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Do Aquarium Frogs Bite? [Do aquarium frogs have teeth?]

Having a frog in your aquarium can really add some great variety and extra viewing pleasure. Frogs have very unique personalities. They are not as fluid and or elegant when swimming through the water as fish, however, this is part of their ‘charm’ and unique appeal!  It is this style of swimming that makes them such a joy to watch, after all!

Do aquarium frogs bite? The answer to this question is yes, depending upon the frog species. African dwarf (Congo) frogs do not bite (on purpose). African clawed frogs, however, will bite. Be sure to know which species is which before introducing them to your community tank.

I have to say, I really like African dwarf frogs. They are small and cute and a pleasure to watch in the tank. I have to admit, I am not a fan of the African clawed frog. I find them a bit creepy looking. However, for the sake of this article, I will put aside my opinions in order to provide you with the best, most unbiased information I can. So let’s continue..

Do African Dwarf Frogs Bite?

Unfortunately, some fish stores will mislabel their frogs as the staff might not be as knowledgeable as necessary to identify some fish or frog species. Dwarf frogs and clawed frogs commonly get misidentified.

The dwarf frog is called dwarf for a reason. These frogs are very small and will be the smallest frog you have ever seen. They also do not have claws. They have four webbed feet. Remember that the next time you are shopping for frogs.

In most cases a dwarf frog will not purposely bite you or anything else, unless you are feeding them, then they will appear to be biting at the food. I found the definition of “bite” on and it states a bite is “to cut, wound or tear with teeth” or “to grip or hold with the teeth”. You can find that information here. Source.

That would mean your dwarf frog would have to have teeth. They do not have teeth so technically they do not bite. They don’t even have claws, their feet are webbed for swimming as they are 100% aquatic frogs. Meaning, they stay in the water at all times rising to the surface for air every so often then swimming back to the bottom of the tank.

When you have more than one dwarf frog in a tank, they might look like they are being aggressive with each other. They aren’t though. These creatures are clumsy and awkward in my opinion. They climb and crawl over each other and it might look like they are attacking one another but they aren’t.

If by chance a frog mistakes flowing fins as food, then it may bite. Let’s take a Betta fish, for example. It might try to take a nibble, however, as stated earlier, they don’t have teeth so chances are the fish will be okay.

Because these tiny frogs are somewhat hard of seeing, they might try nipping at something small in front of them, if they think it is food. This will only be a problem if it is a small fish or other species that fits into its mouth. Again, it wouldn’t be a bite so much as a swallow.

African Dwarf Frog Safety

On the opposite side of this, you shouldn’t keep African dwarf frogs in a tank that has larger aggressive fish. There is a possibility they will see the tiny frog as food. Keep your frog in a tank with well-known community fish.


Do African Clawed Frogs Bite?

Another very popular fish store frog is the African clawed frog. To the inexperienced aquarium owner or store employee, these two frogs can be mistaken when they are young. Specifically when the clawed frog is young as it grows much larger than the dwarf frog.

African clawed frogs can grow upwards of five inches which is quite large for an aquatic aquarium frog. The clawed frog’s body is shaped a bit different than the dwarf frogs, however, the best way to tell these two apart is the front feet. The clawed frog has, you guessed it, claws.

Do African clawed frogs bite, though? If you use the definition above regarding what “bite” means, then I would have to say no technically they do not bite. But do they?

The clawed frog has no teeth and not even a tongue. They are a carnivorous species and eating is one of their favorite things to do. They might not bite technically but if one snaps onto your finger, you might think you were bitten by the force of this small frogs jaw.

The fact that clawed frogs grow to a good size of up to five inches long means they have some good weight behind their attack. So, if one nips at your finger, you will feel something. There are no teeth however so you shouldn’t receive any damage. It might just startle you.

The clawed frog will eat very small fish. This means, do not keep African clawed frogs in tanks with Neon Tetras or other fish of similar size. You can get away with larger community fish for this frog.

Looking for an aquarium? Check out my recommended aquariums page.

Keep your Frogs Full to Avoid any Mishaps

The best way to avoid having your frog go after something in your tank is to make sure they are not hungry, so let’s take a look at what each of these frogs eat.

  • African dwarf frogs will eat mysis and brine shrimp in the frozen formats as well as pellets. Bloodworms are also a favorite of this frog. If you feed bloodworms, make sure you get the food down to the frogs and that other fish do not eat their food.
  • Pellets are a good option as they will drop to the bottom of the tank where the frog can usually be found.
  • African clawed frogs can be fed the foods mentioned above for the dwarf frogs as well as feeder guppies, mealworms, insects and tubifex worms. Again, when feeding your clawed frog, make sure you see the frog eating the food. Fish in your tank could steal the food away. If this happens, the frog will eventually get sick and/or starve to death without you knowing what is wrong.


According to the dictionary definition of “bite” the most common aquarium frogs do not bite. One might argue that as the motion of a frog’s mouth snapping down on something is a biting motion. Regardless, there needs to be teeth and some tearing happening.

The important thing to take away here is that an African dwarf or clawed frog will not purposely bite an owners fingers. They might try to take a chomp out of something fluttering by them in the tank, especially if they are hungry. So make sure to feed your frogs daily to avoid any accidents.

Do you have any interest in knowing if an aquatic frog can be kept in the same aquarium as a betta fish or a goldfish?

If so, then please check out these other articles of mine:

Can dwarf frogs be kept with betta fish?

Can dwarf frogs be kept with goldfish?

Best Tankmates for African Dwarf Frogs

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