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How To Care For A Pregnant African Dwarf Frog!

If you have a female African dwarf frog that is looking very plump and rounded, you might be wondering whether you’ve got a pregnant African dwarf frog on your hands – and what to do if that is the case!

African dwarf frogs are popular pets, and that might mean you want to try your hand at breeding them sometime. With good care, this is possible to do successfully, but you will need to be quite dedicated to be successful.

If your African dwarf frog is pregnant, that’s exciting news, and there are a few things that you can do to ensure that the frog is looked after and the young successfully hatch. We’re going to explore the top facts about African dwarf frog breeding and the egg incubation period.

It’s important to understand how to care for the eggs, how soon you should expect tadpoles to hatch, and how to look after the tadpoles when they do emerge. This will increase the chances of survival for the babies, allowing you to meet their needs and keep them healthy.

It is important to note that African dwarf frogs usually only mate when certain conditions are met, so you can’t just keep a male and female in the same tank and hope for offspring.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Mate In Captivity?

African dwarf frogs do sometimes mate in captivity, although surprisingly few of the hobbyists who keep these frogs actively try to breed them and rear their young, and a lot of tadpoles do not survive into adulthood.

However, it is perfectly possible for them to do so if they are given good diets and the correct conditions for breeding are met.

If you want your African dwarf frogs to mate, you will have to mimic the conditions that prompt mating in the wild: this involves lowering the tank water level until it is around seven centimeters deep, over the period of a month.

You then need to quickly refill the tank with cool water, and warm it up to around 82 degrees F over the next week. This creates a drought-then-flood cycle that prompts the frogs to seek each other out and mate, because it mimics the environmental cycles that they evolved to exist in.

A male and female frog should then get together, in a process called amplexus, which usually occurs at night after a couple of nights of the male singing to the female frog.

The male will latch onto the female’s back, and the female will swim around the tank, releasing her eggs into the water for the male to fertilize with sperm.

Once she has finished laying eggs, she will stop and sit motionless against the edge of the tank for a while, until the male lets go – at which point, they will resume their normal behavior.

“African dwarf frog, Hymenochirus boettgeri. Original image sourced from US Government department: Public Health Image Library, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under US law this image is copyright free, please credit the government department whenever you can”.” by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is licensed under CC0 1.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

What Do I Do If My African Dwarf Frog Lays Eggs?

If your African dwarf frog lays eggs, you will need to start generating the right conditions for them to hatch and for the young to thrive in; this can be challenging for inexperienced owners, but with care, it is possible to achieve.

In general, you will want to move the eggs to a separate tank so that you can meet their needs and avoid any risk of the parents consuming or otherwise damaging the eggs – or other creatures in the tank doing so.

Set up a new 10 gallon tank that is reasonably shallow, so the babies can swim to the surface for air when they need to.

Line the bottom with sand or large gravel, and then add lots of suitable plants, some caves and hiding spots, bits of driftwood, etc., as you would for keeping adult frogs.

The pH levels for babies should be higher than for adults, between 7.5 and 8.0, and the temperature should be around 80 degrees F.

Make sure that the water is not too cold for the eggs, and keep it clean and fresh with manual cleaning, rather than with a filter (which the babies could get sucked into).

This needs to be maintained while you wait for the eggs to hatch and once they have done so, as it is the correct environment for the tadpoles to develop in.

This species does have a high mortality rate, so don’t be surprised if many of the tadpoles don’t survive in spite of your care. Feed them every day, keep the tank clean, and remove any that have died.

How Long Do African Dwarf Frog Eggs Take To Hatch?

The time period it takes for an egg to hatch can vary, but it is usually only one or two days – an amazingly quick process.

This is assuming that the conditions are right, because sometimes the young will wait in their eggs for much longer. Some sources say that it could take up to two weeks for the eggs to hatch, so you should be patient and avoid worrying if none hatch straight away.

Note that the babies will not hatch if the correct conditions aren’t met, so you need to ensure that the tank is warm enough and alkaline enough. If it isn’t, you may find that the eggs fail to hatch.

Unfertilized eggs will never hatch; you can usually distinguish these from other eggs because they will generally sink, rather than float. They may also be cloudy, whereas fertile eggs tend to be clear and buoyant. However, it is still worth transferring eggs to the separate tank, just in case.


So, if you have a pregnant African dwarf frog, you now know what to expect and how to handle her eggs when she lays them. Note that without the change in the water (the drought and then flood cycle that you are going to mimic), your African dwarf frogs will not mate, and this will mean that the female will not produce any eggs. If you want to hatch baby African dwarf frogs, you will need to lower the level of the water in the tank and then raise it again.