Killer African Dwarf Frog

by Steve, September 1st, 2008

MIchigan J. Frog

When we first got an aquarium this summer, it was sold to me (who is seriously done with pets, save for perhaps one cat) as a source of tranquility.

We even discussed the ultimate disposition of creatures that met their timely demise (burial at sea was deemed too undignified). Untimely demise was not even a consideration.

Pretty soon, one aquarium just wasn’t enough. A second tank was brought online with a surprising mix of residents: two guppies (Chloe and Aladdin), a large snail (Bob), and a tiny little African Dwarf Frog.

Oh, how cute! The frog was quickly nicknamed Michigan J. Frog, for the singing Warner Bros. frog. He was alternately named Googly and Arthur.

Too cute for words, and personality galore!

The aquariums are great for teaching young children life lessons. Like asexual reproduction. Bob managed to, uh, impregnate him/herself, and spawned Alex. Discussions were had with the aquarium guy, who acknowledged that snails are considered pests. A Web search produced the helpful advice of smashing the little buggers against the glass with a pencil (don’t use your fingers, lest you get cut and incubate some kind of crazy tropical fish infection).

There were also some suggestions that the baby snails might get eaten by other aquarium dwellers, so maybe it wouldn’t be a problem.

In fact, one tiny baby snail that came after Alex seems to have disappeared. Guppies? Frog? Who cares… At least we didn’t have to do the deed.

Anyway, other than that, it’s been all love and light in the frog tank, with little Michigan J. Frog entertaining daily with his little song and dance routines.

He seems to have grown a bit, and keeps getting wedged behind the heater and the filter tube.

So imagine my surprise late last night to glance into this little ecosystem and see little Michigan J. Frog seeming to struggle with something. I figured he was just wedged again, but a closer look revealed him thrashing Aladdin about, apparently trying to gulp him down.

It was like catching a guard dog killing a chicken or something. Really crazy, I’m telling you.

Since he couldn’t swallow the thing whole (it was clearly dead at this point), he started swimming to the surface with it. He dropped it, and it sunk to the bottom, where it landed, upside down, in a plant, its tattered fins flapping in the current.

Had I glanced over at this point, and not 30 seconds before, I would have guessed the fish just died. Michigan J. was back to his goofy self.

I told Wacky Mommy about this, and she decreed that I must flush Aladdin and never speak of it it to the children. So much for the earlier “no burial at sea” decree.

Of course some more Internet searching revealed that yes, African Dwarf Frogs do indeed eat guppies, particularly their fry (which might explain why Chloe, who appeared pregnant, then not pregnant, then pregnant again, never seemed to actually have any babies).

The things the guys at the aquarium store don’t tell you!

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