Surprising amounts of personality from this small, south Charlotte pet

Who knew mail-order pets could be so much fun? Tad, the 8-year-old African clawed frog, came to owner Andrea Braswell as a tadpole. But now the aquatic frog has grown into his personality. With a life expectancy of 15 years, Tad is in the middle of it all, literally, at the Braswell’s South Charlotte home. Andrea tells Tad’s story.

Grow-a-Frog: Tad came from the Grow-a-Frog kit I got at Learning Express. I sent in a coupon and got back a tad pole in the mail, he came in a little water pouch inside a styrofoam box. My husband Shawn named him Tad before we knew what gender he was, and it was eight months before he was fully grown and we could tell by his markings and croaking. We got lucky when his name was gender-correct.

On the go: We have a 10-gallon tank for Tad in our living room. He loves to interact with people and is definitely a conversation starter, because hardly anyone has a frog. As an aquatic frog he has to stay in water at all times, but when we come into the room he’ll stick his head out of the water to watch us a few minutes. Otherwise he’s swimming back and forth all day. When we go out of town for long periods of time, he has a travel tank we take to my parents.

Amphibious talent: Tad can do tricks, such as following your finger around the tank and he’s learned to wave his arms. For treats, we give him bloodworms that come in squeeze-and-feed pouches, similar to ketchup packets. My dad will dangle a worm just above the water and Tad will jump and grab the worm hanging from the packet. When Tad is scrunched up and sleeping under one to the two castles in his tank, he’s about 3 inches long. But when his arms and legs are fully stretched while swimming, he’s nearly 6 inches long.

Live long: We talked about getting Tad some friends, but we may have waited too long. Males can be territorial so we’re going to leave him as an only child. He’s never needed to go to the one exotic pet vet we found in the area, but there are a couple of websites dedicated to frogs that I’ve got bookmarked. Tad is definitely our baby. Hilary Trenda


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