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Do African Bullfrogs Make Good Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

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

The answer is a little complicated. African bullfrogs are frequently bred in captivity and sold as pets. They are relatively easy to care for and are interesting creatures to observe. However, they hate to be 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 9 inches, while females typically only reach 4 inches. In the wild, they are found throughout Africa.

They are carnivores that will eat anything that moves, including their own young. Their diet includes insects, rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, and other frogs. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws.

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

The African bullfrog is a solitary animal. They spend most of their lives in the wild nesting in the ground among layers of their own previously shed skin. Their natural habitat is hot, so this is how they remain cool. They typically only emerge from their underground sanctuaries during the rainy season. This is when breeding occurs as well.

Their solitary nature continues in captivity. They don’t like being handled, and doing so can even damage their delicate skin. They aren’t aggressive by nature, but they have the ability to protect themselves if they feel threatened.

If you have an African bullfrog as a pet, you must respect their space and need for solitude. If they are resting, burrowing, or hiding, you should never disturb them because it can be harmful to their health.

When properly cared for, African bullfrogs can live for over 30 years in captivity. If you plan to have one as a pet, you should be prepared to care for them for a long time!

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. There have been many instances where a pet bullfrog was injured by falling after jumping to escape.
African Bullfrog
Image Credit: Tom M., Flickr

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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, then an African bullfrog might be a good choice for you.


Featured Image Credit: Martin Hejzlar, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.