African Clawed Frog
Xenopus laevis

CLASS: Amphibia
ORDER: Anura
FAMILY: Pipidae

SIZE:
3 to 5 inches.

RANGE:
Much of Africa, from Cameroun to Kenya and South Africa.

HABITAT:
Rivers, lakes, and other bodies of permanent water in usually open habitats. These are permanently aquatic frogs that can leave the water only briefly during flood conditions.

DIET:

  • Wild - Insects, frogs, shrimp, fish; anything that can be stuffed into its mouth.
  • Zoo - Thawed bloodworms.
DESCRIPTION:
A very flat, stout frog with nearly smooth skin (a row of long warts on each side) and a small head with eyes on the upper surface. The hands are not webbed; the hind feet are widely webbed and have black points (“claws”) on some toes. Usually brownish, but most aquarium specimens are captive-bred albinos with creamy white skin.

FACTS:

  • Once used for the Hogben test, a standard test for human pregnancy.
  • Introduced into California, where it eats native fish and frogs and is a dangerous pest.
  • This hardy frog may live 30 years.
YOUNG:
Mating pairs swim in a complex circular pattern, the female releasing eggs near the surface. The eggs adhere to plants and number up to several hundred. Tadpoles have long whiskers like catfish, are nearly transparent, and mature in about three months.

STATUS:
Not considered threatened. Widely bred in captivity but must not be allowed to escape into warm U.S. waters.

REFERENCES:

  • Fantastic Frogs. Jerry Walls.
  • Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates. P. P. Bartlett, B. Griswold & R. D. Bartlett.