Can Turtles and Frogs Live Together? What Are the Risks?
Turtles are omnivores by nature and make great pets for reptile lovers and fanatics. Frogs are also omnivores, and they also are low-maintenance pets who can live in an aquarium. However, can these two pets live together in one aquarium?
So, can turtles and frogs live together? Yes, but only specific species of turtles and frogs can. Since turtles and frogs both eat animal matter for proteins, there is a high chance they will unceasingly hunt each other. A box turtle and green tree frog are the species that can live safely together.
In this article, you’ll learn about turtles and frogs cohabiting, possible risks, and how to safely keep them both.
Can A Turtle Pet and A Frog Live Together?
As strange as it may sound, turtles and frogs can live together. However, this can only be achieved by rearing specific species of turtles and frogs to eliminate the chance of one eating the other. To help you understand the kind of situation cohabiting these two occasions, you must understand each in its natural habitat.
Turtles, especially marine turtles, spend most of their time swimming and basking. They occasionally hunt for small animals, including fish, worms, and frogs. The fact that frogs appear on their menu should be the first red flag on the cohabiting idea. Turtles are also solitary animals who like living by themselves and dislike the idea of having a tankmate.
Frogs spend most of their day in camouflage, hiding from other larger predators. At dusk, they resume hunting, preying on insects, snails, and worms, to name a few. Like turtles, they are opportunistic feeders, eating anything that can fit into their mouths. Also, frogs are solitary animals and only live briefly together in the early springs for mating, after which they dispatch.
To keep these two pets together, you must account for their different characters. The first notable hitch is their solitary characteristics, where they dislike having other pets around them. Also, at any opportunity, these pets will hunt each other for a meal, which only stresses and depresses them. To have happy and healthy pets, refrain from the idea of keeping a turtle and a frog together.
How Can Turtles and Frogs Live Together Safely?
As you might have heard, there is a chance that a turtle and a frog can live together. However, to achieve this harmonious living, you should account for various things. Below are several safe ways your pet turtle can live with a frog.
1. Safe Species
One way these two pets can live together is by keeping species that are less likely to hurt each other. A box turtle is a top choice for this instance since they are land turtles, spending most of their time inland. This gives the frog enough time alone in the deeper side of the aquarium. Box turtles are also clumsy swimmers, and it’s harder for them to hunt your frog pet.
2. Larger Tanks
Keeping these pets in a large aquarium or in separate tanks is also a way of solving some of their dilemmas. Pets in limited spaces will be forced to spend time and do most activities with other tankmates. Given that both these pets are solitary animals, a large aquarium will be ideal, providing adequate space and also extra hiding spaces if need be. Extra space will also mean they will hunt each other on fewer occasions and have more activities to do.
3. Fewer Toxins
Frogs have poisonous glands called parotoid glands, which they use to keep off potential predators. When a frog feels threatened, it releases poisonous fluids that cause a burning sensation in the predator’s mouth or eyes. If the frog species you keep along with your turtle produce too many toxins, your pet turtle is at health risk. Gray tree frogs or American green tree frogs are some species with the mildest toxins and are safer to keep.
Also read: Do Turtles Need Calcium?
What Are the Risks of Turtles and Frogs Living Together?
So far, you can tell keeping these pets together puts them at more risk than living separately. Despite both pets being low-management pets, you might find yourself doing more than you signed for if you house them together. Below are several possible risks if a turtle lives with a pet frog.
1. Life Risk
Keeping these pets together means there is a possibility one can become a snack to the other at any time. Aquatic turtles are exceptional swimmers and if they’re bigger than the frog, they will not hesitate to hunt and eat it. Snapping and alligator turtles hunt and eat frogs in the wild.
On the other hand, some larger frog species, like the African bullfrog and the horned frog, can pose a threat to your turtle. They grow up to 6 inches in length, which is a bigger size compared to a baby turtle. Being opportunistic killers, these frogs will also not hesitate to hunt your hatchlings.
Turtles produce toxins as a mechanism to keep potential predators away. Frogs of the family dendrobatidae, like the poison-dart frog, are the most toxic of frogs. Keeping this species of frog and other poisonous aquatic frogs puts your turtle pet at a health risk. Captive dart frogs should not be kept with any turtle species
Keeping these two pets together can cause depression to them. This is because the pets will be under constant tension, not knowing when the other might attack. This tension will grow into stress, which will eventually lead to depression.
Why It’s Not Advisable for Turtles and Frogs to Live Together
As said, you can keep some turtles and frogs together, but under conditions that we’ve talked about. But, naturally, it is not advisable because one being an amphibian and the other a reptile, they may not stay peacefully. Below are reasons why it’s discouraged to have these two stays together.
1. They Have Different Needs
If you observe turtles and frogs in the wild, you will realize that each stays in their environment. You will rarely see them together unless they are hunting. Again, their diet and temperature needs are different. Keeping them together in an enclosed space becomes very challenging to meet the needs of each.
2. They Have Different Wants
After spending hours swimming, turtles will need a surface to busk as they dry themselves. But, some frogs do not necessarily require any surface. Plenty of water for swimming will be enough for them. Also, these two need a hiding space in case they feel threatened. It would be difficult to have two secluded places in the aquarium, meaning they will always meet.
3. They Will Live Competitively
Sometimes you may try getting a turtle and a frog whose sizes are close to prevent them from devouring each other. But, you will still struggle to maintain them because they feed on common insects. The two will have to keep competing, and one may end up taking it all. A turtle, being an opportunistic feeder, may starve the frog.
Thinking about the above, you will realize keeping a turtle and a frog together can be a lot of work. Even without hurting each other, the two will live under constant stress and unnecessary competition. What’s sad is that most turtle species don’t say no to food. If you keep feeding them together, the turtle will likely overfeed as the frog starves.
As a caring pet owner, you’re constantly worried about your pet’s relationship with other pets. In the case of adding a frog to the turtle tank, a lot of concerns have been raised. The following are the frequently asked questions and answers to help clear up some of these concerns.
Despite their incompatibility with frogs, turtles can cohabitate with other pets, including lizards, koi fish, and mystery snails, to name a few. Some of these tankmates should be introduced to your pet when they’re hatchlings to get used to each other. It’s best to always begin by researching if these tankmates are potential prey or predator before adding them to the aquarium.
Most types of turtles can eat frogs and they are among their protein diet in the wild. However, turtles cannot eat all species of frogs, as some have tetrodotoxins, a toxin that keeps predators away. Some frog species are also bigger for some turtles to hunt and eat. Turtles in captivity can also prey on these amphibians, one of the reasons they don’t make good tankmates.
Related: How Can You Tell If a Turtle is Pregnant?
Turtles and frogs are easy-to-manage and don’t require much care and petting. It’s a dream for most pet lovers to keep these semi-aquatic pets together in one aquarium as tankmates. This dream is, however short-lived, with the only real chance being to keep specific species.
Both turtles and frogs are omnivores, and they can prey on each other. They also dislike having tankmates and prefer to live in solitary. These facts and many others are reasons these two are incompatible as tank mates. However, there are other pets your turtle can live with harmoniously with a better chance of peace.