What Does It Mean If My African Dwarf Frog is Sticking Its Nose Out of the Water?

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Owning an aquatic amphibian such as an African dwarf frog (genus Hymenochirus) can be a funny experience. These little guys essentially stay in the water their entire lives. You might love your dwarf frog, but you might not ever see too much of him.

Floating at the Top

Although hanging out on the floor of his tank might be a big pastime of your African dwarf frog, he might mix it up sometimes by floating at the top of the water, too. If you notice your African dwarf frog poking his nose out at the top, he's probably just relaxing. When he does this, you might only see his nose and none of the rest of his body. Being at the top of the water enables him to retrieve air, too. When African dwarf frogs assume this position, their limbs are often totally sprawled out. The posture even has a name -- "burbling."

Lungs and Breathing

Water is the natural living environment for African dwarf frogs. They're fully aquatic and therefore not capable of staying alive for long outside of their watery homes -- a few minutes, tops. While they need to be in the water, they also must occasionally ascend to the top of the water to take in air. African dwarf frogs breathe through their lungs, and their lungs are rather high functioning ones.

Idle Behavior

African dwarf frogs often opt to float at the top of the water when they're in particularly idle and sluggish moods. When they float like this, it prevents them from having to exert all of the energy of swimming all the way to the top. When your African dwarf frog is floating with his nose peeking out at the outside world, he might appear totally motionless, too. Although African dwarf frogs sometimes do this for hours on end, contact a herpetological veterinarian if your pet continues to stay at the top.

African Dwarf Frogs in Glowing Health

Your African dwarf frog might indeed be smart and cute, but he can't tell you when he doesn't feel too hot. If any of your wee amphibian's behavior is alarming to you, notify a vet immediately. If your frog is in optimal health, he should swim a lot. He should possess a strong interest in eating. His eyes should also have an alert and clean look to them. His skin should also have a good appearance, free of conspicuous lumps or wounds. Remember that cramped living quarters are no good for African dwarf frogs. They sometimes can lead to frustration and illness.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images