Friday 8 July 2011

Hairy Frog

Image via Wikipedia
The Hairy Frog, sometimes called 'horror frog' and probably 'nutter' if he was in my part of the world. It all depends on what characteristic you want to focus on, the hair or the broken bones. We'll definitely get to the broken bones.

It's not from my part of the world, though. The Hairy Frog is an 11 cm long amphibian from Central Africa.

It is indeed a frog, but it isn't quite hairy. Amphibians don't do hair, they don't get enough of the right proteins. Also hair would get all wet and horrible all the time. It's only the males who get it and only when it's time to breed. Wet, hairy men? I don't know.

The hairs are actually more like bits of sticky-out skin, full of arteries. The purpose of them is to increase surface area so that they can absorb that much more oxygen from water. This is good for the male because he has to sit there looking after the eggs until they hatch. If something bad comes along, it's time for self defence and this is where the broken bones come in. Or rather, come out.

Image source
You see, the Hairy Frog has the amazing ability to break its own toe bones when threatened. This causes a tiny, sharp piece of bone to rip through the tip of its toes and stick out like a particularly grim claw. It's made of pure bone, not keratin like other, more respectable claws. Like I said, frogs don't make a huge amount of use of keratin.

There are no muscles for pulling the claw back in, so it is thought that it slips back by itself when muscles are relaxed. The cuts would probably just heal over quite nicely.

In fact, it'll probably take the predators longer to recover from what they've just seen. "Geezer's barmy! Run!"


TexWisGirl said...

oh good golly! that's some seriously tough frog! breaking your own bones and cutting them thru your flesh? yikes!

TexWisGirl said...

oh, and i LOVED the link on the wet, hairy men! LOL!

Joseph JG said...

Yup. It's a bit more than the knuckle cracking humans do.

Glad you liked that link! I was very pleased to come across it!

Crunchy said...

"If I'm willing to do this to myself, just imagine what I'm willing to do to you."

Joseph JG said...

Precisely! I said exactly (approximately) that before!

Lauren said...

in the school that I go to, we are currently using this site for information about hairy frogs in science. We got a lot of information from here. Thanks alot!