African Bullfrog Care Sheet

African Bullfrog

African Bullfrog, photo by Tom M.

Basic Information

Common Name: Pyxie Frog

Scientific Name: Pyxicephalus adspersus

Lifespan: 20 – 40 years

Size: 5 – 9 inches

Care: Easy

Lifestyle: Nocturnal

Tank Size

African Bullfrog Tank Size

African Bullfrog Tank Size

You need to make sure you have the right size tank for your African bullfrog. A tank too small can be very stressful for your frog. Use the guidelines below to help determine the best tank size for your frog:

  • 1 – 5 Inch Frogs: 10 gallon tank
  • 5+ Inch Frogs: 20 gallon long tank or larger

I highly recommend the Exo Terra terrarrium 24 by 18 by 12-Inch or the Exo Terra terrarium 36 by 18 by 18-Inch for this size frog.

 

Note: A screened lid is necessary on the tank enclosure to avoid escapes.

Tank Setup

In order to keep your African bullfrog healthy and happy, you should try to set up the tank as best as possible to mimic their natural environment in the wild. Use the guidelines below to help determine which items to get.

Substrate

African Bullfrog Substrate

African Bullfrog Substrate

African bullfrogs will spend most of their days buried, so you will want to get a nice soft substrate for them to burrow in like Exo Terra plantation soil or Zoo Med eco earth. Once your substrate is in place, give it a nice spray down with clean water. It might be best to soak one side of the tank a bit more than the other so that you can give your bullfrog options for burrowing.

Plants

African Bullfrog Plants

African Bullfrog Plants

In order for your African bullfrog to feel secure and comfortable, a good amount of foliage should be included. You can add fake plants like the Exo Terra Boston fern or real plants like a Pothos. However, if you go with real plants, you’ll need to make sure that you have proper lighting for growing plants in a terrarium. Make sure to always do research on live plants before adding them to your frogs enclosure as some may be toxic to frogs.

 

Don’t forget to clean out the waste weekly and to replace the substrate with fresh substrate once a month to avoid mold and other things from growing in the terrarium.

Lighting & Heating

African Bullfrog Lighting

African Bullfrog Lighting

While there is little data to show whether the use of a UVB bulb in an African bullfrog’s enclosure is beneficial or not, it may not hurt to add a UVB bulb, as it may help aid the frog in processing calcium and other beneficial vitamins. If you are using live plants in the enclosure, you will definitely want to add a UVB bulb to help your plants thrive.

 

Depending on the type of fixture you get, you may decide to go with a fluorescent bulb like the 24 inch Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 or a mini compact fluorescent bulb like the 13 Watt Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0.

 

Once you get a UVB bulb, you will then want to add a heat lamp to add additional heat if the ambient temperature is too cold (anything below 75°F).  A bulb like the Exo Terra daytime heat lamp will be good. Choose the wattage based on the amount of degrees that you have to raise the tank’s temperature. The more degrees, the higher the wattage.

 

Night temperatures can reach as low as 68°F without needing a heat source. If temperatures drop below that, you may want to consider adding a night time heat lamp like a Zoo Med ceramic heat emitter.

 

Some sources may recommend getting a heat pad for underneath the tank, but it is not needed. Bullfrogs will burrow themselves in the substrate to stay cool. If you put a heat pad under the tank, it will only warm up the substrate. This may cause your African bullfrog to spend most of its days in the water bowl to stay cool.

Temperatures

African Bullfrog Temperature and Humidity Levels

African Bullfrog Temperature and Humidity Levels

When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements. I recommend the

 

For temperature and humidity readings, you can go with a 2-in-1 digital reader like the Exo Terra digital combination thermometer/hygrometer

Day Time

An ambient temperature of 75 – 82°F.

Night Time

An ambient temperature of 68 – 75°F.

Humidity

African Bullfrog Humidity

African Bullfrog Humidity

African bullfrogs need humidity. The best way to calculate how much humidity you have in the tank is by using a hygrometer. Digital hygrometers work best. Humidity levels should be between 70 – 80 %. You can reach these percentages by misting the bullfrogs enclosure twice daily; once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. A water bowl in the enclosure also helps bring up the humidity. If the levels are still not being reached, just mist a few more times throughout the day. You can get a manual mister like the Exo Terra spray bottle or an automatic mister like the Exo Terra Monsoon RS400 Rainfall System. Be very careful not to over saturate the substrate with water. You do not want standing still water in the substrate. This will cause your substrate to rot.

Feeding & Diet

African Bullfrog Calcium

African Bullfrog Calcium

The primary diet of an African bullfrog will consist mostly of live insects including: crickets, silkworms, hornworms, small roaches, night crawlers and other types of worms. As your bullfrog gets bigger, so will its prey. You can then start feeding your adult bullfrog locusts, large roaches, large hornworms, and on occasion the large mouse. Mice should not be fed regularly, and should only be fed once every so often. A diet surrounded primarily on large mice is unhealthy for your frog.

 

Juveniles should be fed 5 – 7 times a week, while adult bullfrogs should be fed around 3 – 4 times a week (every other day). The amount to be fed will vary depending on the size of your bullfrog. I would add a good amount of crickets or other insects into the enclosure and see if your frog has eaten all of them by the next day. If you see that there are still some feeders roaming around the next morning, feed less the next day. If you see that all the insects have been eaten, feed more the next day. Experimenting like this will give you a better idea on how much to feed.

 

The rule of thumb is to make sure the feeder is smaller than the space between its eyes.

 

Their feedings must be dusted with supplements as follows:

If you don’t like touching the insects with your hands, you can get some feeding tongs.

Hydration

For hydration, your bullfrog will use a water bowl to absorb water and to hydrate itself. Water bowls should be cleaned out and refilled daily. If your bullfrog has outgrown most water bowls available, you may want to rearrange your terrarium to be 50/50 with half being land and the other half being water. Having this set up in mind, cleaning might be a headache, so make sure to buy a filter to filter out the water daily.

 

The depth of the water should be no higher than the height of your African bullfrogs mouth when resting.

Water that is safe to use:

  1. De-chlorinated water
  2. Tap water that has been left out for 24 hours uncovered, allowing the chlorine to evaporate
  3. Bottled water

Note: The information on this African bullfrog care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.

African Bullfrog Care Questions?

If you have any other questions regarding the care of an African bullfrog, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

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