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Clawed Frog Factoids

Origin

Eastern and Southern Africa

Size

Females 5 inches, males smaller

Temperature

Very flexible

Water

No special water.  Breathes air.

Attitude

Comical eager eaters

Threat

Adult Clawed Frogs eat fish.

Swimmers

Forward and backward -- fast

Security

Finds hiding places 

Foods

Prospers on “turtle sticks”

Supplements

None needed

Lighting

Immaterial

Breeding Age

10 months

Spawn Size

Up to 2,000 eggs 

Incubation Time

2 to 4 days based on temp

Fry Food

Infusoria or powdered food

Metamorphosis

Starts at six weeks

Fry Threat

Cannibalism


LA
Inch and a halfers just starting out.

 

Origins:  Clawed Frogs originally came from Africa.  The ones sold today are spawned commercially – none are captured from the wild.  The albino version costs about a third more than the greyish/greenish/brownish “normals.”

LA
Clawed frogs come to the top for air.  Note the claws on his back feet and the black "hands."

Size:  Baby Clawed Frogs sell in the inch to inch and a half range.  At this size they fit well into a community tank of fishes.  When they grow to adult size, they will eat any fish they can catch.  They can catch them all at night.

LA
Note the claws on the tips of his toes.  Romantic males have black "hands."

Illegal in California:  Clawed frogs that escaped into California ponds ate all the native fish, frogs, and crayfish and literally took over because most fish dislike the taste of Clawed Frogs.  Since they breathe air, they cannot survive in Iowa ponds that freeze over.  They could not handle our cold temperatures either.  Still, don’t release unwanted critters into the wild.  At one time they used these frogs for pregnancy tests.  The urine of pregnant women triggers them to spawn.  Guess the testers gave up on them because they couldn't sell them at the local drug store.

Hiding Caves:  Clawed Frogs live on the bottom and dig under your decorations.  They want to hide during the day.  Give them several places to lurk during the day.  They come out in the evenings and patrol for food. Actually, any time you put food in their water, they smell it and start rooting for food on the bottom.

LA
Black-handed male snagging some floating Doromin.  He eats goldfish and worms also.

LA
This clawed frog's just finishing off a young clown knife (expensive snack).

LA
Deceased small koi.

LA
Waste not.  Want not.

Foods:  Flake foods are accepted by small Clawed Frogs but are not filling.  Feed them the reptile “stick foods” that float.  Clawed Frogs look like cigar smokers when they chomp on these.  HBH makes a pellet that little frogs greedily gobble.  Half-grown Clawed Frogs will eat feeder goldfish.  Adults will gulp down a nightcrawler (or two).  When they get a little size on them, they try to swallow each other.  They rarely complete the process.  Unlike most frogs, clawed frogs will eat non-living foods.

 

LA
Sort of eying the Doromin at the surface.

LA
Of course, they love worms.  Wigglers get gobbled instantly.  Nightcrawlers take longer.

LA
Males and female clawed frogs both enjoy worms.  They also like Tetra's dried shrimp (krill).

LA
Excellent food to fill her egg factory.  This is her second nightcrawler.

LA
Clawed frogs go berzerko for nightcrawlers.

LA
Clawed frogs quickly learn to eat from your fingers.  Sometimes they nibble your fingers, too.

Bottom Hunters:  When Clawed Frogs smell food in the water, they instinctively start methodically searching for food on the bottom.   Eventually, when they come up for air, they find the food at the top.  Once they find the floating sticks, they eat them eagerly.  Adults shove them in with both hands.  If you gently squoosh the air out of these floating foods, your frogs will find them faster on the bottom.  They never learn to start looking at the top first -- always at the bottom.

LA
Two breeder females.  Three breeder males.  Lotsa color variation.

LA
Female clawed frogs grow a small extension on their butts.

LA
Males left. Females right.  Heh, heh.  Who knows at the 1.5 inch size?

LA
Even harder under an inch.  Top left guy on a diet?

Escapers:  If they can climb over the edge of your tank, they will bail.  Keep your tank covered or lower the water level.  Once Clawed Frogs get out, they are helpless on land.  They dry out rapidly on your carpet.

Kyle Haring, Cedarville, OH, March 30, 2009
Hi, I just read your page on Clawed Frogs. I think it is really well-made, but there is a small piece of info that may be helpful to owners. That is, if a frog is found on the ground outside the tank (desiccated), it's best not to assume it's dead, because frogs have really quick and powerful healing abilities (my female ACF swallowed a piece of gravel, and while trying to expel it inverted her intestines out of her ovipositor... once the stone was passed, everything "went back in" and she's doing great. Anyway, it's best to put a desiccated frog in a shallow bowl with its nostrils above the surface... it may take a couple hours before hydration takes place, but keeping it somewhere where it needs not exude much energy to get air and not feeding it until it's better are ways to save a frog even if considered dead. I see no loss in at least trying this method... it may save a precious little life. Thanks!

A:  Thanks for the info.  I'll add it to my clawed frog page.  LA

LA
Adult female clawed frogs can easily eat goldfish and nightcrawlers.

LA
Pregnant females really swell up with eggs.

Mixers:  Mix your clawed frogs only with fish too big for them to swallow.  (Remember that they continue growing after you add them to your tank.)  Consider adding them to African cichlid tanks.  They should mix well with cichlids too small to swallow them and vice versa.

LA
Definitely a female.

LA
We're trying to spawn this young lady before she explodes.

Sexing:  Female clawed frogs grow larger and have an extension on their butts.  Males develop black breeding pads on their “fingers” for grasping the females.  Their forearms also turn black. 

LA
Male clawed frogs grab the female with their sticky black hands -- if she coöperates.

LA
We're trying to fatten her up with nightcrawlers.

LA
She can really put them away.  She's getting 50% daily water changes also.

 

LA \
She's ready for the male in her tank to assert himself.  He's not catching on.

LA
This guy may be too fat to breed?

Spawning:  If you’ve kept your Clawed Frogs for a year, you’re ready to spawn them.  Keep them in their own large tank with four to six inches of water.  Feed them a variety of foods.  Thawed krill make a great conditioning food.  Change half their water.  Add 12 to 15 degree cooler water to trigger spawning.  Keep an eye on them.  The breeders will often eat their own eggs.  

LA  Female on left.  Pair over grid to exclude them from the eggs.

Egg Protection:  The grid above comes from an old fluorescent light fixture.  Trim it to size with a pair of side cutter.  Then drag the rough edges on a concrete sidewalk to smooth the edges, so they will not cut your frogs.  You could use a file or belt sander, but the concrete sidewalk works much faster.  Two layers of this grid will give even more egg protection.

LA
One female laid her eggs on these rocks.  The eggs are adhesive.
 

Darren S, South Padre Island, TX, April 9, 2011
I really enjoyed your clawed frog article -- it provided a lot of the information I was looking for. I didn't actually see a picture of them mating so I thought you would like to include a picture of my frogs. I took this three nights ago (4-6-11). The female is between 5-6 inches and I've had them for a year and nine months. I don't care to go through the trouble of raising the babies so I also have a plecostomus (7 inches long) in the tank. I assume he will eat the eggs. These frogs live in a 40 gallon tank.

DP

DP

A:  Excellent as Mr. Burns would say.  Thanks for the pics.  I'm adding them to my clawed frog page.  By the way, lots of their eggs will fall down in between the rocks where the pleco can't reach them.. Get ready for some interesting tadpoles.  They will eat small pellets.  LA

LA \
Clawed frog tadpole.  He's a "filter feeder."

Tadpoles:  Baby Clawed Frogs look like catfishes because two long tentacles grow out from their top lip.  They eat infusoria or powder-fine fish food.  (Other tadpoles have rasping lips for eating algae.)  These “tads” start turning into frogs in six weeks.

LA
Steve Larson grew these from his "Grow a Frog" kit -- about 80 of them.

LA
They can't eat these one-inch blackworms.  They're here for size comparison

LA \
Froglets:  Even at this half-inch size, these baby clawed frogs love to eat.

LA \
At one inch, they eat even more.

LA \
Some clawed frogs even learn to come to the top to eat.

LA \
Clawed frogs really pig out on turtle stick foods.

LA \
Adult clawed frogs love to snack on community fish.

LA

Last Word:  Just a warning that these innocent looking 1.5-inch clawed frogs grow into real fish eaters.  LA

LA
One-inch rainbow frog that showed up in 2008
.

LA
1.5-inch albino African frog trying to swallow a tank mate (which drowned).

LA
December 9, 2013.

LA
Already breeder size.

LA

Clawed Frog Spawning

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