Josh's Frogs LogoJosh's Frogs Logo

Josh's Frogs

Flash sale! 20% off Live Plants. Ends September 29th @ 11:59 ET.

HomeSabana Suriname Toad - Pipa parva care

Sabana Suriname Toad - Pipa parva care


Pipa parva is also known as the Sabana Suriname Toad or the Dwarf Toad. Going forward, to avoid confusion with the African Dwarf frog, Sabana Suriname Toad will be used or Pipa parva. In Latin, parva means ""small,"" which makes sense when you compare this species with others in the Pipa genus. Despite their common name indicating they are a toad, they belong to the family Pipidae, whose defining characteristics are being tongueless, having completely webbed back feet, and having a flattened body.

Pipa Parva in the hobby

Pipa parva frogs are rarely bred and offered in the United States. However, their behavior is interesting to observe when they are available; this is also a fully aquatic species. They are typically found in zoo settings, but on rare occasions, they make their way into the hobby.

Recommended Enclosure Setup

Pipa parva can be housed in an enclosure as small as a 10-gallon aquarium for 2-3 individuals. In larger aquariums, additional frogs can be added at the rate of 2 per 5 gallons. Water quality is important for all aquatic animals, so proper filtration is a must. This can be accomplished in a number of ways: sponge filters, frequent water changes, or filtration systems. Periodic water changes should still happen when paired with other methods, but will be needed less frequently.

Live aquatic plants, such as java moss, are great for these frogs. Substrate should be something that can't get stuck in the mouths or intestinal tracts of these frogs; therefore, it is recommended to use aquarium sand or larger pebbles. Gravel should be avoided. A bare bottom tank is also an option, and can help with waste removal. Spider wood and decorative rocks can supply these frogs with appropriate hiding places to feel safe.

As with all aquatic inhabitants, Pipa parva will need their water to remain clean and healthy. This can be maintained by having a cycled aquarium, performing regular water changes, and using dechlorinated water.


Pipa parva prefer water that is pretty warm, typically in the mid-70s. These temperatures can be achieved with an appropriately sized aquarium heater.


Because these frogs are fully aquatic, ambient humidity is not applicable.


Adult Pipa parva are sexually dimorphic, so females tend to be a bit bigger than males, but there is some overlap in the size range for each sex. Females can reach up to between 1"" and 1.75"" and males can get to between 1"" and 1.5.""


Pipa parva can live up to 7 years in captivity, but may live longer with ideal care.


The Sabana Surinam Toad is able to consume a variety of foods and, unlike most other frogs, are not limited to live foods. Bloodworms and frog and tadpole bites are staples for this species, but these frogs can also consume red wigglers.


Female Pipa parva will be larger and more rotund than males, especially when gravid with eggs. Males will amplex females around the waist and call with periodic clicking sounds during breeding season.


These are fairly unassuming as far as frogs go. They are a light grey or brown color with some mottling on their backs. Their forelimbs are typically observed outstretched and poised to pull food into their mouths. They also have very small eyes that are sometimes difficult to see at first glance.

Social Behavior

Pipa parva males can be territorial and ""fight"" with each other, which consists of gently bumping into each other and occasional wrestling while making clicking/buzziing noises. This aggression will not prevent multiple frogs from being housed together, as long as enough space is provided.


These frogs, once mature, will breed without much stimulation needed in like other frogs. Males will amplex females around the waist when they are gravid with eggs. The frogs will perfrom a series of acrobatics, which results in eggs being deposited in the epidermis of the female, where she will carry the eggs until they hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles are free swimming and are filter feeders; the food will need to be in the water column for them to be able to eat.

Natural Range

These frogs occur mainly in northern Venezuela, centered on the Lake Maracaibo Basin. Its range includes a small part of northeastern Colombia. It has been introduced into the Lake Valencia Basin in northern Venezuela, posing concern about its possible expansion to the south into other river basins, such as the Orinoco. In Venezuela, its altitude range is from sea level up to 300 m asl. (IUCN Redlist)

Links of Interest:

Amphibia Web

Pipa parva calling

IUCN Redlist for Pipa parva