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The African Clawed Frog: Gardening Friend or Ferocious Foe?

Updated: May 17, 2022

African Clawed Frogs (Abbreviated: ACF) are aquatic animals but they must come to the surface of the water to breathe air. You will see these frogs swim up for air and then quickly come back down while releasing a small bubble of air. Sometimes they keep their heads above water for a while. African Clawed Frogs originate from Africa such as the African Rift Valley, Namibia, or Angola (Source: Smithsonian Institute). The African Clawed Frog does have more habitats as well, not mentioned here. These frogs are sold in pet stores and tend to be misidentified as the African Dwarf Frog (Source: That Pet Place Blog).

Currently, the adorable little African Clawed Frog has been getting some bad press in the local media in some areas of the United States… because they have been deemed an invasive species (Source: Washington Invasive Species Council).

This is mainly due to release into local ecosystems after school-based science projects come to a close (Source: Flinn Scientific BioFax). Once released into a non-native environment, the African Clawed Frog will attempt to survive, as any creature would. This act of survival can be difficult for the other plants and animals living in the environment, as the frog is non-native and has no natural predators in that environment, thus leading to disrupted ecosystems.

I am aware of what that means for the environment and I also know what will happen to the ACF as a result of over populating non-native environments: extermination. However, this is not the ACF’s fault, they are doing what many (but not all) would like to do and that is, settle down and have a family and if not, devour them in the family building process! - Just kidding!

Despite all of this, I did help rescue an African Clawed Frog where it is legal to adopt one of these little guys. Before the ACF became a national sensation, I learned a little about these cool little-ish frogs a few years ago. There was a little frog that needed some serious help. He was in a small tank that needed upgrading. He was placed into a 5 gallon tank to his delight! However, as all creatures do, the frog grew! The tank eventually became cramped and muddied with the gunk from the gravel. The tank released an incredibly terrible smell. I heard tales of this aggressive little frog that was disgusting:

A frog that invited sewer flies, ate a snail and another fellow ACF, and desperately fled human interaction. I read that they destroy and uproot plants. I then thought, why do I want such a terrible little frog?

But I was WRONG! With some hesitancy in adopting the creature, I decided to do some research. I read into the chemistry of keeping a bioactive aquarium tank set-up in order to prevent what happened in the 5 gallon tank to a brand new 20 gallon tank.

Warning: Although I do write about the ACF in a positive light I do not promote people buying an African Clawed Frog without doing research first. These ACFs can live up to 30 years in captivity. In the wild, they are known to destroy ecosystems because the ACFs swallow prey whole. Please be responsible and do not release them into the wild.

Please join us as we continue on our first year in adopting a sweet little African Clawed Frog!

Actual video of my African Clawed Frog, Sir Froggy (May 6, 2022). Cloudy eyes/eye irritation due to bacterial bloom from his former 5 gallon home.


Not, Given (2020, July 7). African clawed frog. Smithsonian's National Zoo. Retrieved May 14, 2022, from

Indiviglio, F. (2015, July 7). Distinguishing the African clawed frog from the dwarf clawed frog. That Reptile Blog. Retrieved May 14, 2022, from

None Given. (2021, September 1). African clawed frog. Invasive Species Council. Retrieved May 14, 2022, from

None Given. (2017, January 1). Xenopus laevis African Clawed Frog Live Material Care Guide. Flinn Scientific BioFax. Retrieved May 14, 2022, from

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