If you have an African dwarf frog, you may have noticed that its skin is becoming loose and falling off. You might be thinking there is a problem, is this normal? do African dwarf frogs shed their skin?
The answer here is yes, African dwarf frogs do shed their skin. In fact, although many people do not know this, all amphibians shed their skin.
Now, the reason why your frogs are shedding their skin can be good or bad, though the 3 common reasons are;
- Your ADF is growing.
- Bad water conditions
- Fungal infection
4 Reasons Why African Dwarf Frogs Shed
Ok, so yes, African dwarf frogs do shed their skin, and this is perfectly normal. Now, although it can be normal, such as due to normal growth, frogs shedding their skin can also be a sign of various problems or conditions.
Let’s look at the 4 main reasons why your African dwarf frog is shedding
1. Shedding Due To Growing
The first reason why an African dwarf frog may shed its skin is because it is growing. When the frog is still young, especially when it is growing quickly, it will shed its skin every now and again.
Young frogs may shed their skin up to twice or three times a month, and fully grown African dwarf frogs will also shed up to once per month.
Don’t worry folks, because this is totally normal. You can tell if you African dwarf frog is shedding due to growth or doing so naturally because the frog’s skin will turn very pale, almost white.
If the white or very pale appearance passes after the skin has been shed, then you have nothing to worry about and it’s nothing more than a part of the aging process.
2. Shedding Because of Bad Water Conditions
Another reason why your frog might shed its skin, this one more serious, is due to bad water conditions. African dwarf frogs, although they look very nice, are unfortunately very sensitive and fragile creatures.
For instance, if you have broken pottery, sharp rocks, or rough gravel in the tank, these may injure your frog and subsequently cause it to shed its skin.
If you see signs of injury on your frog, be sure to inspect the tank and remove anything sharp or rough which may be causing this.
Moreover, frogs are not the cleanest of creatures, they can be messy eaters, and they produce a lot of waste.
Therefore, if your frog tank is dirty, or in other words, if the water is dirty, full of ammonia, uneaten food, waste, and is just generally unsanitary, it may also cause the frog to shed.
Therefore, you need to ensure that your aquarium filter is ideal for frogs, that it engages in all 3 necessary forms of filtration, and that it is clean and fully functional. Regular cleaning of the frog tank will definitely help as well.
Heat and Parameters
Finally, African dwarf frogs are also pretty sensitive in terms of the water parameters too. When it comes to temperature, it should be between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, the pH level in the water, as well as the general hardness level of the water are important too. If any of these parameters are below or over the recommended level, especially for a prolonged period of time, it may cause your frog to shed its skin.
3. Shedding Because Of A Fungal Infection
One of the more common reasons for African dwarf frogs to shed their skin is due to a fungal infection. Generally speaking, this is the most common reason after shedding skin due to growth/aging.
Unfortunately, these frogs are highly susceptible to various fungal infections, as well as conditions that result from these infections.
If you see white patches on your frog’s skin which are fuzzy or hairy, you can be sure that a fungal infection is to blame. A frog shedding its skin during a fungal infection is an attempt to get rid of that fungus.
Keep in mind that when a frog sheds its skin naturally, like with a snake, this will all happen at once, or in other words, the skin comes off in a single piece.
However, a telltale sign of a fungal infection is that the skin comes off in patches. Frogs with fungal infections may also start to behave oddly, become very frantic, and try to escape the tank.
If this is the case, you need to do some research, find out which fungus it is, and then treat it as quickly as possible. Untreated fungal infections can end up being very deadly.
4. Shedding Because Of Sudden Water Parameter Changes
Going back to water parameters, frogs may also shed their skin due to a sudden change in water parameters.
Once again, frogs are very sensitive to this kind of thing. Sudden drops or spikes in temperature, pH, water hardness, and other such things may also cause your frog to shed.
Now, if the parameters see a sudden change, and the frog sheds, and you then ensure that the parameters go back to normal, this should not be much of a problem.
However, it is still something you need to keep an eye out for.
How Often Do African Dwarf Frogs Shed?
As mentioned before, while African dwarf frogs are still growing, they may shed twice or three times per month.
Once these frogs are fully grown, they will shed roughly once per months, every 3 to 5 weeks depending on the specific frog. Some will shed only once every couple of months.
The real issue is if a fully grown African dwarf frog sheds its skin more than once per month or more than every 3 weeks.
This is a sign that something is wrong, in which case you want to refer to the above section and find out exactly what the problem is.
Do African Dwarf Frogs Shed In The Wild?
Yes, absolutely do African dwarf frogs shed in the wild. This is a totally natural process that will happen whether an African dwarf frog is living in the wild or kept in captivity.
It’s totally normal. What’s not normal is if these frogs wouldn’t shed their skin.
Should I Remove The Skin From The Tank?
Something that you should know is that African dwarf frogs will eat their own skin after they shed it. Although not scientifically proven, it is thought that frogs eat their skin because it contains lots of nutrients.
In other words, it’s a quick way to get a nutrient boost. Therefore, if your frog sheds its skin, leave it in the tank so the frog can eat it.
If the frog does not eat the skin in around 2 days, then you can remove it from the tank. Now, what needs to be said is that if your frog sheds its skin due to natural reasons, then it is fine for the frog to eat it.
However, if the frog has shed its skin due to a fungal infection, it should not eat the skin and you should remove the old skin from the tank immediately.
Folks, if your African dwarf frog sheds its skin once per month and it all comes off in one piece, there’s nothing to worry about.
That said, if your frog is shedding more frequently than normal, there is probably an underlying cause that you need to look into right away. Remember that African dwarf frogs are extremely delicate.
Image Credit: Matt Reinbold @ FlickR