A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura.
You will find frogs on every continent, except Antarctica.
Frogs have protruding eyes, no tail and strong, webbed hind feet that are adapted for leaping and swimming.
A Frog’s eyes allow it to see in front, sideways and even partially behind it.
Frogs and toads are both amphibians, but belong to different families. They also have some physical differences like skin texture, body shape and vocalizations.
There are more than 6,000 species in the world.
South Africa is home to more than 120 species of frogs.
Frogs are amphibians, which means they live both in water and on land.
A group of frogs is called an Army.
Frogs are usually different shades of the 7 main colours of brown, grey, green, blue, yellow, red, and black, while Poison Frogs are the most colourful species. These colours play a key role in their defence mechanisms, and help them camouflage and deter potential predators.
Some South African frog species have a variety of vocalizations including calls, grunts and clicks.
Frog calls can be used to identify certain species, as each species has a unique call.
These calls are also used by experts to monitor certain frog populations.
Some distinct calls are used by males to attract females.
Frogs have a three-chambered heart, with two atria and one ventricle.
They can breathe through their skin as well as through their lungs.
Frogs have powerful hind legs, which they use for swimming and jumping.
Most frogs can jump 20 times their body length, which is useful to help them escape predators and catch prey.
According to Guinness World Records, the longest jump by a frog relative to the size of its body was in 1975 by a South African sharp-nosed frog named Ex Lax. This frog jumped 5.35 meters (90 times its own body length).
Not all frogs can jump, some long-legged species can jump while others with shorter back legs can walk, hop, or crawl.
They also have long, sticky tongues which they use to catch various prey.
They are nocturnal creatures, and with superior night vision they can hunt prey easily at night.
Frogs are vertebrates (animals with backbones), and they don’t have rib cages.
Frogs are ectothermic, which means they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. They can’t generate their own body heat (like mammals and birds), and instead their body temperature depends on that of their surroundings.
The diet of South African frogs varies depending on the species, but typically includes insects, snails, worms, spiders and small vertebrates.
When a frog wants to swallow its food, it has to close its eyes in order to help push the food down its throat.
Most frogs have teeth (usually only on their upper jaw) that are used to hold prey in place until the frog can swallow it.
Some frog species in South Africa have adapted to feed on toxic prey, and are able to sequester and store these toxins in their own skin.
Some frog species in South Africa have highly toxic skin secretions, which they use to deter predators.
Certain frog species in South Africa have evolved to become fully aquatic, and never leave the water.
Many frog species in South Africa are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.
The breeding habits of South African frogs vary depending on the species, but typically involve the male calling to attract a mate.
Female frogs lay their eggs in water, where they develop into tadpoles.
The tadpoles of many frog species in South Africa have specialized mouthparts, which they use to scrape algae and other organic matter off surfaces.
Tadpoles undergo metamorphosis to become adult frogs, a process which can take several months.
South African frogs play an important role in the ecosystem, serving as indicators of environmental health, and functioning as predators and prey.
South African frog species have unique adaptations that allow them to survive in the region’s varied habitats such as forests, grasslands and deserts.
Some South African frog species are able to tolerate extreme temperatures and drought.
Frogs play an important role in the food chain, providing food for a variety of predators, including mammals, snakes and birds.
Some of the most common frog species in South Africa include the African Bullfrog, the Painted Reed Frog and the Common Platanna.
The African Bullfrog is the largest frog species in South Africa, with males reaching lengths of up to 25 cm and a mass of up to 1.4 kg.
The Giant Bullfrog is a large South African frog species that is known for its deep, resonant call, and is found in the savannas and wetlands.
The Common Platanna is a highly adaptable species, found in a wide range of habitats from coastal wetlands to arid savannas.
The African Clawed Frog is one of the most well-known frog species from South Africa, and also a popular pet which has been introduced to other parts of the world where it is considered an invasive species.
The African Clawed Frog prefer to live in stagnant water, and have the ability to change their appearance to match their background.
African Clawed Frogs are scavengers with a voracious appetite, and can attack anything that passes by. They lack a tongue and a visible ear.
They are sexually mature in 10 to 12 months, can live up to 15 years and have been extensively used as laboratory research animals.
Some South African frog species are listed as endangered, or critically endangered, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and efforts are underway to protect their habitats.
South African frog species are important indicators of environmental health, and can be used by experts to monitor changes in the ecosystem over time.
Certain frog species are threatened by climate change, pollution and habitat destruction, which can alter their habitats and affect their ability to survive and reproduce.
South African frog species are also threatened by disease, including chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that has caused declines in frog populations around the world.
Some frog species have cultural significance, and are associated with myths and legends.