Purple frog

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The purple frog is a weird looking frog living only in a small area in India. Now, this frog doesn’t have a very descriptive name, but it is an accurate one. These frogs have a purplish tint, and range from mostly brown, to grayish purple like the one shown above, to almost a bright purple!

These frogs are certainly unique for their color, but the shape of their body is also weird. It may seem like that specific frog shown above just ate too much fast food, or something like that, but purple frogs, in general, are fat. These frogs are so unique that when they were first discovered they were described as a “once in a century” find.

Although they aren’t small, purple frogs are relatively hard to find. In fact, they weren’t discovered by scientists until 2003! This is because they spend almost their whole lives in burrows underground. These burrows can be over 12 feet (3.7 m) deep! The frogs will only come out of their burrows to breed and to eat. This secluded lifestyle makes information about this frog hard to find.

Size

As adults, these frogs can be as small as 2 inches (5 cm) long. The average length is a little less than 3 inches (7 cm), while the largest ones can be a little over 3.5 inches (9 cm). I couldn’t find anything about this frog’s weight, but I would guess they would be heavier than most frogs of the same length. My idea would be that this frog would weigh a little less than a baseball, but that’s just a guess.

Diet

When it is hungry, a purple frog will use its sensitive nose to smell for termites. When it finds an underground termite nest, it will use its tough head to dig up the termites. It can then slurp up the tasty insects with its tongue. Although the size of this frog would make it seem like other prey might be better, it has a very small mouth, so not much other than termites can fit it. They will also consume ants and small worms, but termites are by far their favorite food.

Habitat and range

Purple frogs live only in the western part of the southern tip of India in an area called the Western Ghats. They inhabit forests, and they need places with loose, damp soil. This allows them to dig their burrows easily. They aren’t strong enough to dig their burrows in packed dirt. These frogs, like most amphibians, need water close by. Any permanent or temporary ponds or streams will work for them.

Status and threats

The purple frog is classified as Endangered by the IUCN Redlist. These frogs are very hard to find, and there have only been 135 individuals ever observed in the wild. Of those, only three were females. This either means the females are better at hiding or there aren’t many female purple frogs.

There is not enough information about this frog to know any definite predators, though there are probably some snakes that find purple frogs appetizing. The main known threat to this frog is habitat destruction. These frogs are only known to live in an area of less than 2,000 square miles (5,000 sq. km.). This is smaller than the state of Delaware, the second smallest U.S. state!

This small area is good for spice plantations, especially for cardamom and ginger. The growth of these plantations makes good habitat harder to find for these frogs.

Reproduction

Purple frogs come out of there burrows for just a few weeks every year to mate. Mating season for this frog starts just before the rainy season begins. The frogs gather around bodies of water such as ponds or streams and pair up to breed.

Not a whole lot is known about the details of this frog’s reproduction. After mating, the female lays her eggs in the water. The eggs eventually hatch into tadpoles and metamorphose into the fat, adult purple frogs.

Sources:

Photo credits:

  • Purple frog – Wikipedia user: Karthickbala
  • Purple frog range – Wikipedia user: Amphibian2012

One Response

  1. Sharon Madson
    Sharon Madson at |

    I think it should be named the Ugly Purple Frog! That would be a very descriptive name!

    Reply

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