Sunday 2 June 2013

Bushveld Rain Frog

Image: CapeSnakes
Breviceps adspersus
Yeah! Go on, inflate yourself! That's your answer to everything!

The Bushveld Rain Frog is a burrowing frog which ranges across southern Africa. They can reach 6 cm (2 in) long and if you get one angry, it'll puff itself up so it's about 6 cm (2 in) tall, too.

Image: Armand Kok
Bushveld Rain Frogs spend most of their time hidden underground, hanging out in the cooler, damper soil beneath the surface. This means they can live in habitats that are very dry for most of the year. It also means their spade-like hind feet don't go to waste. It would be pretty shoddy to have legs like shovels and not use them to shovel!

I wonder if Bushveld Rain Frogs ever smile when they're in those burrows? Certainly they appear utterly disdainful above ground, as if the sun simply infuriates them. "How DARE you shine!"

Image: Bernard DUPONT
No-one can say the camera loves the Bushveld Rain Frog. Which works out fine since it looks like the Bushveld Rain Frog pretty much loathes the camera.

Video: aya3damascus

Rain Frogs get their name from the way they emerge from the ground after it rains. Now it's time to eat and eat and eat some more. They need to fatten themselves up so they can spend lots of time doing nothing at all in their underground burrow when that damnable sun comes out again.

"Heat? Light? How DARE you!"

Video: globalzoo

After heavy rains in the spring, males come out to do more than just eat - they dig a little depression in the damp soil and call out into the cool air beneath the triumphantly overcast sky. Hopefully, a female will hear.

The females are fat and frowning like the epitome of the mother-in-law joke, but that's just how he likes them. So he jumps on! But he's so much smaller than she that he can't actually keep a physical hold of her, so they stick together by means of a kind of a gluey secretion, instead. That's one way of keeping the family together!

It's always nice when the glue that keeps us together is actual glue. Unless that's just some weird fetish.

Now the pair burrow about 30 cm (a foot) underground and lay around 45 eggs. The male leaves now, but mother stays nearby until her brood pass through the tadpole stage and are ready to emerge as tiny froglets.

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Right from the start, they look extremely annoyed for no apparent reason. There's no youthful exuberance here! And with a bit of luck, they'll soon be able to puff themselves up into a spherical marblecake, just like their parents.


TexWisGirl said...

i ADORE these little things! scowl on, babies, scowl on!!!

TexWisGirl said...

omg. watched the last video - when she wiped the dirt from her face, i got the biggest smile!

Joseph JG said...

They look so funny cleaning themselves up! And still with that ferocious frown!