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FAQs About Xenopus laevis, African Clawed Frog Traumas

FAQs on Xenopus Disease: Xenopus Disease 1, Xenopus Health 2, Xenopus Health 3, Xenopus Health 4, Xenopus Health ,
FAQs on Xenopus Disease by Category: Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), Parasitic, Treatments,

Related Articles: Keeping African Clawed Frogs and African Dwarf Frogs by Neale Monks, Amphibians Turtles

Related FAQs:  Xenopus in General, Xenopus Identification, Xenopus Behavior, Xenopus Compatibility, Xenopus Selection, Xenopus Feeding, Xenopus Disease, Xenopus Reproduction, & Amphibians 1, Amphibians 2, Frogs Other Than African and Clawed, African Dwarf Frogs, TurtlesAmphibian Identification, Amphibian Behavior, Amphibian Compatibility, Amphibian Selection, Amphibian Systems, Amphibian Feeding, Amphibian Disease, Amphibian Reproduction,

 Be careful regarding the use of sharp decor items, pump intakes...

Leave an air gap at the top of the tank so your frog/s don't bonk their heads, nor are able to get out

African clawed frog doesn't appear he can open his mouth      4/7/20
I was cleaning his tank, and when I went to put him back in the tank, he jumped out and fell on the countertop. I caught him another 2 times, and he squirmed out of the net and fell again, about a 8-10 inch drop.
He's swimming around fine, moving his front claws to grab, but isn't opening his mouth. Could he have broken his jaw?
<Possibly, but without an x-ray, hard to say. Is there any sign of swelling around the jaw? Does the bone structure look wrong?>
Anything I can/should be doing?
<Broken bones in amphibians are impossible to treat without veterinarian intervention. However, on the plus side, amphibians do not chew their food.
Provided the jaws can open, the job of the jaws is to trap food, with swallowing actually done with the back of the eyeballs pushing the food down!>
He's about 6 years old.
<Good luck, Neale.>

Eye problem/possible bruise on eye of African clawed frog?    6/1/14
Hi there,
Bean, my 3 1/2 year old AFC has one eye dilated and one eye normal, and has been this way for 2 days now. He freaked out about something and jumped into the lid of the tank and bumped his head, and I am wondering if I should discount this to that injury, or if this may be something else?
<Likely physical damage, trauma. Should recover under its own steam. The use of antibiotics would be helpful, as too would the use of Epsom Salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres). Indeed, the Epsom Salt may well help on its own.>
Other than his eye, he seems in perfectly good health, no behavior out of the ordinary for him. Attached is a photo. Thanks for your help! Best, Kelsey
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Bruises on African Clawed Frog    2/5/13
Hello! Last night, and I don't know for how long, my 2 year old albino African Clawed frog Bean managed to somehow get the tube cover off of my water filter, and got himself stuck in the tubing. I got him out, and he looks no worse for ware, but his back legs are bruised. His left leg much more than the right, and he lost one of his claws in this process. His bones seem to be in tact; in his struggle in the filter tube, I think he mostly just had water running over him. The constant flow of water must have bruised him, or his struggling to get out must have bruised him. His webbing between his toes doesn't seem to be torn anywhere, though his toes are a bit swollen from the debacle. I've put him in an isolation tank, with shallow water so he doesn't have to use his back legs so much so he can still peek up and get air. Other than putting in some drops to help prevent infection, and keeping his water warm, is there anything else that you would recommend I do? He's a wonderful well mannered little frog, and otherwise in good health up until this mess. I'm keeping a close eye on him, and he hasn't gotten any worse (or better) in the last few hours.
Thank you so much for any help you can give.
<Damaged frogs can recover well (and their close relatives, Axolotls, are famous for their ability to regenerate missing toes). Your main problem will be secondary infection, i.e., Red Leg. Fish antibiotics can work well, especially if used as a preventative. Do read here:
The problem is that once infection starts, treating is difficult, so prevention is the game here. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog    2/7/13

Thank you so much for your quick help! He is doing a bit better today, his redness has gone down, and a lot of his bruises are now getting to that kind of white scabby color. He has no new injuries, so red leg or anything hasn't set in as far as I can tell. He is a bit active today, swimming around a lot despite his injured feet. I don't know if this is because he is cranky and in pain, or because of something else. I've noticed a few times after he goes for a swim, he does a few almost has recoiling jerks of his feet as if he's hurt himself by swimming, but that doesn't seem to stop him from swimming around again moments later. He is has a tiny amount of Maracyn in his water to help try to prevent infection.
<Do see the previous linked article; Maracyn II or Maracyn Plus are the ones you want to use, rather than Maracyn. In the US, Maracyn, Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus are widely sold in pet shops.>
It is the best medicine I could get him, it is against the law in my state to get him anything stronger without a vet visit (I think the long car ride would do him in).
<Same in the UK; in any case, your vet will prescribe the best medication AND the best dosage, so strongly recommended.>
Would you recommend anything else? Is it alright for him to be moving around so much with his feet still in poor shape? He is in a large shallow jar about the width of a dinner plate now while he is under observation.
I've attached a photo of him today.
Thank you again, and all the best,
<Red Leg is difficult, even impossible to treat without antibiotics. Call your vet if necessary. At least in the UK, buying antibiotics this way isn't much more expensive than buying regular medications from pet stores that won't work for this sort of thing anyway. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bruises on African Clawed Frog     2/10/13
His injuries are healing well enough, but I think some kind of fungal infection may have gotten to him while his immune system is down. He is twitching a lot mostly in his injured feet, but now his hands. No vet would sell me any antifungal/antibiotic stronger than the Maracyn oxy I have. Is there anything you can recommend? He's a strong little frog, and I'm sure his injuries will heal (his injuries are only in his toes now, as opposed to his whole feet a few days ago) if he has time, but this fungal (?) mystery twitching thing worries me greatly.
<Go to an aquarium shop and buy an antifungal medication. Methylene Blue is an old school medication that should be safe with aquatic frogs, but it's a mild medication and does tend to stain things blue. Where I live, the UK, my favourite medication for fungus and Finrot is eSHa 2000, a good, reliable medication. It's widely sold in Europe but doesn't seem to be sold in the US. In the US, something like Kanaplex would be a good, if not better alternative, combining anti-bacterial with anti-fungal properties.
Cheers, Neale.>

Thank you!!!   3/4/13
Hey there! A few weeks ago, you helped me to treat my frog Bean after he had gotten stuck in his water filter. While he has lost a few toes (though I am hoping they'll come back) he is back to his normal self, alert, swimming around, eating lots and croaking at night. So thank you so much for all of your help in getting better again, I don't think I would have been able to do it without you.
<Ah, this is good news Kelsey; thanks for the update and the kind words.
Cheers, Neale.>

My baby African Clawed, hlth. 99 2/17/12
Hello Crew,
I recently saved a baby African Clawed Frog from a local pet store. He was previously rooming with another SCF s little bit older, and was doing absolutely great! I clean their tank (25 gal) weekly, and I found some marks on baby that resemble bruises. I immediately segregated him from the other frog and goldfish. Are there any recommend treatments tot the little guy? Thank you!
<Hmm, if the frog is basically healthy and feeding, you may want to leave things alone. Otherwise, Methylene Blue is a good, mild medication that doesn't seem to harm frogs. Remove carbon from the filter, if used, because that'll neutralise any medication. Naturally, ensure zero levels of ammonia and nitrite by providing good biological filtration, not overfeeding, and doing regular water changes. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Hump on albino African clawed frog 12/9/11
Dear WWM Crew:
I have an albino African Clawed Frog that has been happily sharing a 20 gallon tank with a cichlid for over two years. The frog is about 4 inches long by now. We also have two cats that have always shown fascination for what's going on in the fish tank, and they spend endless hours watching the movements of the frog and fish.
<Hmm fascination isn't quite the word here the cats view both frog and fish as food.>

Just in case, I always tape the lid of the tank and I cover the gap where the pump goes in, in order to prevent "accidents". <Quite so.>
Well, turns out that all this time the cats were actually on a surveillance mission and the other night they finally decided to put to use the intelligence they had been gathering, and launch a strike.
Shortly after we all went to bed, I heard what seemed to be someone gagging and vomiting. I run to my daughters' bedroom only to find them placidly sleeping. I then went downstairs and found the following peculiar scene right by the front door, two rooms away from the fish tank: one cat looking at me with a "I didn't do it" look in his face, another cat violently gagging and throwing up some kind of white foam, and the albino frog on the ground trying to take advantage of the distraction to make a escape.
I immediately put the frog back in the tank and checked for injuries and scratches. All I could see was a little wound in its right hind leg that looked scratched and as if the skin had peeled off.
<Yes; a puncture wound of some sort.>
Otherwise, the frog was swimming and moving around (first frantically, but then it settled down). I have no clue why the one cat that apparently bit the frog was gagging so violently, but the following morning she was ok.
<Some amphibians do secrete mild toxins through the skin, and these can irritate predators. I have seen a housecat foam at the month after biting a European Toad; after a few hours, the cat was fine.>
I have looked it up and I cannot find any data about albino frogs being toxic to cats.
<Yes, Xenopus do have poison glands in the skin.>
The frog also looked fine the following morning, but by the time I came back from work, it had developed an enormous lump in its back.
<Perhaps infection.>
I was hoping it would be swelling from being hit or bitten by the cat, and that it would go away, but it's been four days and the lump is still there. Any clue on what to do about this?
<Could be infected; a vet would probably recommend an antibiotic at this stage. The aquarium is a great environment for bacteria -- warm and wet -- and frogs are notoriously sensitive to such infections. Would have a vet look at the frog. Or else, get a general antibiotic as per aquarium fish, e.g., both Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2 together for the widest range of protection, and dose as per aquarium fish.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hump on albino African clawed frog 12/9/11
Thanks! I have already started the antibiotic. Frog seems to be ok, although the lump is still there.
<Okay. Good luck, Neale.>

Xenopus; reproductive behaviour; physical damage 11/15/09
My juvenile male African clawed frog was trying to convince my female to mate - he was in position holding on to her waist and when she just decided to lay there, he started reaching up with his hind legs and kicking her in the head.
<This is what they do...>

This doesn't concern me - I have seen it before...often with the female tapping her foot in annoyance and disinterest.
<Not sure the foot tapping is "annoyance" -- it's always important not to put human emotions onto animal behaviours. But yes, females may not be ready to mate, in which case they can become stressed. Adding a second mature female will divide up the male's time, and this is hugely helpful.
Adding some floating plants, such as Indian Fern, will give the female some hiding places, and that helps too. Obviously, in the wild the female can swim off, but in a very small tank that isn't possible. Think about the size of the aquarium, and whether it is adequately large for the specimens you have.>
But this last time, my male kicked so hard that my albino female is now covered with scratches! Near her eye and near her armpit...
<The males develop specific horny pads on their hands used during mating, or amplexus, as its called with frogs. These horny pads grab the skin and make it possible for male frogs to hold onto what are slippery, slimy animals. Any damage done should be slight, and naturally heals up assuming good water quality. Your should see what male sharks do to their lovers...>
I added some aquarium salt in the water
<Wouldn't be my first thought, but Xenopus is reasonably tolerant of salt so no harm will be done. Not much good will be done either, it has to be said, and the old idea salt prevented infection is nonsensical (and mostly put about by the manufacturers of boxed salt). Strong salt solutions are antiseptics, that's true, hence gargling with salt when you have a mouth ulcer. But a teaspoon of salt per gallon? Useless. Much, MUCH better to concentrate on providing optimal water conditions (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite) and water chemistry (moderately hard to hard, basic water; 10-20 degrees dH, pH 7.5). Make sure your filter is adequate and working properly, and that you do regular (weekly) water changes. Keep the temperature sensible, not to high and not too low. Room temperature, between 15-20 degrees C is ideal.>
What else can I do to help the female heal?
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Albino Clawed Frog 5/4/09
Hi there,
<Hello Helen,>
I have a single ACF in a large aquarium, which has a few live plants, fine sand on the floor and plenty of fish (including silver dollars, catfish, Pleco, Corys, mollies) and is generally a healthy tank.
<Sounds fun!>
I've had the frog for nearly a year and have never had any problems with him/her. The other day I noticed that she had what appeared to be a small hole in her bottom lip and a few days later it seemed to have got a little bigger.
<Yes, I see...>

On closer inspection it doesn't appear to be a hole but is definitely a lesion of some kind and was looking rather red and sore.
<Likely some sort of physical damage, and for whatever reason, it's become infected with an opportunistic bacterial infection.>
Upon checking her this morning she now appears to have two lumps further down her throat, about the size of a match head each, that look like some kind of spot or wart. She also doesn't seem to be as active and just sits in the corner of the tank.
<Often happens with bacterial infections.>
I fed her two days ago (before the lumps appeared but while she had the sores) and she seemed to be eating fine - I don't feed bloodworm but do feed frozen krill, octopus and Tubifex. Have you any idea what this could be and how I could treat it?
<I'd treat as you would Red Leg, as described here:
See under the "Diseases and treatment" section. Do note that a tropical aquarium is warmer than Xenopus laevis enjoys, and that can complicate matters somewhat.>
Thanking you in advance.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

African albino clawed frog, hlth. 04/21/08 hello, I hope you can help. I have a 7year old albino African clawed frog always healthy he swallowed an upside down catfish. I believe they are barbed. <Yes... the dorsal and pecs> after 3 days he spit the fish out and now floats around hardly moving. he didn't eat for 8 days and now he ate a couple of Spirulina sticks and a few small bloodworms. can he have internal damage? <Yes> that's why he cant stay on the bottom? <Possibly> he has starting eating and is much more active but still hasn't spent much time fully submerged. any advice is greatly appreciated, we have become attached to "froggie" <Xenopus are very tough... I would just wait here, be patient, and hope for a self-cure. I take it there are no more swallow-able tankmates present. Bob Fenner>

Re: African albino clawed frog 04/22/08 no more edible tankmates, 2 large goldfish both larger than the frog! hope u r <... no Netspeak please...> correct, thanks for the advice I came across your site totally by accident just when we were giving up hope. ps froggie has stayed submerged a bit longer today! <Ah good. B>

Mangled African albino clawed frog 8/16/07 Hi. My frog tore up its arms in what seems to me to be a bad idea aquarium-wise. I hung a plastic large plant from the top of my tank, trying to give it a more natural feel. Anyways, it appears my frog tangled its arms up in it and cut its arms quite a bit. Never knew plastic was so sharp until I actually felt it myself. Quarantined for a week, but when I put back into tank, my Oscar and catfish seemed to hunt the wounded frog. So I separated again, later more damage was done to its hands. This has been going on for about 6 weeks now and "Pac-Man" doesn't seem to be healing. Even more signs of extremities are almost rotting off. He won't eat. which he always did a lot of. The "bones" or whatever are still clearly present, but no new tissue is growing. Is this terminal? What else can I do to cure him? I've done complete water changes at least every other day. TY <Greetings. As soon as your frog damaged itself you should have treated for bacterial infections and fungus using an amphibian-safe medication. You local reptile store should be able to help there. After six weeks, the damage has been done, and the wounds have obviously become septic and the frog is dying. Unless you really kick into gear and treat right now, your lack of action has doomed your pet to a miserable and very painful death. Even if you do treat the frog, I wouldn't bet a lot of money on its recovery. It goes without saying that you should never, ever put anything inside an aquarium that feels spiky or rough. The idea is to create a safe and healthy environment! Giving pets cute names doesn't help them any, but common sense and proper care is what they want. Good luck, Neale>

African Clawed Frog Can't Move 5/5/07 About a week and a half ago I came into my African clawed frogs room to find one upside down on the bottom of the tank. I thought she had past away but when I went to pick her up she moved a little. I put in a shallow pot of water and found out that she can not move her waste down and I decided to keep her in shallow water since she can't move I am scared she will not be able to get air and drown, she wouldn't eat anything so I tried aquarium salt and gel Tek (neomycin) but no change she wouldn't eat it so I tried Melafix and after a couple days she got sores on her back that wasn't open they just looked like big bubbles so I talked to the pet store and they gave me tetracycline she is on her fifth day of treatment and all her sores have cleared up but one. She still will not eat and is losing a lot of weight and her skin is loose and shedding a lot. I have tried feeding her the usual feeder fish and nothing I have also tried crickets, ReptoMin, and sinking brine shrimp pellets but she shows no interest I am very concerned I don't have a clue what is wrong with her and why she can't move she does move her front but she only has one front leg (since she was a baby) and it doesn't help her get around at all. Please help me I don't know what I would do if I lose my little froggy. She just had 50 tadpoles which now have sprouted legs. I would be very grateful for any advice. oh sorry by the way my name is Tricia. < Sometimes these little frogs make mad dashes to the surface for air. If the gap between the water and the top of the tank is close they might hit their head on the top of the tank and cause some trauma to the spinal cord. I don't think it is a disease but can't be sure. I would keep the water as clean as possible and offer some brown worms sold at the fish store for tropical fish. frogs have a difficult time refusing live food if they are hungry.-Chuck>

Albino Clawed Frog I have an albino clawed frog that somehow jumped out of the tank during the night. We found it this morning and was wondering if there was anything that we should do cause it is still alive but looks kind of bad? Should we keep it in a separate tank away from the other frog or could we put it back? Any suggestion would be helpful and appreciated. < Keep him separated until he is fully rehydrated. Watch for bacterial infections. These frogs are usually pretty tough so I assume he will be back to normal in a couple of days.-Chuck> Thank you

Clawed Frog Disease - 09/08/2005 My Frog, Bugzie, has a large bulging, swollen area under her mouth that extends from chin to throat. This occurred 3 days ago and seems to be getting larger and lighter in color....PLEASE HELP! <I recommend you try reading here: http://fluffyfrog.com/FrogPondVetF.html . Though this may just be some result of physical trauma (injury, etc.), it could be an infection of some sort.> Thanks. Carole <Wishing you and Bugzie well, -Sabrina>

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