The Goliath Frog , commonly known as the Giant Slippery Frog, can be found in Africa. It grows up to 12.5 inches (about 32 centimeters) long and can weigh up to 7.2 pounds, which is about 3.3 kilograms – is essentially about as big as a house cat!
The Goliath frog is a species in the family Conrauidae and it is the largest known living frog in the world. It can be found near water falls in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. Their habitat is divided into two main seasons: the dry season which runs from November to April, and the rainy season which runs from May to October.
The species is primarily located in dense equatorial forest fringe, which is somewhat parallel to the coast and surrounded by rivers. The Goliath Frog is located in Sanaga Basin mainly appearing near the Nachtigal cascades; in the Sakbayeme rapids; Kienke basin; Ntem basin, mainly near the rapids of the Mensolo and Nsana; and in Mbìa basin, where it is found to be very abundant in the rapids and cascades. The distribution patterns emphasize its limited environment, which tends to have a clear preference for water bodies.
It was determined in a study that the Goliath Frog consumes a wide variety of food, which suggests that the frog is omnivorous with carnivorous preferences. Their prey are terrestrial, aquatic and semi-aquatic, indicating that they hunt both on land and in water. Food preferences were found to be different among the different weight groups of each frog, which can be attributed to different stages of development. For frogs who weigh more than 400g, which is the equivalent of their young ones, they consume annelids, arachnids, myriapods, insects, crustaceans, gastropods and reptiles. For frogs who weigh 1000g and below, which is the equivalent of a fully developed frog, they consume arachnids, myriapods, insects, crustaceans and gastropods, with a significantly higher occurrence of myriapods.
Out in the world, the Goliath Frog can live up to 15 years, while in captivity they can live up to 21 years. They are often preyed upon by snakes, Nile crocodiles, Nile monitors as well as human beings. Like most amphibians, water is vital for their reproduction. Owing to the fact that the Goliath Frog lacks a vocal sac, it does not produce mating calls, which is a common trait of frogs and toads. The egg masses consist of several hundred to a few thousand eggs, approximately 3.5 milliliters each, and is often attached to aquatic vegetation. There are three main nest types, which are all semi-circular in shape and are located in or near a river.
The primary threat to the Goliath Frog is hunting, as it is considered a food source in its native range. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has highlighted the need for conservation measures in cooperation with local communities, to make sure that the hunting is in sustainable measures. The frogs were extensively exported to zoos and the pet trade, but they have proven shy and nervous in captivity. Although captives may live longer than their wild counterparts, the species has not been bred in captivity. Due to their classification as an endangered species, the Equatorial Guinean government has declared that no more than 300 Goliaths may be exported per year for the pet trade.
According to Blanco Dichetzov, a research scientist in South Africa, “The Goliath frog is big that the males can easily move rocks to create huge nests, up to three feet wide, for the female to lay eggs in. Their color is usually yellow-green or yellow-orange and they eat a variety of fish, snakes, birds, small mammals and other amphibians. They have long been hunted for food and caught for the pet trade and their habitat is also under great threat from deforestation. Because of this, they are officially an endangered species.”
It is interesting to find that yet another of the world’s unique creatures is found in Africa. More and more, we see that we don’t have to travel outside the continent to appreciate the wonders nature has to offer.