Giant bullfrog gets a finger snack

  • September 04, 2012 | Carl Schloms

Two bony protrusions on the lower jaw help the giant bullfrog to grasp its prey

The giant bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) is one of my favourite amphibians – these guys are amazing, and will eat anything that moves, as I discovered!

It all started with an innocent exhibit revamp… How was I to know that in a few seconds a 1kg bullfrog would be hanging from my pinkie finger?

Reaching into the exhibit to remove some debris, my hand was obviously mistaken as a prey item. Never did I expect the bullfrog to lunge so far and so fast. These guys would make a few snakes look stupid with their speed.

There is always a small amount of shock when something latches onto you, and a little more when it refuses to let go. Finally, after what felt like hours, he realised my hand was not going to fit into his very large mouth, and gave up the fight. Thankfully I was none the worse for wear, with just with a bruised pinkie finger and ego to show for my encounter.

The giant bullfrog spends most of its life in hibernation mode

The giant bullfrog is the largest frog in southern Africa and can weigh more than 1kg. It is a protected amphibian due to its exploitation in the illegal pet trade. It has been exported worldwide, but by law you may not own one of these frogs without the relevant permit.

In uShaka Sea World's Dangerous Creatures exhibit we have five of these impressive monsters on display, so don’t forget to have a good look next time you visit us. As you can see in the image above, what appear to be teeth in the lower jaw are actually bony protrusions that help the frog to grasp its prey.

This frog spends most of the year underground in hibernation, only emerging during heavy rains. It eats almost anything that will fit in his mouth, including other frogs, snakes, rodents and the odd finger!

Always remember that the presence of frogs is indicative of a healthy environment, so if you are fortunate enough to have them in your garden, appreciate and take care of them.

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