Seeing your Pacman frog slowly or suddenly change color is certainly alarming, but don’t worry just yet.
Like many other frogs, Pacman frogs are likely to change color for a variety of reasons. However, this doesn’t mean your frog is completely in the clear.
Some of these reasons are natural and out of your control, while others are factors that only you can change.
Noticing your frog’s color change is a good observation and is the first step to determining if this is something you can leave alone or if you need to act.
Reason #1: Environment and water
How can you tell?
A frog’s body will respond to its environment, and your Pacman frog will be no different.
Luckily, you’ll be able to notice if your Pacman is changing color due to its surroundings by a few observations.
In my tank, my Pacman was hiding from me and stopped going into her water. This was odd because she loved sitting in water.
You know your frog best, so if you notice the color and behavior changes, remove your frog and check the tank.
What to do about it
You can inspect your tank when your frog is in a safe temporary carrier. If your substrate is too water-logged, excessively dirty, or if you notice tiny bugs, you need to change the substrate and ensure your frog has clean water.
Your Pacman’s substrate should be changed every other week, sifted through weekly, and be four inches deep at a minimum since Pacman frogs love burrowing and burying themselves.
If your water was dirty from your frog relieving himself in the dish (like mine would), you should change and clean the dish often, or your frog will absorb the toxins into its skin when it sits in the water.
If this was why your Pacman changed color, then your frog was stressed by its environment. These are easy fixes, though.
Fresh coconut fiber substrate and spring/ purified water (never use tap water because it can hurt your frog) will make your Pacman feel stress-free and back to its normal color in no time.
If you notice your frog is still the same color, you might want to consider another reason.
Reason #2: Aging
Color changes with age
Many animals, whether they be Pacman or not, will change appearance or color as they age.
Multiple owners of Pacman frogs have noted that their frogs, no matter the morph, will begin to turn a different color as the frog ages.
New owners will be alarmed and think something is wrong, but a quick trip to a frog forum and all concerns are put down since this is perfectly normal and even expected.
Nothing is wrong, and there is nothing to cause concern. Most frogs will turn brown as they age or darken in color.
What to do about it
There isn’t anything to do about this if this is the reason your frog is changing color.
If you’re going to purchase a Pacman, especially a Pacman with a flashy morph, expect your new frog to undergo changes as he changes and matures into an adult frog.
Always be on the lookout for any color changes that seem extremely out of place.
Frog forums often have before and after pictures of their Pacman frogs going through age-related color changes.
So, you can use these experienced frog owners and their experience to determine if your frog’s color change is age-related or something different.
Reason #3: New home
How can you tell?
Frogs are sensitive to nearly everything around them, and if you’ve just purchased a brand-new Pacman and he looks a little off-color, there is no reason to panic.
This frog has been moved from a temporary environment that it had probably only been in for a few days, moved into a larger tank with a stranger watching it.
You can see how your new frog could be stressed from all these significant changes in its life, and sometimes frogs react by changing colors, even if it’s a slight color change.
What you can do
The best thing you can do is to be patient with your frog. As time goes by, your new Pacman will develop a bond as it associates you with food and relaxes when it sees you.
Rest assured that this color change is not hurting your frog in any way.
Also, if the pet store or breeder you bought your Pacman from used a different substrate, your Pacman could be adjusting its color slightly to the new substrate you’re providing.
You can ask the pet store or breeder what they use if you want the frog to retain its other color, but this is not guaranteed.
Reason #4: Temperature and humidity
The wrong temperature
If you have the wrong temperature for your Pacman, it could cause several issues for your frog.
Too high or too low can cause your frog to become ill, stressed, stop eating and even change color.
This is observed in other frogs, who will often hide away if things are too cold to conserve energy.
When I was still learning, my temperature was too low for my Pacman, and she stopped eating for almost a week and a half.
It was stressful, but after some research, I was able to correct my mistake and help her.
Frogs are susceptible to their environments, and small changes can have huge impacts on them.
Humidity too high/ too low
Humidity is just as important as temperature since frogs receive the bulk of their hydration through their skin.
Humidity helps these frogs breathe better and keeps their skin healthy, but too much in either direction can spell disaster. Too little humidity, and your Pacman’s skin can dry out.
Too much humidity can cause your Pacman at risk for skin infections or diseases. All these factors can be why your Pacman frog is changing colors, which is an easy fix.
What to do
If you are controlling the temperature in your frog’s tank, you have various options!
You can go the route I went and buy incandescent heat bulbs for your frog to keep the temperature within the required range.
This option is popular and widely used because they have bulbs available for your Pacman frog during the daytime and the nighttime.
Using bulbs that cycle this way helps your frog maintain a circadian rhythm like the patterns we need to follow to stay healthy.
Know the size of your tank before buying so you buy the right sized bulb because the wrong bulb may overheat or underheat your tank.
Another option is the under-tank heater that can attach to the bottom or the side of the tank. I often use these for fish tanks, but I have not for a frog tank.
Using these in the soil keeps the soil nice and warm for your Pacman and provides a nighttime heat source without having to purchase and set up and secondary source.
With either of these options, remember to monitor your tank’s temperature, which is between 75-85 F during the day and between 65-75 F during the night.
With humidity, you have a few options as well. Still, all these options should be monitored by a thermos-hydro digital combo meter to ensure you’re within the correct humidity levels.
You can mist your tank or add a fogging device, as I did, but always keep your humidity levels between 50% and 80%.
Reason #5: Illness
How can you tell?
If you’ve assessed your Pacman frog and none of the above is why your frog is turning a different color, you need to start considering that your frog is sick.
Think about other things your frog has been acting. Is he eating? Does the mouth look odd or open all the time? Are there irritated bumps on the frog?
See if there are any red, irritated spots on your frog because any of these can be signs of an illness.
Some of these illnesses are solved by fixing something within the tank or can signify something serious.
What to do
When you pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with your frog, you can begin to treat him properly.
This could be as easy as adjusting humidity and temperature or giving the tank a good deep clean.
In severe cases, though, you need to contact an exotic vet as soon as possible to see what’s wrong and what medicine your Pacman needs.
As soon as this happens and your frog feels better, you’ll begin to see its normal color return.
If your Pacman frog changes colors, there is nothing to worry about! Being part of the horned frog family means this is a common occurrence due to multiple non-threatening reasons.
A new frog that’s stressed or a frog that’s getting older will change colors. Frogs are sensitive to the environment around them.
Therefore, substrate, water, temperature, and humidity are all key factors in keeping your frog happy and healthy. These factors can make your Pacman change colors as well!
In serious cases, your frog might be changing colors due to an illness, and in this case, you need to pinpoint the cause to see if your frog needs a trip to the vet.
In most cases, a Pacman frog changing colors isn’t life-threatening and sometimes normal.