Are African Dwarf Frogs Nocturnal?

african dwarf frog swims on the surface of the water in the aquarium, close-up, top view,

Have you recently started to keep African Dwarf Frogs as your pet and noticed they are mostly active at night and less active in the daytime? Are you wondering if they are nocturnal or not and why it is like that?

African Dwarf Frogs are nocturnal, be it in nature or in captivity. Nocturnal means being most active during night. They are seen feeding, swimming etc. mostly at night. They rest and stay relatively inactive when it’s day.

Key Takeaways

  1. Being nocturnal allows African Dwarf Frogs to rest well in the daytime.
  2. African Dwarf Frogs are highly sensitive towards bright daylight.
  3. As they are cold-blooded, high temperatures in the daytime can be triggering for their physiology.
  4. In captivity, African Dwarf frogs can adapt to being active in the daytime.

Why African Dwarf Frogs are Nocturnal?

African Dwarf Frogs come from the deep forested part of Equatorial Africa. It is their natural habitat. These habitats are mostly slow moving water streams, murky pond water etc. Genetically, they are adapted to low light conditions. So it is easier for them to do activities at night.

African Dwarf frogs have small eyes that are sensitive towards bright daylight. That’s why their eyes are more suited for nocturnal and aquatic lifestyle. It allows them to hunt and hide more efficiently in night time.

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However, as I mentioned in the key takeaways that they can be adapted to become diurnal, some of them may also be more active in day time. It is because an individual frog’s body function can vary due to environment they are living in.

african dwarf frog swimming inside tank
Owner: Bobbie Sissom

Do African Dwarf Frogs Sleep?

African Dwarf Frogs sleep. As they are nocturnal they do most of their activities at night and sleep for a long period of time during daytime.

Their sleep duration may vary due to the environment but it is usually several hours. Tank’s lighting condition and water temperature are important factors for their sleeping pattern.

African Dwarf Frog’s Night–time Activities

As full-time aquatic amphibians and nocturnal animal, African Dwarf Frogs usually engage into these activities at night:

  1. Feeding: African Dwarf Frogs are carnivorous. Their specific dietary needs include various small aquatic insects, crustaceans, invertebrates etc. They use their keen sense of smell and vibration in the dark to locate the prey. They hunt for food at night.
  2. Swimming: ADFs are known as skilled swimmers. Swimming is a vital part of their daily activities since they are totally aquatic. By swimming during the night, they search for food, explore their habitat and socialize with their tank mates.
  3. Social Interaction: It is kind of interesting to know that African Dwarf Frogs are quite social creatures. In the night time, they are seen performing social interactions for territorial behavior or courtship displays.
  4. Mating and Breeding: As ADFs are mostly active during the night, it is an ideal time for them to perform mating and breeding activities. Usually male ADFs grasp the female frog in a behavior called “amplexus” and the male clings to the female’s back.
  5. Vocalizing: ADFs generally are not as vocal as others. But during mating or territorial conflict, they produce a soft chirping/clicking sound which is vocalization. These sounds are mostly heard at night.
  6. Breathing & Hiding: African Dwarf Frogs are air-breathers. From time to time, they come to the water surface to gulp air. They also may seen hiding from their potential predators. They love hiding among plants, rocks or other hiding spots in their habitat.
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Difference Between African Dwarf Frog’s Daytime & Night Time Activities

To understand better, I will now show some basic differences between African Dwarf Frog’s daytime and nighttime activities in the following table:

African Dwarf Frogs may feed during day if food is available. But mostly they don’t.They hunt for food during night. They use their senses to target prey in low light condition.
To avoid predators and excessive sunlight, they seek out hiding spots during day. They engage into small occasional movement in that time.They prefer swimming and socializing with other tank mates at night.
They are seen to find any quite place in their habitat and sleep during the day.Mating, swimming, exploring etc. Are the kind of activities they do at night.

Although African Dwarf Frogs are nocturnal, it is better if you feed your pet frog during the day to monitor them easily. In that way you can remove any uneaten food, observe their appetite and also keep the water clean.

african dwarf frog great closeup

Final Words

I hope the overall discussion above will help you learn about the nocturnal nature of African Dwarf Frogs. These interesting creatures are not that hard to maintain if you know them well.

Be it night time or daytime, their healthy energy and activity depend on the food you provide them. To learn more about the African Dwarf Frog’s diet and feeding, you can check out this article: African Dwarf Frog Diet & Feeding Guide [Interesting Facts]

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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