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African Clawed Frog

Samage

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Common name/s: African Clawed Frog, the Albino variant is also known as the Golden Toad or White Water Frog.

Scientific name: Xenopus Laevis

Family: Xenopodinae, a subfamily of the larger Pipidae family

Origin: Africa, but has since colonised in many other countries thanks to accidental introduction.

Maximum size: On average, the males reach around 4", the females can be much larger, usually around 6" but much bigger specimens reported. Lifespan is around 15 years.

Care: The minimum capacity for one clawed frog would be around 10 US Gallons - mine lives in a 10 UK Gallon tank right now - but the general rule is the bigger the tank the better, because you'll have to clean it less often - ACFs can produce waste at a phenomenal rate. They are at their happiest in groups - a good set up would be 2 or 3 frogs in a 20 US gallon tank. If you don't include any filtration, bank on regular water changes. If you do include filtration, use a mechanical filter which doesn't make too much disturbance in the water. Very excessive water movement can upset the frogs, since they are highly sensitive to movement, an ability they use for locating live prey in muddy water with zero visibility.

Live plants are recommended but be sure to use floating ones, as rooted plants will be uprooted due to the frog's foraging tendencies. Also be sure to provide a few hiding places, as the frogs appreciate some privacy. As for a substrate - use large gravel, as small gravel can be ingested when feeding, often with lethal consequences. No landmass is required as this frog is 100% aquatic - it will die if out of water for more than a few minutes, so be sure the tank has a secure lid. It is not recommended to keep this frog with fish, or the smaller African Dwarf Frogs, as when it reaches full size, the Clawed Frog will make a meal of many fish and smaller frogs.

Feeding: Once daily, you can feed them live or frozen bloodworm, chopped earthworms, or as I use, Tetra ReptoMin sticks. They're a complete balanced diet for the frogs, and are taken with gusto thanks to the frog's unusual ability to sense food by smell. So, unlike many amphibians, it can take dead or inanimate food.

Sexing: Sexing is not possible until the frogs are at least 4 months old. At this stage, the males will develop thick mating pads on their front legs. These are black and are often referred to as "dirty hands". The males will also begin to sing at this stage, so you may want to keep the frog in a room where nobody sleeps!

Breeding: Xenopodinae are very easy to breed - perhaps too easy, since their readiness to breed combined with their extreme hardiness has led to colonisation in places they were never intended to live, such as areas of North America.

For the best chance of successful breeding, it's best to have 2 males and 2 females, in around 30 US gallons of water at a depth of 8 to 9 inches.. Water should be kept as clean as possible, and its temperature should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Mating often takes place late at night when the frogs detect no other activity, so it's best not to have any mechanical filtration operating in the tank at the time, and it's also best to leave them in a quiet room.

The eggs are laid singly, with hundreds laid during a 3 to 4 hour period. The average metamorphosis from egg to froglet takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Gather these with a pipette and place in a separate tank to avoid them being eaten.

Be careful that you don't get carried away with repeated breeding and end up with many dozens of young frogs! Remember, you'll have to try and find homes for all of them, and given that there's little to no predation to keep numbers down in a breeding tank environment, most of the young will survive. Bearing in mind that up to 500 eggs can be laid a time, that's a lot of rehoming you'll have to do!


This is my Clawed Frog, Pinky. He is the Albino variant, but the natural colouration is also available. This is a mottled brown on top with a lighter coloured belly. Note the "dirty hands", or mating pads that he has on his front legs; this is a sure sign that he is male.

 

Ssativa

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For those of you that feed your African Clawed Frogs feeder fish I thought I'd mention that African Clawed Frogs are ferocious eaters. Some will wait for the feeder fish to get enormous, as goldfish do, and then eat them all at the same time. These food frenzy's can be deadly because the African Clawed Frog will eat to death.

Here is a pic of my female eating a fish that I thought was way too big to be eaten. I'd even gotten used to having it as a pet until one day when fishy was fat enough.... :crazy:

 

sioband

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Just a little addition to your article regarding these great little things. We have a male who used to live in the record 96 with fish friends. He managed to escape a few times and so has ended up on his own. He has previously escaped for a couple of hours on two separate occasions. Then being found covered in under sofa fluff and dust, became known as dirty harry. The next time he escaped from the tank on a wednesday, being found on the following saturday, a little dry and hungry, put back in the tank and we had to go out. On our return we discovered he had gone again, this time he was out of the tank until the thursday, again found dry and hungry. He is now in a tank on his own, water level far below the lip of tank and lid, plenty to swim and dive in, but no escape attempts since the move. :D Singing away nicely and hands have developed the black smudging on them. :D Also fed on Reptomin and frozen bloodworm, rather than fresh as the ones he doesnt eat develop into mossies who eat me!
 

t1tanrush

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Just thought I'd add some things...
Males get around 5-6" and females anywhere from 6-8"... They are pretty fast growers to so don't buy one thinking " oh I got a long time before its big ".
On food: Reptile sticks are easy, a can for 3$ can last you several months. I would strongly recommend using feeder fish, the best way to prevent over feeding, is to assist the frog in eating the first few, and then let the frog catch whatever else it wants, use rosy reds because they are harder to catch than goldfish are, and that way you will see your frog actively chasing fish and not just getting fat on the bottom. A frog 3 inches can eat a 3 inch fish so watch out!
 

frogluver

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Just thought I'd add some things...
Males get around 5-6" and females anywhere from 6-8"... They are pretty fast growers to so don't buy one thinking " oh I got a long time before its big ".
On food: Reptile sticks are easy, a can for 3$ can last you several months. I would strongly recommend using feeder fish, the best way to prevent over feeding, is to assist the frog in eating the first few, and then let the frog catch whatever else it wants, use rosy reds because they are harder to catch than goldfish are, and that way you will see your frog actively chasing fish and not just getting fat on the bottom. A frog 3 inches can eat a 3 inch fish so watch out!

Rosy Reds should not be fed to African Clawed frogs, as they contain an enzyme that disables the frogs from absorbing vitamin B. Their spine can also damage African Clawed Frogs internal organs. I feed my frogs medium crickets and Hikari Sinking Carnivore Fish food.
 
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