Pyxie Frog

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Other common names: Pixie Frog; African Bullfrog

Scientific name: Pyxicephalus adspersus

The basics:
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

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Thanks and enjoy, Frank


From findiviglio Dec 21 2010 8:46PM


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