Saturday, November 24, 2012

African Clawed Frog

African Clawed Frog | The African clawed frog is also known as the platanna. The African clawed frog is thought to have originated in South Africa, and is today found naturally across the African continent. The African clawed frog has been introduced to the Americas and parts of Europe. The average adult African clawed frog grows to about 12 cm in length, and weighs around 200g. The African clawed frog spends its whole life in water, except for poking its head up to the surface from time to time. The African clawed frog can swim at astonishing speeds sideways, backwards, forwards, up and down, and in all other directions. The African clawed frog then catches its prey with its claws aided by its long tongue.

The African clawed frog is often a greenish, grey colour although other colours of the African clawed frog are not uncommon (such as albino). The African clawed frog is known to have a long lifespan for small aquatic animals, and can live up to around 5 to 15 years in the wild. Some adult African clawed frogs have been recorded to live to nearly 30 years old in captivity! The African clawed frog's main food is water bugs and small fish but the African clawed frog is also known to eat its own skin whenever it is shed. African clawed frogs also hunt other small invertebrates such as insects, spiders and worms.

Due to its small size, the African clawed frog has a number of natural predators within its natural environment, that occur both in and out of the water. Small mammals including rodents,
cats and dogs, numerous birds and reptiles, all prey on the African clawed frog.

Female African clawed frogs are often nearly double the size of the males, and are able to reproduce more than once a year. After mating, the female African clawed frog can lay thousands of eggs at a time which are held together in the water by a jelly-like substance. After hatching, the African clawed frog tadpoles begin their life in the water until they grow legs and are able to venture out onto the river banks. Over the years, humans have managed to find a number of uses for the African clawed frog in our day to day lives. The most notable (and probably cruellest) of these practises was the use of the African clawed frog females as a type of pregnancy test, as the hormone produced by human babies (passed on through the mother\'s urine) known as HCG induces ovulation in the female African clawed frog.

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