Red Legged Walking Frog (Kassina maculata)
Written by John F Taylor
The Red Legged Walking Frog Kassina maculata was originally described by Girard in 1853[i] and was classified in the Racophoridae genus but is now classified within the Hyperoliidae family[ii]. Kassina maculata is considered an “arboreal” species of the Running or Walking frog genera, which are all found in Africa and Madagascar except for one species that is found in the Seychelles Islands off the coast of India. The Red Legged Walking frog is the only species, which is found in bushes or trees in West Africa and coastal East Africa. One author describes the K. maculata as being aquatic in nature[iii].
The Red Legged Walking Frog K. maculata is best described as having an overall grayish ground color with dark black spots or ovals sometimes called ocelli; Surrounding these are lighter circles and or margins. Adults reach a size of 6.5 cm and in the wild; they inhabit a tropical rainforest type of environment. They will eat just about anything when it comes to feeding including each other.
The only way to describe the calls of K. maculata is a sound, which could be considered as a repetitive loud clap. While not rare, they don’t seem to call as much as other frogs, which have, been kept in captivity.
When it comes to captive housing of the Red Legged Walking Frog Kassina maculata, you can use the same size enclosure as you would for the Green Tree Frog Hyla cinerea. One major difference that is that the enclosure should be long as in a 20 gallon long instead of the average 20-gallon High enclosure as described above. A 20 Long measures 30 ¼″ x 12 ½″ x 12 ¾″, while a 20-gallon high, remember measures 20 ¼˝x10 ½˝x18 ¾˝. The frog gains a full 10″ in length when being housed in this enclosure, which is important since this particular species has a tendency to “walk” rather than hop as would most other species.
Gravel is a very poor substrate for this type of frog due to risks of impaction. I have yet to read of anyone trying to keep Red Legged Walking frogs K. maculataon Astroturf or reptile cage carpet. This is no doubt due the necessity of the high humidity needed by such a tropical species of amphibian. With that knowledge in hand, we must to the best of our ability try and replicate the areas in which they are found.
A substrate composed of leaf litter would be tremendously welcomed by thesetropical frogs. However, this has yet to be designed and distributed to the general public on a wide scale. Not to mention that some oils that are found within the neighborhood leaves might even be toxic to the frogs we are better off going with something which is at least close. This being a cypress or non-toxic mulch type of bedding of which there are plenty to choose from and in reality are almost all virtually the same. So if you find one that is put together by a company that you recognize I would certainly go with that brand.
Just to make it easier or more confusing as the case may be, you can also use the expandable substrate bricks, which are sold at most retailers. For virtually all of my frog species that I have owned I will usually go with the product called Jungle Bed produced by T-Rex®. The reason I go with this brand is that we more often than not plant the enclosure with live plants and this substrate seems so far to be particularly suited to the plants as evidenced by their growth and health.
When it comes to décor for the Red Legged Walking Frog Kassina maculata, we have discovered that a well-planted enclosure usually seems to suit them best. As mentioned elsewhere you can use either live or plastic plants when it comes time to choose décor. I have provided a plant appendix. To identify the safe species of plants to use. We recommend that you refrain from spiny or sharp edged plants such as bromeliad sp. Instead use mosses and other tropical plants that have large leaves; these will provide not only natural hides but also will help to keep the enclosure humid. Vines and other such perches can be included but don’t seem to be a necessity for this particular species.
As is the case with most frogs, the Red Legged Walking Frog Kassina maculata is a nocturnal species that does not require any UV lighting at all. However, if you plan to plant the enclosure then you should definitely supply some type of artificial ultraviolet light for the plants so that they will remain healthy.
As with all frog or terrestrial amphibians, you must provide a fresh dechlorinated water source of some kind. With the Red Legged Walking Frog, this should be a large bowl where the frog can crawl or climb into the bowl, as it needs to and soak. Misting the frogs once or twice a day will also provide the needed humidity. Another way to provide humidity is to place a piece of Plexiglass over one section of the enclosures screen top. You can also place a heat source over the water area, which will also increase the relative humiditywithin the enclosure.
They seem to thrive in temperatures between 75˚-80˚F, with the humidity of the enclosure being in the 85% range. We do not recommend attempting to keep these frogs any higher than 85˚F. This could lead to stress and if left constantly at this temperature eventually death.
[i] Obst Jürgen Fritz, Dr. Richter Klaus, Dr. Jacob Udo, The Completely illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium.
[iii] Mattison, Chris Frogs and Toads of the World Facts on File Publications New York, New York 1987
Special thank you to John F. Taylor for allowing us to post this great caresheet. Please visit his website at www.reptileapartment.com