Why Does My African Dwarf Frog Hide Behind The Filter

Why Does My African Dwarf Frog Hide Behind The Filter

African Dwarf frogs are shy as a matter of survival. Since these frogs are small and have no real defensive capabilities, they make a tasty snack or meal for other animals if caught.

Hopping away only works sometimes, so their instincts tell them to hide. Why does my African Dwarf frog hide behind the filter?

Your African Dwarf frog hides behind the filter because it is instinctual for them to hide from predators and to adapt to their environment. In nature, African Dwarf frogs are an easy meal for other animals, so they seek deep water and spots where they’re out of sight in their tank. Don’t worry; this is normal behavior for frogs.

5 Reasons Why My African Dwarf Frog Is Hiding Behind Filter

The most common reason you’ll notice African Dwarf frogs hiding behind their filter is that it’s available. These tiny frogs hide because it feels safe for them.

You know that your aquarium is perfectly safe for your pet, but they don’t instinctively understand that.

Be patient with a hiding frog and offer them lots of places to sneak off alone instead of trying to coax them out. It’s better for your frog and will help reduce their stress if you allow them to follow their instincts within reason.

If your pet refuses to eat or you suspect there’s some other problem, then don’t worry too much about them.

If you want to see your frog when they are active, make time to hang out when they are eating or put up a webcam.

These pets are not meant to be interactive or cuddly, so it’s best to simply enjoy looking at them. Anything else may be unsafe for your frog.

According to It’s a Fish Thing, “These frogs are extremely delicate and fragile. If you hold them wrong or tug a little too hard, you can easily snap their bones… their skin needs to be kept wet. Having African dwarf frogs out of the water for more than 10 minutes will cause them to dehydrate, which will cause internal organ failure, and then death. African dwarf frogs are strictly meant for being looked at, not handled. Even the oils on your hands can hurt these African dwarf frogs.”

1 – Instinct

Many frogs will burrow down into the earth to assuage their hiding instinct. Unfortunately, African Dwarf frogs are susceptible to being outside the water.

As a result, borrowing isn’t a functional solution for them. Instead, you’ll typically find your African Dwarf frogs behind decorative or live plants or squeezed in behind the filter.

It is usual for these little 3-inch frogs to sleep in the water for up to twelve hours per day. Your filter may be a convenient place where your African Dwarf frogs feel they can hide.

Offer them lots of cover in their environment, so they have more options.

2 – Loneliness & Comfort

African Dwarf frogs are social creatures. Most pet store and frog owners will tell you that you need at least two African Dwarf frogs for them to be happy.

Hiding behind the filter may offer a feeling of security for your lonely frog. The press of the filter may also feel a little bit like mating, which is enjoyable.

As Aquarium Coop describes it, “Many people will express worry for their frogs when they see them hugging each other and not moving for up to a day and a half. This is a normal behavior for the frogs and indicates that they are mating.”

Especially if your frog seems to hug the filter, they probably need a friend.

3 – Fear of Predators

Do you have other pets like cats and dogs, or even snakes that your frog can see? Small frogs are easily frightened.

Even a bright, loud, chaotic environment with no animals can scare them. African Dwarf frogs will be happier in a calm environment away from stressors.

Alternatively, anything that looks like a predator may freak out your African Dwarf frogs causing them to hide behind the filter.

Sadly, African Dwarf frogs have terrible eyesight and rely primarily on the vibrations from the water around them and their sense of smell.

Check the room for vaguely predatory-looking items, anything causing excess water vibration, and things that smell like other animals, then remove those things.

4 – New Environment

It’s normal for pets to take a while to adapt to their new home. If you just got your African Dwarf frogs or recently moved them to a new space, they probably have some adaptation issues.

Hiding behind the filter in their aquarium is a way for the little frogs to feel safe in a strange new world that kind of scares them.

Given time, your African Dwarf frogs will emerge and explore their new space. It would be best to avoid rushing them.

Instead, offer your frogs some food at mealtime and allow them to make their own choice about whether to come out or not.

5 – Dirty Tank

African Dwarf frogs are incredibly sensitive to changes and problems in their water. Unfortunately, that means you need to check their water temperature and cleanliness much more often than with hardier species.

Sometimes an African Dwarf frog hides behind the water filter because that’s where it feels the cleanest.

Helpful Tips To Know About African Dwarf Frog Hiding Behind Filter

It can seem like a severe problem when your frog is hiding, but with small species like the African Dwarf frog, sometimes it’s just common-sense survival instincts.

Still, you should check on your pet, especially if you haven’t seen them come out to eat as they should.

Here are more helpful tips to know about African Dwarf frogs hiding behind filters.

  • African Dwarf frogs need a really high-quality filter in their tank. Dirty water can kill these incredibly delicate little frogs in a matter of days. Always ensure that they have fresh, clean water.
  • Removing your African Dwarf frogs from behind the filter may seem tempting, but please don’t do this. Unless you are reasonably sure that they’ve died, it’s wiser to leave them where they’ve hidden and let them adjust. Even careful handling can result in broken bones and damage to your frogs.
  • The water in an African Dwarf frog’s aquarium should be 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (20-26 Celsius). Use a canister filter, sponge filter, or an under-gravel filter to keep the water clean and safe for your pet and remember to swap some out even with the filter. You should replace around ten to twenty percent of your African Dwarf frog’s aquarium water once per week.

Final Thoughts

African dwarf frogs are natural hiders who prefer a nice secure spot where they feel safe. Hiding behind the filter is a great way to remain unseen in an aquarium.

It’s normal for you not to see this species much during the day when they sleep underwater. Check to see if your frog is coming out at night for food.

However, since this species is also especially sensitive to contaminated water, it’s always a good idea to check and ensure they aren’t hiding because it’s the only place with cleaner H2O for your pet.

Ted Smith

My name is Ted Smith and I’m the creator of AnimalThrill.com. I have a passion for educating people about animals and wildlife. I have been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the past 10 years and I became a wildlife blogger to help people become excited about animals and encouraged to care for these wonderful creatures.

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