The Care of African Bullfrogs as Pets: A Guide

African bullfrog in water with mouth open

Pixie frogs, also known as African bullfrogs, are not your typical White's tree frog or dwarf clawed frog, yet they require care that is quite comparable to those species. These big, conventional-looking frogs are native to Africa but are kept in households all across the world. They have an orange ring around the limbs and a lighter belly than the rest of them. African bullfrogs have a well-deserved reputation for being obstinate; they are not friendly pets. So this definitely isn't the best choice for you if you want a pet that you can hold and play with. However, they are amusing to watch and helpful for those who are new to maintaining frogs due to their easy maintenance. They may survive for many healthy years as long as you set up their habitat and nutrition properly.

Breed Overview

Common Names: African bullfrog, pixie frog

Scientific Name: Pyxicephalus adspersus

Adult Size: Males are 10 inches long and 4 pounds or more; females are 6 inches long and around 2 pounds

Life Expectancy: 15 to 25 years

African Bullfrog Behavior and Temperament

Although African bullfrogs are not very active, they are entertaining to watch in their aquariums. They are typically laid-back, low-maintenance creatures. You should anticipate feeding them every other day or so and cleaning their tank once or twice a week. Also keep in mind that because they might be aggressive, males shouldn't be kept together. In the wild, male bullfrogs will also protect—and even eat—their tadpoles.

Some African bullfrogs will put up with brief durations of handling. However, you must still use caution while handling them to save their soft skin. Additionally, they have strong legs that they may readily utilize to escape your grasp and possibly hurt themselves. Furthermore, these frogs have been known to attack anyone who handle them because to their sharp fangs. When they're anxious, they usually croak loudly to let you know. But you should have a chill pet if you respect their boundaries.

Housing the African Bullfrog

Frogs make good pets, but you must make sure that their habitat is properly set up. Your tank has to be bigger the bigger your frog is. A medium-sized African bullfrog needs a tank at least 10 gallons in size, however larger is preferable.

For the tank's base, you may utilize little, smooth rocks. Dechlorinated water should be poured into the tank until approximately a third of the way full. Then, use gradually bigger stones to build up one side of the tank to make a beach. This will offer them a sturdy surface to climb and give them time to dry off when they want to be out of the water. To keep the water fresh, tank cleanings should happen once to twice a week or more.

You may also give your bullfrog a jar of earth if it wants to dig a hole. African bullfrogs hibernate for up to two years in the wild by burying their entire bodies in the ground to avoid the dry season. However, since our frogs are kept in captivity, we are able to regulate their environment's temperature and humidity, so they don't need to hibernate.


For your bullfrog, a chamber that doesn't get colder than 75 degrees Fahrenheit should be suitable. Try raising the temperature if you notice that the frog isn't acting very lively or eating much. You may use inexpensive intended for fish tanks and heat lamps intended for reptiles to create the perfect atmosphere for your African bullfrog.


A cycle of around 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness every day is necessary for African bullfrogs. Keep them away of the sun's direct rays. Although it's not necessary, a UVB lamp is frequently advised to enhance nutritional absorption.


Because of the characteristics of their skin, amphibians require a lot of humidity when being cared for. Bullfrogs need a moist environment and lots of water to swim in. You may use a hygrometer to measure the humidity, which should be between 80 and 90 percent. If necessary, sprinkle the interior of the tank several times each day with fresh water to increase the humidity level.


The substance that lines the bottom of your bullfrog's container is called a substrate. It can make the tank feel more like the animal's native habitat and aid in maintaining the environment's humidity. A excellent substrate choice is coco fiber, which is produced from the husks of coconuts. An other alternative is peat moss. An organic substance with moderate heat and moisture retention is good. Any soil that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals should not be used. Make sure it is spotless and replace it periodically. Any material used to line the enclosure should be simple to digest as African bullfrogs are known to consume the substrate in their cages.

Food and Water

These enormous frogs are serious predators. Gut-loaded crickets (crickets fed nutritional nutrients that pass to your pet), mealworms, and other accessible insects make up a balanced bullfrog diet. It also includes other tiny amphibians as well as small rodents like mice and "fuzzie" rats. Avoid buying meat from the supermarket, especially chicken and beef. Bullfrogs do not receive the same nourishment from this muscle meat as they do from whole-prey meals.

Adult bullfrogs eat two to three times each week, whereas young bullfrogs often feed everyday or every other day. Put the meal on a flat rock or in a shallow dish. For a diversified diet that matches what they would eat in the wild, it is essential to switch up the menu at each feeding. Also, try not to feed these ravenous eaters too much. For advice on how much to feed per meal based on the size and age of your frog, speak with your veterinarian. And last, if you like, you may provide a shallow water dish in addition to the water in the tank.

Common Health and Behavior Problems

These frogs have long lifespans and require nothing in the way of medical attention. Your frog shouldn't have any skin problems if the surroundings are warm and moist enough. However, dogs who live in less-than-ideal settings frequently suffer from bacterial and fungal infections of the skin and eyes.

Bullfrogs kept as pets are susceptible to intestinal parasites as well. Bring your frog to a skilled exotics veterinarian to rule out parasitism if your tank is warm enough but your frog is still not eating properly. Additionally, an annual fecal sample should be examined.

Additionally, watch out for ammonia toxicity. When the frog is left in an enclosure with too much waste, this happens. Lethargy, clumsy motions, and hazy eyes are symptoms. Death may occur in a few of days. Call your veterinarian and clean the tank as soon as you can.

Choosing Your African Bullfrog

Purchase your African bullfrog from a trustworthy breeder or rescue group. Search online for reptile and amphibian clubs or ask your neighborhood pet store for ideas. You should budget between $25 and $75.

The usual olive green skin of an African bullfrog will be free of any odd lumps or blemishes, and it will also have clean eyes. Cloudy eyes may be a sign of illness. If you want a smaller frog, you might choose to purchase a female because males grow to be considerably larger than females. The ladies are equally as ravenous and sensitive to handling as the males, so don't anticipate a little, quiet pet.

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  • Why is my African bullfrog bad at hunting?

    Because African bullfrogs are so large and heavy, they're not always fast-movers. This makes hunting a challenge.

  • How much do African bullfrogs cost?

    Depending on availability and your location, African bullfrogs cost anywhere from $25 to $75.

  • How do you tell a male African bullfrog from a female?

    Males generally have a yellow or orange-hued throat; females have a cream-colored throat.