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African Clawed Frogs

Size
These are plump, medium-sized frogs. Females are larger than males and range from 3 to 6 inches snout to vent length. Males are about half the size of females.

Range
Clawed Frogs can be found in freshwater all over the world. They have a natural range along the African Rift Valley, south of the Sahara. They inhabit tropical waters of grassland ponds and streams and stagnant lakes in arid and semi arid areas of southern Africa. The species is able to adapt to new environments quickly.

Diet
Scavenger frogs, African Clawed Frogs will eat anything they can cram into their mouths. Do not overfeed them. Suitable foods include brine shrimp, krill, shrimp pellets, bloodworms, tubifex worms, and mealworms. Some keepers feed whole live fish, such as guppies. If you vary their diet, no additional supplementation is needed. Feed the frogs once a day, but be sure to remove any uneaten food after 10-15 minutes.

Temperature and Humidity
Try to duplicate the water conditions where the frogs naturally occur. The ideal temperature for these frogs is in the mid-70’s, usually from 74° to 78° F. A heater will be required to keep the temperature steady. Do not allow the temperature to go over 90°or below 50° F. Do not expose the tank to direct light as African Clawed Frogs prefer indirect lighting during daylight hours.

Housing
A 10-20 gallon aquarium can be used to house African Clawed Frogs. The water level should be between 6-12 inches, deep enough so the frogs can swim, but still shallow enough so that they can come to the surface to breathe. Do not use distilled water in the tank. The frogs will do well in almost any setup, but try to mimic natural conditions. Substrate should consist of rocks or stones that are too large to be ingested by the frogs. If plants are used, plastic ones are recommended, as live foliage will be dug up and destroyed. Add a few hiding places in the tank such as a flower pot, driftwood, or rocks. A secure screen cover or hood is necessary to prevent escapes.

Although wild specimens have adapted to life in stagnant water, try to keep the tank as clean as possible. There is some debate of whether or not to use mechanical and/or electrical filters, or if it is best to clean the tank by hand. Some people believe that the constant noise of the filter stresses the frogs, while others say they work well and the frogs do not seem to mind. If you decide not to use a filter, the water should be changed whenever it becomes cloudy, about every three to four days. Metal ions are toxic to the frogs, so make sure nothing metal is in the tank. Do not use soap or other cleansers when cleaning the tank.

Temperament
African Clawed Frogs are easy-going, long-lived, strictly aquatic frogs that should receive little to no handling. They will desiccate quickly if kept out of the water for too long. They are excellent swimmers and have been know to take food from their owners’ fingers.

Pet Suitability
Very Good. These frogs are easy to take care of with minimal requirements. There is no difficulty in getting them to feed. Since they have few special requirements, they are a good choice for the first time frog owner.



Breeding
Clawed Frogs are sexually mature at 10 to 12 months of age. Males vocalize at night, using their laryngeal muscles. The calls generally last half a second, sound like clicking, and can be heard at a distance of 100 yards. Females answer the males’ calls. Mating generally begins in the spring, and occurs about four times a year. The frogs mate at night, so the act is hard to observe. Hundreds of sticky eggs are released singularly into the water over a period of three to four hours. Females sometimes will lay eggs even without a male present; these are obviously infertile. The eggs are scattered over the water and are not protected. Tadpoles usually hatch in 2 days and the transformation from egg to froglet takes from 6 to 8 weeks. Froglets are tiny and fragile, smaller than a postage stamp. Tadpoles and grown frogs should be housed separately, as the adults will eat the young. The tadpoles are will prey on tankmates. It’s best to separate them to prevent cannibalism. Avoid overfeeding tadpoles, as the extra food will clog their gills and create unhealthy amounts of waste.

 

 


 

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