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What Is a Goliath Frog?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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The Goliath frog is believed to be the world's largest species of frog. It is native to the rain forests of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in western Africa, and has a very limited range because its tadpoles can generally only feed on one type of plant. The Goliath frog's body can reach up to 12.5 inches (33 centimeters) in length, or 3 feet (0.9 meters) including the legs. They can weigh up to 7.2 pounds (3.3 kilograms). These frogs are endangered due to threats from human activity, including hunting, deforestation, the construction of dams, and the international pet trade.

These frogs are usually brown or greenish in color. The lifespan of this species can be up to 15 years, and the adults reach maturity after about one year. Some specimens are capable of jumping almost 10 feet (3 meters) horizontally.

The male Goliath frog is usually bigger than the female. These frogs are incapable of croaking or any other vocalizations. The male of the species typically builds a nest to attract a mate, but the males will also generally fight one another to win the attentions of a female. They usually lay their eggs in nests of stone built on the water's edge. The female will often lay several thousand eggs, which will usually hatch in 85 to 95 days.

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The native habitat of the Goliath frog is very small. They have been found in only a few rivers near the coast of equatorial Africa. They typically feed on fish, smaller reptiles, insects, and amphibians, such as other frogs or newts. The Goliath frog is usually found near waterfalls, so much so that some local peoples consider them to be guardians of the waterfall.

The tadpoles of this species feed solely on the leaves of a waterside plant found only in their native region. Scientists believe that the encroachment of human civilization, including farming and logging, have damaged the Goliath frog's habitat, leading to a decline in their numbers. This species has also been heavily hunted for export, since they have been popular among exotic animal collectors and zoos.

Specimens for the international pet trade are usually captured from the wild. Breeding these frogs in captivity can be too difficult to be profitable. The species has also been traditionally hunted for its meat.

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