African clawed frog

Xenopus laevis


  • Found in a variety of freshwaters, both natural and man made
  • Tend to avoid large rivers and waters with predatory fish
  • Tolerates highly polluted waters, saline waters and temperatures between 2-35 °C
  • During droughts it can migrate overland to find new waterbodies
  • A green flat-bodied frog growing up to 12cm in length
  • Upward gazing eyes, with no eyelids
  • The top of the frog is olive-brown in colour, with dark blotches or mottling
  • The underside is yellowish-white
  • Front feet are not webbed but clawed
  • Hindfeet are webbed and have sharp claws on three of the toes
Origin and Worldwide Distribution
  • Native to southern and sub-Saharan Africa
  • They have been introduced to North America, Chile, Japan and Europe, including the United Kingdom
Potential or Known Impacts
  • They predate on, and compete with native species of invertebrates, amphibians, and fish
  • They may be toxic to predators outside of their native range
  • Clog up water irrigation pipes and invade houses
  • Can carry and transmit parasites which may impact native fauna
Is it found in Northern Ireland?
  • It is not currently present in Northern Ireland
How could it get here?
  • Introduction would likely be a result of the accidental or deliberate release of individuals kept as pets or used in scientific research
Management/Methods for Prevention
  • Prevention via enforcing the IAS (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (Northern Ireland) ensuring that X. laevis is not introduced to Northern Ireland
  • Reporting any sightings so that Rapid Response can be instigated
  • If Rapid Response is not successful, management is difficult but can include physical and chemical control
Current Legislative Position (Entry into force: 02 August 2024)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:

Species Related Files:

Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland