Fascinating Frogs

March 14, 2024

Photo Credit: ©Shutterstock

It’s almost World Frog Day and there’s no better way to celebrate these wonderfully diverse amphibians than learning something new. Here are five fantastic frog species that you may have never heard of.

1. There’s a Central African “hairy” frog species with retractable “claws.”

The hairy frog isn’t actually hairy, but it sure looks like it. Breeding males develop hair-like structures along their flanks and thighs that are thought to increase their ability to absorb oxygen. But wait, there’s more: when these fascinating amphibians are attacked, they’ll intentionally break their toe bones, forcing the bones through their skin to create retractable “claws” to pierce their attacker.

2. There’s a species of frog that swallows its tadpoles and stores them in its vocal cords.

When a female Darwin’s frog lays her eggs, the male will guard them for several weeks by swallowing and storing them—in his vocal cords. Once the tiny froglets are fully developed, they’ll jump out of their father’s mouth and disperse.

3. The smallest frog in the world is the size of a fly.

The species Paedophryne amauensis was just recently discovered in Papua New Guinea, and is now considered the world’s smallest vertebrate at just 7 millimeters in length. That’s less than half the width of a US dime!

4. There’s a Siberian frog that can survive for months underwater with almost non-existent oxygen.

No oxygen? No problem. Found in the northern Subarctic and southern Arctic, the Siberian wood frog overwinters for 6-8 months in oxygen-depleted frozen lakes each year. These hardy frogs have been shown to exist in almost complete anoxia (below 0.2mg/L oxygen) for several months at a time—and still maintain the ability to flee from predators.

5. There’s a species of frog that spends its days buried in sand dunes. Oh, and it squeaks.

The desert rain frog is a plump little amphibian found only along a narrow strip of coastline in Namibia and South Africa. To stay cool and moist, it buries itself in the sand during the heat of the day, then emerges at night to feed on insects. To defend itself, it makes squeaking noises that sound like a dog toy.

Want to see more facinating frogs? Check out this diverse photo gallery.

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