Goliath Frog is a Disappearing Giant

Goliath Frog is a Disappearing Giant

"Monster" frogs on the brink of extinction

With so much news about two new species of the "smallest frogs" in the news, I didn't want the largest species to feel left out. Yes, it's the Goliath frog! This whopper can weigh up to eight pounds and reach up to a foot in body length not including the legs. That's pretty hefty for an amphibian.

These African natives live in coastal areas, but populations are decreasing drastically. The small areas they populate are diminishing due to conversion to farmland. They've also long been considered a delicacy by the locals, not to mention their size is a novelty in the pet trade. Now that they're on the endangered list, exports are limited to 300 frogs per year. However, in light of their native habitat crisis, no one is sure if existing populations will thrive.

In the wild, they live around fast-flowing streams. Meals consist of scorpions and other insects, but they've been known to consume other frogs. Not a difficult job at this size. Their enemies are crocodiles and snakes.

When breeding time arrives, the male gets to work as an architect, moving rocks into a nest-like mound. Here, the female lays her eggs and then she's done as well. The young tadpoles are on their own in a tough new world. They're also quite particular about the types of foods they eat and must find specific vegetation near waterfalls.

Keeping Goliath frogs in zoos is apparently not a viable option. Although reports state they can live much longer in captivity, they fail miserably at reproducing outside of their native habitat. So, if you do visit a zoo that keeps a Goliath frog, you'll be in for a rare treat.

Flikr Photo courtesy P_Linehan