Bullfrog, African


Pyxicephalus adspersus


Females are 3 ½ inches long and males are 4-8 inches in length. They are greenish-tan in color. Mouth is wide, and there are tooth-like projections on the lower jaw. Males often have a bright yellow underside and throat. Females have cream-colored throat and do not have the vocal sac like the male.

Family

Ranidae

Order

Anura

Class

Amphibia

Range

Central and Southern Africa

Habitat

Savannas (shallow water)

Life Expectancy

Up to 30 years

Sexual Maturity

6-8 years

Diet

In the wild, they eat rodents, small birds, snakes, other frogs, and just about anything smaller than them that moves. In the zoo, they are fed mice and rats. Enrichment items include mealworms and live crickets.

Status

IUCN - Least Concern

Behaviors

Females lay 3,000-4,000 eggs each. Tadpoles are born after two days. Adults will defend their territory to protect the tadpoles. Males will even dig small burrows to prevent the young from drying up.

Adaptions

The African bullfrog is one amphibian that has developed a novel way of “waterproofing” its skin. It forms a cocoon that encases the entire body with openings at the nostrils. The cocoon is composed of layers of dead skin (up to 40 layers in all) that is dry and parchment-like. While buried in a burrow just beneath the surface of the soil, it enters a state of suspended animation called aestivation. This adaptation allows the African bullfrog to survive the hot dry season until the rains of the wet season arrive.

Special Interests

In Afrikaans, the African bullfrog is called Reuse Brulpadda.

Folklore

To the Vietnamese, the croaking of a frog means that wet weather is approaching. The Thompson River Indians of British Colombia believe that if an individual kills a frog, the rain will come. Because frogs are often seen in great number as it begins to rain, they have long credited as rain-bringers and are symbolic of fecundity and fertility. Several folk superstitions have developed around the frog. One old one suggested that the tongue of a live frog placed over your wife’s beating heart while she sleeps would act as a truth drug. It was also thought that if you killed a frog, your cow would die. Another belief is that a wish made when you hear the first frog of spring will come true. An old superstition among gamblers is that if you come across a frog on your way to the card game, you will have good luck. The placement of a frog in a patient’s mouth would cure thrush. And, an old Yorkshire cure for whooping cough was to make soup from nine frogs without allowing the patient to see the frogs or to know the soup’s ingredients.

Conservation

African bullfrogs have been collected for the commercial pet trade. In addition, some humans use them as a food source.

Jacksonville Zoo History

Records indicate that this species first arrived in April of 1975.

Exhibit

Seronera Reptile House / Amphibian Conservation Center