What is an African Clawed Frog?
The African Clawed Frog is a flat bodied, fully aquatic frog originating from slow flowing streams and ponds of the African Continent. The species is found throughout Africa and also now in human introduced populations in the UK, USA and Europe. The African Clawed Frog was captured by the hundred in the 1950's and 60's to be used as human pregnancy tests and once chemical pregnancy tests were developed the un-needed frogs were released into the wild !
The name originates from the 3 black claws on each food which it uses to help rip off pieces of food. The latin name of this frog, Xenopus, means 'strange foot'. You normally think of a frog using it's long tongue to catch it's prey but the African Clawed Frog doesn't have a tongue! Instead it lunges at it's food and uses its arms to push it into it's mouth.
Because of it's short generation time and desirable genetic simplicity it is often used in genetic experiments by scientists - it was the first vertebrate to be cloned. These frogs also went into space in 1992 on the space shuttle Endeavour so the scientists could see if growth and reproductions could happen normally in zero gravity conditions.
Xenopus have been kept as pets and research subjects since the 1950's. They are hardy, long lived and adapt well to life in captivity so make ideal pets.