African Clawed Frog

Citron Crested Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Xenopus leavis
Wild Status: Least Concern

About Me:


The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis, also known as the African clawed toad or the platanna) is a species of South African aquatic frog of the genus Xenopus. Its name is derived from the three short claws on each hind foot, which it uses to tear apart its food. The word Xenopus means "strange foot" and laevis means "smooth".

These frogs are plentiful in ponds and rivers within the south-eastern portion of Sub-Saharan Africa. They are aquatic and are often greenish-grey in colour. Albino varieties are commonly sold as pets. “Wild-type” African Clawed Frogs are also frequently sold as pets, and often incorrectly labelled as a Congo Frog or African Dwarf Frog because of similar colourings. They are easily distinguished from African Dwarf Frogs because African Clawed Frogs have webbing only on their hind feet while African Dwarf Frogs have webbing on all four feet. They reproduce by laying eggs . Also, the clawed frogs are the only amphibians to have actual claws.
African clawed frogs can grow up to a length of 5 in (12 cm). They have a flattened head and body, but no tongue or external ears.

They use their hands to shove food in their mouths and down their throats and a hyobranchial pump to draw or suck food in their mouth. Pipidae have powerful legs for swimming and lunging after food. They also use the claws on their feet to tear pieces of large food.

As a pest:
African Clawed Frogs are voracious predators and easily adapt to many habitats. For this reason, they can easily become harmful invasive species. They can travel short distances to other bodies of water, and some have even been documented to survive mild freezes. They have been shown to devastate native populations of frogs and other creatures by eating their young.

In 2003, Xenopus frogs were discovered in a pond at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Much debate now exists in the area on how to exterminate these creatures and keep them from spreading. It is unknown if these frogs entered the San Francisco ecosystem through intentional release or escape into the wild.

Due to incidences in which these frogs were released and allowed to escape into the wild, African Clawed Frogs are illegal to own, transport or sell without a permit in the following US states: Arizona, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington state. However, it is legal to own Xenopus laevis in Canada.

Known feral colonies of Xenopus do also exist in South Wales, UK