Thursday, March 31, 2011
Species of the Day: African Clawed Frog
Scientific Name: Xenopus laevis
Adult Size: Up to 5 inches in length
Range: Native to eastern and southern Africa; introduced to North America, much of Europe and South America
Habitat: African clawed frogs are completely aquatic, although during heavy rain fall they are able to move some distances over land.
The African clawed frog is a flat-bodied frog who's shape allows them to swim swiftly through the water. These frogs can be yellow to gray in color and have well-established introduced populations in the US, Europe and South America. Many of the introductions in the United States appear to be the result of careless owners and scientific laboratories, the latter of which uses them as a model organism in many biological disciplines. Due to this, African clawed frogs are now regulated in several states and have even been banned, so be sure to check state regulations before looking in to purchasing one.
African clawed frogs do very well in 10 to 20 gallon aquariums. Frogs are extremely sensitive to the quality of their water and fresh spring water or de-chlorinated tap water (DO NOT use distilled water) should be used in their tanks, along with a high-quality water filter. Although not as visually pleasing, a bare cage bottom works well when keeping these frogs. They have aggressive feeding responses and may ingest gravel or stones used for the cage floor. If gravel is used, make sure it is too large for the frogs to swallow.
That being said, feeding African clawed frogs is rarely problematic. Tropical fish pellets, frog pellets, small crickets, earth worms and small guppies among lots of other choices will make up a varied and complete diet for your frogs. Any uneaten food should be removed from the cage to maintain water quality.