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Home > Frogs > Do African Bullfrogs Make Good Pets? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQs

Do African Bullfrogs Make Good Pets? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQs

African Bullfrog on the ground

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Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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African bullfrogs are one of the largest species of frogs. Males of the species can grow over 9 inches (24 cm) in length and weigh over 3 pounds (1.4 kg)! One can easily understand the fascination with these large amphibians. However, do they make good pets?

The answer is a little complicated. They are relatively easy to care for and are interesting creatures to observe. However, they generally dislike being handled by humans. It can be dangerous for both you and the frog if you handle them too often

So, if you aren’t looking for a hands-on pet and enjoy observing amphibian behavior, then an African bullfrog may be a good pet for you. Read on to learn more.

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What Is an African Bullfrog?

The African bullfrog is also known as the pixie frog. They are one of the three largest frog species on the planet. The male can reach over 9 inches, while females typically only reach around half that size (a characteristic that is not normal for frogs). In the wild, they are found throughout Africa.

They are carnivores that will eat anything that moves, including, at times, their own young. However, in most instances male bullfrogs don’t eat their tadpoles and guard them from other threats. Their diet includes insects, rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, and other frogs. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws. As tadpoles, their diet is omnivorous. That being said, tadpoles will try to eat smaller tadpoles if the opportunity arises.

The male bullfrog is known for his incredibly loud croaking call. If you’ve ever been near a swamp where a bullfrog lives, you’re probably familiar with the echoing roar of their call. The African bullfrog makes the same kinds of noises as many other bullfrogs.

Temperament as Pets

African bullfrog on a dead tree trunk
Image By: Lauren Suryanata, Shutterstock

Please note that many states and jurisdictions may have legislation that prevents capturing or owning tadpoles, frogs, or toads. Always make sure you have the permission to legally own an exotic pet before deciding to adopt one. If you are in the US, please refer to state laws before deciding to adopt an exotic or wild pet. Elsewhere, please refer to the relevant laws where you reside.

Capturing wild animals is not advised, as this disrupts local ecosystems. In addition, amphibians may naturally harbor Salmonella and spread it to humans and other pets. Frogs or toads are not recommended to be kept alongside children, the elderly, pregnant individuals, or those with a compromised immune system. Hygiene is of utmost importance when dealing with amphibians.

Some species of frogs have naturally occurring poisons or toxins that they can release by different mechanisms, depending on the species. All toads are toxic to a certain degree, and they are especially dangerous for pet dogs. Therefore, caution and thorough research prior to adopting a pet is very important.

Risks of Keeping an African Bullfrog as a Pet

African bullfrogs are typically docile when left alone. However, if they are irritated or threatened, problems can occur. There are several risks to keeping and handling an African bullfrog, including:

  • Biting: They have sharp teeth and strong jaws that can damage human hands.
  • Injury: The bullfrog’s skin is delicate and easily damaged. Handling your bullfrog can harm their skin.
  • Escape: They have strong legs and will try to jump away and escape from your hands. They may sometimes injure themselves as they jump in an attempt to escape their handler’s hands.
African bullfrog closeup
Image By: Kurit afshen, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Yes, African bullfrogs can be kept as pets in the right conditions. They are not pets for handling, however. That said, they are low-maintenance, requiring a clean, temperature- and humidity-controlled aquarium and food.

If you’re looking for a hands-off pet that will live for many years, an African bullfrog might be a good choice for you.

Featured Image Credit: Martin Hejzlar, Shutterstock

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