How Long Can African Dwarf Frogs Hold Their Breath?

You might know that there are only a few fully aquatic frogs in the world including African dwarf frogs. It’s pretty usual for any aquatic living to breathe underwater. Despite being fully aquatic, African dwarf frogs do not breathe underwater. So, a quick question might pop into your mind- how long can African dwarf frogs hold their breath?

Generally, African dwarf frogs can survive underwater by holding their breath for around 5-10 minutes. Since African dwarf frogs do not have any gills, it becomes hard for them to breathe underwater.

If you want to know more about African dwarf frog breathing, you should go through this article. In this article, I’ve shed some light on the usual ADF breathing process, reasons for coming up for air, duration, and so on. So, let’s jump on the details.

Do African Dwarf Frogs Breathe Underwater?

Although African dwarf frogs are fully aquatic, surprisingly these aquatic-living do not have any gills to breathe underwater. Although African dwarf frogs are born with gills, they lose gills in their adult stage. Since these African dwarf frogs develop lungs, these frogs can’t breathe underwater.

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Can African Dwarf Frogs Breathe Out Of Water?

The quick answer to this question is definitely a yes! You might wonder about seeing your African dwarf frogs sticking their nose out of the water.

Since these frogs have highly functional lungs, they can breathe naturally out of water. Their fully developed set of lungs is designed in such a way that they can breathe air without any complexity.

How Long Can African Dwarf Frogs Stay Out Of The Water?

As mentioned before, African dwarf frogs need to come up to the surface to breathe oxygen. But, these frogs can’t stay out of the water to breathe air.

Being fully aquatic frogs, these frogs require constant access to water. Staying out of the water makes these frogs dehydrated.

According to several kinds of research, African dwarf frogs can stay around a maximum of 15-20 minutes out of the water.

Since their skin gets dried out without water, you can’t let these frogs stay on land in low humidity. If African dwarf frogs stay without water for a prolonged period, these frogs will die lacking moisture.

There are 10 other various reasons behind African dwarf frog death. Click here to know the reasons and preventions.

How Do African Dwarf Frogs Breathe?

The respiration system of African dwarf frogs is amazingly unique, considering their habitation type. Generally, aquatic life breathes through its gills or skin.

When it comes to African dwarf frogs, their respiration system acts differently in their tadpole and adult stages. As African dwarf frog tadpoles retain gills, these tadpoles can breathe underwater through their gills.

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In the adult stage, these African dwarf frogs develop lungs by losing their gills. Hence, they come up to the water surface to get their required oxygen.

When these frogs sleep, they breathe through the cutaneous respiration system. Also, these dwarf frogs apply this respiration system when there’s lacking oxygen.

Can African Dwarf Frogs Breathe On Land?

Although African dwarf frogs breathe air, these frogs need to stay underwater. These fully aquatic frogs require constant exposure to moisture.

For this reason, African dwarf frogs can not breathe more than 20 minutes on dry land. It’ll make them dehydrated. Eventually, these frogs will die if they stay to breathe air on land for a long time.

Check out this article to know more about whether African dwarf frogs need land or not.

How Often Do African Dwarf Frogs Come Up For Air?

It depends on the duration of how long African dwarf frogs can hold their breath. If they hold their breath for 5 minutes, they’ll come up for air after 5 minutes. As these dwarf frogs tend to hold their breath for up to 15-20 minutes, you’ll notice these frogs come up for air every 10-20 minutes.

Why Is My African Dwarf Frog Not Coming Up For Air?

It’s pretty natural for your African dwarf frogs to come up for air. If your pet dwarf frogs do not come up to breathe oxygen, there must be something wrong.

You might have noticed that African dwarf frogs aren’t that good swimmers. If the water level is too deep, it’ll become hard for African dwarf frogs coming up the water surface.

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Besides, it can be a sign of their illness. Due to lethargy, African dwarf frogs may not come up for air. These frogs will float nearby the surface of the water. When your dwarf frog becomes too weak, the frog will stay at the bottom of the tank waiting for death.

Final Words

I hope this article has satisfied your concern about how long African dwarf frogs hold their breath. So, don’t get worried about seeing these aquatic frogs coming up for air too often.

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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