Acquired: Pet store
Cumbria, United Kingdom
Posted Jun 08, 2014
The African Clawed frog is a fully aquatic amphibian that comes in two different colours and has a dwarf group within the species. The usual colour for this species in the wild is a dark brown colour mottled with lighter shades and a touch of green so that they can blend in to their surroundings. The albino colouration's are more popular for those who wish to keep these hardy amphibians as pets and they are usually the most readily available colour.
This species is really easy to care for, low maintenance and are a very low cost pet. For me, they are like fish, but slightly more interesting!
Before purchasing this species as a pet, you will need to set up a warm water aquarium just like you would if you were caring for tropical fish. This means you will need a suitable sized aquarium with the decorations (think plenty of hiding places when choosing decor), a water heater and a weak filtration system.
This last bit is very important and it's a mistake I often see pet shops making. The African Clawed frog hunts it's food by feeling for movement in the water, because of this it needs to have very sensitive skin t pick up the tiniest vibration. When you look closely, you can see rows of minute ridges that look like stitches running over the back and sides of the body. These sensitive dorsal lateral lines are what picks up the movement. If the filtration system is too powerful then your frog will be constantly tormented with the vibrations in the water and will not have a very happy life. If you use a filtration system of any kind, make sure there are plenty of hiding places, plants and decorations in the tank to break up the flow and current of the water. Personally, I don't use any filtration system and do a full 50% water change in my tank once a week and a full clean every month or so if it needs it.
Clawed frogs are easy eaters and very cheap to feed. I feed mine frozen cubes of blood worm, brine shrimp e.t.c which you can buy at your local aquatic shop. Fulci and Romero get very friendly during feeding time. Since they are quite greedy they usually wont wait until the cube has defrosted and instead will just swallow it whole, so I now keep the cubes between my fingers so that they can't do this and I can give the ice a helping hand to defrost. My frogs will swim on to my hand and sit there and sometimes nibble on my fingers. I feed my frogs twice a week so as not to overfeed them, this also simulates the same conditions they would endure in the wild.
Be warned though, this species, like many other amphibious species, will eat anything they think they can fit in to their mouth. If it doesn't fit in their mouth they use the claws of their hind legs to shred their food apart. DO NOT put this species in with fish or smaller frogs (such as Dwarf Clawed frogs) or you will end up with none left!
When it comes to breeding there is always a chance your frogs could lay eggs, fertilised or not. If you wish to keep them (and there will be an awful lot) you must remove them and put them in a separate tank. If you do not wish to keep them, just leave them where they are as the adults generally tend to eat any eggs they find.
All in all, this species is perfect for those just venturing in to amphibian keeping. They need little time, space or money to care for them and can be quite interesting to own and watch.