Although the pacman frog is still a very niche pet, the number of people keeping amphibians in general, specifically a pacman frog has been increasing recently.
Not only have the prices to for pacman frogs been falling but there are a number of people sharing photographs of their pet pacman frog on social media drawing more and more attention to the species.
One thing that is an important thing to get right with your pacman yet also a common issue, especially with people new to keeping them is avoiding pacman frog impaction.
Due to so many people having issues with impaction in their pacman frog, we have decided to publish this article to try and help our readers avoid it in their own frogs or treat impaction if they already have it.
What Is Pacman Frog Impaction?
The first question that needs to be answered is what pacman frog impaction actually is.
Impaction occurs when your pacman frog has swallowed something that it cannot digest or pass through its digestive system, most often this is substrate but some types of food can also cause the blockage.
As the pacman frog tries to digest the substrate, it will swell up inside of them and cause a blockage.
This can cause a number of serious health problems for your pacman frog and if not treated quickly, it can even be fatal.
How Do You Know If Your Frog Is Impacted?
There are a few different signs that you can look for to know if your pacman frog is impacted.
Lack of Interest In Food!
The first and most obvious sign is that they will stop eating, this is because the blockage is causing pain when they try to eat and so they will stop doing it altogether.
Your pacman frog may also start to experience problems with shedding as the blockage can cause problems with their shedding process.
If you notice that your pacman frog is not eating and has started to shed excessively, these are both signs that they may be impacted and you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
Abnormal Pooping Habits!
Another sign of impaction is changes in your pacman frog’s pooping habits.
If you notice that your pacman frog is not pooping as much as usual or that their poop is runnier than normal, these can both be signs of impaction.
Your pacman frog may also start to strain when they try to poop, this is because the blockage is making it difficult for them to pass stool.
If you notice any of these changes in your pacman frog’s bathroom habits, you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
Lethargy And Inactivity!
Another sign that your pacman frog may be impacted is if they start to become lethargic and inactive.
This is because the blockage is causing pain and discomfort, making it difficult for your pacman frog to move around.
Your Frog Will Feel Solid!
The final sign that your pacman frog may be impacted is if they feel solid when you pick them up.
This is because the blockage is making it difficult for them to move around, causing their muscles to tense up.
What Causes Impaction In Pacman Frogs?
There are a few different things that can cause impaction in pacman frogs.
The most common cause is swallowing substrate, this is usually because they are trying to eat their food off of the ground and end up swallowing some of the substrate along with it.
Another common cause of impaction is eating food that is too big for them, pacman frogs are known for being greedy eaters and will try to eat anything that fits in their mouth.
This can sometimes lead to them swallowing food that is too big for their digestive system and cause impaction.
Another common cause of impacaction is dehydration, this is because pacman frogs are very susceptible to dehydration and if they do not have enough water in their system, it can cause the substrate to swell up and block their digestive system.
A Low-Quality Diet!
A low-quality diet that is low in nutrition and low in fiber can also be a common cause of impaction in pacman frogs too.
This is usually due to the lack of nutrition in the food of the frog making digestion difficult while the lack of fiber compounds this by making it hard for the pacman frog to pass its waste naturally.
Over time, this ends up developing from standard constipation to full blown impaction, a much more serious issue.
An Unsuitable Substrate!
Clay and soil substrates are the two most common substrates used for pacman frogs however, they are also the two most likely to cause impaction.
This is because they are very fine and can easily be swallowed by pacman frogs when they are trying to eat their food off of the ground.
If you use either of these substrates, it is important to make sure that your pacman frog has plenty of water available to them at all times and that you feed them on a raised platform so that they are not swallowing any substrate.
How Can I Help My Packman Frog With Impaction?
If you think that your pacman frog may be impacted, the first thing you should do is take them to see a vet as soon as possible.
They will be able to give you a definitive diagnosis and help you to come up with a plan to treat your pacman frog.
Once you have a diagnosis, there are a few things that you can do at home to help your pacman frog with impaction.
Increase Their Water Intake!
One of the most important things that you can do is increase their water intake, this will help to soften the substrate and make it easier for your pacman frog to pass it.
You can do this by giving them a shallow dish of water to soak in or by misting their enclosure with a spray bottle.
You should also make sure that their food is properly hydrated, you can do this by soaking their food in water for a few minutes before feeding them.
Give Them A Bath!
Giving your pacman frog a warm bath can also help to loosen the substrate and make it easier for them to pass it.
The bath should be shallow and warm, not hot, and you should make sure that your pacman frog can easily get out of the water if they need to.
You can also add a little bit of epsom salt to the water, which will help to draw out the moisture from the substrate and make it easier for your pacman frog to pass it but this is controversial and some people direction recommend against it.
Fasting Your Frog!
Fasting your pacman frog is also a common treatment for impaction, this is because it gives their digestive system a break and allows the substrate to start breaking down on its own.
You should only fast your pacman frog for 24-48 hours and you should make sure that they have plenty of water available to them during this time.
After the fasting period, you can start to slowly introduce food back into their diet, starting with small amounts of hydrated food and working up to their regular diet.
Another common treatment for impaction is belly massages, this helps to loosen the substrate and make it easier for your pacman frog to pass it.
You should start by gently rubbing their belly in a clockwise direction and then move on to massaging their legs.
You should only do this for a few minutes at a time and you should be careful not to press too hard as you don’t want to hurt your pacman frog.
In some cases, surgery may be the only way to remove the impacted substrate from your pacman frog’s digestive system.
This is usually a last resort and is only done if other treatments have failed.
If your pacman frog does need surgery, you should take them to a vet that specializes in reptiles as they will have the experience and knowledge necessary to perform the surgery safely.
How Do I Prevent My Packman From From Getting Impaction In The Future?
The best way to prevent your pacman frog from getting impaction is to be proactive about their diet and environment.
Feed them a diet that is high in moisture and make sure that their food is properly hydrated before feeding it to them.
It is also important that you choose a suitable substrate for their tank to make sure that it is as safe as possible for your pacman frog too!
Use A Suitable Substrate!
Both coconut fiber substrate and peat moss are considered suitable substrates for a pacman frog but there are a number of other options too.
You should avoid using any substrate that your pacman frog could easily ingest, such as sand or small rocks.
It is also important to make sure that the substrate is the right size, too large and it could cause impaction, too small and your pacman frog could ingest it.
Use A Suitable Diet!
Waxworms and hornworms are both excellent options for a pacman frog to eat but there are a number of other suitable foods too.
Diet is key in preventing further impaction in your frog in the future as a diet that is too low in moisture can cause the substrate to become too dry and hard, making it more likely for your pacman frog to ingest it.
Maintain The Right Humidity Levels!
Another important factor in preventing impaction is maintaining the right humidity levels in your pacman frog’s tank.
Your pacman frog needs a humid environment to stay healthy and if the humidity levels are too low, it can cause the substrate to harden and become more difficult for your pacman frog to digest.
You should aim for a relative humidity of 60-80% and you can use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your pacman frog’s tank.
Provide A hiding Spot!
A hiding spot is also important for preventing impaction, as it gives your pacman frog somewhere to go if they are feeling stressed or anxious.
A hide can be anything from a piece of bark to a hollowed-out log and it should be big enough for your pacman frog to fit inside with room to spare.