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African Clawed Frogs

Profile/Photography: Melissa Taylor

Size and Appearance: African clawed frogs can grow to be three to six inches (body size). The females tend to be larger than the males, and shaped like a pear. They look like a typical frog (gray-green on the top, cream on the underside), but are usually flatter.

General Requirements: An aquarium (at least 10 gallons per frog) with a filter (waterfall types that hook on to the outside of an aquarium are less stressful on the frogs). No light is necessary, and no heater is necessary if your home is constantly warm. However, the tank should have a top since these frogs are "jumpy!" The main requirement is water, because they're 100% aquatic. There are various "kits" you can buy for these frogs, but the houses are too small for a grown frog. It's usually the least expensive to just obtain the set-up a frog will need when it reaches adult size.

Lifespan: 15-20 years.

Responsiveness to Caretaker: Frogs can be trained to take food from the owner's fingers. Because the frogs need to be kept moist and are slippery, they should not be held.

Quantity: While you can have multiple frogs in one tank, never house the clawed variety with any other animal except similarly-sized African clawed frogs. They will eat things that fit in their mouths.

Notes of Interest:
* The frogs are "sexually dimorphic," meaning that after several months you will be able to tell their gender. My frog Duncan in the photo above illustrates this by the black lines on his front legs. Males also may vocalize (unfortunately, this happens at night-time with my frog!).
* Gravel is a dangerous substrate--sand is better.
* Unlike many frogs, they can eat non-live food, which Moms find nice!
* The water used for aquatic animals (including fish) requires conditioner/de-chlorinator (available from pet supply stores). This is one of the keys to having a long-lived aquatic pet.
* Because people have unwisely released African clawed frogs into the wild, to the detriment of native wildlife, this animal is not legal in all areas.
* One of their most endearing traits is how they eat food, shoveling it into their mouths with their front feet, as if they were hands.

Links: Froggy Friends ( is an excellent aquatic frog mailing list. And the website In Depth Information on Common Aquatic Clawed Frogs ( has exactly what it says!

Dwarf Aquatic Frogs

Profile/Photography: Melissa Taylor

Size and Appearance: Also called "dwarf African frogs" and "dwarf clawed frogs," dwarf aquatic frogs get to be only about one to one-and-a-half inches (or up to about an inch larger). Be careful, because pet stores may sell larger frogs as dwarf frogs! Be sure the frogs have webbing on both their front and back feet.

General Requirements: One gallon of water per frog. They live their entire lives underwater, so they don't need a fancy terrarium-type set-up. Some owners opt for heating and filtration. A hiding place is recommended, because they can be timid.

Lifespan: Between five to 10 years.

Responsiveness to Caretaker: The frogs can be extremely shy, but some owners have taught them to take food that is fed to them. However, since they need to be in water at all times, they should not be held.

Quantity: Dwarf aquatic frogs should do well with tankmates. Just make sure that there is at least one gallon of water per frog, and make sure all the frogs have webbing on their front feet--otherwise you may have a larger frog that will grow up to eat his tankmates. One of the most interesting aspects of dwarf aquatic frogs is that they can do okay in "community aquariums" with fish, as long as the fish they are kept with are extremely peaceful and of a similar size. Be sure to check online for stories of compatable types.

Notes of Interest:
* You may be able to discern the gender of a frog once it is fully developed. Males may sing, and will have spots in their "armpits."
* This frog is most often found in the fish section of pet stores! Mine were in a tank next to a tank of goldfish, rather than the amphibian section.

Links: Pet Place ( has a great and compact article on keeping a dwarf frog. And the website In Depth Information on Common Aquatic Clawed Frogs ( has even more information about dwarf frogs. Be sure to read the information pertaining to dwarf aquatic frogs/African dwarf frogs, since these frogs vary a lot from African clawed frogs, which are also profiled on the site.

* Only your allergist can determine what is truly allergen-free for you and/or your child. The animals in the above profiles are fur- and feather-free, but that doesn't mean they will necessarily be allergen-free for all individuals. This website and participants in this article are not responsible for reactions that take place as a result of owning any pet.

Would you like to help by providing a profile of your favorite pet(s)? Only profiles including a personally-taken photo(s) will be accepted. Send an e-mail from this webpage, including all of the following information: your name as you would like to be credited, size and appearance of the animal, general housing requirements, lifespan, responsiveness to humans, quantity, and any fun notes. Thank you for taking the time to share about your pet(s)! E-mails about broken links are also appreciated--just use the link above.

Allergen-Free* Pets Database


This website is for personal support information only. Nothing should be construed as medical advice.