African Dwarf Frog is a common name for the members of Hymenochirus, a genus of aquatic frog native to parts of Equatorial Africa.
They are often mistaken for the African Clawed Frog, a similar-looking frog in the same family.
African Dwarf Frogs are also known as Dwarf Clawed Frogs. Their name comes from their place of origin and the claws on their hind legs.
Where Are African Dwarf Frogs Found?
African Dwarf Frogs are found in forested parts of equatorial Africa, from Nigeria and Cameroon in the north, and south through Gabon and east throughout the Congo River Basin.
What Are the Different Species of African Dwarf Frogs?
There are four species of African Dwarf Frogs:
- Zaire dwarf clawed frog, Hymenochirus boettgeri Tornier, 1896
- Eastern dwarf clawed frog, Hymenochirus boulengeri De Witte, 1930
- Western dwarf clawed frog, Hymenochirus curtipes Noble, 1924
- Gaboon dwarf clawed frog, Hymenochirus feae Boulenger, 1906
What Do African Dwarf Frogs Look Like?
African Dwarf Frogs are small in size and don’t weigh more than a few grams. They come in colors like olive green to brown with black spots.
These frogs have an average life expectancy of five years, but some can live for more than 20 years. They can grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long.
African Dwarf Frogs have tiny black claws on their hind legs, webbed feet, and powerful legs for swimming and lunging after food.
How Do African Dwarf Frogs Find Food?
African Dwarf Frogs don’t have true ears, but they have lateral lines running down the length of their bodies and undersides.
These lines help them sense movements and vibrations in the water. They use their sensitive fingers, sense of smell, and lateral line system to find food.
African Dwarf Frogs are scavengers, which means they eat anything living, dying, or dead and any type of organic waste.
What Is the African Dwarf Frog’s Habitat in The Wild?
In the wild, African Dwarf Frogs live in shallow rivers, creeks, and ponds during the dry season.
They are also found in the flooded areas of the forests during the wet season.
These creatures like to eat near the bottom of the water where their color helps them blend in with the mud and leaf litter, which helps keep them safe from predators.
How Do African Dwarf Frogs Mate?
African Dwarf Frogs mate in a process called amplexus. During amplexus, the male frog grabs the female frog around her abdomen just in front of her back legs.
The female then swims and lays eggs on the surface of the water, one at a time, while the male releases sperm into the water to fertilize the eggs. This process can last for several hours.
Can African Dwarf Frogs Be Kept as Pets?
African Dwarf Frogs are popular pets because they require less maintenance than other amphibians.
They are often confused with African Clawed Frogs, but there are differences between the two species that can help pet owners tell them apart:
- African Dwarf Frogs have four webbed feet, while African Clawed Frogs have webbed hind feet and separate front feet.
- African Dwarf Frogs have eyes on the sides of their heads, while African Clawed Frogs have eyes on the tops of their heads.
- African Dwarf Frogs have pointed snouts, while African Clawed Frogs have curved, flat snouts.
How to Care for African Dwarf Frogs as Pets?
African Dwarf Frogs should be kept in a group of two or more because they are social animals.
They need access to the surface of the water to breathe, so water currents should be kept low, and deep tanks may not be suitable.
The water temperature should be between 75°F to 82°F, and the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5.
These frogs can’t survive out of water for more than 20 minutes in low humidity, as they will dry out.
When considering African Dwarf Frogs as pets for young children, remember that they are delicate animals.
They should be handled with care and should only be held outside the tank for a maximum of 5 to 10 minutes.
For the safety of the frog, it’s best not to handle them at all if possible.