Once my daughter set up an aquarium. An aquarium can be unobtrusive and restful. When properly maintained it is beautiful. It also teaches a child responsibility. Fish are living creatures and must be be properly cared for. My daughter was offered a special incentive to set up her aquarium. As part of a mail-in offer, she would receive some small African clawed frogs, sometimes seen in pet supply stores.
The African clawed frog is found in much of Africa. From there, it has been introduced to Chile, France, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.1 The African clawed frog, or Xenopus laevis, is usually sold quite small, but can grow to five inches in length. It may thus become unpopular to the small aquarium keeper as it ages.
We were also unaware that the African clawed frog is illegal in some states. Why is this? Likely, you can guess why. If someone wanted to get rid of an aquarium frog or frogs that had grown too large, what do you think at least some of them might do? Out of “kindness” release it into a nearby pond or stream, you might suggest? African clawed frogs have established feral populations in eleven states.2
Whether it was by intentional or unintentional release, you may find it beneficial to read what Foxnews.com reported on March 14, 2007. To recap a point or two, they report what occurred in San Francisco when African clawed frogs took up residence in a local pond. In a word, decimation.
Another problem with Xenopus laevis involves a fungus – Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. This fungus causes chytridiomycosis disease and is implicated in the deaths and reduced populations of various amphibians.3Although the cause of this fungus remains unknown, it is prevalent in the immune laevis populations. African clawed frogs thus present a number of undesirable features that make them a very poor pet, even though they are easily raised.
Sadly, there desirable qualities make them desirable to those who don’t care about the possible consequences of ownership. There are quite a few different animal varieties that are not the best choice for pets, yet there are always people who will insist on ownership. This leads to much animal suffering, danger, and public harm. When a pet is bought, it should be bought “for the duration”. That is, they should be bought with the idea that you will love them, feed them, look after their health, and in short be their guardians, until they die – hopefully of old age…
1 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
2 Introduced Species Summary Project, Columbia University.
3 Origin of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, C. Weldon, L.H. du Preez, A.D. Hyatt, R. Muller, and R. Speare, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Center for Disease Control.