Pixie Frog (Pyxicephalus adspersus), also known as African Bull Frog
Popularity: Make good pets for viewing but will bite when handled, so experience is necessary.
Origin: tropical Africa
Native habitat: grasslands
Size: 8-10 inches
Lifespan: over 20 years
Appearance: The most obvious characteristic is size. The male is larger than the female. The skin is dull green. Males have yellow throats, and females throats are cream-colored. Juveniles are bright green and have a yellow stripe down their back. This stripe fades away in about two years. Older frogs have more obvious skin folds than the younger ones. The body of the frog is very broad, with a short rounded snout, protruding jaw, and tooth-like projections in its lower jaw. It has a large mouth, sharp teeth and very little webbing on its feet. It has powerful hind legs used for digging.
Defense Mechanisms: If threatened the frog puffs up in an attempt to frighten the offender. It will jump at things that it views to be a threat. It has sharp teeth, and its bite can be serious. Males aggressively defend eggs if an animal or a human approaches.
Misc characteristics: It digs holes so it can go dormant during the dry season. It makes a dry, watertight cocoon for itself, which prevents the evaporation of body fluids. It loses approximately half of the water that a frog without a cocoon would lose. The frogs can survive for several months in dry soil by absorbing water stored in the bladder. Once the rainy season starts, the moisture will seep into the ground and soak the cocoon. After it softens enough to split open, the frog eats it. Males make calls during the rainy season, which is when they come out of estivation (dormancy) to breed in pools of water. They congregate around watering holes, including those occupied by large animals. The call is composed of loud, throaty bellows and deep grunts. These frogs get territorial during mating and begin their mating calls only when they have established their territory.
Pixies don’t move much, so a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium tank is sufficient. They are best kept alone in captivity. They need a substrate they to burrow into. Good possibilities include pre-sterilized chopped oak and maple leaves; sphagnum moss and river sand; or regular potting soil as long as it doesn’t contain chemicals. Put a few large pieces of cork bark or bogwood on top and add a shallow water pan in one corner.
Temperature, Humidity and Lighting
Day temperature should be 78-82 degrees F., and nighttime temperature should be 75-78. An under tank heating pad should sufficiently take care of heat. Moderate levels of humidity are all the frog needs. They do not need UV light, but if you have live plants you might want to use it.
Pixies eat big bugs, fish and mice. Leave large insects and worms on the rocks for them. Dead mice are best offered by using forceps to avoid being bit. They will also eat full-sized crickets, roaches, and night crawlers. Feed juveniles 3-4 crickets or the equivalent daily. Feed adults a full-grown mouse twice a month and 4 crickets or the equivalent every 2 days.