Other common names: Pixie Frog; African Bullfrog
Scientific name: Pyxicephalus adspersus
This lumbering behemoth is perhaps the world’s most impressive and long-lived frog. Very unique also - drought-induced dormant periods can last for nearly a year (great if you’re busy!), and males protect the eggs and tadpoles from all comers. If given proper care (and one’s fingers are kept out of their reach!), the African Bullfrog makes a fascinating, relatively low-maintenance pet.
The African Bullfrog is found in southern Africa, from southern Kenya to South Africa, where it dwells in seasonally-flooded grasslands and thorn scrub habitats.
Appearance / health:
The African Bullfrog is massive in build, with males sometimes reaching 24.5 cm (9.6 in) in length and topping 1.4 kg (3 lbs.) in weight. The head is noticeably large, and the powerful jaws are equipped with bony projections known as odontoid structures. The body is generally dark olive-green in color, but may also be gray or tinged with blue.
This hardy creatures has set a frog longevity record of 51 years of age in captivity. Metabolic bone disease invariably develops if a calcium-poor diet is provided. Bacterial/fungal infections resulting from poor water quality and soiled substrate are perhaps the most common causes of death in captive animals. African Bullfrogs are prone to intestinal blockages from ingested substrates.
Behavior / temperament:
African Bullfrogs have a “confident” attitude and are quite sedentary. Armed with tooth-like odontoid structures, they bite readily and will not distinguish a moving hand from a potential meal; bite wounds can be quite severe. African Bullfrogs should be handled only when necessary, and then with wet hands so that the skin’s protective mucus is not removed. Amphibian skin secretions may cause irritations when transferred to their owner’s wounds, eyes, or the mouth.
An adult may be kept in a 20-30 gallon terrarium. An aquarium tilted on one side to create a small water section is ideal. Alternatively, a water bowl can be utilized. African Bullfrogs feel secure if able to nestle into moss or push below a plastic plant, but most soon dispense with any attempt at hiding. Bare-bottomed terrariums or washable cage liners are best means of preventing substrate ingestion. Sphagnum or sheet moss may be used, but feeding should then be done via tongs (never with fingers!).
Ammonia should be controlled by daily water changes and frequent substrate replacement. Chlorine and chloramine must be removed from water used in aquariums via liquid preparations available at pet stores.
A temperature range of 72-85 F suits them well. A sub-tank heater under one section of the terrarium is the simplest means of provide a healthful temperature gradient. Horned Frogs do not require UVB light, although low UVB levels, and UVA, may be of some benefit.
In some habitats, other African Bullfrogs make up much of the diet. Birds, snakes, lizards, rodents, scorpions, crabs and many other creatures are also taken. Whole fishes, crayfish, pink mice, earthworms, hornworms, roaches, locusts, and crickets can make up most of their diet. Goldfish-heavy diets may lead to health problems, and pink mice should be used less often than fishes (once each 7-10 days). The use of adult mice may lead to liver problems and fur impactions.
Food (other than vertebrates) should be powdered with a Calcium/Vitamin D3 supplement. A multiple vitamin/mineral supplement may be used 2-3 times weekly.
Males may be distinguished by their larger size and, when in breeding condition, yellow patches where the forearms join the body. A commercial rain-system or increased misting is useful in stimulating breeding behavior.
Gravid females produce enormous clutches of eggs, which typically hatch within 2-4 days. The carnivorous and cannibalistic tadpoles may be reared on a diet of blackworms, chopped earthworms, pre-killed minnows, and commercial tadpole pellets. Metamorphosis usually occurs within 20-40 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
entertaining, favorite frog species, amazing animals, awesome blobs, big boy
good bites, quick little nip, ugly looks, big teeth
Bullfrogs Ravenous Predators, enormous water bowl, 12 inches, damp potting soil
African Bullfrogs - Ravenous Predators and Tender Parents
With proper care, African Bullfrogs are among the
longest-lived of amphibians - they routinely live into their 20's, and at least
1 individual topped 50 years of age. Those in the trade are invariably
captive bred, and with some experience you can breed your own - the tadpoles
are as voracious as the adults, and easy to rear.span Males devote a great deal of care to the eggs
and tadpoles, snapping at animals as large as lions (see article below) and
digging channels to bring water to drying tadpoles.
African Bullfrogs are nearly always eager feeders (one was
observed to swallow 17 hatchling Spitting Cobras! – please see article below),
but a diet based on supplemented crickets will not suffice, and will cut short
their potentially long lives.span Growing
frogs have high calcium needs, often met in the wild by consuming others of
their kind.span Captives eagerly take mice,
but a steady diet of rodents leads to health problems; Calcium is best supplied
by such foods as whole fishes, earthworms and others – more difficult to
provide than a mouse diet but much better for the frog (please see article
below).span Overfeeding is a common problem
– they seem to “enjoy” eating so much that it’s hard not to indulge them!span Obesity, however, will cut short their lives.
Ammonia poisoning is a real concern, and has led to many
deaths of otherwise healthy frogs.span These
brutes produce a great deal of waste material and if not kept scrupulously
clean will absorb ammonia in lethal quantities; 1 over-looked water bowl
cleaning can be fatal (please see article below).
Despite very interesting behaviors (including the ability to
go without food/water for up to 9 months in the wild), African Bullfrogs are
largely inactive except for feeding time; not a pet for those who crave
action.span They also bear tooth-like
projections on the lower jaw and deliver serious bites…biting at a moving
object within range is instinctual, and cannot be “un-learned”, so even long
term captives must be handled with care.
Please check out the following articles I’ve written on
African Bullfrogs, and feel free to write in with questions and comments:
African Bullfrog Consumes 17 Spitting Cobras
Feeding African Bullfrogs
Parental Care in African Bullfrogs
The Importance of Cleanliness to African Bullfrog Health
Thanks and enjoy, Frank
From findiviglio Dec 21 2010 8:46PM