Some people just want something a little different than your normal cat or dog. Maybe it’s the increased challenge of caring for an animal with such differing needs, or maybe it’s the cool factor, or maybe it’s a family pet that got handed down to them. Whatever the reason, many people keep toads as pets these days, but they are very different creatures and have some specific needs.
Toad owners need to create an appropriate habitat for their pets to live in called a vivarium. This may sound intimidating, but it’s pretty easy to take a 10-20 gallon aquarium and convert it into the living space your toad needs. You want to make your toad’s new home as much like its natural environment as possible. This means filling the tank with several inches of dirt or sand and then covering it with a tin layer of plant material call a substrate. You can use leaves or bark or other vegetation for this. It’ll be changed out frequently during cleanings, so it’s not a permanent addition.
All good toad vivariums need to provide a source of water for the toad to cool off in. It’s common to use a shallow dish (plastic, ceramic, glass – it doesn’t matter) buried in the tank’s soil or sand – like a little bathing pool. Include decorations to taste (little boulders and logs to crawl on and under, etc.) Be sure to use un-chlorinated water. Distilled or bottled is best because toads can be very sensitive to chemicals present in our normal drinking water.
Be sure you know what temperature your toad desires. You may need to invest in a heating pad to achieve the correct range. Also be aware that toads eat live insects such as crickets, so we hope you’re not too squeamish. With the right care, they can live more than 30 years. That’s one long-lived reptile! Just be sure that you’re in it for the long haul when you decide to take a toad as a pet.