Giant Bullfrogs are the Second Largest Frogs

African Giant Bull frogs are the second largest frogs in the world. Known as the Pixie frog or burrowing frogs, the largest numbers are found in South Africa. The African bull frog is dispersed as far north east as Tanzania’s, four islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve (DMRS), along the coast of the Indian Ocean. They can even be heard at night around the city of Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam, the fifth largest city in Africa.

The giant African bullfrog is prevalent throughout Namibia and especially habitats like Etosha National Park and southern areas of Namibia.

In Botswana giant African bullfrogs inhabit swampland and grassy patches outside the town of Ghanzi in the middle of the Kalahari Desert at the western part of the country.

In Malawi, the Giant African bullfrog can be found in marshy low lying floodplains such as the Malawi Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve and a wide area near the South Rukuru River.

In Zambia, The Luangwa river of the South Luangwa National Park is home to giant Africa bullfrogs where pitches of their unmistakable low croaks rise and fall.

These voracious carnivores are found in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Listen to the Giant African bull frog in Tanzania:

After the droughts, torrential rains brings life to the African savannah. Waterholes become replenished and swamps teem with life.

How Much do Bull Frogs Weigh?

Bull frogs typically grow 24 cms, 9.5 inches and close to 2 kms or 4 lbs. Males grow twice the size of females.

Mating Habits and Breeding

The replenished swamps are home to giant bull frogs. Males will fight for territory during mating season. Females will swim to the dominant male and then they dive with 3 meters before reaching him. A group of females will jostle to get to the front of the male and be chosen by him for mating.

When a female has been chosen the male will cover her completely with his bulkier body: this mating behavior is called amplexus which unique to externally fertilizing species. Vents raise above water while eggs are being laid and the male will shed sperm on to those eggs before they touch and are released into the water.

When the tadpoles are released into a nursery pool the male bull frog will defend them aggressively against any sized animal. In one of the wonders of nature he will watch over them, nurturing them. He even keeps an eye on the water level of their nursery pool and if too much water dissipates he will dig a passage way to a larger pool allowing the tadpoles to thrive.

Fantastic Facts About African Bullfrogs

  • The African bullfrog is known as the pixie frog not due to its looks but because of its Latin name: shiners,
  • The frog has a mouthful of recurved teeth, unlike many frogs.
  • When defending themselves they’ll bleat a lingering attack sound and even jump aggressively at a predator, far larger than themselves. See the video for a bullfrog having an outburst
African Bullfrog Aggressively Stands up to would be Predators

When streams and ponds dry and the land becomes very dry, giant African frogs will absorb as much water as possible and bury themselves several feet below the surface, in estevation. Estevation is when the animal sleeps several months through a dry season. The mucous in their skin helps keep in the water.

Diet of The African Bullfrog

Giant African bullfrogs are carnivores and are famous for eating every type of animal that can fit it their mouths, including poisonous snakes. They’ll also eat invertebrates, reptiles, like lizards, geckos, rodents insects and even commit cannibalism. Their large tongues, recoil and are used to grab on to the prey as they spring at their target.

Giant Bullfrogs are the Second Largest Frogs
Giant Bullfrogs are the Second Largest Frogs

African Bull Frog as Pets – A Guide to Buying and Caring for African Bullfrog

As pets African frogs are quiet eating a varied diet of fish, vertebrates, silkworms pink mice a week and generally considered easy to keep as long as they have a comfortable, clean Paludarium with a pool.

How to make a Decent Paludarium for your pet African Bullfrog

How to make a Decent Paludarium for your pet African Bullfrog

African Bull Frogs have been kept as pets since the 60’s. If you want to care for one that’s been bread in captivity they are not so hard to look after but please be aware their gentle skin means they’re not the type of pet to cuddle and pick up often.

The first thing that you need if you want to buy an African Bull Frog as a pet is a terrarium (see Wikipedia) or a paludarium (see Wikipedia) with plenty of space for your new friend! You will also need some substrate (like moss) and something like rocks or driftwood for climbing on. Be sure not to use anything toxic because this could harm your new friend.

An adult male would need a suitable enclosure about 3 feet long and at least 1ft or 20 gallons wide Glass tank, plastic RUB (really useful box) or terrarium make good homes for African Bull Frogs. Your terrarium should include: Deep Coco husk, Eco-earth and fertilizer-free soil are good substrates to use, as African bull frogs like to burrow and spend most of their time just under the surface. A simpler but less attractive and costly substrate like paper towels can be used, fit for purpose and easy to remove if they become dirty.

Live moss, which is rooted in the substrate, can be used in the terrarium, but loose moss sphagnum should be avoided so that there is no risk of ingestion during feeding. Water All amps need fresh water every day. Provide a large, shallow bowl of water containing chloride or bottled spring/mineral water. Tap water may be used for as long as it is treated with a chlorinating solution or left unseated for more than 24 hours so that chlorine can evaporate.

Giant Bullfrogs are the Second Largest Frogs
Giant Bullfrogs are the Second Largest Frogs and can be Pets

If you want a more sophisticated set then 50/50 divided into tanks is also an option. Half of the terrarium is spent on land digging space and the other half on the water area. A water filter can be a good idea for cleanliness and it is advisable to have a natural feeling ramp between the two areas to help the frog climb out of the water on to land.

The depth of water should not be higher than the height of African bullfrogs when it’s sitting. African Bullfrogs like most amphibians will absorb water through the skin, and since their water bowl is used as the main place for feces it is important that it is cleaned daily or it could be fatal for the frog. Humidity African Bull Frogs require high humidity in their terrarium. Humidity above 80 is recommended, so having a hydrometer in the tank is an important feature to ensure that the humidity remains at the correct level.

Coconut husk works as a good substrate which seems to pass easily though the digestive tract if the frog swallows it.

Lightly fog the terrarium several times a day with de-chlorinated water in a spray bottle should be enough to keep the humidity at the right level for the African Bullfrog, but the extra humidity can be encouraged by the placement of the water bowl near to the heat source. Make sure that the substrate remains are kept damp for the right humidity levels. The frog’s home should be completely cleaned every 3-4 weeks.

Feeding a Pet Bullfrog

Feeding the African Bullfrog centers on the need to provide the frog with calcium. Fish and pink mice are good sources of calcium. crickets and powdered supplements, won’t do to keep the frog healthy. Minnows, earthworms, roaches crickets and shiners, can make up the bulk of their diet. Goldfish can be used occasionally. Too many pink mice in their diet can be bad for their livers so only feed once a week or ten days. Cray fish and silkworms are another readily available source of nutrients.

Do not feed the frog with your fingers or metal tongs as the frog can often be excited at feeding time and can hurt itself on the metal or hurt your fingers with their teeth.

You may like the article on Which are the smallest frogs in the world?

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