As the name implies, African dwarf frog lives in certain parts of Africa. The species spends most of its time in the water. However, the frogs need to resurface once in a while, as they don’t have gills. These animals are very small, and their color can range from olive green to black.
In this article, we will see what do African dwarf frogs eat and what are some of the species’ main characteristics.
African Dwarf Frogs Habits and biology
An average frog is just a few inches long (7.5 centimeters on average), and it weighs a few grams. Most of them live five years or so, but there were cases when a few of them reached 20.
Nowadays, you can find these amphibians in numerous pet stores all across the world. However, there is sometimes a bit of confusion with them. A lot of pet shop owners sell them as African clawed frogs. Although the two species are somewhat similar, African clawed frogs are bigger and more aggressive.
It is worth noting that all frog species from the Pipidae family don’t have teeth and tongues. When they want to eat, they use their feet to grab food and put it in their mouths. Their legs are also crucial for swimming and attacking prey. The animal has strong claws allowing them to kill their victims before devouring them.
Instead of having the standard ears, they have lines that stretch all along their side. These lateral lines allow them to sense even the slightest movement in the water. African dwarf frog also has a strong sense of touch and smell. The species can eat any type of dead organic matter, but they can also hunt live prey.
Here are some of their most interesting habits:
- This is a nocturnal species that commonly hunts or scavenges during the night.
- African dwarf frogs spend most of their time swimming or diving, but they occasionally need to surface for air. The species is heavily dependent on water and needs to return to it after 15 minutes on land. Otherwise, they will die from dehydration.
- The animal will resurface for just a second or two when it needs air, promptly diving back.
- Sometimes, the frog will lie on its back, floating on water with its legs and arms stretched. By doing this, the animal relaxes.
- African dwarf frogs are very vocal and can sing. When a male wants to court a female, they will make a buzzing sound.
What do African dwarf frogs eat in the wild?
We classify the frog as an omnivorous species. They usually scavenge for food and eat dead flesh. They are very different from most other frog species as they don’t use their tongue to catch prey. While they do eat insects, they are a very small part of their diet.
During the dry season in Africa, they commonly inhabit various creeks, rivers, and ponds. During the rainy season, they might move to the flooded forest, which will also affect their diet. Anyway, the majority of their diet is the organic matter from decomposing animals.
The animal has a unique organ biologists refer to as a hyobranchial pump. When they use their feet to put food in their mouth, the pump will work by sucking in meat and sending it down the throat. Although these frogs have very strong senses, they are often a deterrent. The species is very sensitive to vibration and sounds, which sometimes poses a problem when hunting. As such, it is much easier for them to eat dead meat.
Here are some of the things that the animal eats in the wild:
- Insect larvae
- Small fish
Given that the species focus on meat, you can easily tell they need lots of nutrients. The species also requires things such as potassium and calcium. In addition, African dwarf frogs will need lots of vitamins for the skin.
Unfortunately, this species is very small, and it doesn’t have a reliable defensive mechanism. As a result, the frogs are often the target of predators, which is another reason why it rarely hunts and instead eats recently dead animals. They will go out of the water once in a few days and won’t need to eat during that time. Experts claim these frogs can eat once in three days, and they will never feel hungry.
What do African dwarf frogs eat as pets?
A lot of amphibian lovers keep African dwarf frogs in their tanks. You can pair them with different animals, and they are easy to keep. Unlike many other animals, you can feed the frog once every few days, and you will never have to worry whether they’re hungry or not.
- If you don’t have experience with frogs, it is best to start with food pellets. There are products on the market specifically made for this species. They should provide enough nutrients to satisfy their weekly needs.
- Alternatively, you can give them blackworms, tubifex worms, frozen bloodworms, and brine shrimps. Frozen food is especially good for them as it rarely has microbes. So, the frog will not get sick when eating these products. Just make sure to thaw and rinse before giving the food to your pet.
- Give them as much food as they can eat in 15 minutes. Once the frog is full, make sure to remove all the leftovers. While the animal can eat dead and slowly decomposing food, it is much better to feed them fresh meat. That way, you can extend your pet’s life and ensure they’re always healthy.
- Like all other pets, frogs react well to treats. You can give them such food several times a week. For example, the species love mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, krill, and fish fry. Of course, the preferences will vary depending on the individual. Some people also like to give their African dwarf frogs beef hearts. However, this food is only for special occasions as it has a lot of fat. As such, you shouldn’t give beef heart more than once a month.
- The only time when the frog needs extra food is when they’re younger. As they’re developing, they will require nutrients every day. After that, you can feed them once in three days. You can also give them food daily. If you decide to do so, make sure they are satiated but never full.
- The species can only eat small bits of food. So make sure to mince it before giving it to them.
- Depending on the individual, some frogs will like tadpole bites while others will simply refuse to eat them. These animals are full of nutrients, so they represent a great source for African dwarf frogs. Besides having lots of proteins, tadpole bites might have additional ingredients like fish oil, beet powder, fish meal, dried brewer’s years, various vitamins, gluten, minerals, etc.
Tips to feed African dwarf frogs
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when feeding your African dwarf frog:
- Some owners like to give their frogs extra rations. Unfortunately, this leads to obesity, and eventually, your frog will become unhappy and stressed. Having too much food in the tank may also affect the water quality.
- Occasionally, a frog will show little interest in food. This might come due to stress, nervousness, or some medical issue. When such a problem occurs, you should try to feed them with tweezers. Squeeze a small bit of food and place it almost on top of their head so they can notice it. You can also put the food in your hand, but only if you have a good relationship with the frog and it trusts you enough. Keep in mind that the species is harmless, but they sometimes carry dangerous bacteria.
- Like with all animals, you should try to recreate the natural feeding process. Given that the African dwarf frogs are nocturnal, it is best to feed them at night. However, this can lead to issues as you cannot monitor how much food the frog has eaten and when to remove the leftovers. Ideally, you should feed the frog just before bed and remove the excess food after 15 minutes.
- It is very important to maintain a steady feeding schedule. Even if you only feed them once in a few days, the animal must eat at the same time. This will help its digestion and other internal processes.
- The frogs sometimes struggle to find their food. Using tweezers or a terra cotta dish will help them out. Alternatively, make sure to place the food in the same spot every time you feed them.
- Having fishes and frogs in the same tank can cause issues. African dwarf frogs are bottom feeders, and they will consume anything that drops to the bottom of the tank. If you have fish, they will eat before frogs causing the frogs to be malnourished.
African dwarf frogs are a popular choice among amphibian pet lovers. They are not picky eaters, and you can buy lots of different food products that will suit their needs. When feeding them, it is much better to do so during the night and at the same time every day.