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How Long Can African Clawed Frogs Stay Underwater?

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African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) are amphibians that are close to fully aquatic. They can stay in the water their entire lives. When they exit the water, it's because they have no other option and have to travel somewhere else. African clawed frogs are rather awkward on terra firma.

Life Underwater

African clawed frogs are usually totally submerged. However, they occasionally have to rise to the top of the water to breathe -- usually several times a day. It's not at all uncommon for them to remain submerged for hours at a time without coming up; in fact, spending a lot of time near the surface can be a sign of illness. African clawed frogs mostly breathe via their sophisticated lungs. They rarely do so through cutaneous respiration, which involves breathing by way of the skin. When these frogs are in situations of minimal oxygen, they breathe by taking air in from the top of the water, courtesy of their lungs.

Typical Conduct

The typical conduct of an African clawed frog is to remain under the water, totally devoid of any movement. Although that's how they generally pass the time, it's imperative for them to have a way to reach the top of the water whenever necessary. If they don't, drowning becomes a dangerous possibility for them.

The Water They Stay In

These predominantly aquatic amphibians reside in freshwater environments. Still and motionless bodies of water are common locations for them. They also are often seen in calm creeks and marshes. They generally steer clear of sizable rivers. African clawed frogs also steer clear of settings with lots of flesh-eating fish. They tend to flourish in water that's anywhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and are capable of handling water of many different pH levels.

Mode of Transportation

Since African clawed frogs are nearly always in the water, they're highly proficient at swimming. On terra firma, they usually travel via clumsy jumping motions. When they do this, it often means that their aquatic environment has become dry and they have to find a new, much wetter home. When they move to new locations, they often do so in droves.

Life in Captivity

Many people keep African clawed frogs as pets. They generally work well in tanks that can accommodate a minimum of 10 gallons of H20 for each individual. Water that's somewhere between 6 inches and 1 foot deep is optimal for them. This gives them a lot of room to swim around freely, and at the same time enables them to quickly access the top of the water for air.