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PIXIE FROG Caresheet
Common Name: Pixie Frog, African Giant Bullfrog
Scientific Name: Pyxicephalus adspersus
Origin: Sub-Saharan Africa
Size: 6-10" for males, females are smaller
Lifespan: 15+ years
You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of caring for this species.
Try to acquire a captive bred or captive hatched Pixie Frog. Captive bred animals are usually more healthy, as well as being more acclimated to captivity. In the wild, these frogs are not very active; they prefer to sit and wait for their food to come to them. This works to your advantage because they do not have large caging requirements.
One adult can be housed in a 40 gallon glass enclosure or Exo Terra's 36" x 18" x 18" works well too. If you have more than one frog, it's best to house them separately as they can become cannibalistic.
You'll want plenty of bedding for your Pixie to burrow down into. Their favorite hunting pose is one where just their eyeballs are above the surface of the bedding. So use bedding that allows them to dig, like Zoo Med eco earth or Zilla jungle mix.
LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES
These frogs need a temperature gradient to thermoregulate and control their body temperature. This essentially means you need to provide a hot and a cool side to your enclosure. All the heat elements should be on one side and the other will be the cool side. This way your frog can move back and forth between the different temperatures depending on its needs.
The warm side can be between 78-85. Low 80s being optimal. The rest of the enclosure can be normal room temperature (around 74). At night, temps can drop to as low as 72 degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer to figure out the temperatures in your enclosure. If necessary, the easiest way to increase the heat is with a under tank heat pad like Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pads are reliable brands.
In the wild, they live mostly buried in the earth and do not get much, if any, UVB rays. We suggest not putting any UVB lighting on your Pixie. Rather, supplement their diet with D3 (more on this in the feeding section).
Always provide a nice sized water dish with fresh water. Change the water at least once a day. Like all amphibians, these guys are quite sensitive to toxins in their environments. So do not use strong smelling cleaning products, scented candles, or incense in the room with your frog. Smoking near your frog can also be toxic. As they absorb chemicals through their skin (even airborne ones), you can end up inadvertently killing him.
Try for humidity around 60%. Misting the enclosure at least once or twice a day will usually provide enough moisture, but a nice humidity gauge can help you in this area. Hand misters are usually sufficient but if you don't care to remember to mist, an automatic mister like the Exo Terra monsoon is a nice option. Exo Terra bowls or Flukers rock dish are nice naturalistic non-porous water bowls. Frogs drink by sitting in their water bowls and absorbing it through their skin. Also DO NOT used distilled water for the water bowl or swimming area. Distilled water has no salts or minerals in it as such it messes with the frogs ability to regulate the water in it's cells. A process called, osmotic regulation. Death can result from this as well.
Pixie Frogs are voracious eaters. A varied diet is best. Live prey animals like crickets, phoenix worms, horned worms, mealworms, waxworms, silkworms, earthworms and dubia roaches should make up the majority of the diet. In addition, many Pixie Frogs can be fed from tweezers. So you can add to the list pacman pellet food, and a variety of canned feeder insects. For young pixies, dust their food with calcium several times a week. For adults, supplement their insect diet at least 2x a week with a calcium and vitamins supplement such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Repti calcium with D3.
How much to feed your Pixie? Your pet should be round but not overly large. Part of the fun of having a Pixie is feeding it. Just don't get carried away.
Pixie Frogs are a pretty forgiving frog (in terms of ease of care) and can make good first time amphibian pets. Pixies will tolerate a little bit of handling. However, most do not like to be handled very much. Each will have their own personality but most tend to get stressed with excessive handling. They also do have teeth and a large pixie can draw blood if he thinks your finger is a worm or if he bites out of fear.
Be careful, have fun and enjoy watching your awesome frog.