When a frog is injured, the prognosis will largely depend on the nature of the injury. However, you can take a few basic steps to help a hurt frog regardless of the initial cause of the injury.
Most importantly, you will want to reduce the risk of infection by keeping the affected area clean and preventing further injury by limiting the frog’s movement.
On top of this, you will want to keep the frog comfortably hydrated and fed to aid in the healing process.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what steps you can take to help an injured frog.
What are common injuries on a frog?
While injuries are much more common in wild frogs, they can still happen to pet frogs as well. One of the most common causes of injury in frogs is a predator attack.
This is true of both wild and captive frogs. When another animal attacks a frog, it can become seriously injured or even killed.
This is why it can be especially dangerous to house pet frogs with other animals, even other frogs.
When incompatible animals are forced to share the same tank environment, the chance of injury goes up exponentially.
Pet frogs can also sustain injuries from improper handling. Frogs generally do not like to be held and can squirm and attempt to leap out of their owner’s hands.
This can cause the owner to hold onto the frog too tightly or cause the frog to fall to the ground.
Skin tears or open wounds
Skin tears or open wounds are some of the most common injuries seen in frogs.
A frog can sustain such injury from a predator attack, a sharp object in its terrarium, an illness or disease, or from improper handling.
In the case of a skin tear or an open wound, it is crucial to observe the affected area for signs of infection.
If you notice that there is increasing skin discoloration, oozing fluids, or a lot of bleeding, these are more severe signs to be concerned about.
Another common injury in frogs is broken limbs. This can quickly occur if another animal in the tank is hostile towards the frog.
Frogs can also sustain broken limbs from improper handling. Be careful to avoid holding your frog tightly, squeezing your frog, or dropping your frog.
If your frog does have a broken limb, it will likely appear twisted or awkwardly positioned. A broken limb will not be able to support much weight, if any, which will seriously affect your frog’s ability to move.
Treatment for a broken limb will look different depending on the severity. A veterinarian may need to perform surgery or amputate the limb.
Five ways to treat an injured frog
If your frog is injured, you will want to take action immediately. Whatever the injury is, here are a few things that you can do to help the frog and jumpstart the healing process.
Clean the wound
Whether your frog has a noticeable skin tear or you suspect more internal damage, it is a good idea to clean the external area with dechlorinated water.
In the case that you suspect your frog has a broken limb, the force of the initial injury may have caused external damage that isn’t entirely obvious.
Gently rinse the affected area with clean, filtered water at room temperature. If your frog does have a visible tear or wound, you will need to apply the water directly to the wound.
You will want to make sure that the water pressure is gentle enough to not tear the skin or open the wound even more.
Cleaning the skin of the injured area will help reduce the risk of infection. However, it is imperative to use clean, filtered water and apply it very gently.
If you use water that is dirty or filled with chlorine, or if you apply the water with too much force, you could worsen the situation.
Apply topical ointment
With a skin tear or open wound, a topical ointment can help to reduce the risk of infection and reduce the total healing time.
You will want to speak to an expert before selecting and applying an ointment. Talk to a veterinarian or expert about the injury to get advice on how best to proceed.
If you apply a topical ointment, make sure to clean the wound with dechlorinated water first.
Then, use a clean swab to apply the medication to the wound site gently. Apply a small amount to start and wait to see how your frog reacts.
If the frog doesn’t seem bothered by it and the area looks the same or better by the next day, you can consider applying some more ointment.
When you discuss this with an expert, you should inquire how often you can or should be reapplying the topical ointment.
Put your frog in a restricted space
By putting your frog in a restricted space, you can limit its movement. This can aid in the healing process by limiting additional blood loss and preventing further injury.
You can try a small plastic container, but be sure to place damp paper towels on the bottom to help your frog stay moist and comfortable.
The size of the container should be based on the size of your frog. You don’t want your frog to be cramped or uncomfortable, so it should still have some space to move.
You want to limit movement so your frog isn’t straining unnecessarily, but you do not want to prevent movement entirely.
Another option is to place your frog in a smaller tank instead of a plastic container.
In either case, offer your frog comforts such as some foliage for some privacy, easy access to water and food, and damp paper towels to keep the area moist.
Keep your frog hydrated
Your frog’s injury may make it difficult for your frog to engage in its normal behaviors.
This can prevent your frog from staying as hydrated as it should be. Adequate hydration is even more essential when your frog needs to heal.
One of the easiest ways to help your frog stay hydrated is to place clean, damp paper towels on the bottom of its container or tank. This will help prevent their skin from drying out.
Monitor the cleanliness of the paper towels and replace them when they get soiled.
You can also mist your frog’s container or tank or even mist your frog directly. See how your frog responds before continuing to mist directly.
Offer slow-moving food
If your frog is in shock due to the injury, it will probably ignore any food offerings. Even still, you should take the time to offer your slow-moving frog food like worms.
If the frog doesn’t eat the food within half an hour, remove the food from the tank and try again later.
An injured frog may not be able to move much at all, and you don’t want it to have to exert itself to eat.
Worms are highly nutritious and easier to catch, making them an excellent food source for an injured frog.
How to prevent injuries in frogs?
Of course, it would be better if frogs never got injured at all. While it is impossible to prevent all injuries, many injuries can be avoided with some careful preventative steps.
Ensure compatible tank mates
The number one thing you can do for pet frogs to reduce the chance of injury is to ensure that your frog has no tank mates or compatible tank mates.
Compatible tankmates are usually of the same species and the same size.
A pet frog can quickly become injured if placed in a tank with a larger animal or an incompatible species. Other animals can attack the frog as a territorial display or an attempt to devour it.
Such an attack can lead to severe injury and even death. If you want to keep multiple animals in a single tank, make sure you talk to an expert about compatibility and select animals of the same size.
Handle with extra care
The next most important thing you can do to reduce the chance of injury is to handle your frog correctly.
In general, frogs do not like to be handled. So, you should avoid holding your frog unless you absolutely need to.
If you do need to handle your frog, avoid holding it tightly or squeezing it. You will also want to avoid holding the frog above a far distance to fall or above a hard or sharp object.
In the case that the frog jumps out of your hand, you don’t want it to land on something that will cause an injury.
Sanitization is also a vital aspect of handling a frog. Wash your handles thoroughly both before and after handling or simply wear gloves and throw them away when you’re done.
Such preventative measures can go a long way in keeping your frog safe and healthy!