African Bullfrog (Pixie Frog)

Pyxicephalus edulis, Pyxicephalus adsperus

Description:
Apparently, there are two different "Pixie" frogs, P. adsperus and P. edulis. One is a "dwarf" and the other is not. There is a lot of conflicting information on the net about these, I don't believe most people actually know there are two pixies and just label what they have with the first latin name that they see attached to pixie. Therefore I'm not sure what characteristics are used to differentiate between the two. However, I'm talking here about the bigger (non dwarf) version of the two (Pyxicephalus adsperus).
The African bullfrog, or Pixie frog as it is often called (because of it's latin name- NOT because it's as cute as a fairy!), is one of the largest frogs in South Africa.
It measures up to 9.5 inches (24 cm) and may weigh over two kilograms. It has a chubby body with a broad head, and has olive-greenish colored bumpy skin. The male usually has a yellow throat while the female's throat is cream. Only its hind toes are webbed. The female is much smaller than the male (12 cm or 4.45 inches), which is pretty weird, 'cause usually its the female frogs that are bigger!
Buyer beware: These guys look really really cute when they are teeny. I almost got one for myself until I did a bit of research and saw what they turn into when they grow up!! Don't be fooled by their apparent small size inmost pet stores: baby frogs still grow up to eat lots and lots ...and lots!
Habitat:
Provide about 6cm of soft substrate to burrow into. Try getting some potting soil with no chemicals in it....They live well in warmer temperatures - up to 83F.. A (big) regular terrestrial or half and half tank terrarium seems ideal housing, as long as there is something for them to burrow into. This substrate can consist of pre-sterilized chopped oak and maple leaves, sphagnum moss and river sand, or you can go for some regular potting soil as long as it doesnt contain any chemicals..You can put a few large pieces of cork bark or bogwood on top and add a shallow water pan towards one corner.
Read more information on this subject in the Housing Your Pet Frog section.
(see the Frog Doctor for details on illness prevention.)
Diet:
This is where things get a bit hairy for my taste. These guys eat lots and lots of really big bugs, fish (guppies, I am told, are pretty good feeders) and mice. This frog has toothlike projections on its lower jaw to restrain struggling prey. They will eat pretty much anything that will fit in their mouths or that they can overpower, including mice, lizards, and other frogs. Large insects and worms should be left on the rocks, though these guys will eat them from the surface of the water too. Dead mice are best offered either by hand or using forceps (again, get the kind with round balls on the ends so you don't risk injuring the frog when he lunges at the food!) It is generally recommended that you house these frogs alone (except for breeding) in order to avoid cannibalism. Eeek!
Habits:
These guys blow up like balloons when freaked out! They spend much of the year underground, but come to the surface after a heavy rain to breed.
By the way, the males of this species are known to give a hearty bite now and then, so watch those fingers!
Miscelleneous:
These guys come from: Africa! (surprise!) Actually, they generally are found eastward and southward from Nigeria. They also live throughout the eastern savanna regions, from Somalia to Port Elizabeth, and west to Angola. Usually, they hang out in open grassland, and if there are any to be found, they'll sit around in puddles. In the dry season, they will burrow into the ground.
Apparently, the natives find them to be a tasty treat!

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Photo and Sound Clips by ©Robert C. Drewes of the Department of Herpetology at California Academy of Sciences (used with permission)

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