Pet African Giant Bullfrog Care

Captivity

African Giant Bull Frogs are commonly kept in zoos and snake parks and in the overseas exotic pet trade. In South Africa this species requires a TOPS permit (short for threatend or protected species permit) in order to keep them in captivity. These permits are difficult to obtain and you have to be a member of a Herpetological Association before you can even begin the process of obtaining a permit.Obtaining a captive bred specimen is difficult as very few people breed this species. It is illegal to get one from the wild. This means that there are very few legal pet African Giant Bull frogs in captivity in South Africa. Most Bull Frogs kept by South African pet owners are likely to be kept illegally without a TOPS permit.If you can get the relevant permit these amphbians are relatively easy to keep. African Giant Bull Frogs do well in captivity, requiring minimal space and no fancy UVB lights. A basic or more elaborate enclosure can be used with equal success. You can keep them in a plastic tub with a lid or a plastic terrarium filled with damp peat moss and a large water bowl or you can set up a bioactive enclosure with a misting system to maintain humidity as well as some live plants. These frogs will do equally well in either type of enclosure.Whichever setup you choose make sure to have a deep layer of substrate such as coco peat, peat moss, coco husk, sphagnum moss or a mixture of these substrates as these frogs are natural burrowers. Do not use pebbles or gravil in your enclosure as frogs sometimes injest these and get a gut impaction that if not treated will be fatal. Maintain a high humidity level by spraying the cage and providing a water bowl large enough for your pet to soak in, do not put a deep water dish in as they are not good swimmers. Always use de -chlorinated water when adding moisture to the enclosure, this can be achieved by adding an aquarium de-clorinating liquid to tap water or by using distilled or reverse osmosis water. As African Giant Bull Frogs are very inactive they do not require a large cage.A 26 Litre tub can be used for a single adult should you wish to keep it simple or use a similar size terrarium if you want to create a naturalistic look.Keep your cage clean by removing faeces and uneaten food daily.A temperature range of around 25 -30 degrees Celcius is perfect for this species, this can be achieved by using a heat pad controlled by a digital thermostat. Large insects such as Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches and pre killed fish should make up the bulk of a Bull Frogs diet in captivity, the occasional frozen\thawed rodent can be offered but not as a staple diet. Froglets can be fed any suitable size insects, small fish and pinkie mice. African Giant Bull Frogs are very eager feeders and can quickly become obese if fed too often. Feed juveniles every second day and adults two to three times a week. Only keep similar sized African Giant Bull Frogs together as they are canabalistic and will eat smaller cage mates. It would be possible in the correct climate to keep these frogs in an outside pen containing a shallow pond , this setup will likely give you better breeding success should you wish to breed this species. These frogs can give a painful bite so handle with care. When I volunteered at the Transvaal Snake Park, I handled these frogs every weekend for over a year and was never bitten. Either I was lucky or the Transvaal Snake Park’s Bull Frogs were very relaxed or a bit of both.