Frogs come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. While most frogs look pretty normal, some frogs look really weird! In this blog post, we’ll look at 10 of the strangest and most unusual frogs found around the world.
From see-through skin to shovel-shaped heads, these amphibians are fascinating oddities of nature. Read on to learn about some of the craziest croakers out there!
You’ve probably seen normal green or brown frogs before. But have you ever seen a frog that looks like it’s made of glass? Enter the glass frog. These little guys are found in parts of Central and South America. What makes them so bizarre is their transparent skin. Their undersides are see-through, allowing you to see their organs and blood vessels!
The transparent skin helps the glass frog camouflage itself. When sitting on green leaves, its body blends right in. But the see-through skin fully displays their tiny beating hearts and digestive systems.
It’s equal parts cool and creepy. While you can see some organs, the frog’s back side is solid green to blend in better. Talk about weird! When you look at a glass frog, it’s like holding a frog up to the light. You can learn much about frog anatomy just by looking at these unique creatures.
Now, here’s a frog that thinks it’s a turtle! The turtle frog lives in parts of Thailand and Myanmar. True to its name, this frog looks like a tiny turtle. It has a small round head and tiny eyes, giving it a very turtle-like appearance. Because of its awkward body shape, the turtle frog moves pretty slowly on land.
Typically, frogs come in shades of greens, browns, and greys. But in India lives a strangely-colored frog that’s dark purple! Known as the purple frog, this unusual amphibian has a bloated body and stubby legs. Its doughy, rounded shape and bright colouring make it look like a cartoon character. Its scientific name is Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, but it’s easier to call it the purple frog.
These vivid violet frogs live underground most of the year, only emerging for two weeks to breed. Their colouring is likely meant to mimic the dark soil they live in. So when they come above ground, they better blend into their surroundings. Their unique look and elusive behaviour make the purple frog one of the most unusual frogs around. If you’re looking for a frog that’s the colour of grape juice, seek out the purple frog!
When picking up most frogs, you expect their skin to be slimy and smooth. But if you grab the hairy frog, you’ll be surprised to feel little hairs! True to its name, the hairy frog has fuzzy hind legs and sides. It looks like it’s wearing fluffy leg warmers. These wiry black hairs help keep the frog from drying out in its savanna habitat.
But the hair isn’t even the hairy frog’s strangest trait. When threatened, it can intentionally break its own bones and shoot them out of its skin, Wolverine-style! Tiny bone shards pierce out from their foot pads like claws. So, between the hairy skin and built-in claws, this is one frog you don’t want to mess with. Keep your distance from this weird wolverine!
Shovel-headed Tree Frog
Look at a shovel-headed tree frog’s enormous mouth, and you’ll see how it got its name. This oversized frog has a huge head shaped just like a gardening shovel. Its mouth alone makes up nearly a third of its entire body length. Inside the shovel-shaped mouth are sticky ribs that help it catch prey.
These shovellers live in lowland rainforests from southern Mexico down to Panama. They use their mega-mouths to munch down on spiders and insects. With mouths bigger than their bellies, these frogs can swallow prey nearly as big as themselves! Their clownish appearance makes them a favourite amphibian for people who like goofy animals.
Desert Rain Frog
When you think of frogs, you probably think of damp jungles and swamps. But the desert rain frog lives far from watery areas, making it home in Africa’s harsh Namib Desert. How does a frog survive hot, dry conditions? By burying itself underground and living life as a sand frog!
The desert rain frog has a flattened body that lets it quickly shovel itself beneath the sand. It will remain buried for months, even years, only emerging when rains arrive. When buried, its clear inner eyelids prevent sand from getting in its eyes. Talk about adaptive!
And while other desert frogs may hide underground, the desert rain frog goes deeper than most. It also has unique hibernation abilities, allowing it to rest for years while waiting for rain. Don’t underestimate this little desert frog!
Wallace’s Flying Frog
Frogs hop. They don’t fly. Well, one crazy frog in Southeast Asia takes mighty leaps through the forest, gliding like it’s flying! Known as Wallace’s flying frog, it spreads its four legs wide, stretches the webbing between its legs and toes, leaps into the air, and gracefully glides downward up to 15 feet. Just call it the flying squirrel of the frog world!
These “flying” frogs live high in the trees in Malaysian rainforests and jungles. While leaping between branches, they flatten their bodies out midair, helping them sail smoothly through the forest canopy. Their webbed hands and feet stretch out to catch the breeze as they effortlessly ride air currents.
Watching these soaring amphibians is an awe-inspiring sight. Just look up next time you’re hiking through a tropical jungle in Southeast Asia. You might spot one of these spectacular gliders shooting through the treetops!
Titicaca Water Frog
Say hello to one of the world’s largest aquatic frogs – the Titicaca water frog. Found only at the high elevations of Lake Titicaca in South America, this bloated blob of a frog grows up to 5 pounds heavy! Its puffed-out body looks like a frog who ate too many flies. These giants have loose, baggy skin covered in veins and wrinkles. Spread out those loose folds, which are the size of dinner plates.
Their puffy look isn’t just for show – it serves an essential purpose. The frog’s extra skin absorbs more oxygen from the surrounding water. This helps them survive over 12,500 feet above sea level, where Lake Titicaca sits. The next time you think all frogs are little, keep the chunky Titicaca water frog in mind!
If you’re afraid of frogs, this next one might give you nightmares. Lurking in African rivers is the goliath frog, the world’s biggest frog species. These mega amphibians can reach over a foot long and weigh up to 7 pounds. Now that’s a big frog! Their enormous size and powerful hind legs make them able to jump up to 10 feet forwards.
Beyond its impressive size, the goliath frog has several other weird adaptations. Their huge mouths can open wide enough to swallow rats and other mammals. They can also make loud croaking sounds resembling a cow’s moo. And while most frogs lay eggs, the goliath frog gives live birth to tadpoles. Looking for a true frogzilla? Seek out the goliath in African waterways. Just don’t let it land on you!
Vietnamese Mossy Frog
Most frogs try to blend into their environments with green or brown skin. But the Vietnamese mossy frog takes camouflage to the next level. This small frog is covered head to toe in little growths resembling moss. Their lumpy bumps and green colouring help them perfectly mimic mossy tree trunks.
Rather than jumping away, they’ll tightly cling to their mossy lookalike. If you needed to know what you were looking for, you could easily mistake one for just a patch of moss. Their disguise makes them masters of deception! Found in northern Vietnam, these tiny frogs are one of the more creative amphibians in blending in. They prove that sometimes it pays to be a bump on a log – or is that a frog on a log?