Nature Mikey

Nature Mikey

Monday, March 14, 2011

species of the Day: African Bullfrog (Pixie Frog)

Scientific Name: Pyxicephalus adspersus
Family: Ranidae
Adult Size: Average size is 4 to 9 1/2 inches
Range: East and south from Nigeria, eastern savanna regions, from Somalia to Port Elizabeth, and west to Angola
Habitat: Open grasslands, particularly around puddles if they are to be found

    The African bullfrog, or pixie frog, as it is often called, is one of the largest frogs in Africa. It can measure up to 9 1/2 inches and may weigh over four pounds. It is a rather portly amphibian with a broad head and bumpy, olive green skin. This frog is more of a burrower than a swimmer with only the back feet being webbed and the front feet being strongly clawed. Adult males and females are easy to tell apart. An adult male frog will have a yellow throat while a female will have a creamy-colored throat. The most dramatic difference however is size, with males being much, much bigger than females. These frogs will blow up like balloons as a defense mechanism when frightened. In the wild, they spend much of their time underground and only come out to eat or breed after heavy rains.
    African bullfrogs are not an overly active species and therefore require little space to be happy. A small frog can be maintained in a 5 gallon aquarium, a medium in a 10 gallon aquarium and a large frog in a 20 gallon aquarium. It's no surprise that these frogs are highly prone to obesity, so they will do best in an aquarium that provides a good amount of substrate for them to burrow in for exercise. Moist, untreated potting soil works best for this. A shallow water pan should be placed in one corner for soaking. It is generally recommended that these frogs should be housed alone to avoid cannibalism.
    The diet of these frogs can be a little hairy for the more squeamish, as they have gluttonous appetites and will eat anything they can overpower or fit in their mouths, which includes lizards, large insects, small mammals and even other frogs. Care should be taken when feeding as these frogs do have teeth and can give a nasty bite if it mistakes fingers for food.
    This is another species that is good for people who are looking for a pet that doesn't require much care or interaction. They are easy to care for, fun to watch and make a good conversation piece. But be prepared when you go to buy your cute little pixie frog from the pet store, for it will quickly grow to be a monster of a frog!

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