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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

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African Bullfrog

(Pyxicephalus adsperus)

The African bullfrog is aggressive; it may inflate its body and attack an intruder with its huge mouth. Local people consider the meat to be a delicacy. During the dry season, which in some parts of the bullfrog’s range could last for more than a year, African bullfrogs stay underground in chambers that they excavate using horny tubercles on their hind feet.  While underground, they stay relatively cool and damp but cannot feed. They adapt to this circumstance by entering a dormant state known as estivation that is triggered by excessive heat or drought.


The African bullfrog is found near waterways, rivers, streams, and other wet spots in open country or the arid and semiarid areas throughout Central, Eastern, and South Africa.


African bullfrogs are ambush predators. They sit partially buried with snouts exposed, waiting for some unsuspecting animal to wander by. African bullfrogs will eat anything that they can fit into their very wide mouths! This includes invertebrates, fish, other amphibians, reptiles, rodents, and small birds. When prey comes within range, an African bullfrog will drop its lower jaw forcefully, unfurl its tongue, and snatch its meal. It makes use of “odontodes” – sharp, tooth-like projections in the lower jaw, which helps to keep prey in its mouth.


Frogs breed when they emerge from hibernation with the return of rains. The female lays between 3,000 and 4,000 eggs in shallow water. Tadpoles emerge the second day after eggs are laid.


Turtles and monitor lizards prey on bullfrog tadpoles. Birds are the most likely predators of adult African bullfrogs. People also hunt and eat African bullfrogs.