Did you know that the world’s largest frog is the Goliath frog and it can only be found in Africa?
Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea to be precise. It can grow up to 33 cm in length (over one foot) excluding the leg which can grow to over one foot when stretched and can weigh as much as a newborn baby, about 7 lbs (3.2 kg).
The Goliath frog can live up to 15 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live up to 21 years. It is preyed upon by snakes, Nile crocodiles, and Nile monitors, among other predators.
The Goliath frog’s greenish brown color helps to hide it among wet moss-covered rocks in fast-flowing rivers in the dense coastal rainforest of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in western Africa. Unlike most other frogs and toads, Goliath frogs have no vocal sac and so courtship does not involve displaying any calls. They mainly eat crabs, but will also eat insects and smaller frogs. The Goliath frog can live up to 15 years.
Because Goliath frogs live in such a small area of the rainforest, they are highly vulnerable to habitat loss through logging and clearance of forest for agricultural land. The construction of dams threatens the breeding habitat of these frogs.
Goliath frogs are considered to be a source of food in some parts of its native range.They were also highly exported to zoos and animal dealers to be sold as pets. Unfortunately, these frogs fail to thrive in captivity and almost never reproduce there. Due to their classification as an endangered species, the Equatorial Guinean government has declared that no more than 300 goliaths may be exported out of the country per year. Some are captured and kept as pets.
Mbo tribesmen believe the frogs are wizards of sacred waterfalls. The only real hope for these amphibian wizards is the preservation of their rainforest home.
“These carnivorous amphibians have an aggressive temper, can jump 12ft and have tooth like projections called odontoids, which are said to feel like broken glass when the bellicose beasts close their jaws,” according to Senior Tropical House Keeper at Newquay Zoo, Dan Garrick, an expert in feeding these greedy bullfrogs.
‘They are huge predatory frogs that sit and wait for animals to pass by,’ said 30-year-old Dan.
‘They are stimulated by movement and will lunge at pretty much anything that comes within range, including this unlucky mouse.
‘The mouse will die of suffocation or even shock before digestion.
‘If the prey item is too big, the frog can simply disgorge its stomach and wait it out for the next meal.
‘Despite their unsavoury dining habits they are devoted parents and will guard spawn and tadpoles from predators.
‘They even excavate pools to ensure their brood doesn’t dry out.’
African bullfrogs, or Pyxicephalus adspersus in Latin, prey on insects, rodents, birds and are even known to become cannibalistic and overpower other frogs.
A single individual can weigh up to two kilograms, reach 24 cm long and grow a watertight cocoon to stop itself from drying out in the unforgiving African sun.