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African Clawed Frog As An Aquarium Mate





Those who prefer amphibians over fish in their jar or tank aquariums, African clawed frogs could be a good option.


Scientifically known as genus Xenopus laevis, the African clawed frog is the only frog with clawed toes. Its name is derived from the three short claws on each hind foot, which it uses to tear apart its food. The word Xenopus means “strange foot” and laevis means “smooth”.

African clawed frogs can grow up to a length of 5 inches (13 cm). Native to the cooler regions of sub-Saharan Africa, it has a flat body with a relatively small head. Its skin is smooth, with dorsal surfaces usually colored in mottled hues of olive-brown or gray with darker marks and ventral surfaces a creamy white color. This frog has no tongue, no teeth, no eyelids, and no external eardrums. They use their hands to shove food in their mouths and then down their throats and a hyobranchial pump to draw or suck things in their mouth. They use their sensitive fingers, sense of smell, and lateral line system to find food.

The African clawed frog was shipped around the world in the 1940’s and 1950’s for use in human pregnancy tests after it was discovered that female African clawed frogs begin laying eggs when injected with a pregnant women’s urine. To supply the high demand for African clawed frogs in pregnancy assays, techniques were developed to breed and rear large numbers of African clawed frogs in captivity.

With the success of captive breeding techniques and since African clawed frogs were easy to handle and resistant to disease, a significant pet trade developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The African clawed frog is now the research vertebrate most widely used for developmental, cell and molecular biology.

The African clawed frog reaches sexual maturity in 6-10 months after metamorphosis and can live 10 to 15, some of them as long as 25 to 30 years. A female can produce up to 27,000 eggs per reproductive session and can produce multiple clutches per season in favorable conditions. They shed their skin every season, and eat it.

Although lacking a vocal sac, the males make a mating call of alternating long and short trills, by contracting the intrinsic laryngeal muscles. Females also answer vocally, signalling either acceptance (a rapping sound) or rejection (slow ticking). Male frogs are usually about 20% smaller than females, with slim bodies and legs.

In its native range, the African clawed frog feeds primarily on zooplankton as a tadpole, small crustaceans as a recently metamorphosed young adult, and benthic invertebrates as an adult.

Albino varieties are commonly sold as pets. Above all they are easy to take care of as fish.

Albino African clawed frog

So if you want to change the look of your aquarium you can always opt for the African clawed frog, which has longevity and easy to maintain.