Bushveld rain frog

Kruger National Park · April 2019
By JP le Roux
Field Guide

Bushveld rain frogs are a species of uniquely southern African frogs, and these little frogs are a firm favourite amongst many guides. Reason being is that when confronted by a potential predator, they inflate themselves, giving the appearance of being puffed-up marshmallows. They are cryptically coloured and slow moving frogs that spend most of their time underground, and when they emerge on the surface, they comically walk or run rather than hop as most other frogs do.

Another strategy they have evolved is the use of chemical defence in the form of a toxic, milky white secretion.

Their odd round bodies and the incredible size difference between the tiny male and incredibly large females make them look even more comical when it comes to mating. Unlike the usual method of clasping onto a female with the front legs during copulation, these tiny frogs actually get glued together for the duration! Once mating is completed a solvent is released to separate the pair from one another.

Unlike most other frog species which lay their eggs directly in a water body, where the eggs are vulnerable to predation, the rain frog pair burrow down into the soil and constructs a chamber in which the female deposits the egg mass.

Another behaviour that makes them unique is that of demonstrating parental care, which is fairly uncommon among frogs. This parental responsibility is mostly practised by the female, though sometimes the male also remains in the vicinity of the nest until metamorphosis is complete.

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