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Can I keep a frog as a companion animal?

RSPCA believes that wild animals, even if they are captive-bred, should not be kept as pets unless there is clear evidence that they will have a good quality of life, their needs can be met, accurate care information is available, a suitably experienced veterinarian is utilised as needed, and the animals pose no health or public safety risks to humans or other animals. Although keeping reptiles and amphibians (including frogs) is considered by some people to be easier than other companion animals [1], these species are not ‘low maintenance’. For more information see the RSPCA’s policy. Before you consider acquiring a frog, familiarise yourself with the:

  • Laws on keeping frogs – Frogs and tadpoles are protected in all Australian states and territories and a license is required to keep them in captivity (see table below).
  • Codes of practice – In some states and territories, frog keepers must adhere to a code of practice outlining the minimum requirements for their care (see table below)
  • Responsible sourcing of frogs – It is illegal to take a frog or tadpole from the wild. To avoid inadvertently supporting the illegal wildlife trade, you must only source frogs from a licensed breeder.
  • Care requirements – Caring for captive frogs is a big commitment. Frogs have very unique and specific needs and will depend on the type of frog (e.g. tree frogs or burrowing/terrestrial frogs), and they are highly sensitive to environmental changes. Studies of frog keeping in Australia has raised concerns that their care requirements are not being met [2]. Research the frog species you are interested in keeping. Familiarise yourself with how that species lives in nature (e.g., climate, behaviour), potential diseases and health problems, and care requirements (e.g., temperature, humidity, space, substrate, light, diet etc.) and consider whether you can adequately meet their needs.
  • Qualities you are looking for in a companion animal – most frogs are nocturnal (are most active and vocal at night) and do not like to be handled.
  • Commitment required – Some species of frog live for as long as 20 years in captivity so you need to be prepared to provide appropriate care for your frog for their whole life.
  • Risks of keeping non-native species – Under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999, it is illegal to bring exotic (non-native) amphibians into Australia to be kept as companion animals because they may become invasive and spread exotic diseases. States and territories also restrict the species of frogs permitted. In some states and territories, it is illegal to bring in frogs that are non-native to that region.

Laws on keeping frogs

State/TerritoryCan I keep a frog?Details of conditions and any associated laws
ACTYesUnder the Nature Conservation Act 2014, a licence is required to keep frogs
NSWYesUnder the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 a licence is required to keep frogs
NTYesUnder the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1976, a licence is required to keep frogs
QLDYesUnder the Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020, a licence is required to keep frogs and there is a Code of Practice for Captive Reptile and Amphibian Husbandry
SAYesUnder the National Parks and Wildlife (Wildlife Regulations) 2019, a licence is required to keep frogs
TASYesUnder the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulations 2021, a permit is required to keep frogs, and permit holders must comply with the Code of Practice
VICYesUnder the Wildlife Act 1975, a licence is required to keep frogs, and there is a Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Private Keeping of Reptiles
WAYesUnder the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, a licence is required to keep frogs

This information is not legal advice. Seek advice from the relevant authority.


[1] Warwick C, Steedman C, Jessop M, Toland E, Lindley S. (2014) Assigning degrees of ease or difficulty for pet animal maintenance: the EMODE system concept. J Agric Environ Ethics. 2014;27(1):87–101.

[2] Howell TJ, Warwick C, Bennett P (2022) Pet management practices of frog and turtle owners in Victoria, Australia. Veterinary Record 191(12):e2180

Updated on May 9, 2024
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