As the name suggests, the African clawed frog―popularly known as platanna―is native to Africa. Its binomial name, Xenopus laevis is derived from the three short claws found on its hind feet. Xenopus means 'strange foot' and laevis means 'smooth'. While the species is mostly found in Africa, small populations have also been recorded from isolated areas of North America, South America, and Europe.
About African Clawed Frogs
African clawed frogs can grow on to attain a length of 12 cm. They are known to inhabit ponds and rivers in their native habitat in Africa; southeastern Africa in particular. These frogs are aquatic and are greenish-grey in color. Their average lifespan is around 8 to 15 years. If proper care is provided, they can live for 20 - 30 years in captivity.
These frogs usually mate at night. The female can lay anywhere between 100 to 2000 eggs after a session of mating. The eggs stick to every available surface, including leaves and stones in the water, and are fertilized externally. Tadpoles are transparent, and are filter feeders that feed on microscopic algae and freshwater plankton.
Keeping Them as Pets
Firstly, get a fish tank to house your pet frog as these frogs spend most of their life in water. If you're planning to keep two frogs, a five gallon water tank will be sufficient. The females are bigger than the males. These frogs require a lot of activity so make sure there is plenty of room for them to move around. Use clean sand or soil as substrate in the tank. Do not use pebbles as the frog will confuse them for food and try to eat them. Additionally, you can also include foliage such as small water plants, fake or real branches, and other things which give these frogs plenty of space to hide.
You should feed African clawed frogs thrice a week; preferably live food. These frogs have a strong hunting instinct and will eat anything that fits into their mouth. Do not feed them tetras or feeder goldfish as they contain an enzyme which is harmful for these frogs. Instead, you can feed them beef heart brine, blood worms, earthworms, mosquito larvae, shrimp pellets, live shrimp, and tubifex worms. Don't worry about the quantity of food, they will stop eating once they are full. These frogs don't have a tongue or teeth, and thus, they tear their prey to pieces with their sharp claws and eat them.
Additionally, you should use water which is chlorine free and a low filtration system to keep the water clean. Even small quantities of chlorine is enough to kill your pet frog. The tank should be cleaned every week as the frog's waste contains ammonia, which can be toxic for it.