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I just recently got an african clawed frog which I rescued from being dissected. He used to live in a large plastic bin with 3 other frogs and sometimes I'd see them nipping at each other. He keeps pawing at the aquarium glass an both ends especially at corners and will sometimes frantically bang into the tank over and over almost like he's trying to get through to the other side? He does it all the time. At first I thought he was just trying to find more room to swim and wishes his tank was bigger or that he had bad eyesight. But it's starting to worry me. He seems unhappy. Is he just attacking his reflection? Should I check for illness?

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In my experience, it sounds quite normal. I've kept African clawed frogs, and sometimes they go on a swimming frenzy where they seemed to "claw" (with their hands) at the aquarium glass. Mine also had a habit of eating whatever would fit in their mouths and I even saw one swimming into things to try to force whatever was in his mouth to fit (it was a dried tubifex cube, so it eventually softened and he could eat it then). Here are a few things you should know:

  • Have some decoration in your aquarium, preferably a cave so that the frog can lie low, and something close to the water surface so he can stick his head out if he wants to. Some plants to hide in is also a good idea and real ones are soft, so won't hurt him.
  • Make sure your tank is covered. They can and do escape and being out of water for a long time injures them (also, they scrape their bellies trying to "hop" - they're mostly aquatic).
  • If it is an African Clawed Frog, they can grow to be about the size of the palm of your hand and will eat whatever fits in their mouth. Be aware that he might try to eat any tank mates and would be better with other frogs of his own kind.
  • Similarly, keeping them with bigger tank mates while they're small might result in them being bullied.
  • If it is a "he", when he reaches maturity, he might start croaking (like a pneumatic drill, loudly and every night, you'll think there is something wrong with your fridge...!) and get black, sticky hands (for holding on to girl frogs). Mine were all males, but I understand that females get bigger but don't croak.
  • Mine lived to about 5 years old but died from illness/escape. Lifespan can be up to 25 years according to the sources I managed to find.
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