South African Burrowing Bulfrog
The second largest African frog, this bullfrog measures up to 24 cm (9.5 inches) and can weigh up to two pounds. It has a stout body with dull green skin and a broad head. Toothlike projections on its lower jaw restrain struggling prey. Only its hind toes are webbed. The female is much smaller than the male (12 cm or 4.7 inches), which is an exception in frogs, and is a lighter green in color. The male usually has a yellow throat while the female's throat is cream
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
It is found throughout the eastern savanna regions from Somalia to South Africa and westward to Nigeria. Habitat is usually temporary puddles in open grassland, but it is also found in the Kalahari Desert and the sand-swept regions of central Namibia as well as the highveld domains (4000 feet above sea level) in the Transvaal.
Emerges at night to eat termites, grasshoppers, crickets and millipedes. It will eat anything it can overpower, including mice, lizards, birds, snakes, and other frogs.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
African bullfrogs are sexually mature at 8 years of age. Males congregate (with violent aggressive interaction) and call from a breeding site in shallow water where females then lay their eggs. In breeding, the male develops swollen pads on forelimbs and thumbs with which he grasps the female. As she lays her eggs, he fertilizes them. The jelly-like substance around the eggs protects them to some degree and prevents dehydration. Up to 4000 eggs are laid and the fertilized eggs hatch in two days. The male remains at the breeding site and protects the tadpoles by lunging at and biting any animal that gets close. If the puddle dries up too much, he has been known to dig channels to nearby water. While the male protects the tadpoles, he also feeds heavily upon them. Advantages of an ephemeral site for tadpole growth are the lack of resident predators, the food source of dense algae and bacteria growing in the shallow water, and the warmth of the water which leads to rapid growth and development into frogs. If the pool becomes stagnant and little food is available the tadpoles eat each other and the biggest survive. Metamorphosis takes about three weeks. The baby frogs are about 1 inch when they leave the water together, with larger ones eating their smaller siblings. When the pool dries up, both adult and young frogs burrow underground. They may take up to 28 years to reach full size, and can live up to 40 years of age.
A conspicuous spade-like tubercle on each foot pushes soil to either side as the frog shuffles backward into the ground. Most of the frog's life is spent underground, lying dormant in a cocoon of its shed skin, living off fat reserves. To withstand these fasts which may last more than a year, it can lose up to 38 percent of its original body weight, and can tolerate up to four times the normal level of urea in the bloodstream. The large bladder acts as a reservoir, storing up to a third of the frog's weight in water. Following the heavy summer rains the bullfrog emerges to breed.
When disturbed, they inflate their bodies. The male frogs raise the front of their bodies to display their yellow chests. Highly aggressive, it can inflict serious bites with odontodes in the jaw. Because of their large size and pugnacious disposition, adults have few predators; neonates and young are preyed upon by snakes, lizards, birds, crocodiles, and turtles.
STATUS IN WILD:
Considered a delicacy by the local people.