Claw Frogs - Hymenochirus Boettgeri
The Claw Frog, or The Hymenochirus Boettgeri, as it is known is very much similar to the African Dwarf Frog. These two look almost alike and have similar living conditions. As the name suggests, the claw frog has a fold of swimming skins in between its fingers. Thus, it looks as if the claw frog has small claws at its fingers and toes. At the toes, there are three inner claws, and they look almost black. The African claw frogs develop up to 13 cms in length. This means that the adult claw frog is quite big, almost as big as a well-sized fist. The claw frogs also have bigger "buggy" eyes. Since the young ones look very similar to the Dwarf frogs, there is often a lot of confusion about these species.
The claw frog is almost fully aquatic and does not need to come out of water. It was found in the warm waters of Zaire and Cameroon. These frogs range from a grayish to brownish color. Students often use the claw frog for research or experiments. It can easily be kept in an aquarium. The ideal temperature for the claw frog would be 24-30 degrees C. Soft to medium hard water suits this frog the best. Advisable pH of the water would be between 6.5 and 7.5. The claw frogs thrive if they have plenty of room. The ideal water level should be at least 10 cm.
The claw frogs are generally very timid by nature. They will hide themselves under plants and leaves. So, any tank housing these frogs should have lots of hiding places. In the water they will usually be found sitting with their nostrils slightly out of water. These frogs sometimes shed their skin, and possibly eat their dead skin themselves. If the skin is not eaten, it should be removed from the tank after a day. If the frog is growing in a community of fish, care should be taken to feed the claw frogs well. The frogs are often late in getting scent of food. They also do not chew their food; instead they suck the food into their muzzle and then swallow it down. That is why they prefer worm-like, thin animals like bloodworms and tubifex worms. The frogs are very enthusiastic if they are offered live food. But, care should be taken that the live food does not bring in any infection. Since they are vigorous eaters, care should also be taken that they do not overfeed. In this case, they may even die.
Since the claw frogs are such voracious eaters, they are also banned in some states in the U.S., like California and Oregon. The reason for this is that if these small frogs escape from captivity, they get into the water and start eating up anything and everything. Since the claw frogs grow quite big, care must be taken that they are not put in a community tank with smaller species. They may eat the smaller species too.
The claw frogs prefer a quiet tank with lots of hiding places. The tank they are put in must have a good cover, otherwise they will jump out. The claw frogs are incredibly hardy and live for a very long period if they are taken proper care of. Their mating dance is fun to watch. The frogs do a kind of dance from the tank floor to the top. The male clasps the female a lot during this process. Within two days, a fresh batch of tadpoles makes their appearance. The females are larger than the male, and they also have a kind of extension between their legs. Within 10 months, the males start maturing. They then start their mating calls in the evening hours. Dark mating pads that develop under the hands and arms of the males signal the beginning of the mating season.