African bullfrog

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African bullfrog
Pyxicephalus adspersus, Boston Aquarium.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Pyxicephalidae
Genus: Pyxicephalus
Species: P. adspersus
Binomial name
Pyxicephalus adspersus
Tschudi, 1838

The African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) is a species of frog in the Pyxicephalidae family. It is also known as the pixie frog due to its Latin name. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Its natural habitats are dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, intermittent freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater marshes, arable land, pastureland, and canals and ditches. This is a large frog, with males weighing 1.4 kg (3.1 lb), though can easily exceed 2 kg (4.4 lb); females are half the size, making it unique among frogs, as in most amphibians females are usually larger than males. Males can reach 10 inches while females only reach about 6 inches.[citation needed]

Feeding and habits[edit]

The African bullfrog is carnivorous and a voracious eater, eating insects, small rodents, reptiles, small birds and other amphibians.[citation needed] It is also a cannibal species — the male African bullfrog is known for occasionally eating the tadpoles he guards.[2] This frog is also aggressive and has been known to bite when provoked.[3] An African bullfrog kept at the Pretoria Zoo in South Africa once ate 17 baby cobras (Hemachatus haemachatus).[4] In a single-sex environment, the African bullfrog can switch sexes. They emit a loud croaking and a bleating sound when stressed or handled. Like the Pacman frogs and the Budgett's Frogs, African Bullfrogs also bite when they are provoked. It is one of three frog species that have sharp teeth and bite humans when they are provoked or handled by humans (when they are getting picked up by humans using their hands to lift them up). The other two frog species are Pacman frogs and Budgett's Frogs because they also bite, just like the African Bullfrog does, even if they are not in the same frog family, or the same species.


The African bullfrog male calls out during the rainy season. The female lays about 3,000 to 4,000 eggs at a time. The tadpoles hatch and start feasting on vegetation. During the tadpole's development, the father guards his young. He will pounce and bite anything that he views as a threat. If the pool is in danger of drying out, the father will use his legs and head to dig a canal from the drying pond to a much bigger pond. He will continue to guard the tadpoles until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

In pet trade[edit]

The African bullfrog is an exotic pet in many countries around the world, and owning it is not prohibited by any laws. Animals sold are generally bred in captivity.

In popular culture[edit]

In the film Jurassic Park, dinosaurs are cloned for a theme park and are kept from breeding because each one is cloned to be a female. The genetic coding of the dinosaur DNA is completed with the DNA of a frog, and as a result, the dinosaurs change their gender in order to breed, just as a West African bullfrog would in a single-sex environment.[citation needed]

Principal Pixiefrog from My Gym Partner's a Monkey is an African bullfrog.


  1. ^ IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2013). "Pyxicephalus adspersus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bronberg: African bullfrog haven". 26 February 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "African Bull Frog ant crusher". YouTube. Retrieved 22 December 2011.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ Branch, W. R. (1976). "Two exceptional food records for the African bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus (Amphibia, Anura, Pyxicephalidae)". Journal of Herpetology 10 (3): 266–268. JSTOR 1562997. 

External links[edit]