The African dwarf frog (Hymenochirus curtipes) is an aquatic creature which almost entirely thrives under water, except for when it has to get some air into its lungs―in which case it comes to the surface. As the name suggests, this species is found all over the African continent, though the bulk of its population comes from the Congo area.
This frog is often confused with the African clawed frog, which is larger and more aggressive by nature. The African dwarf frog is small-sized and does not weigh more than a few ounces. It is mostly earth toned and has a lifespan of about 5 - 15 years.
How To Care for African Dwarf Frogs
One gallon of clean and dechlorinated water per frog is what is required to house this species. Its temperature should not be below 70ºF. Very high or deep tanks are not recommended for this species, as they are not efficient swimmers. Avoid overcrowding the aquarium, as it may stress out these frogs. The aquarium should have a lid so as to ensure that your pet frogs don't escape. Keep in mind not to have holes in the aquarium top, except a few air silts. Why? Well, dogs bark and frogs jump!
The African dwarf frog enjoys feasting on live guppy fry, dried bloodworms, glassworms, tadpole bites, reptomin, gammarus, dried krill, baby shrimp, frozen beefheart, earthworms, and even nightcrawlers (as long as they are chopped into small bite-sized pieces). Drop the food near the frogs, it makes it easier for them to find it. Also make it a point to place the food in the same place every time.
Plants are integral to the habitat of this species, as they set up a suitable environment for these frogs and make them feel secure. You can decide on any kind of living plants for your pet. The most preferred is the anubias nana, which has broad thick leaves and thus, offers great hiding places for the frog. You can also grow a bamboo plant in the aquarium.
As the owner, you have to be aware of different illnesses which may affect the creature. You need to look for symptoms, like cloudy eyes and poor, or lack of appetite. You will also have to maintain the pH level of the water of the aquarium; a pH of 7.2 - 7.6 is considered good enough for this species!
Some Quick Facts
The habitat of this species in the wild consists of shallow rivers, creeks, and ponds. These creatures prefer eating and playing near the bottom of the water source, where they can be safe from predators and hide while they sleep.
During the mating season, male frogs generally make a low humming noise in order to attract the females. At the onset of breeding season, the males bear a darker complexion and develop enlarged inner arms. All these changes though, are only seen in species in the wild, and not the ones that are in captivity.
The African dwarf frogs have the reputation of being very social creatures; they love to mingle with other frogs! It is hard to find them secluded, all by themselves out in the wild.
By now you must have had a good idea on the requirements for keeping African dwarf frogs as pets. So, get some of these 'froggies' home, and remember what Cameron Diaz once famously said, "I'd kiss a frog even if there was no promise of a Prince Charming popping out of it. I love frogs.