The only frog species to possess claws on the legs is the African albino clawed frog.

This African albino frog is among the most appreciated amphibians in aquariums due to the well regarded, featureful body appearance and characteristics.

Also known as albino white frogs, they don’t even have a single tooth and tongue due to their family legacy.

It becomes an electrifying moment to watch them in aquariums using their hands to snatch food particles and poke them directly into its mouth.

Read further about this frog, briefing its looks, lifestyle, habitation, breeding in tanks, petting instructions, and some fascinating facts.

Brief Analysis

Species Details
Scientific Name Xenopus Laevis
Other Common Names Albino Frog, African Albino Frog, African Albino Clawed Toed, African Albino Claw-Toed Frog, Platana
Family Pipidae
Origin Sub-Saharan Africa
Approximate Age 15 – 25 years
Length 12 cm
Fish Type Freshwater
Color Whitish
Average Price in Dollars $25

Source of Existence

These frog species were first recorded in the taxonomy of amphibians for their peculiarity by French Zoologist Francois Marie Daudin in 1802.

They have originated in the water bodies of many parts of Africa, including the Rift valley, the Sub-Saharan region in Africa, Namibia, and Angola.

These albino frogs are also available in many parts of Europe, America, and Southeast Asia.

The African albino-clawed frog is naturally found in slow-moving waters of rivers, lakes, ponds and easily adjusts to freshwater conditions of the tropical environment, with temperatures ranging between 15 – 25 degrees Celsius.

Muddy waters are one of their preferred zones where they easily capture their prey. Unlike other semi-aquatic turtles, they hardly come out of the water as their skin starts drying quickly.

Note: A widely accepted theory says that this popular African albino frog variant has been manipulated in a laboratory experiment performed in China, which mutated from the same variant to form these specialties.

Size: How Big do They Get?

These are medium-sized frogs and usually grow to their maximum length if they stay in the wild from their birth to a very long time.

A full-grown albino African clawed frog will reach its ideal size of 5 inches in length if it receives proper food and climatic conditions; otherwise, its height in the wild may not grow to its max ability.

These frogs are observed to stay a bit short in size when they are allowed to grow in captivity from the beginning stage of their life.

African Albino Clawed Frog Size and Care

Physical Appearance

The albino frog has a basic structure of a frog with some distinct features that make it shine apart. They are also known as white freshwater frogs because their milky-white skin glows with a smooth texture.

As the name suggests, these frogs have claws or rather four cornified fingertips on each front foot, which they specifically use to consume food. While the back legs are wide and wedded, that helps them swim.

The main body is depressed in the center with a cute, triangular face having eyes protruding on the top, with transparent protection. The nose is rounded flat from the front with nostrils ahead.

The African albino-clawed frog often looks helpless as not just the tongue and teeth, but they are also reported not to have ears and movable eyelids. The males even had to compromise with vocal sacs since it is not present in them.

To overcome these shortcomings, parallel veins like lines are running across the body from sideways, which easily detects vibrations and lets the albino clawed frog find its food or judge any potential threat. These lines are displayed through its thin skin.

Lifespan – How Long do They Live?

Although the albino African clawed frog looks soft & delicate in its appearance, it is pretty complex and sturdy in its lifestyle. While in the ponds or rivers, they are excellent predators but are equally vulnerable to more prominent hunters.

Their life in the wild is usually around 15 close years, and they survive the risk of health pitfalls and raids from predators or aqua food lovers.

But the notable fact is that while in an aquarium, the total lifespan of the albino African clawed frog almost doubles, ranging between 25 – 30 years.

Facts: If the water level in the natural bed decreases, the albino water frog digs a burrow and sits inside. It can stay in this hibernate position for as long as twelve months.

Differencing Male/ Female

There are few easy to index characteristics in this species that make identification possible about the gender of the frog.

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As defined, here are some prominent characteristics that you may find in either the male or female albino African frog.

  • The female albino Xenopus frog is considerably larger than the males.
  • The female’s body looks bulky while the males are slim-trim.
  • If it is a female, then the cloaca region is noticeable.
  • The males have visible black nuptial pads on their hands.
  • The male albino African clawed frog does not have a vocal sac.

How to Buy Them?

Originating from the African continent, these frogs are now available around the World, not just being exported from here but are actually bred for commercial purposes.

This white albino frog has become a favorite water pet to the finders and keepers, appearing like an animated angelic creature in the aquarium.

With an analysis of the global market, the availability of the albino African clawed frog for sale ranges around $20 – $30, usually excluding transportable charges.

Care Instructions

Quick Details
Care Level Easy to Moderate
Social Solitary
Predators Yes, Cannibalistic (Can eat anything of small size)
Temperament Semi-Aggressive
Diet Carnivore
Breeding Fruitful under observation
Age of Maturity 12 Months

Best Food Choices

Due to its physical characteristics, this sweet little African albino clawed frog may create a perception of an incompetent, disabled, and dependable creature. But on the contrary, these are pinnacle hunters.

This African white frog follows a complete carnivore diet, which means they can eat everything edible through their natural edentulous.

While staying underwater, they scavenge for food particles, including vegetation, organic matter, dead meat, and living organisms such as small fishes or worms. If given a chance, the mating parents are ever-ready to consume their eggs.

Author Note: The aquatic albino frog sheds their skin usually in 30 – 40 days and feeds over it.

Some of the preferred food items you can offer to your albino frog in aquariums are:

  • Meat particles
  • Water Bugs
  • Worms
  • Anthropods
  • Invertebrates
  • Tadpoles
  • Insect larva
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis
  • Pellets
  • Krill
  • Frozen foods
  • Prawns

Social Temperament

The albino African clawed frog is known to adjust to the most varied environmental conditions. These frogs generally live without bothering other aquatic animals if they are not small enough to fall prey to this frog.

They rarely confront compatibility issues but don’t tend to let go of its potential food and almost attack it. The African albino frog catches its food particles using the clawed hand and puts them in the mouth.

They can move fast using their strengthened limbs both in water and land. This white African clawed frog is generally seen on the ground during the rainy season when they extensively search for food in close-by water bodies.

There are few instances of territorial conflicts. At times, this albino toad behaves aggressively to push back other frog species destructing their families by killing the juveniles and eating them. 

To hunt for food, they usually float themselves over the water surface with necks perpendicular to the body keeping their eyes horizontally visible on the surface.

They are nocturnal by nature and perform most of their activities at night or in darkness.

Breeding in Captivity

The African albino clawed frog quickly reaches its reproductive ability when it becomes one year in age. These are among the most accessible breeders among other aquatics as they scatter the eggs over the substrate, but the parents are non-caring.

It requires almost no necessary arrangements for breeding and does not have any specific reproductive season. However, they prefer copulating in warm temperatures but can literally makeup round the year, at least four times.

Facts: During the 1940s to 1960s, the African albino clawed frogs were used to detect pregnancy tests of humans. If pregnant woman’s urine is injected into this frog, they will start producing eggs within twelve hours.

Mating Process

To begin with the mating process, you need to set up a freshwater tank with enough depth to keep them underwater and maintain the temperature around 22 degrees Celsius. You may also use a soft substrate at the bottom to keep the eggs safe when they fall over it.

Once released into the tank, the pair realizes the temperature and conditions to reproduce. The males begin to attract the females by making a typical sound to which the females revert in an accepting or rejecting tone.

After mutual acceptance, the couple can be observed intimating in inguinal amplexus mode, and the whole process usually takes up to 4 – 5 hours.

Facts: Since the albino clawed frogs do not have vocal sacs, they use laryngeal muscles to create mating calls and attract females.

Spawning/ Fertilization

While in courtship, the females release eggs to which the males fertilize. The number of eggs may range between 1000 – 2000 in number and are laid 2 to 5 at a time.

It is a continuous process of egg releasing with males spraying sperms to fertilize them. The eggs have a protective translucent layer that keeps them safe from blunt objects.

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Eggs Hatching

Observe if the fertilization process ends and the couple is in diverse movements. Now is the time when you need to remove the albino frog pair from the aquarium since they will start eating them.

The eggs are safe and will hatch in 5 – 7 days. The babies born are called tadpoles, which are 5mm in length. It takes almost two months for these tadpoles to become tiny-sized African albino clawed frogs.

Common Health Issues

With their soft skin and carnivorous lifestyle, the African albino frog attracts many diseases, of which some can be highly fatal.

They show acute signs of abnormal conditions, and with a scheduled investigation of the body and behavior, one can easily detect health issues.

Since they spend a large part of their routine in stagnant water, there are higher chances of accumulating infections due to water contamination. The deplorable water conditions with overeating or unsuitable food may become a concern in captivity.

The red-leg disease or a peculiar parasitic infection is among the common albino African clawed frog diseases. The frog must be taken to an expert doctor for treatment during its early symptoms.

One of the primary sickness issues this frog can get along with is bacterial infections. Pale eyes with redness or white growth on the skin are the sure signs.

Note: An unproven theory claims that the deadly disease named amphibian chytridiomycosis was developed in this African white clawed frog.

Bloated Albino African Clawed Frog

Another serious concern that is yet to be thoroughly researched by amphibian scientists is the bloated albino African clawed frog. It is an abnormal condition in which the frog starts looking double its actual size, almost like an airbag. Let us understand this in detail.

There could be any critical reason for this bloating.

Maybe the frog has acquired an infection while feeding or cannot digest over-consumed food. It is usually called dropsy or edema. It happens when unwanted liquid matter develops suddenly inside the stomach.

You should ideally visit a veterinarian to diagnose this problem. The cause of dropsy is a defect in the lymphatic system when the fluid gets filled in the abdomen area and creates enormous pressure on internal organs.

Other than dropsy, the reason for swelling may be that the frog has swallowed something from the substrate, causing a blockage. A similar possibility is with drinking too much water.

Whatever the case, maybe it is hard to define the exact reason for this condition. Due to a lack of research & studies on this subject, no better solution is available except visiting a veterinarian, maintaining water conditions, and monitoring diet.

Quick Tip: Sometimes females can store more than a thousand eggs, ready for copulation, and look fat to confuse the owner with albino African clawed frog bloated.

Tank Details

Quick Stats
Tank Size 50 Litres
Water Temperature 72 to 78 F
Hardness Range 5 to 19 dGH
Tank Lighting Low light
Water pH Level 6.4 to 8
Tank Type Singular tank
Substrate Soft gravel, rocks
Brackish No

Size of Tank

The Albino aquatic frog is small to medium in size and is seen staying in the water for most of the time. They rather hang themselves on the water surface to prey for food 

Hence while setting up an aquarium, you should ensure that it has a seating capacity to hold water that lets the frog swim around.

The minimum capacity that you should ensure in the aquarium is around 10 – 12 Gallons if the frog is living alone, while for more than one species, you must take a bigger tank accordingly.

African Clawed Frog Tank Setup

Although these frogs are almost un-demanding but are uncaring towards themselves. To keep them engaged in activities with their safety, you can provide some useful accessories in the aquarium.

Do not fill the water to the top of the tank as the frogs come above the water surface to breathe. Hence, you should use a tightly fitted lid with small holes that let in fresh air into the tank but don’t let out the African albino clawed frog if it tries a high jump.

Note: These frogs possess strongly developed lungs since they come up quickly, breath-in oxygen, and set back to their original location.

Plants

Aquariums can best be decorated with greenery, and nothing better than implanting natural plants in tanks with white water frogs, as these creatures love to be around the bushes.

You can, either way, use artificial decorated plants or natural greens but try choosing plants with soft edges. The frogs have a habit of digging out mud, and so to protect your vegetation, you may select floating plants such as java ferns, anubias, or pennywort.

Substrate

For African albino clawed frogs, you should prefer using soft gravel at the bottom, which they can safely dig out without injury.

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These frogs sometimes, in confusion, eat-up small gravel particles and create health hazards. Hence, always use soft, bigger gravel in the tank, with some rock stones or artificial cave structures that can be kept inside where the frogs hideaway.

Lighting

The African albino frog is nocturnal; they prefer staying hidden in the daylight and coming out in the darkness or low light. It means they do not like intense beams.

Therefore it is no use to install any extra light setup. Regular sunlight in the daytime with a dim light in the room is sufficient to keep them active and visible.

Water Filtration & Oxygenation

These frogs are habitual living in the stagnant open waters, which are at high risk of infectious diseases. They are vulnerable, have thin skin to deal with such situations, and often accumulate severe health issues.

Therefore, it is recommended to keep cleaning the tank water, and for this, instead of doing it manually every time, you can fit in a tank filter. And it will automatically oxygenate the water sufficiently.

These filters create water currents, so a standard slow working filter is best for a tank with an African albino clawed frog.

Water Specification

The Albino frog is an easily adaptable creature and can survive in typically changing water situations. They can switch between rivers and ponds. But there is always an uncertainty about thriving in an unhealthy atmosphere for long.

So if you are planning to pet an albino African clawed frog in your home tank, then it is necessary to check over specific water parameters.

  • Keep changing the water after a few days intervals along with using filters.
  • The suitable water temperature for this frog is around 24 degrees Celsius.
  • Maintain the acidity level close to 7pH.
  • The best water hardness level for them is 11dGH. 

Compatible Tank Mates

The white albino African clawed frog is a big-time predator with a highly devouring attitude. They could eat up to their limit and even fill their stomach with small pebbles.

So they try to predate every small animal in their way, even if it creates an injury to their skin. As they keep a territorial nature, you must not even put them with the same species.

This frog is technically unfit for a community tank, but if ever allowed to share space with some, the companion should be bigger in size but non-aggressive; otherwise, the frogs will be hunted soon.

Few aquatics that can stay with this African albino frog are:

  • Large snails
  • Tetras
  • Corydoras
  • Rose Shrimps

Frequently Asked Questions

How is an African albino clawed frog different from an albino African dwarf frog?

Often, the albino frog is falsely iterated as a white African dwarf frog. In contrast, there are two different species with a slight difference in appearance.

  • The albino dwarf frog has its eyes sideways while the clawed frog has it over the top.
  • The clawed frogs have two webbed feet on the back, while dwarfs have all four webbed feet.
  • The dwarf frogs have sharp snouts, while clawed frogs have rounded ones.

Is it dangerous to handle these frogs with bare hands?

The African albino frog is an aquatic animal and cannot stay out of water for a long time. On the other hand, their skin is soft and slippery.

So keeping these facts in mind, you may hold them for a few minutes with bare hands as they won’t bite due to lack of teeth. But prefer keeping them inside the aquarium so that if they slip out, they fall in the water.

Can I self-feed the African albino with hands directly into its mouth?

These frogs often float over the water surface with heads above the water to fetch food particles. They won’t mind eating in this manner nor bite your finger instead, nibble them softly like a pet. So you can either hold them in one hand or directly offer food particles in their mouth while they are in the water.

Why do albino African clawed frogs behave invasively?

There is no proper evidence to prove the theory that says that since they originally belonged to the African continent but have spent a long duration in laboratories. Now, after they are directly allowed to move from the laboratory to the wild, they have started claiming their territories aggressively.

Why are these frogs banned in many parts of America?

The albino clawed frog is discreet in nature and leaves no chance to enter new territory and ferociously claim the area by killing other tiny frogs, especially the young and juveniles. This, in turn, colonizes this species and finishes other frogs’ families.

These were first seen in San Francisco in the year 2003. They were either intentionally released in a pond from labs or escaped to America’s wild zones, thereby becoming a significant threat to the native amphibians and other aquatics. Hence these were declared illegal to a pet in many regions like California, Arizona, New Jersey, etc

To Wrap Up

The African albino clawed frog is one of the cutest aquarium pets with its seamless and charming white texture. With pro-active behavior and a particular body structure, it swiftly catches the viewers’ attention.

These are globally available and quickly adjust in any environment, while they are pretty easy to put in an aquarium as they do not demand stiff care & maintenance.

You can get them in your tank without any hassle, even if it is you are a first-time keeper. They are harmless to humans so that you can enjoy holding them in your hands, but do not put them out there for long.

About the Author

Victoria Lamb

Victoria is a freshwater aquatics specialist, fish keeper, and amphibian enthusiast. She has had more than 6 years of experience caring for aquariums and keeping several fish species, and her home boasts of 3 aquariums and a garden pond. Her goal is to educate fish owners on raising healthy and happy aquatic pets.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK (2014-2018)

Writing Experience

Victoria has done ghostwriting for many aquarium and pet websites in the past. She has also worked for Canada's largest natural health magazine- ALIVE, with 300,000 monthly circulations as a freelancer. She had six published articles on animal behavior and welfare during her graduation for her thesis.

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