African Clawed Frogs (ACF) ..."Xenopus Laevis" Life Span:15-20 years in captivity. These frogs are purely aquatic, meaning that they live their entire lives in the water. However they do breath oxygen! Size: Males grow to an approximate 3-4" from nose to vent and females grow to 5-6". It takes them up to one and a half years in age*to reach their adult size. Appearance:* These frogs have webbing between the toes on their hind feet, four fingers on their hands,* and eyes perched on the top of their faces. These come in many colors/patters -* brown/gray/green, albino, piebald, and leucistic. DO NOT CONFUSE WITH AFRICAN DWARF FROGS!! How to spot the difference = African Clawed Frogs have webbing ONLY on their hind toes, African Dwarf Frogs have webbing on ALL FOUR feet...African Clawed Frogs eyes are perched ON TOP of their head, African Dwarf Frogs eyes are flush against the SIDE of their faces. If it is ALBINO it is CLAWED - African Dwarf Frogs are NEVER albino. Also - - African Clawed Frogs can and WILL eat African Dwarf Frogs once the clawed frog grows large enough! Other Info: * African Clawed Frogs come in a variety of shades of tan, brown, and black, with spotting patterns. They can also be albino. * They have no tongue or visible ear. Your Frog's Home: *A tank with a secure fitting lid - (these frogs are escape artists and you do not want to wake up in the morning to find that your little buddy went on an adventure and died from dehydration!), filter, and sand/large river rock substrate or a bare bottom. Sand becomes tricky because it can easily clog the filter after getting kicked up by the frog's strong legs. Gravel is best avoided - due to their enthusiastic eating habits, a frog may easily ingest a piece of gravel and become impacted. If you decide to go with gravel anyways, use pieces smaller than a pea - your frog has a chance of passing it. However, froglets are fine with gravel for a temporary substrate because the gravel will be too large to fit into their mouths. *Make sure there is space between the water surface and the lid - these frogs breath oxygen through respiration! *Lighting can be what ever you like the look of best - but do remember to turn the lights off at night! They need to rest too! A longer night cycle with a short day cycle works well for them (for example, having the light turned on only 10 hours of the day) *Temperature - - When froglets - temperatures between 74 -78*F are best. When adults - temperatures between 70 -75*F are best.* However, they seem to do well as long as the temperatures stay between 65*F and 80* F. *They need lots of hiding places!!! Shy by nature, they do become very social in a tank...yet if they become startled they need adequate cover or they can become stressed to the point of death! *Decor – caves, driftwood, and hiding places are appreciated. Avoid plastic artificial plants – the plastic can tear the webbing between the toes. Silk plants look wonderful and are safe and soft for the frogs to play in and hide under. Weighted plants holdup against the frogs best. Make sure the bottoms of any decorations you use are well submerged into the substrate – most aquarium decorations have hollow bottoms to allow for easy submerging when initially placing in the aquarium, but if your frog wiggles under and gets stuck, it will drown. *Beware live plants - they will get shredded and uprooted during play! Java Moss balls have been used with success - they add nutrients to the water and look quite attractive. They can also with stand the rough treatment from the frogs and simply be rolled out of the way. Floating plants, like water wisteria also work very well...they give the frogs shade, cover, and the feeling of security. If live plants are not your taste, do have some artificial plants - plants are great for hanging out in and hiding behind!!! Plants with weighted bottoms work best. *Don't forget weekly water changes! Stir up the substrate to dislodge any buried waste and suck it out!! These frogs are very very messy - luckily they seem to thrive in slightly dirty water so do not become alarmed at the slightly cloudy appearance. However, if it comes to the point where you can't FIND the frogs - cut back on the feedings and install a more powerful filter / up the water changes. Tank Size Requirements: The Minimum number of gallons for the tank is 10 - this is acceptable for 1 frog. *ONE frog can be in an unfiltered tank, but you will have to do extra water changes. Two frogs is really the limit you can have in a 20 gallon standard or tall tank. For a 20 gallon long tank you can have 3 frogs. **The reason you can fit increasingly more frogs into a bigger tank is due to filtration and water area. A tank that is too small will lead to a very sick, underdeveloped, and unhappy frog. A long tank is better than a tall tank - gives your frogs more swimming and playing room! Plan ahead!!! Get a tank that will allow you to house more than one! Everybody loves having friends and your frogs are no different! Diet: African Clawed Frog's diet varies with the age of the frog, but they can eat a variety of live, pelleted and frozen food. Avoid freeze dried food. Live earthworms, black worms, blood worms, crickets, night crawlers, and brineshrimp. Frozen/Freezedried blood worms, black worms, brine shrimp, krill, beefheart (every now and then - not as a staple diet because it is very fatty and can cause heart failure if fed too often). Pelleted food designed for them - Reptomin sticks, HBH frog and tadpole bites (USA) and Zoomed frog bites (UK). Live guppies are also acceptable as a treat. (Perfect if you have a few adult guppies in a separate tank! They breed so often you will have a constant supply of this delicious entree!) Do NOT feed live goldfish or minnows - they contain an enzyme that will inhibit the frogs natural ability to absorb vitamin B. Never feed your frog fish flakes!!! It does not give the frog the proper nutritional values that it needs to grow and be healthy!* Froglets and frogs under 2 inches in body length should be feed daily. Feeding an adult frog every other day or every three days is preferable to daily or once a week feedings. Tank Mates: African Clawed Frogs are best housed with African Clawed Frogs and nothing else! If it is alive and can fit into their mouth - it will become a meal! Including other frogs! Large adult frogs will cannibalize! If you are going to get your frog a friend, make sure that the new frog is big enough to fend for itself - the "if you fit I will eat you" rule still applies! Fish, shrimp, snails, and small frogs will all be eaten. ACF will eat anything alive, dying, or dead. Never mix different species of amphibians and reptiles - for example, a newt would be an awful tank mate for an*ACF - the newt excrete toxins which will harm your frog, and if one is bigger than the other, the smaller will become a snack! A 3" frog can eat a 3" fish! If you do have fish in your frog tank, be prepared to replace them! Never have a catfish in your frog tank - if the frog attempts to eat a catfish, the catfish's spines will injure your frogs mouth and tear open their insides! Not a pleasant way to die for either party! Behavior: Seemingly lazy, these frogs will spend most of their time hiding during periods of bright light. With dim lighting, they are much more active and will spend their time exploring the bottom area of the tank. These frogs can easily be taught to eat from their owners fingers (Don't worry! They can't bite because they do not have teeth!). By hand feeding my frogs home-raised guppies when they were younger, they became quite used to being handled and seem to enjoy having their stomachs, sides, and backs lightly rubbed. Shedding: ACF will shed every couple of weeks. This is a natural process and should not be a cause for concern. Most owners rarely see their frogs shed because it happens so fast. The frog will seem to hover in place for a few moments, do a few jerking motions with its hindlegs to move it's body back and forth in the water, then with a few swift kicks it pushes the skin up and over it's head. The frog often eats the skin while it is shedding it. This is actually nutritional and should not be interfered with. However, if it comes off in tatters or shreds this may be a sign of illness. Sexing: It's hard to tell them apart when they're young. The reach sexual maturity between 8 and 12 months of age. The female is rounder and develops a cloaca on her rump. This looks like a small bump or tail and is used in laying eggs and passing waste. The male is smaller and develops Nuptual Pads. Also called “dirty hands” - this is when the palms and forearms darken to a gray or black color. This happens in all color variations, including albino. Mating: Males will "call" or "sing" for a date! It is similar sounding to a cricket or buzzing underwater. Females do not "sing" for a male but they will answer him. A soft rapping/purring sound means she is interested...but a slow clicking sound means "I have a headache - I am NOT in the mood"!!! If the female accepts the males advances, he will grasp her waist from behind – this is called “amplexus” - and they will swim all over the tank - the female lays eggs one by one and the male fertilizes them. Younger frogs lay fewer eggs, but once they reach about 2-3 years of age, the female can lay up to 2,000 eggs at once. A female should not be bred more than 4 times a year to ensure that she remains healthy and has time to develop healthy eggs. These frogs are cannibalistic and will eat the eggs, tadpole, and froglets. Often, the female will begin eating her eggs even as she and the male are still in amplexus. **I will add photos in a few days.