African dwarf frog

The little African dwarf frog in the genus Hymenochirus, of which are there are four types, lives its life in the water.  Unlike a lot of other frogs, this tiny frog is totally aquatic - so it does not come out and hang out on the surface or sit around sunbathing.  It only comes up to the surface to fill its lungs with air, and then heads back down to the depths.

As you can tell from their name, these frogs are native to Africa, and in the wild they are to be found in shallow pools of water, in slow-flowing streams.  

They are tiny frogs not weighing in at any more than a few grams.  They use their lungs to breathe, not gills, and they come up to the top of the water to breathe.

When they are eating, they prefer to be at the bottom of the water where they can blend in nicely with the mud and leafs there which protects them from any aspiring predators.

The African dwarf frog is usually a greenish olive colour with black spots.

The male frog has little protrusions just behind its front limb and although it is not clear what it is and what it is for, it is generally thought to have something to do with mating.  The female frog has a little protrusion at her tail end, very much like a teeny tail.  When these frogs mate, they perform amplexus which is described in more detail here.

The African dwarf frog is sometimes confused with the african clawed frog, but the African clawed frog is larger and it has to be said, a bit more aggressive, than the gentle small African dwarf.  

The male frog here likes to 'sing' to attract a female, like most male frogs, but it is more of a sort of hum that is emitted.  They do this just for fun too it seems, not only when they would like to attract a mate.

there is a nice little video here for you to watch and see how they sing!


The african dwarf frog makes a nice pet

Image"Image" by psyte is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

They make good pets as they are fairly low maintenance.  you can find out how to set up a vivarium here and making sure your frog's environment is as perfect as it can be for it to flourish and live a happy life with you.

Obviously, as it is a totally aquatic frog, you cannot handle it - they don't like to be out of the water and in fact if taken out, would probably die very quickly.  They are lovely to watch and are happy to swim around popping up to the top every now and then to grab some air.  They are quite lively frogs but now and then they like to just float - they literally just hang there, in the tank, doing nothing but chillin, legs all stretched out.  Apparently this is called 'burbling'.  It sounds pretty cool.

Even though they are totally aquatic, they need space at the top of a tank to be able to get the air into their lungs.  Also, they prefer a tank that is not to deep, kind of shallow, like they would have in the wild, where they live in shallow waters, slow moving.  They are sociable little creatures and so if you are going to keep them as a pet, it would be nice to have more than one so they can keep each other company.

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