Do African Dwarf Frogs Play Dead? (What You Must Know)

If you are looking forward to owning a freshwater pet in your tank, then the African Dwarf frog should be your choice. This pet is not only an active and busy creature but also one that’s fun to watch. Whether your African Dwarf frog plays dead or not, we understand it is a matter of concern that requires attention.

So, do African Dwarf frogs play dead? It is common for African Dwarf frogs to play dead, a behavior commonly referred to as thanatosis. It is usually a defensive mechanism against predators. If your pet notices its predator approaching, it will act dead and flip over. The predator will then avoid them, thinking that they are diseased or dead.

If you want to find out whether African Dwarf frogs play dead, this is the ultimate guide for you. We will help you know why your frog is not eating or moving, whether African dwarf dogs die, and why your pet is lying on its back. Read through this article to find out what you must know.

Why Isn’t My African Dwarf Frog Eating?

African dwarf frogs are quite picky in their feeding patterns. At one point, your pet could be eating well, and, at another, they could refuse your food offer. Understanding the reason behind this change in appetite is necessary to keep you at ease, knowing that your pet is still healthy.

African Dwarf frogs may not eat because they are slow eaters. While you expect to place food in the tank and your pet runs to feed, this may not happen with your African Dwarf frog. These pets do not have a big appetite and will only eat when hungry.

Due to their small appetite, keeping them in their tank is advisable rather than putting them together with your fish. This is because fish are fast eaters and will eat all the food leaving little or nothing for your frog.

To deal with your slow-eating African Dwarf frogs, feed them on frozen bloodworms. This food takes longer to disintegrate, giving your pet enough time to eat when they please. Alternatively, you can feed them on freeze-dried bloodworms, but these foods usually float on the surface.

If you are a new pet owner, you should not stress much about your pet’s feeding pattern. This is because the new environment could also contribute to their lack of appetite. Your pet adjusting to the new environment will make it a little reserved than the other frogs. Over time, it will adjust and start feeding normally.

The frequency of feeding also matters when feeding your frogs. Naturally, frogs can go for several days without food. Thus, while you may be feeding other creatures in the tank, your frog could not be hungry, and that is why it is not eating.

If your African dwarf frog is in its tank, you can avoid feeding it every day to prevent obesity. Instead, supply live black worms for your pet to eat when it pleases. Black worms are a long-lasting and constant food supply option for your pet. Also, the movement of these worms in the water will encourage your pet to eat them. They are also a rich protein source useful to keep your frog healthy and fat.

Why Isn’t My African Dwarf Frog Moving?

An active pet is also a healthy pet. While petting your African Dwarf frog is not possible as with other pets, you will rely on your eyes to know that they are okay. One of the most disturbing observations for frog owners is a still frog.

Your African Dwarf frog could not be moving due to natural reasons, diseases, or death. Naturally, your pet will float on water and poke its nose out while relaxing. In this position, it will sprawl out its limbs, a posture popularly called burbling. Your pet may also stay still in natural defense if they feel threatened to give their predator an impression that they are dead. This way, their predator will not eat them.

Lack of movement could also be a sign of disease. A sick and weak frog has minimal movement. Lying still is usually the final stage of disease, and even if you try nudging your frog, it will remain still. Your frog may stay in this position for a few hours to days, as it is difficult to tell when they will die.

Also, there is little that you can do at this point to save your pet’s life. After their death, their eyes will become still and milky, and the frog will start smelling, requiring its removal and disposal from the aquarium.

Why Do African Dwarf Frogs Die?

Over the years, it is increasingly becoming difficult to keep the African Dwarf frogs alive for their full life span. Most owners report sudden deaths, making it difficult to identify the cause of death. Making adjustments to your pond or aquarium can make your frog live longer, as most deaths result from their tanks’ conditions.

Most African Dwarf frogs, especially in captivity, die due to poor eating, tank conditions, and diseases. Generally, African dwarf frogs are slow eaters, but they will eat when hungry. When new, they tend to take some time adjusting to their new environment and may skip several days without eating until they become familiar.

Therefore, if your pet had a good appetite but is now barely touching the bloodworms, it is a bad sign. You should also avoid crowding your frog with other pets as there will be food competition which could starve it to death.

Tank conditions are also a contributor to most African Dwarf frogs’ death. Generally, the conditions in the tank should have nil ammonia and nitrite and 5-25ppm of nitrate. To ensure this, cycle your tank with good bacteria since high concentrations of these ions will kill your pet. The tank pH should be between 6.8 and 8, with the temperatures ranging at 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

The African Dwarf frog is also sensitive to bacterial and fungal infections, and, if housed with aggressive fish, they could sustain injuries and become infected, resulting in death. If you suspect your pet died from a disease, you should consider a new tank for your new set of frogs to prevent the risk of transmission. Alternatively, find ways to kill the bacteria in the aquarium, which could mean starting the cycle again.

To tell if your frog is dying, you should look out for tattered skin as one of the signs. However, you should be able to differentiate between tattered skin and healthy shedding. For a healthy shedding, the frog will look like it has undressed since the skin has peeled off in big chunks.

However, if your frog sheds its skin so fast that you cannot tell when it happened, it is a red alarm. Also, an unhealthy shed is usually shredded and will hang off your pet’s body. It could also be a sign of chytrid fungus, a contagious disease that commonly affects amphibians.

Finally, a dying frog may also float on the water without any movements. Unlike the natural playing dead behavior, even if you nudge such a frog, it will remain still. Usually, the body is shutting down at this point and in the final stages of a dying frog.

African Dwarf Frog Lying On Back?

African dwarf frogs are interesting pets. They have naturally fun behavior, which in some cases could also signal a problem in their aquarium. For this reason, you should keenly observe and rule out any negative possibility to prevent untimely death.

Your African Dwarf frog will lie on its back as a natural defensive mechanism against its predators. This behavior is normal and can also happen in captivity; hence, no need to worry.

However, before assuming that everything is perfect, you should check the tank conditions by testing ammonia and nitrate content in the water. Higher concentrations of these compounds are toxic and will kill your pet, which is why you should cycle the tank daily.

You should also check the water temperatures and ensure your pet is not freezing. If all the aquarium conditions are perfect and your pet is still lying in its back, you can check for signs of disease or weakness. You can then call your vet to check your pet if you suspect illness before it is too late.

African Dwarf Frogs Play Dead

African Dwarf frogs are interesting pets for anyone who loves aquarium creatures. However, if you are keeping them, you should constantly observe and care for them. This is because they can play dead, and, at times, it could be an actual death.

Generally, playing dead is a defensive mechanism against predators. On the other hand, your pet could die due to the conditions in the tank. Therefore, you should ensure the tank has minimum levels of ammonia and nitrite concentrations since higher concentrations are fatal.

Before dying, your pet may appear to be playing dead by failing to eat or move. To rule out the cause of death, you should check for other signs such as disease, and if there is any, do not put your new set of frogs in the same tank before getting rid of the disease microorganism. However, if you acquire a healthy frog, feeding it well, and ensuring the best tank conditions, you can prevent sudden deaths.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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