Surinam Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)

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Surinam Horned Frog
Ceratophrys cornuta
Surinam Horned Frog (Ceratophrys cornuta)
Name Surinam Horned Frog
Name Lat. Ceratophrys cornuta
Family Ceratophryds
Family lat. Ceratophryidae
Order Frogs & Toads
Order lat. Anura
Origin South America
Habitat Rainforest
Diet Carnivore
Humidity 60-70 %
Behavior Predatory
Keeping Individual
Care Level Moderate
Breeding Difficult
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Life Span 8-10 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 7-15 cm
Temperature 25-30 °C
Housing Size 60 x 60 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 2.8"-5.9"
Temperature 77-86 °F
Housing Size 25" x 25" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The range of the diurnal to crepuscular Brazilian Horned Frogs is in northern South America, from western Ecuador, through northeastern Brazil to the Guyana countries. They inhabit rainforests up to 400 m in elevation, where they usually lie in wait for prey, well camouflaged in the ground except for the top of their head and eyes. They always stay near small bodies of water.


For 1 animal, the minimum terrarium area is 3,600 cm² with a minimum effective height (measured without substrate) of 40 cm. This corresponds to a base area of e.g. 60 x 60 cm. For 2 animals the minimum area is 70 x 60 cm. The terrarium should be placed in a quiet place without sunlight

They need a loose, diggable substrate of a peat-sand-forest soil mixture (terrarium soil) of 15-20 cm depth as well as foliage, pieces of bark and roots as hiding places. Potted plants that can be easily removed for cleaning as well as mosses are advantageous. A bathing opportunity must be offered, but the water level should not go above the animal's nostrils, as they are poor swimmers and could drown. Once a day the inside of the terrarium must be finely sprayed with water (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better.

Temp. day: 25-30 °C Temp. night: 23-25 °C Humidity: 60-70

Thermostatically controlled floor heating is recommended. The lighting duration must be 10-12 hours depending on the season. Daylight fluorescent tubes with low UV content are ideal.


The food supply consists of cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, flour beetle and wax moth larvae, slugs, earthworms and young mice, but also small lizards and young snakes, according to their size. They will try to eat anything that moves and fits in their mouths. Feeders that are too small are often spurned. Adult animals should be fed every 7-10 days, younger animals more frequently. It is important to add minerals and vitamins regularly (e.g. by dusting the feeders). The quality of the feeder insects can be enhanced by the addition of overripe fruit and honey water

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The smaller male is brownish or light to dark green in color, the larger female is usually uniformly brown.

Summer dormancy is a prerequisite for successful breeding. In the following rainy season, the female, which is ready to spawn, is taken in the mating grip (amplexus) by the male and she lays up to 600 eggs in spawning balls usually on water plants in pools. The larvae hatch after one day and are cannibalistic like the parents. After about 30 to 90 days the transformation (metamorphosis) is completed and the young frogs leave the water.


Brazilian horned frogs can burrow up to the head with the help of their strong hind legs and thus lurk, very well camouflaged thanks to their coloring, for prey

For summer dormancy (dry dormancy), the temperature must be lowered and humidity reduced. They form a cocoon and burrow into the ground. During this time they must not be disturbed or fed. After 6-8 weeks, the temperature is raised again, humidity is increased to 80-95% (rainy season) and the frogs finish their summer dormancy

The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices, such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Special attention must be paid to thorough hygiene and impurities must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag; VDA & DGHT (2006): Haltungsrichtlinien für die Haltung von Anuren

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF