African Clawed Frog Care: Species Overview
- Common Names: African Clawed Frog, African claw-toed frog
- Scientific Name: Xenopus laevis
- Distribution: Cape of Africa, Southern California, and Chile
- Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches long
- Life Expectancy: 20 to 30 years
African Clawed Frogs get their name from the three claws on their hind feet, which used to tear apart food.
These aquatic frogs, which are found mainly in ponds and rivers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, have become popular pets in large part because they’re easy to care for and live a long time.
The African Clawed Frog has a flat body with a relatively small head, its skin is smooth. This frog has eyes on top of its head, and flat snouts, no tongue, no teeth, no eyelids, and no external eardrums. Its forelimbs have four unwebbed fingers, and its hind limbs have five long, webbed toes with dark claws on the three outer toes.
They can be quite enjoyable for owners to watch, and a proper tank set up for them is relatively simple to accomplish.
African Clawed Frog Habitat Set-Up
- A 10-gallon aquarium is considered the minimum appropriate size for one African Clawed Frog. Your frog can live happily in a 10-gallon aquarium. But if you’re getting more than one frog, or if your frog is sharing the aquarium with fish, they’ll need at least a 20-gallon aquarium.
- Your African Clawed Frog doesn’t need a land area, but the water should only be about 12 inches deep. Your frog needs to be able to reach the surface quickly. It breathes oxygen. Ensure your aquarium has a secure lid, as these frogs are escape artists.
- Be sure to dechlorinate the water or let the water sit out for at least 24-hours. The chlorine needs to evaporate. Also, African Clawed Frogs are sensitive to the toxic effects of metal ions in the water, so ensure that the water you use does not come in contact with metal.
- African Clawed Frogs have a sensory system that allows them to sense vibrations in the water, and some experts believe filters cause stress to the frogs. However, some owners opt to use gentle filtration. A filtration system keeps the water a lot cleaner than going without a filter. If you don’t use filtration, change the water at least every week.
- Place your frog tank in a quiet place. Avoid a lot of people traffic, direct sunlight, and drafty spots.
- Keep the African Clawed Frogs in a tank that stays between 68 to 78° F. An aquarium heater will help you keep the water at the correct temperature. Choose a heater that has 5 watts of power for every gallon of water in the aquarium.
- African Clawed Frogs typically don’t need special UV lighting. Still, some people choose to provide a lighted aquarium hood. This light helps to maintain a normal day-night cycle. This lighting simulates their natural environment, and for convenience, you can use an automatic timer. The frogs need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day.
- We recommend using a gravel substrate, using large-sized gravel. Layer the bottom of the tank with 2 to 3 inches of aquarium gravel. Be sure to rinse the gravel in clean water before putting it in your aquarium.
- Use items, such as rocks, wood branches, and logs, to decorate the tank and provide your frog essential hiding places. Add live plants to the container. They love plants in their habitat, whether living or artificial. They’ll sit on the leaves for a swim break.
About the African Clawed Frog
- African Clawed Frogs can be fun pets to watch, but not meant for handling. Because they are aquatic frogs, their skin dries out quickly when they’re out of water.
- They are hardy predators and can adapt to a variety of food sources. Some African Clawed Frogs can learn to take food from their keeper’s hands, which can be a fun alternative to holding your pet.
- Due to their hardiness and relative ease of care, they make good pets for first-time frog keepers.
Diet and Nutrition
- African Clawed Frogs should eat a diet of food pellets twice a day. Give them as much as they will eat in three minutes. The pellets sink to the bottom of the tank, where the frog generally hangs out. If your frog shares the container with smaller fish, make sure you feed your frog correctly because if he gets hungry, he’ll eat the fish. Equally important, make sure the tank fish don’t eat your frog’s food because frogs are slow eaters.
- For an occasional treat, feed African Clawed Frogs a frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms, and feeder fish. You can feed the frog a floating reptile or amphibian stick. While these sticks are typically well balanced, supplying a variety of foods is still the best idea.
- Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
- Supervise children around pets.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat, or aquarium water.