Caring for Your New African Pyxie Frog
Aqualand Info on Pyxicephalus adspersus

 
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Pyxie Frog Factoids

Origin

Tropical Africa

Temp

80o and warmer 

Attitude

Waits for food.  Bites.

Lighting

Full-spectrum light

Schedule Eats all day

Habitat

Likes to burrow

Security

Hunkers into gravel

Foods

Live insects, fish, worms

Supplements

Small Amounts

Cleaning

Weekly minimum

Brood Size

Hundreds

Breeding

After dry season

 

 

LA Pic
Pyxie frogs are cute as one-inch babies.

LA
Pyxie frogs get cuter for a while.

Origins:  Originally from tropical and southern Africa, these “cuties” can survive semi-arid conditions by burrowing below ground.  They emerge when it rains.  Their large size and deep bellow earn them the alias “African bull frog.”  Their appetite also equals that of our home-grown and edible bull frogs.

LA Pic
One-inch pyxie frog.  He just ate three medium crickets.

LA
When little, pyxie frogs can jump.  Big ones are not so mobile.

Container:  Any container that holds water will work.  You can keep the youngsters in a plastic "critter cage" for awhile.  We recommend you keep each pyxie separate.  They like frog legs as much as anybody.  A covered 10-gallon tank gives about the right amount of room for a half-grown pyxie.  If you give them a deep substrate, they will burrow into it and hide.

LA Pic
Looking pretty close to the same size, still, beware keeping pyxie frogs together.

Water:  Pyxie frogs need constant access to water or they will croak (for good).  Frogs absorb oxygen thru their moist skin. Frogs cannot tolerate dirty water – water with a lot of dissolved organics or dead crickets floating in it.  Pyxies eat so much they pollute their water fast.  Change their water often and use a water conditioner that neutralizes chlorine. A good filter makes your job easier.

LA
Whether you decorate or not, put your pyxie frog over a contrasting substrate.

Décor:  Pyxie frogs inadvertently move your decorations around, but fake plants make their habitat look better.

 

Temperature:  From tropical Africa, these guys need 80+.  Cooler at night works fine. 

Temperament:  These loafers prefer to lurk and wait for prey to pass by.  They overpower their prey with their massive size and swallow it whole.  Their huge mouth means they can eat very large critters – even mice.  Unfortunately, they will also bite the hand that feeds them.  If you insist on hand-feeding your pyxie, use tongs.  Also, they tend to swallow bits of their substrate.

Teeth?  Not really teethed, pyxies grow odontodes in their powerful jaws.  Not a whole lot of difference.  Odontodes work just like teeth.  Keep your hands away from their mouths.  Your tendency to jump when suddenly bitten can make your pyxie fly across the room.

Winters:  Pyxie frogs burrow underground during the African dry season.  When the rains arrive, they emerge from their burrows ready to mate.  They’re less likely to hibernate in captivity.  Most people feed them too much.  They don't need to eat every day.  They just get fatter and lazier.  Really fat pyxies live shorter lives.  No matter what, you won’t see many skinny pyxies.

LA Pic
Female pyxie frogs get pretty hefty.

Maximum Size:  About 10 inches for the females – half that size for the males.

LA
Smart cricket.  The pyxie frog will get him soon.  He's bite-size.

LA
Four weeks later -- that's number eight fathead minnow going down right now.

Foods:  Pyxie frogs eat moving foods – a wide variety of foods fill the bill.  As they grow, they need goldfish and mice (for their calcium content).  They also like nightcrawlers which you can dust with a bit of calcium supplement.

 

Supplements:  An occasional dusting of their prey (crickets) with powdered calcium and vitamins suffices.  Don’t over-vitaminize your pyxie frogs.  If you give them the right lights and foods with skeletons, you probably don't need supplements.

Lighting:  Fast-growing pyxie frogs need full-spectrum light to prevent rickets.  The ultraviolet light enables them to absorb calcium and build their bones.  Like most of us, they appreciate a regular day and night schedule.

Limit Handling:  Few amphibians enjoy handling.  Your hands often remove part of their skin.  Most amphibian skins also give off toxins.  Leave them alone as much as possible. Also, these guys bite. Wash your hands after handling them.  When you see the quantity of waste products these guys create, you'll see why.

LA
Pyxies won't fit in your hand for long.

LA
In four weeks he's grown this much.

LA
A few months later and little pixies look like this.  And jump a great deal more.

LA
Larger and still growing (and still biting).

LA
Pyxie frog.

LA
Same guy.

LA
Another hefty Pyxie.

Last Word:  Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any herptile.  P.S.  No matter how many times you kiss these guys, they will not turn into the artist from Minnesota.  LA.

© 1998, © 2003, © 2004, © 2006, © 2009, © 2009  LA Productions

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