When it comes to exotic pets, there is a range of animals to choose from. If you’re the type of pet owner who likes to have a relatively easy to maintain animal, but also one that isn’t your garden variety lizard, the African Bullfrog could be a good choice. These relatively large amphibians are docile, lethargic creatures who don’t need a lot of upkeep to stay happy and healthy. These animals are great for anyone who takes a more laissez-faire attitude towards their pets. Below we’ll outline the proper way to feed, care, and house these gentle beasts.
Due to the Bullfrog’s sedentary nature, you won’t need a very large habitat in which to keep them. If you have a terrarium, the size should be at least three feet long by one foot wide, or, alternatively, a 20-gallon aquarium should suffice. If you are planning on breeding your bullfrogs, however, then you will need a larger area with a pond, so the males and females have enough space to lay eggs.
When it comes to the substrate, African Bullfrogs like to burrow, so make sure you have enough soil or covering to allow this. Any kind of fertilizer free soil is sufficient, or you can opt for a premium brand like Eco-Earth. In addition to burrowing, most frogs like to have a place to hide. Providing some kind of shelter, such as a log, ceramic planter, or anything else that they can take refuge in will help ensure that your frog is stress-free.
As with all amphibians, African Bullfrogs love to spend time in the water. It’s imperative that you have a large water bowl that your frog can spend time in. As for depth of the water, it shouldn’t be higher than your pet’s mouth. The water area should be at least a third of the total tank area, but you can do an even split if you’d like, with half the area as substrate and the other half as water. Just make sure that the water is unchlorinated, as this can cause health problems with your frog. If you want to use tap water, just leave it uncovered for at least 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate. Finally, your frog will use the water as a bathroom, so it’s important that it be cleaned daily.
As the name would suggest, the African Bullfrog hails from Africa. As a result, they like warm, humid climates. The temperature should hover around 80 degrees, and the humidity should be at least 80 as well. It’s advisable to mist the tank with clean water regularly to help ensure that the humidity stays constant. Heat pads can be used to warm the tank, but you should attach them to the walls, to avoid overheating your frog when it burrows. Heat lamps are not recommended as they can dry your frog out. You should also only keep heating pads on one-half of the tank, so your pet can thermoregulate themselves.
African Bullfrogs are a predatory creature, and as such they will eat a wide variety of insects and small animals. Anything from worms, crickets, roaches, and even mice will feed your Bullfrog’s appetite. If you do want to use mice, however, make sure that they are already dead. Mice can chew and injure your frog, so you don’t want the added risk.
Cockroaches are an excellent source of food for your frog; we recommend using Dubia Roaches since they are bred to be more docile and have much more protein than regular roaches. You can feed your frog using forceps or tongs, or you can leave a few insects in the tank with it and let it hunt them on its own. Don’t feed your pet by hand, however, as they have a nasty bite and can mistake fingers for food. If you have a juvenile frog, you want to add nutrient supplements up to 5 times a week. If you have a grown adult, then every other feeding should suffice.
Although African Bullfrogs are relatively docile creatures, they do still require constant maintenance. Check the tank for defecation and remove as needed. It’s important that the water is kept clean, and that you clean the entire tank every month. If necessary, replace the substrate and clean any shelter or artificial debris that you have.
When handling your bullfrog, make sure to wash your hands before and after. African Bullfrogs can be held, but it’s not advisable to do so too often, or for too long a duration. This can cause unnecessary stress to the animal. Also, make sure to avoid its mouth when picking it up, as it can chomp down on unsuspecting fingers.
Even in captivity, African Bullfrogs will still operate as they do in the wild. This means that they will go through a “mating season”, in which the males will make calls, trying to attract a female. It’s important that you are prepared for this if you have a male, as they can call at all hours. It’s also important to note that your frog can go into a form of hibernation during the “dry season”. Known as Estivation, this is what happens when the humidity drops. If you keep everything well maintained, this shouldn’t happen, but know that it is possible. If your frog is in hibernation, you should not disturb it. Fresh water, however, should still be available.
Finally, there is a process your frog will go through called sloughing. This is when the skin of the frog is shed. You shouldn’t have to worry about removing the dead skin, however, as the frog typically eats it. This is normal, and should not be cause for alarm if you see it happening.
As long as you take care of and properly maintain your habitat, your frog will live happy and healthy for up to 20 years. However, it’s entirely possible that it can live beyond this, up to even 40 years in some cases. Therefore, it’s important to note that getting one of these animals is a substantial commitment. Hopefully, though, you and your frog will make the most of your time together, and create fond memories.