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Caring for African Dwarf Frogs as Pets

Updated on December 27, 2014

What is an African Dwarf Frog?

They're small, fully aquatic frogs native to rivers in Africa. These guys have become popular pets because they're easy to care for and they'll have you giggling over their silly antics!

Floating around just hanging out.
Floating around just hanging out.

Fish Tanks- Not Terrariums

The most important thing to remember about your African Dwarf frog is that he is fully aquatic- meaning he doesn't ever leave the water. Don't put rocks or other objects that protrude from the water in your tank because this could be dangerous. Although these guys don't live on land, they can still jump surprisingly far, and you don't want to provide them with a way to hop out of the tank. If one of these frogs does jump out of the tank, it doesn't take too much time for their skin to start drying. If left out of the water for more than just a few minutes, they could die.

A male African Dwarf Frog
A male African Dwarf Frog

Male or Female?

How do you know if you've got a boy or a girl? When dealing with any species of frog, you'll notice the females are always bigger. In African Dwarf frogs, the females appear "fatter" than the males. Another way to find out your frog's gender is to look closely just behind the front legs on the frog's side. In males, there is a small, almost swollen (it varies in size depending on whether or not it's mating time) oval. Females are lacking this.

What to Eat

Feeding your frogs is easy and there's a variety of foods to choose from that are available at any pet store that carries fish food. The easiest foods to feed them are the freeze dried foods. Blood worms (sounds gross but the frogs love 'em!) and brine shrimp cubes are easy to come by and last a long time. If you want to spoil your frogs, head over to the freezer section for a package of worms that aren't dried. But be warned, once you feed them the good stuff, they won't want to go back to the easy freeze dried foods. They'll also eat generic fish flakes but this just isn't very substantial. Once a day is as often as they need to be fed and don't fret if you miss day, they can handle it! This is why they are such easy, low maintenance pets.

African Dwarf Frog Eggs- Day 3
African Dwarf Frog Eggs- Day 3
Little Tadpoles!
Little Tadpoles!

My Frogs Laid Eggs!

If you've got a male and a female in the same tank, you're bound to discover dozens of little eggs floating at the top of the water. It will look like someone sprinkled poppy seeds into the tank. If you want the joy of watching them become tiny tadpoles, you must remove the eggs as soon as possible, because Mom and Dad will eat them. Raising tadpoles is really tricky business, so be prepared for it not to work out for all of the little guys. You'll need some live, aquatic plants for the tadpoles when they first hatch. They'll consume microscopic organisms found in the plants. While they are in this stage, you must start hatching brine shrimp. African Dwarf frog tadpoles only eat live food, making it difficult to keep them well fed. Once they are swimming around, they'll need to eat live brine shrimp every two hours or so. It's a full-time job!

Funny Frog Antics

You'll sometimes notice that your frogs act a little goofy. They love to "hover" with their legs completely outstretched making them look like tiny skydivers. Sometimes they'll slowly sink to the bottom and "fall over" onto their backs. It looks as though they're dead, but don't be alarmed! They're just thinking really hard about something really froggy!

Frogs or fish: Which is better?

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