Pyxicephalus adspersus

Range: Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa

Habitat: Open grasslands near ponds, lakes, and rivers at lower elevation

Conservation status: Least concern

African Bullfrog

  • • One of the most adaptable amphibians on earth – can tolerate extremely harsh environments. The frogs wait out harsh heat and drought in an underground estivation chamber. They dig holes with their powerful legs (the adults have a spade-like metatarsal tubercle on each hind foot to aid in digging. The front toes are thick and blunt with no webbing; the rear toes are slightly webbed.) While underground, they slough off several layers of skins epidermal cells to form a tough mucus cocoon, and they slow down bodily functions. When it rains, water seeps down, dissolves the cocoon and the frog breaks out. During the rainy season, frogs will sit, partially buried with the nose exposed, taking advantage of any smaller animal unfortunate enough to pass by.
    • One of the largest frogs; males can reach 8-9 inches in length and weigh over 2 lbs.; females are smaller. (In most frogs, females are larger than males).
    • Very territorial during mating season. Call is composed of loud, throaty bellow and deep grunts.
    • Fertilization is external. The female lays 3-4 thousand eggs in shallow water, left behind by seasonal rains. The male sits on top of her and releases sperm onto the eggs. The tiny eggs are black and white and encased in a jelly capsule. They hatch 2 days after being fertilized. The tadpoles are fat, heart-shaped, grey to black in color, with eyes close together on top of the head. After about 18 days, small frogs are able to leave water for land. They mature by about 1.5 to 2 years. Only about 20 percent survive to adulthood.
    • Carnivorous; will consume nearly any animal that can be overpowered and fit in its mouth (mice, locusts, crickets, earthworms, small fish, small birds). Cannibalism is common; many of their first meals will be a member of the same egg mass.

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