Buy and care for frogs and tadpoles

Native frogs such as tree frogs and ground frogs need special care and can only be bought from licensed breeders.

Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis)Commercial trade in native frogs and tadpoles is prohibited in NSW. Pet shops are not allowed to buy or sell frogs or tadpoles or even to have them on their premises. You’ll need to buy your native frog from a licensed frog keeper.

It’s a good idea to join a frog group (herpetological society) to meet other frog keepers and find out how to care for your pet.

Choose a frog you want to keep from the NSW Native Animal Keepers’ Species List.

You'll need to get a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to keep a native frog as a pet.

Which type of biodiversity conservation licence you get will depend on how many frogs you want to keep and what type of frog you want to keep. Work out which licence you need.

Keeping native frogs and tadpoles

Once you have a licence you can buy your pet frog from a licensed frog keeper.

Licensed frog keepers are not allowed to buy and sell animals as a commercial activity, but they can sell the excess frogs they breed to other licence holders. They are also not allowed to advertise to buy or sell animals, except in newsletters of frog keeper associations.

If you purchase an animal from an interstate licensed frog dealer you must hold a NSW Native Animal Keeper Licence and you must obtain a licence to transport animals interstate from the NPWS before you can legally bring it into NSW.

Frogs are sensitive to changes in habitat. You will need to provide an environment with the right temperature and humidity, clean water, shelter and feeding space for your new pet(s). Frogs also need live food and will not readily eat dead or non-moving food items.

You can buy live insects from a breeder or pet store, which is better than collecting them from the environment as they may be contaminated with insecticides or pesticides.

Pet shops sell food, housing and other accessories you may need.

The Amphibian Research Centre also provides resources for frog keepers.

Caring for tadpoles

It’s against the law to take tadpoles from the wild, but if you are caring for tadpoles bred in captivity you need to provide clean water (tap water needs to be treated to remove chlorine compounds) and suitable plant food. Captive frogs should be kept inside in a secure enclosure, so set up your tank in a cool indoor area where tadpoles are not in direct sunlight. Include rocks for them to climb onto when they start turning into frogs.

All frog keepers, except those who hold a Companion Animal Keeper Licence, must, by law, keep a record of their animal(s).

Find out more about keeping records.

If you no longer want your pet frog you can rehome it with someone who does. You can:

  • sell it to another licensed frog keeper
  • advertise it in the newsletters of a frog keeper association
  • give it to a care group that will contact OEH regarding rehoming
  • take it to a vet to have it euthanised.

You cannot release your native frog into a backyard or the bush, as this is bad for the welfare of your animal and can impact native wildlife populations.

Frogs can suffer from several infectious diseases. Frog owners should comply with the Hygiene Protocol for the Control of Disease in Frogs.