, such as artificial plants, cork bark, or driftwood. Live plants can be used, although they may be uprooted when painted frogs burrow. To prevent this, it may be helpful to keep plants in their pots rather than planting them directly in the substrate.

Temperature and Humidity: A wide range of temperatures are tolerated by Asian painted frogs. During the day, the temperature can remain between 68°F and 78°F (20°C to 26°C). At night, the temperature can decrease. Occasional warm days or cool nights usually don’t present a problem for healthy frogs. The humidity level in the cage can play a large role in the activity of captive Asian painted frogs. In the wild, an increase in humidity and moisture initiates breeding, and often in captivity male frogs will begin calling when the same happens in the terrarium. Misting part of the cage with water a few times a week will help create a humid area and may increase activity.

Water: Provide a dish of water large enough for your Asian painted frog to soak in. Change the water daily or when it appears dirty. If tap water is used, a tap water conditioner should be used to remove chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. Bottled spring water can be used instead of treated tap water.

Food: Asian painted frogs have a large appetite and accept most commercially available feeder insects, such as crickets, earth worms, silk worms, wax worms, and mealworms. Crickets should make up the majority of their diet, with other food items substituted for crickets every few feedings. Feeding three to six food items every two or three days works well for adult frogs. Juveniles should be fed more frequently. High quality vitamin and mineral supplements should be used to coat the food offered to adult frogs every two to four feedings, while juveniles should have their food supplemented at every meal

Last updated 05.19.05

Online Resources
Aaron's Chubby Frog Care Sheet
Batraciens - Kaloula pulchra (French)
Asian Painted Frog Care Sheet By Frogland
Exotic Pets - Painted Bullfrog
Joe's Herps - Chubby Frogs