The goliath frog, also called the goliath bullfrog, is a HUGE nocturnal frog living in west-central Africa. Like the Goliath bird-eating tarantula, this animal is the largest of its kind. Both the hands and feet of this animal are webbed. Their back, head, arms, and legs are all greenish in color and rather bumpy. Their underside is a yellowish orange. These frogs are good jumpers. They can jump up to 10 feet (3 m) horizontally. Goliath frogs are different from most other frogs because they do not make noises! Because they are large, one would expect these frogs would be rather easy to find. It is actually quite the opposite, and this species was not known to science until 1906! This might be due to their small range.
Habitat and range
Their geographic range is very limited, and they only live on the coastal region of west central Africa. Goliath frogs are rather picky about their habitat. They prefer fast moving rivers, streams, and waterfalls in dense, humid, hot rain forests. It is rare to find a Goliath frog on land as they spend the majority of their time in the water, where they feel most at home. If they feel threatened while on land, they will immediately jump into the nearest body of water. They like water that is clean, oxygen rich, slightly acidic, and around 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.5 degrees C). They also make their homes places where their young will have enough food to eat. It may seem like most rivers would have plenty of tiny plants and animals for the tadpoles to eat, but this is not so for the Goliath frog. You will find out why later.
The goliath frog is, as I said earlier, the largest frog in the world. Even their eyes are large, measuring an inch (2.5 cm) across! Although this may not seem extremely large, that is about the size of a human’s eye! These amphibians can reach up to 12.5 inches (32 cm) in length, and that is just from snout to rear, not including legs! With their legs stretched out, they can be about 2.5 feet (75 cm) in length! They are also pretty heavy weighing up to 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg). That is about the weight of a normal newborn baby! Males are larger than females, which is unusual for frogs.
Adult Goliath frogs have many different prey in their diet. Some of their food includes insects, crustaceans, fish, mollusks, small mammals, newts, salamanders, small snakes, young turtles, and smaller frogs. The tadpoles are a lot more picky, eating only one type of plant. The plant Dicraea warmingii (scientific name) which only grows near water falls, rivers, and streams, is the only food of the solely vegetarian Goliath frog tadpoles.
Status and threats
The IUCN redlist classifies the Goliath frog as Endangered. As with many rain forest animals, one of this frog’s major threats is deforestation. This frog has few predators due to its size, and their only known predators are humans. Some people have suggested that large lizards and crocodiles may prey on Goliath frogs. The construction of dams can destroy mating sites, making them too deep for the frogs to survive. Their size has made them popular in the pet trade even though they do not survive well in captivity. They are also considered a delicacy in the local areas. Their thigh bones are also sometimes considered good-luck charms.
Mating, eggs, and young
Goliath frog mating season takes place in July and August. Unlike with most frogs, males do not call the females during mating because they do not have vocal cords. Females lay several clusters each containing several hundred eggs. These eggs are very small at only 3.5 mm in diameter. After hatching, the young feed exclusively on the Dicraea warmingii plant. After 85 to 95 days, the tadpoles have completed their metamorphosis into the adult form. The lifespan of these animals has not been studied much, but it is evident that individuals live longer in the wild than in captivity. Some say these frogs can live up to 15 years in the wild and 21 years in captivity, but this contradicts the hypothesis provided earlier.
Don’t forget to scroll down and comment your guess about what the next animal is!
- Smithsonian Handbooks Reptiles and Amphibians. Mark O’Shea and Tim Halliday, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6009-3
- Animals of the world. Tom Jackson, ISBN: 978-1780191089
- Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide. David Burnie and Don E. Wilson, Smithsonian Institution, ISBN: 978-0-7566-6002-4
- Goliath frog – Dr. Gonwouo Nono LeGrand
- Goliath frog range – Christian Fischer
- Mystery animal – Lyndie Malan