Science Fact of the Week 20 - Goliath Frog
The largest frog in the world is the Goliath Frog, and probably the largest frog or indeed amphibian ever to live. It can grow up to 33cm long and weight nearly 3 kilograms. Goliath Frogs live in fast moving rivers and streams with sandy bottoms, typically located in the dense rain forests of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, both countries in West Africa. Adults are carnivores and eat insects, crustaceans, fish, and amphibians. Tadpoles (baby frogs) are herbivores that eat water plants found only near waterfalls and in rapids. Some indigenous people actually eat Goliath Frogs! Goliath Frogs are the only mute frogs, i.e. they have no vocal sack. They are also able to leap up to 10 feet. The mating season for the Goliath Frog is July and August. Each female produces several hundred eggs, which are attach to plants growing on the bottom of the river. It takes 85 to 90 days for tadpoles to develop.
Much of the dense rainforest of the Goliath Frog's habitat has been deforested for timber and to make way for agriculture. The construction of dams also threatens the breeding habitat of these frogs and this species is particularly vulnerable to habitat alteration due to its highly restricted range The Goliath Frog is not currently protected under any trade restrictions and collection continues to threaten remaining populations. Captive breeding programmes have not proven successful and the only method of effectively preserving this amphibious giant is to safeguard areas of remaining habitat.