African Bullfrog

Pyxicephalus adspersus

Order: Anura

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • In the wild, African bullfrogs will eat anything that fits into its mouth, including insects, rodents, reptiles, birds, and amphibians.
  • In captivity, they are fed crickets and nightcrawlers.

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines


Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • Amphibians must be handled with care and not too frequently. Always use gloves when handling, either vinyl or latex gloves rinsed thoroughly with aged or RO water to prevent chemicals found the the powder used in latex gloves from getting absorbed through the frogs skin.
  • Philadelphia Zoo staff have found that some frogs get very stressed with handling and will present frogs in a display tank rather than taking them in hand for program use. Handling also increases the chances that an animal will injury itself fleeing.

Potential Messaging

Acquisition Information

Comments from the Rating System

  • Maryland Zoo in Baltimore: Impaction can be an issue.

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

African bullfrogs are native to southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United Republic of Zimbabwe. They are currently extinct in Swaziland. They live in dry savannahs, open grasslands, and low elevations.

Physical Description

African bullfrogs are one of the largest frogs, second to only the Rana Goliath frog. It may weigh up to 2 kilograms. Male frogs average 12 cm long, are dull green with a yellow throat. Females, meanwhile, can average 24 cm long, are dull green, and have pale-white throats. Juveniles are typically bright green with yellow stripes The stripes fade after about 2 years of life.

Life Cycle

Each breeding season, 3,000 to 4,000 eggs are laid in shallow water. African bullfrogs are a long-lived species, and could live up to 40 years.


African bullfrogs are fossorial for most of the year, and will create a cocoon to prevent body evaporation. They will prevent drying by absorbing moisture from their bladder. During the rainy/breeding season, they can make very loud calls that sound like bellows and grunts.

Males can be very aggressive, jumping at anything they feel is a threat.

Threats and Conservation Status

Even though many indigenous peoples consider them to be a delicacy, their hunting has not had a significant effect on the size of the population, and so this species is not considered endangered.

Did you know…



Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

  • The Philadelphia Zoo